In this isolated case, I’m not sure how anyone can raise an issue with prediction of a Dan Henderson victory over Anderson Silva this Saturday at UFC 82. Just like I can’t raise an issue with someone for picking Silva to beat Henderson.
If this was an NFL game, it would be a pick ’em. It’s a matchup with a potential outcome that could go either way. If Silva and Henderson fought ten times, they’d each win five. Blah, blah, blah. You get all the cliche’s. But my point is that this is a very even matchup and for anyone planning to do their “I told you so” song and dance after the outcome is official, you need to grow up. This isn’t a fight where you’ll be able to fault anyone who ended up picking the loser. Instead, you should be giving someone the credit for having the stones to make a pick.
It would be real easy for me or anyone else to recuse ourselves from making a prediction by saying “Oh, this one is just too close to call.” But where’s the fun in that? So I decided to “man up” last week and take a sobering look at this matchup. My conclusion is that it’s Silva’s Thai clinch vs. Henderson’s Greco Roman body lock.
And I’m taking the body lock.
The key in this match will be who can control the distance. Silva needs to make sure that he keeps Henderson away from him during the initial portion of the fight. If Henderson can close the distance without paying too steep of a price and lock Silva up, then Silva’s greatest weapons will be neutralized. Silva needs space to operate.
Yes, there isn’t a lot of space in the clinch, and area in which Silva excels at, but he’ll need to stay loose during the beginning portion of the match. Trying to crowbar the clinch in against a naturally strong athlete such as Henderson isn’t advisable. He’s going to need to break Henderson down first before he tries to impose his will and close the distance and in turn go in for the kill.