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‘Pride of a Champion’ Betting Odds; CagePotato Endorses Anderson Silva

MMA Betting Blog has the odds for Saturday’s UFC 82, and breaks down a few of the match-ups here. Their current numbers for the main card (favorites followed by underdogs) are:

Anderson Silva (-150) vs. Dan Henderson (+120)
Cheick Kongo (-175) vs. Heath Herring (+145)
Chris Leben (-165) vs. Alessio Sakara (+135)
Yushin Okami (-220) vs. Evan Tanner (+170)
Jon Fitch (-550) vs. Chris Wilson (+350)

I’ve flip-flopped on my prediction for the main event, which is one of the most evenly matched and toughest-to-call in UFC history. At first, I bought into the oft-repeated line of “Silva’s never faced as good of a wrestler as Henderson.” Which is absolutely true, but now I don’t think that will be the deciding factor in the fight. For me, it comes down to this: Which will each man’s strategy be, and how likely is the success of that strategy?

Silva will keep the fight standing as much as possible and trust in the superiority of his striking. He’ll dodge as many takedown attempts as possible and use his reach to keep Henderson at bay. If Henderson pushes him up against the cage, Silva would look to lock on his own thai clinch; if Henderson takes him down, he’d stay in attack mode and look for a submission or a reversal of position.

Henderson will be smart enough to stay out Silva’s striking range for the most part, but he’ll shoot in at the right moments to work for takedowns and hopefully control Silva on the ground. The problem is, a ground-and-pound TKO is the only way I see Henderson winning this fight, and with Silva being as good as he is on his back, it won’t be easy.

Not only that, but Silva will be hard to get to the mat to begin with. This isn’t an awesome example, but watch his fight against Chris Leben again (if you can find an active video online) and pay attention to how effortlessly Silva lands his punches while moving backwards. I’ve called his striking “laser-guided” before, and this is what I was referring to — his ability to land shots from any angle. It’s going to frustrate Henderson as he chases Silva around the ring looking for a takedown, and by the third round, I think it’ll frustrate him enough that Henderson will resort to trading shots with Silva. (I mean, the guy knocked out Wanderlei Silva, so why not?) And that, of course, will be the beginning of the end for Dan Henderson.

Hendo’s never been knocked out, and it’s hard to make a prediction against a streak like that. It’s downright stupid, actually. And yet, we see a particuarly brutal knee in Henderson’s future — say, in round 4 — that will either knock him out or lead to Silva pouncing on him and dropping punches until the ref puts an end to it.

In our last poll, 54% of you called this fight for Silva, which is a pretty good reflection of the edge he has in this match. Hit us up in the comments section and let us know exactly how you think it’ll go down.

Cagepotato Comments

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Than- February 29, 2008 at 7:06 pm
I am rooting for Silva in this fight, but if Hendo wins I will not be upset at all, hes a great fighter and guy too.
grant- February 29, 2008 at 12:23 am
even if / when silva goes for a clinch, hendo's greco-roman background should have that covered. think about it, anderson pulls in the neck, hendo moves in with his body, and hip to hip there's no way silva wont end up on the ground, and hendo will take go g&p from there, TKO baby!! hendo is a master of keeping his weight on top of the opponent... itll be a good fight, and as much as i like silva, i would like more to see henderson take it all the way. the guy's a warrior.
Naked Old Man- February 29, 2008 at 12:15 am
Mr knee might meat mr face, but hendo beat up rampages hand with his who knows if silva will actually do any damage. I like both fighters, been watchin em for awhile, hendo is better on the ground, anderson has better striking. Silva has good ground game but he's fallen pray to some wily oppoenents, (ryo fight was epic). Hendo is like wily coyote, he goes to the third gear and doesn't stop, rampage got worried and had to take him down and the only reason they stayed down is that quinton is a great wrestler too and hendo is a natural 180. I still think silvas got a great ground, I mean they don't just give away those black belts :P but I'd say hendo has a better base. If I had to call it, hendo TKO second round.

(not sure if this matters or is true, but how many fights has silva taken to distance, not that I question his cardio, but we all know dan can hang in there)
Andy- February 28, 2008 at 5:34 pm
The fight will look a lot like Silva’s fight against Marquardt. You guys need to watch the Siva-Marquardt fight again. Marquardt is a strong wrestler and has some decent BJJ. Hendo is obviously a better wrestler and he is great in the clinch, but Marquardt’s skill is comparable to Hendo’s. Marquardt kept Silva on the ground for the majority of the first round, but didn’t inflict a whole lot damage. Silva controled Marquardt even while he was on his back. Silva worked some BJJ and eventually got a sweep and finished it with a TKO. I see this fight going the same way except, Hendo will make it to the third round. The only way I can see Hendo winning is holding Silva down for a decision. There is a small chance that Hendo’s big right hand catches Silva, but not likely.

With that said, I never count Hendo out. He’s like a mini Couture. Tough as nails and a very intelligent fighter.

Silva TKO 3rd round.
Bill C.- February 28, 2008 at 4:42 am
This is a really difficult one to predict. I think this is one of the more evenly-matched Middleweight title fights in a very long time (if not ever).

But when it comes down to it, Henderson has always been up there for me as one of my favorite fighters (along with Couture). I'm calling it for Hendo, TKO in the 3rd.
Souljaman- February 28, 2008 at 3:42 am
Tough call.. I hope its an upset.. sick of seeing silva beating everybody up!!!
Ben- February 28, 2008 at 2:29 am
Silva takes it. Hendo was at 185 then moved up to 205 to fight Wandy so I dont think theres is too much of a size dif.
Jonathan- February 28, 2008 at 2:03 am
mmacoach Says:

February 28th, 2008 at 1:01 pm
Have you ever noticed also, that if you analyze the demeanor from the instant they walk in the cage… not from the walk TO the cage… INTO the cage… that you can usually tell who is more confident? I honestly think this fight will be decided the instant they stare across the cage at each other.

LOL.... WOW what a great way to predict a fight!!! You sir, are a GENIUS!!!
birdie705- February 28, 2008 at 12:49 am
i wouldnt minda seeing silva knock out hollyhendo, which will lead to his domination in the 185 pound division...on that note GSP puts some beef on that wide frame and trains to fight for silvas belt after he beats serra and regains his own belt back
WalksintheDarkness- February 27, 2008 at 11:07 pm
And as for Cheick Kongo, I hope Heath Herring remembers to wear his cup! A couple of decent knees to the groin is enough to put anyone off their game! (Ask Joe Son!) I hope Herring whoops his cheating ass...
WalksintheDarkness- February 27, 2008 at 11:04 pm
Mr Knee meet Mr Face round one, referee stoppage. Henderson won't get knocked out but he'll wish he had been!

I see Silva wanting to finish it quickly because rolling around on the floor with a powerful wrestler is a recipe for gassing out very quickly. Fresh and snappy with lots of strikes and then at some point a Thai clinch and lots and lots of knees...
Boneman- February 27, 2008 at 10:16 pm
Silva by strikes in round #2 (1:32)
Can you say Knees, Knees and more Knees...!
Poops- February 27, 2008 at 6:58 pm
Aryan- February 27, 2008 at 6:54 pm
I'd dump a truck load of money on Cheick Kongo's line if I could. Last time he fought I quadrupled a grand
slapjaw ackrite- February 27, 2008 at 6:31 pm
hendo, tko third
charles- February 27, 2008 at 6:18 pm
hendo, 3:37 Round 4, G&P TKO
mmacoach- February 27, 2008 at 6:13 pm
I'm not at all impressed with Silva's ground game. He only was able to beat Lutter cuz he (Lutter) was dispirited and weak from trying (unsuccessfully) to cut so much weight. We're forgetting how Hendo used to fight at 205 and now he's fighting at 185. Silva's never seen a wrestler this good AND strong before. Finally, has anyone seen Silva in Pride? He really didn't look that fantastic. I'm not taking anything away from him now (he looks awesome now), but I'm not sure if he looks so good now because he has had tailor-made fights or because of his progression as a fighter. I say Hendo TKOs Silva via GnP in the 2nd.
mmacoach- February 27, 2008 at 6:01 pm
Have you ever noticed also, that if you analyze the demeanor from the instant they walk in the cage... not from the walk TO the cage... INTO the cage... that you can usually tell who is more confident? I honestly think this fight will be decided the instant they stare across the cage at each other.
mmacoach- February 27, 2008 at 5:54 pm
I hear ya Irish. My issue is, that when a fighter is training for a fight, there is a concentration on certain aspects. Anderson probably only trained submission for that fight. Lutter was smart to g & p... Anderson is himself a black belt in jits, so he most likely didn't train too much g & p at all in that camp, almost cost him. However, Anderson knows full well that if he goes to the ground with Hendo, there will be some serious leather and elbows flying at him. I believe he is ATTEMPTING, and I stress ATTEMPTING to prepare for that. The problem is, you can't really prepare for a 100% attack from a seasoned opponent. My guess is that Anderson will try to keep this standing at all costs, but Hendo is going to be fully prepared for that. My friend Joe Sark is Hendo's stand-up coach, and he is going to be on a full muay thai rampage for this camp. Confidence is a factor too, Anderson is on a confidence high and Hendo just suffered a close loss... Could very well play a part.
demonianray- February 27, 2008 at 5:50 pm
I totally agree with Cage Potato and i dont think the Lutter fight is a good example about how weak Silva can be on the ground, cause he had a knee surgery recently before that fight so he wasnt 100%, I'm sure he'll have decent takedown defense, but I also think that the fight will go to a point where Silva will be in danger, I dont know why i have that hunch, but i have the confidence that Silva will win in the end.
Old, Bald and Irish- February 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm
All hail the wisdom of the Great Potato!

That's a pretty good assesment. I take the view of not how Henderson can win, but how Silva can lose.

I keep going back to the Silva vs Lutter match from UFC 67. This was only a year ago. Lutter has some very good ground skills, like Henderson, and is very comfortable on the mat. Silva did NOT want to engage him on the ground. During the end of the first round, Lutter began to G&P Silva and "The Spider" came dangerously close to losing the match. The rest of the match, Silva kept his distance and tried to keep the fight on it's feet.

Long story short, IMO, Silva is most vulnerable on the ground. If it turns into a striking match, God help Henderson. If Henderson can get Silva to the floor, that's his only chance for victory.

By the way, I don't take anything away from Silva's ground skills. He's great, but on his feet, he's close to unstoppable.

And, yes, Mr. Knee will be meeting Mr. Face.

Either way, this is gonna be a great match.
G.I.Jose- February 27, 2008 at 5:27 pm
my hopes are with hendo, god i hope he wins, cuz if he doesn't the middleweight division is gonna be the same for the next 2 years.
('cuz even if Wanderlei Silva drops down, he ain't going to take hendo or silva)

so fight fans keep your fingers crossed for a good fight, with hendo's hand raised.

otherwise, we're all doomed!