Thursday, January 15, 2009
by Mike Sloan
Headlining the UFC 93 card in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday is one heck of a matchup between two former world champions. Dan Henderson, the former Pride champion at 205 and 183 pounds, will take on former UFC middleweight king Rich Franklin. A real fight in every way, MMA experts seem to be torn between Franklin’s vaunted striking prowess and Henderson’s trademark dirty boxing and vicious wrestling. With the winner penciled in to coach alongside Michael Bisping on the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Sherdog.com caught up with plenty of professional fighters and trainers for their predictions on Henderson vs. Franklin.
Ricardo Liborio: Franklin will pull this one by decision.
Randy Couture: Henderson should win, but that’s a tough fight!
Rick Roufus: No knockout. It’s a hard fight. Could go either way, submission or TKO.
Jaime Fletcher: I think this is a good matchup. Hendo’s wrestling is sick and he’s got iron in his chin and fists. However, I think Franklin is a bit more well versed all around. Look for Hendo to try and dominate with his Greco ground control and turn it into a brawl standing and for Franklin to get the better of the standing exchanges and scrambles. Rich by some type of finish in the third round. I love both of these guys, though!
Marvin Eastman: Ground-and-pound (by) Dan Henderson in the third round.
Matt Lindland: Dan. Did you even need to ask? If it wasn’t for that fight, I doubt I would even watch this one.
Guy Mezger: I am going to take Hendo just because it’s tough to bet against him.
Eddy Millis: Henderson by KO.
Shannon Gugerty: I got Dan Hendo by decision.
Nathan Diaz: Henderson. He’s better.
Kevin Burns: Henderson wins a decision. It will be a tough fight, though, and great to watch!
Travis Wiuff: Tough fight to predict. Both great fighters. I will take Henderson because of his ability to control the fight with his wrestling in a very close decision.
Urijah Faber: I think Henderson will win via TKO in the second.
James Fanshier: I love Franklin. He has been one of my favorites since he started fighting in the UFC. However, Henderson’s strengths should neutralize Rich’s. Henderson (via) TKO in the third from the clinch.
Gabe Ruediger: I’ve got to go with Dan either by decision or TKO. Franklin is a great fighter and this is a great matchup.
Travis Lutter: I think Dan will win the first round and then start kickboxing and end up losing on decision in a close fight.
Nick Thompson: I think Rich takes it because he is unbelievably good and Dan won’t be able to keep him down. That being said, I got all three wrong (for UFC 92), so what do I know?
Luigi Fioravanti: Hendo by decision.
Zac George: Dan and Rich are equally skilled, but I think Dan’s aggressive boxing and ground-and-pound lay the foundation for the win.
Cyrille Diabate: I've been training with Dan for this fight and I think he's come up with the perfect plan and skills to beat Rich. Dan's power and wrestling will be too much for Rich. Dan by TKO in the second.
Jamie Varner: I give the edge to Dan even though Rich is bigger. Dan has heavy hands and is a great wrestler. I see him taking Rich down and controlling the fight.
Stephane Vigneault: I think Dan Henderson is going to win that fight by unanimous decision (after) three rounds because of his aggressiveness and superior wrestling.
Jonathan Goulet: I really hope that Dan Henderson will win that fight and I think he will win in the second round by KO.
James Zikic: I predict that Franklin will overcome the strength and wrestling of Henderson with intelligence, skill and technique in a similar way to how he overcame the superior wrestler in Hamill.
Pros who picked Henderson: 18
Pros who picked Franklin: 5
Pros who couldn’t decide: 1