The UFC has formally announced that the headline fight for the November 9th UFC Fight Night 32 event will be a Lightheavyweight clash between Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort. The match had been talked about previously, but Belfort was heard and seen all over the place looking for a fight with Chael Sonnen. With rival Bellator heading into a PPV event with a main event of UFC retreads Tito Ortiz and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson that same week, it will be interesting to compare the two main events.
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Bellator has been criticized for putting on the Ortiz-’Rampage’ match, as critics harp on the fact that both fighters are well past their prime. The average age of the Henderson-Belfort match is higher, however, so why is the UFC not open to the same criticism?
Both Belfort and Henderson are at this point, long term UFC employees and they are owed fights. Both make good money, which demands they be at the top of UFC cards. Henderson has lost two in a row and is showing the inevitable drop off of being 40 something, but he still has name recognition as a fighter and can still be dangerous in a fight to most anyone. Belfort is still performing at a high level as he enters his late 30′s and a win over Henderson could fuel a final title run for Belfort. As a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion with a Heavyweight Tournament win in the UFC, a run at the Middleweight belt would be historic for Belfort.
The Jackson-Ortiz match has none of that. All we have is talk of a rejuvenatation, but recent ring performances indicate both men are past their prime. Furthermore, neither man has any history with the company at all, so the hype and highlight packages will include the two old men talking trash like it was 10 years ago and that is it.
And the true measure of the UFC’s superiority as a product over misguided Bellator is the following: both matches can be criticized as a showdown of geriatrics on paper. At least the UFC offers it for free on the Fight Night series and doesn’t ask you to plunk down $50 bucks. What will Bellator charge?
Look for a line on Henderson-Belfort to pop up at the nooks this week, and look for Belfort to open the favorite.