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Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson Betting Preview at Bodog
By Richard Gardner
Arguably the most popular and best MMA fighter who fights outside of the UFC faces what could be the final bout of his career on Saturday night at Sears Centre outside of Chicago when MMA legend Dan Henderson in a highly anticipated main event bout for Strikeforce/M-1 Global. This is the first time Emelianenko's promoter, M-1 Global, and Zuffa, which purchased Strikeforce in March and has operated the UFC since 2000, will join forces for an event.
For years, many considered the Russian Emelianenko the top heavyweight MMA fighter in the world. But the long-time Pride Fighting Championships titleholder enters off shocking back-to-back upsets. His submission loss to Fabricio Werdum in June 2010 was essentially over as soon as it began, and then Fedor was pounded for two one-sided rounds by Antonio Silva eight months later. At age 34, some are questioning whether Emelianenko is past his prime, and he did mention the “retirement” word after the loss to Silva.
Henderson expressed interest in challenging Emelianenko after the 40-year-old American captured Strikeforce's light heavyweight title against Rafael Cavalcante on March 5. That made him the second-oldest major champion in the history of the sport behind former UFC champ Randy Couture. Questions over this bout's contracted weight limit were laid to rest when Henderson (27-8), who campaigned the majority of his career at 185 and 205 pounds, said he would fight against Fedor, who ranked as MMA's top heavyweight from 2003 through 2010, at any weight -- but eventually the camps did agree to a 220-pound limit. As it was, Henderson was rather small for a light heavyweight. Thus he is used to fighting larger men in a career that stretches back to the early to ufc and Pride days. Because this is being fought at a catchweight of 220, Henderson’s light heavyweight title isn’t at stake.
After those consecutive losses, Emelianenko (31-3) was working to slim down anyhow. Still, Fedor will have the size advantage in the cage. However, he has usually fought between 230-235 pounds, so this would be the lightest weight he has fought at since winning the Pride heavyweight title in 2003. Fedor is also six years younger than Henderson, which can’t hurt.
"As far as his two losses, it might diminish it a little bit, but it probably re-motivated him to where he's going to come in shape and that's the Fedor I want to fight," Henderson said.
“The Last Emperor” Emelianenko opened as the -250 betting favorite at Bodog but is currently at -225 because he has taken more than 65 percent of the action. Henderson opened at +190 and is now at +185. Fedor is 4-2 as a betting favorite at Bodog but dropped those past two bouts as the favorite. Henderson is 0-2 as a betting underdog, but he hasn’t been one since UFC 82 in 2008 when he was beaten by Anderson Silva. A little more than 55 percent of parlays are active for Saturday’s fight.
The other main fight for Saturday’s card, which will air on Showtime and not pay-per-view, is between the ladies when Marloes Coenen (19-4) takes on Miesha Tate (11-2) for the bodog sportsbook women’s welterweight championship. Coenen and Tate view the match-up as a high-profile chance to convince their bosses to stick with women’s MMA, which hasn’t gained much traction as of yet. These two were supposed to fight in March, but Tate pulled out two weeks before the bout with an injured knee ligament. Coenen then struggled against last-minute replacement Liz Carmouche before defeating her in the fourth round.
Coenen opened as the -130 favorite but has taken a slight minority of the action and is down to -120. Tate moved from even money to -110; it’s the first time she has been an underdog.