Hoffman Estates, Ill. — It's time.
After months of waiting, the superfight fans have been waiting for is finally here as former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko battles Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Dan Henderson in a special heavyweight attraction as Strikeforce and M-1 Global present "Fedor vs. Henderson." Here are three burning questions for tonight's show, which emanates from Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Which fighter's weight change is more significant? Emelianenko's loss or Henderson's gain?
It was funny. At the weigh-in, as the commission member slid the scale all the way down to the right, the anticipation of the crowd was actually growing. Would Henderson miss weight in the wrong direction? Well, he didn't, and actually came in a pound heavier than he had to, tipping the scale at 207 pounds. Emelianenko, by far the most popular fighter at the weigh-in, surprised many by weighing in for this bout at 223 pounds. There was no doubt Emelianenko looked smaller than usual throughout the week and that was confirmed when his weight was announced Friday. So which weight means more? I have to think Emelianenko's does just from the fact that Henderson probably ate a little more and drank a lot of water to make his limit, which he'll probably shed off here in the hours before the fight if he hasn't already. His 207 isn't true. Emelianenko's 223 shows a new dedicated philosophy for the Russian. Who knows if it's because he dieted better or what, but it's a great sign, as he weighed in at 230 for his prior bout with Antonio Silva. This could very well speak to some subtle changes Emelianenko has made in his preparations for this fight, preparations that could very well pay off in the win column tonight.
Absolutely she can. Will she? I'm not quite sold on that yet. Tate has the wrestling skills to beat Coenen. After seeing what Carmouche did in March, I have no doubt Tate can do that, and probably do it better considering she has much more experience than Carmouche. Tate's strength is wrestling and what I love about this fight is you have both fighters coming out of excellent camps. Tate is training with some of the best fighters in the world at her size at Team Alpha Male and Coenen is the "Golden Girl of Golden Glory." You know both these fighters are getting top-notch training and will be prepared. I think this fight is going to play out exactly like the Carmouche fight did. Tate's going to get some takedowns, fight off some submission attempts early and then fall into a groove. I'm really still up in the air whether Coenen will get her late or if Tate can avoid the traps Coenen sets off her back. I see this one going into the fifth round and it will be there that Coenen either submits Tate or Tate is able to find her way to a decision win. Should be a good one.
What remaining bout on the card offers the most intrigue?
To me, it's probably Paul Daley against Tyron Woodley. I like the Tim Kennedy/Robbie Lawler bout a lot, but Daley and Woodley present such a contrast in styles and it's such a big step for Woodley in his career. Can Woodley get Daley to the ground? Will Daley be able to land the knockout blow before Woodley does so? Very interesting bout that has some implications on the future of the welterweight division. While it has intrigue going in, if it turns into another edition of Daley/Josh Koscheck, well, it won't be so good.