UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Thatch Preview

Benson Henderson is already a household name, who else will step up on this card?
Benson Henderson is already a household name, who else will step up on this card?

By Lance LeVan

This UFC Fight Night is being held in Broomfield, CO on Saturday, February 14.

Benson “Smooth” Henderson (21-5-0) vs. Brandon “Rukus” Thatch (11-1-0).
This is going to be a five round welterweight (170lb) fight. Just for the record, Henderson is ranked #5 in the lightweight (155b) division. He has recently moved up to welterweight and is not doing very well at 170 with a 2-fight losing streak. Thatch has been in the UFC for two whole fights. He has had some exciting fights and, on paper, he looks pretty good. But when you look deeper, you see that he really hasn’t fought any high-level competitors yet. I think this is the first time in quite a while that the Main Event has two fighters that were not ranked in the top 15. Henderson is a black belt in BJJ and Tae Kwon Do. He is also an accomplished collegiate wrestler. He is extremely fast and very elusive. Thatch is a karate/kickboxing fighter. He has shown excellent submissions and KO/TKO abilities in the past. Let’s see how he fares against a higher-level fighter, like Henderson. This is definitely going to be an exciting bout and I am very interested to see if Henderson can keep his speed/stamina up since moving up a weight class. I also want to see if Thatch can handle Benson pushing the pace for the entire match. My prediction: Henderson wins by submission in the 3rd round.

(#13) Max “Blessed” Holloway (11-3-0) vs. Cole “Magrinho” Miller (21-8-0)
This is a three round featherweight (145lb) fight. Holloway is ranked #13, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. Granted, he is on a 4-fight win-streak, but none of his wins have been against upper-level fighters. Miller has had more wins than Holloway has had total fights. Holloway is a kick boxer/BJJ fighter out of Hawaii. Miller is a black belt in BJJ and has some awesome submissions. Holloway is a fighter that likes to stand and punch. Miller likes the fight to go to the ground and work on submitting his opponents. It will be fun to watch which of them is successful. If Miller tries to stand and fight, it might be a very short night for him. If Holloway attempts to take Miller to the ground, I think Miller will make short work and will submit Holloway. From what I know about these two fighters, neither of them is going to let this go to a decision. They both are going to be looking to end this fight and not let it go the judges’ cards. This one might have a chance at “Fight of the Night” honors. My prediction: Miller wins via submission in the 3rd round.

Neil Magny (13-4-0) vs. Kiichi “Strasser” Kunimoto (18-5-2, 1NC)
This is a three round welterweight (170lb) fight. Magny is a wrestler/BJJ fighter. He is on a 5-fight win-streak, but once again, he hasn’t fought any upper-level fighters. I do commend him for tying the record for most wins in a calendar year (5). His 5-fight win-streak were all in 2014. That’s pretty impressive. Kunimoto has won 9 of his last 10 bouts. Again, none of them are high-level competitors and most of them have been in the Far East. Approximately half of his wins have come by way of submission and the same statistic goes for Magny. It seems like it will be a submission-fest for the entire three rounds. Magny’s stats seem to suggest that he likes to knock people out sometimes too. Let’s see if Kunimoto has the skill set to stand and trade with him, or at least defend himself until he can take the fight to the ground. My prediction: Kunimoto wins via split decision.