Sunday February 7, 2016– The biggest signing in MMA in quite some time put Bellator MMA in the spotlight, Benson Smooth Henderson chose to sign with Bellator instead of going back to the UFC. That is three straight stars that the Bellator has signed from the UFC that have all made impacts, Phil Davis, Josh Thomson, and now Benson Henderson. Henderson is a former WEC and UFC lightweight champion, but after a string of key loses including a fight were he lost his title Henderson decided to move up in weight and try his luck at welterweight. With two fights at welterweight Henderson is 2-0, and after signing with Bellator his 3rd fight will be for the welterweight title. Henderson has shown that he is capable of being champion and with the welterweight division wide open in Bellator Henderson slides right in to fight for the title. The champion Andrey Koreshkov is (18-1) and riding a 5 fight win streak including his last fight were he captured the welterweight title. Benson Henderson might be one of the greats but it’s not going to be a walk in the park when he gets into the ring with the Spartan with the gold on the line.
The challenger Benson Henderson, who officially fights at welterweight now is in line for the biggest fight of his career. Now that he is a member of Bellator MMA his first fight is for the title. Now in his past Henderson has been champion before and if he wins here there is no doubt that he will know how to handle himself. Henderson is one of the most talented fighters in all of MMA, his submission game and ground game is top notch and his striking game is up there as well. Now in my mind I think one of his most deadly attributes in the octagon are his kicks. Anyone who has seen Henderson fight knows he has tree trunk legs, and in his past fights Benson has used those legs to cut down his opponents legs and by doing that his opponent will struggle with planting on his strikes. Henderson has all the abilities to win this fight if he can stick to his strengths he can finish this fight early. In all of Koreshkov fights you can see that his wins come by mostly decision or TKO, There is no doubt that Henderson will most likely have to come into this fight with top-notch cardio due to the fact that the fight can go into the later rounds. In one of his previous fights against welterweight Brandon Thatch, Henderson fell behind early due to the fact that Thatch was bigger and was out striking Henderson. Benson started to use his kicks to cut down Thatch and set up a takedown. Once the takedown was landed Henderson was able to slip in the rear naked choke for the finish. No doubt Henderson will need to look for multiply options to finish this fight, don’t just look for the first option. Koreshkov does have the height and reach advantage but as the past has shown size doesn’t matter, and in the end its skill that prevails.
The champion Koreshkov in some ways might be seen as an underdog but I’m sure in the champions eyes he wouldn’t want it any other way. Koreshkov has one lost in his professional career and it was by unanimous decision for the welter weight title. Following that lost the champion banged out 5 straight wins and earned himself a shot at the title. After going 5 rounds Koreshkov captured the welterweight title, now preparing for his first defense there is no doubt the cards are stacked against him. Andrey does have KO power as most of his wins have come by TKO, KO, and decision. In Benson’s previous lost it shows that when you overwhelm him he has struggles coming back, In the lost to Pettis Henderson was rushed from the start and when Pettis slipped in the submission that was it, and again in the RDA fight Henderson was constantly on his back and when he tried to get up he was overwhelmed with punches. Henderson on the other hand does not have problems going the distance so for both fighters can take this fight into the later rounds. Another key to victory is to stay away from the ground keep Henderson on his feet, Koreshkov has the reach advantage and if used the right way it will keep Henderson back. Watch out for the kicks those legs can cut a tree down, and Henderson will use them to make sure that he can stay in the fight. To retain his title it isn’t going to be easy but if the champion uses his strengths and powers there is no doubt he will retain his title.
On April 22 in Connecticut one of the biggest fights in Bellator history will take place, and there is no doubt that this title fight will have the MMA world at the edge of their seat. I’m sure as the rest of the card gets announced we will learn more about the amazing event.
By: Rick San Bartolome
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