It’s time to settle the score.
Henderson is smarting catching a highlight reel kick from Belfort and losing via KO for the first time in his career. Since then, he’s bounced back with a knockout of his own over Tim Boestch.
Belfort is smarting from a TKO loss of his own to middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Who will reign supreme in the rubber match?
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MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts on the main card.
#12 FABIO MALDONADO (22-8-0) VS #14 COREY “BEASTIN 25/8” ANDERSON (7-1-0)
Wiseman: This should be Maldonado’s fight, but considering how many fights he has, it’s surprising that I don’t see this being an easy win. Maldonado does have a steel chin versus Anderson who does not, but Anderson will be going for a takedown. I see him getting rocked, then shooting for a takedown just to bring things to an area he is more comfortable. Anderson is still really new to the sport in general, so he is still two-dimensional. Maldonado does have a ground game, and significantly the more powerful striker. This will either be an early night with Maldonado knocking out Anderson or it will go the distance with Maldonado simply throwing more of the damaging strikes.
Wiseman Prediction: Fabio Maldonado via unanimous decision.
GILBERT “DURINHO” BURNS (10-0-0) VS RASHID “GORETZ” MAGOMEDOV (18-1-0)
Wiseman: Magomedov is all about using his striking and putting pressure on his opponents. Burns doesn’t do well with pressure, but will shoot for a takedown when losing, like we saw against Charles Oliveira. Once on top, it’s pretty much game over. Especially since Magomedov has zero ground game, at least not compared to Burns. A typical grappler vs striker match, but I see Burns using his ground game to force Magomedov into territory he isn’t comfortable with.
Wiseman Prediction: Gilbert “Durinho” Burns via submission.
ALEX “COWBOY” OLIVIEIRA (12-2-1, 1NC) VS PIOTR HALLMAN (15-4-0)
Wiseman: While Hallman is the more versatile fighter, he has shown that he doesn’t do that well against strikers. Enter Oliveira, with dynamite power and ground knowledge. Hallman is coming off two losses, with only one win separating another two losses. Hallman just hasn’t found his grove, especially against heavy hitters. Another problem for Hallman is the fact that Oliveira has takedown defence. Even if Hallman is injured, a takedown won’t be his saving grace.
Wiseman Prediction: Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira via TKO
#8 THOMAS “THOMINHAS” ALMEIDA (20-0-0) VS ANTHONY “EL TORO” BIRCHAK (12-2-0)
Wiseman: A few things here. Birches will try to take Almeida down to use his ground game. Almeida has good takedown defence, and will punish Birchak for even having the nerve. Almeida has solid power and his standup is on point. He’s ranked in the top-10, so you know his technique is good too. Birchak is in for a training session.
Prediction: Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida via TKO.
#4 GLOVER TEIXEIRA (23-4-0) VS #9 PATRICK “DURKIN” CUMMINS (8-2-0)
Wiseman: This is rough because the heart, striking and power of Teixeira are incredible. The problem is the fact that Cummins is a strong wrestler. Regardless of the ground game of Teixeira, or anything else for that matter, the wrestling of Cummins makes this a tough match for anyone. Cummins can take anyone down. When down, Cummins is able to really wear people out by weighing down on them and pounding them. I may sound insane for this, but the wrestling of Cummins really makes me relive the defeat Teixeira experienced when he fought Phil Davis, another strong wrestler.
Wiseman Prediction: Patrick “Durkin” Cummins via unanimous decision.
VITOR “THE PHENOM” BELFORT (24-11-0) VS DAN “HENDO” HENDERSON (31-13-0)
Wiseman: Lets be honest; while we all love these guys, they are not going to challenge Chris Weidman for the title. Belfort looked aged in his last fight and Weidman shut him down. Henderson is someone who depends solely on his one-shot knockout power, but that doesn’t stop it from being ineffective. My point is that these guys could both win, but this fight is simply for the love of the fanbase.
Regardless, getting down to this match. They both have TKO power, but Henderson can crush anyone. Belfort’s weapon is his speed. Honestly this match could go either way. I would give it to Belfort because of his blast recently excluding Weidman, but he looked terrible against Weidman when off TRT. Henderson has always looked the same, so that is something that definitely gives him an advantage. I’m really basing my prediction on the fact that Belfort went from the best he has been to the worst post TRT, giving Henderson a huge advantage. Another advantage is the fact that Henderson is coming off a TKO finish over Tim Boestch while Belfort is coming off a crushing defeat.
Wiseman Prediction: Dan “Hendo” Henderson via TKO.