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UFC 173: Cormier vs. Henderson
By: Mark Kern - StatFox
Published: 5/24/2014  at  2:54:00 AM
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UFC 173: Cormier vs. Henderson

Saturday, May 24 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Las Vegas, NV

Daniel Cormier (14-0) vs. Dan Henderson (30-11)

Light heavyweight bout
Line: Cormier -900, Henderson +600

Daniel Cormier looks to establish himself in the light heavyweight class as he goes up against a legend in Dan Henderson at UFC 173 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Cormier let it be known that he did not want to compete in the heavyweight class anymore, as he is a good friend of Cain Velasquez. Now he has his sights set on Jon Jones, and a win against Henderson would be a great start to earning his desired matchup with the light heavyweight champion. Cormier is coming off a dominating victory against Patrick Cummins at UFC 170 on Feb. 22, knocking him out in just 1:19. He was one of the quickest fighters in the heavyweight class, but now he is one of the strongest fighters in the light heavyweight class. Cormier is a big, explosive athlete that has the ability to dominate a fight in many different ways, and will need to use his versatility against one of the best fighters in the history of the UFC. After three straight losses, Henderson got back on the winning track with a victory against Mauricio Rua on March 23. While the 43-year-old Henderson is certainly not the fighter he once was, this is a guy that is respected by everybody in the UFC world having fought 10 current or former UFC champions in his career. As game as Henderson will be for this match, which could be his final fight ever, Cormier is the superior athlete. In the end, the heavily-favored CORMIER will be able to overcome the energy by Henderson to make some noise in the light heavyweight class with a resounding win.

Of Cormier’s 14 career victories, eight have come by knockout. He also has five decision wins and just one by submission. He is a terrific striker that uses his punches to either deliver the vicious knockout, or to wear his opponent down in the later rounds. He will have a huge advantage in this department on Saturday, landing 4.13 significant strikes per minute, compared to just 2.45 for Henderson. While they are both very close in accuracy of those strikes landed (49% for Cormier, 48% for Henderson), Cormier is a much better strike defender at 71% compared to 50% for Henderson. His quickness will play a big role in this match, as he will be able to hit Henderson and get away before his opponent is able to respond. The 35-year-old Cormier, whose 5-foot-11, 205-pound frame is the same as his opponent, has let it be known why he wants to be in this weight class, and this is a must-win if he is going to quickly emerge as a top contender in the class. However, if he comes into the fight overconfident, Henderson could have another great night in the Octagon.

Like Cormier, Henderson has won a lot of his matches by knockout and decision. He has 30 wins coming into this match, with 14 wins by both decision and knockout. His other two wins have come by way of submission. Henderson has gone up against some of the best fighters in his career, competing against the likes of Jon Jones and Anderson Silva, and beating such big names likes Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. While Henderson does not average as many takedowns (2.04 for Cormier, 1.68 for Henderson), he is much more accurate when attempting those takedowns at 55%, compared to 44% for Cormier. This is a very difficult matchup for Henderson, but there is no denying that he will be ready for this fight.

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