#5 Benson Henderson’s (21-5-0) welterweight debut will be put to the test tonight at UFC Fight Night Broomfield against a young, hungry opponent.
Brandon Thatch (11-1-0) has been a described as aggressive, and a finisher by Henderson’s own coaches. It’s a dangerous fight for the former lightweight champ in more ways than one.
Meanwhile, it’s a big opportunity for Thatch to leapfrog into the welterweight rankings.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts on the main card matchups:
RAY “THE TAZMEXICAN” BORG (7-1-0) VS CHRIS “THE GREEK ASASSIN” KELADES (8-1-0)
Wiseman: Give Kelades props for making weight on his second attempt, but he had to lose twenty (20) pounds in five days. Come on! Regardless of how well-rounded Kelades may be, having to walk out to the scale fresh from the sauna in your sweat gear only speaks dehydration and exhaustion to me. He is going against Borg who had a full camp and an easier weight cut, so expect a quick takedown transitioning into a submission. Kelades won’t have the gas to stuff much and Borg is a beast on the mat.
Wiseman Prediction: Ray Borg via submission.
MICHAEL “TRACTOR” PRAZERES (18-1-0) VS KEVIN “THE MOTOWN PHENOM” (9-1-0)
Wiseman: Prazeres has double the experience, but Lee is the 7th youngest fighter in the UFC. I see this fight going the distance. Lee is a boxer with a good wrestling background. Prazeres has more power, but prefers to use his Jiu-Jitsu. Both are strong off their back, but the Tractor will use his short, stacked frame to really weigh down on Lee when on the mat. It could go either way, but do to experience and power I have Prazeres being able to enforce his game plan.
Wiseman Prediction: Kevin “Tractor” Prazeres via unanimous decision.
NEIL MAGNY (13-4-0) VS KIICHI KUNIMOTO (18-5-2, 1NC)
Wiseman: The power advantage clearly goes to Magny. His long reach really helps him to do damage from a distance while forcing his opponents to struggle with figuring out how to do damage while outside the pocket. Kunimoto will use his power kicks to cut down on the reach advantage, but Magny has more strengths. His wrestling, power, and ability to game plan will really cause Kunimoto to struggle. Kunimoto will have the edge if things go to the mat, but Kunimoto doesn’t have the best takedowns. Magny will want to keep things standing to get the win.
Wiseman Prediction: Neil Magny via unanimous decision.
DAN KELLY (8-0-0) VS PATRICK WALSH (5-2-0)
Wiseman: Lots could be said regarding the fact that Walsh came in at 6.5 pounds over the weight limit. That’s wild! Who knows the reason, but ultimately Kelly was angered by this, as anyone would be. Regardless of the extra weight that Walsh has on his frame, Kelly is a beast. His Judo will allow him to abolish Walsh when in the clinch to transition into a submission. Walsh has knockout power, but how many fighters have said that the mental game is part of the battle. Mentally, Walsh knew he was overweight at the weigh-ins and his confidence went downhill from there. Kelly is the more well-rounded fighter, but also going into this fight with extra confidence and a little chip on his shoulder to help really end this fight.
Wiseman Prediction: Dan Kelly via submission.
#13 MAX “BLESSED” HOLLOWAY (11-3-0) VS COLE “MAGRINHO” MILLER (21-8-0)
Wiseman: Holloway is the more active fighter coming off four finishes in 2014, three via TKO and one via submission. Miller is coming off a win, but in his last nine fights he has had five losses. Miller has heart and can fight with anyone, but he is known more for his dangerous ground game. Holloway has power, durable, has a ground game, and just in the zone right now. This fight has FOTN all over it.
Wiseman Prediction: Max “Blessed” Holloway via TKO.
BENSON “SMOOTH” HENDERSON (21-5-0) VS BRANDON THATCH (11-1-0)
Wiseman: This is the debut of Henderson at welterweight, but it’s against the fighter who is coming with a load of heat behind him. Both of these fighters are very well-rounded, but Thatch is more aggressive. The question for me is, will Thatch gas-out? Thatch, since entering the UFC hasn’t gone past the one round and this is a five rounder which we know Henderson is able to do easily. Henderson has been talking about the difficulty of cutting weight recently, so he will have more energy for this match. He is coming off two losses, the most recent being a decision which he didn’t agree with.
This is a heated Henderson who wants to prove something. Thatch hasn’t gone against the level of competition that Henderson has, but Henderson will need to force Thatch backwards. Thatch will come out strong and swinging, but Henderson will need to come out more aggressive than we have ever seen him to get the win. If Henderson can weather the storm in the first round, I see Henderson being able to push the pace and wear down Thatch. Cerrone gets stronger the longer the fight goes and Henderson is the same. A true test for both fighters.
Wiseman Prediction: Benson Henderson via unanimous decision.