Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields
Shields is a bit of an enigma as a fighter. You’ve got to question the skills of a guy who last lost in 2004 but finds himself still ranked only as the 7th best middleweight in the world fighting in a second-tier MMA organization. While he has impressive wins over Jason Miller, Robbie Lawler and Paul “Semtex” Daly in his last 3 fights, he has yet to face the same level of talent that Henderson, a two-time Greco Roman Wrestling Olympian, has spent trading punches with for the last decade. Shields has a halfway decent ground game, but is by no means a tap-out machine. Combine this with the fact that Henderson could probably stuff the takedown attempt of a silverback gorilla and this fight begins to tilt towards the direction of stand-up barroom brawl, hardly Shields’ cup of tea yet somewhere that Henderson feels more than comfortable.
Shields neither packs neither the punching power nor the ground game to overwhelm Henderson, and his lack of conditioning in the past makes it even less likely that he can grind out a victory over a fighter of this caliber. If he somehow manages to take Henderson down Shields is quickly going to realize the disparity in strength between the two of them is not slanted in his favor; Henderson will quickly bench-press him a couple times, smile, call him a ‘douchebag’ and then quickly bring the fight back to standup. At this point Shields will do his best Michael Bisping impression, though maybe managing to circle away from instead of towards Henderson’s power, and try to avoid the cinder-block of a right hand that is now stalking him around the octagon. At some point he will make a mistake and Henderson will relieve him of his consciousness and, most likely, some of his teeth, his pride and the contents of his bowels. Look for Shields to attempt to break Henderson’s hands with his face for much of the bout. This will be followed by a lot of bleeding, crying and, my favorite, the awkward post-match attempt of an ass-kickery suffering fighter to get their sponsor’s crappy t-shirt on without looking like a blind kid suffering from a seizure or putting their head through an arm-hole.
Henderson via Punching a hole through time in Shields’ frontal lobe
Gegard Mousasi vs. Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal
Outside of the UFC there is a dearth of high-level light-heavyweight talent. One of the few valid light-heavy contenders not available for Dana White to berate constantly is Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi is an Iranian-born ethnic-Armenian who relocated to the Netherlands at the age of four. After picking up boxing at the age of 15 he quickly became the Dutch champion within 12 months. Either he is some sort of crazed assassin or there are fewer quality Dutch fighters than Dutch people who understand how to leave a tip at a restaurant. After buzzsawing through the stalwart Dutch boxing community Mousasi decided to make a switch to kickboxing and MMA. Ten years later, despite sporting a record of 28-2-1 and not having lost in over four years, Mousasi has yet to become a household name mainly because he has yet to fight in the UFC. Still, he has amassed an amazing string of victories over some seriously dangerous talent.
Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal will try to counter Mousasi’s all-around game with his freak-like power and dominant wrestling game. Lawal’s wrestling is almost without peer in MMA today. At one time he was considered by many to be the best freestyle wrestler in the U.S., regardless of weight-class. If he is to pull out a win against Mousasi he is going to have to lean heavily on his wrestling background since, up until now, he has fought only 6 fights against competition that wouldn’t scare my high-school marching band. In his last fight against Mike Whitehead, Lawal also showed a Rampage Jackson-like tendency to leave his lead leg permanently glued to the mat inviting kick after kick from his opponent. Now no one would ever accuse Whitehead of being fast –nor even moderately slow, for that matter—and should Lawal pull this same stunt with Mousasi you can expect a much different result; think Gallagher hitting watermelons with a sledgehammer circa 1984.
Now imagine that the above watermelon is a complex joint in Lawal’s body formerly known as his right knee.
Lawal via TKO Punches
That is all. Yes, I know that there is another fight but Shinya Aoki pisses me off more than Philadelphia sports fans and Ben “lets put the ‘fun’ in ‘functionally retarded’” Roethlisberger combined. If he can get through this entire fight without complaining about a low-blow or giving up after taking one punch to the face then I might consider wasting some energy writing about him in the future. As for now I will venture this prediction/guess/ham-handed insult: Aoki will enter the ring as the more Japanese of the two fighters and will leave the octagon at some point after the fight is over, possibly less Japanese than before but definitely still androgynous.