UFC Fight Night 68 Preview: Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch
At age 44, UFC legend Dan Henderson is nearing the end of his Hall-of-Fame career. On Saturday night, Hendo returns to the Octagon in what could be his swan song performance against Tim Boetsch in the main event of UFC Fight Night 68 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Last Pit Stop
Henderson is one of MMA’s most decorated fighters and is the only fighter to become concurrent world champion in two weight classes in a major MMA promotion. Henderson was the PRIDE welterweight champion when he knocked out Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE 33 in 2007 to capture the PRIDE Middleweight title. Henderson was also the last Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion on record and the UFC 17 Middleweight Tournament winner. But the last of those accomplishments came in 2011 and with each passing year, Henderson has lost bounce in his step.
Henderson has lost five of his last six fights and has been stopped in the last three. He was submitted by Daniel Cormier at UFC 173 last May in what proved to be his last fight as a light heavyweight. Henderson tried to rekindle his glorious past by moving down to middleweight in his most recent bout. Instead he was knocked out by Gegard Mousasi in the first round of their bout at UFC on Fox 14 last January 24, 2015. And while Henderson still believes that he is still good for a couple more fights, a loss on Saturday could mean the last pit stop in a career that began in 1997.
The Struggling Barbarian
Although not as be-medalled as Hendo, Tim Boetsch is one of the UFC’s veteran middleweights. The #13 ranked “Barbarian” is also in a slump as of late. Boetsch has won just twice in his last six bouts and has been stopped in three of his last four losses. But Boetsch’s last two wins have been so impressive that it’s impossible to count him out in this fight. The 34-year old Maine native beat C.B. Dollaway by split decision at UFC 166 and then knocked out Brad Tavares at UFC Fight Night 47 last August 2014.
Not many of us remember that before this current skid, Boetsch won four UFC fights in a row from 2011-2012, including back to back wins over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard in 2012. That unlikely run at the middleweight class vaulted Boetsch to the top of the standings and nearly got him a title shot. But like Henderson, Boetsch is no longer the vicious Barbarian of the past. At age 34, he is also at a career crossroads.
Who Wins this?
Henderson has drawn a lot of flak for continuing to fight way past his prime. Most are saying he will end up like Chuck Liddell and that like the Iceman, he is waiting for the pink slip from Dana White. But Henderson may still have one last fight left in him. Boetsch is tailor-made for Hendo because he doesn’t back up from a fight and loves to fight toe-to-toe. That style is perfect for one more chance to land the H-Bomb, the punch that’s defined Henderson’s career. A highlight reel KO would be the perfect way to end the Dan Henderson story and we may just get that with these two bangers going at it on Saturday night.
Both are big sluggers but definitely, Hendo is the heavier hitter. However, the odds are on the side of Boetsch who is a slight -185 favorite and Henderson the slim underdog at +150 mostly because of Hendo’s recent performances. If the Barbarian can avoid the H-bomb and land his power shots, he will wear down the older man. This fight doesn’t have much significance in the rankings but could possibly end one or two careers.
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