Saturday, November 28th, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea for UFC Fight Night 79 “Henderson vs. Masvidal” by Daniel Tom

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Benson Henderson (22-5)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 32 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Brandon Thatch (2-14-15)
  • Camp:The MMA Lab (Arizona)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: A-

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC LW Champion
+   Former WEC LW Champion
+   2x NAIA All-American Wrestler
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   6 first round finishes
+   8 Submission wins
+   Creative reactive striking
+   Excellent leg dexterity
+   Active & effective striking
+   Stays busy in clinch
+   Manages distance well
+   Variates attack looks
^   Especially w/leg kicks
+   Improved head-movement
–    Struggles w/volume & pressure
–    Open when exiting range


Jorge Masvidal (29-9)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 31 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Cezar Ferreira (7-12-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade:B+

Supplemental info:
+   Former AFC WW Champion
+   Solid Fight Experience (2003)
+   11 KO victories
+   6 first round finishes
+   KO power/heavy hands
+   Accurate shot selection
+   Solide base & balance
^   Rarely out of position
+   83% TD defense
+   Underrated submission game
+   Improved counter-wrestling
+   Good knees in close
+   Excellent get up ability
+/-Shell defense
^   Body/right hand openings
–    Lacks leg kick defense
–    Susceptible to coasting


Seoul’s main event is set to be a showcase of high-level MMA as newly minted Welterweights Jorge Masvidal and Benson Henderson do battle. With both fighters being well-rounded veterans, this technical stand-off has hardcores salivating as we’ll potentially get a peek of what top shelf MMA can look like. Originally slated to face Thiago Alves, Benson’s new opponent won’t be on short notice as Masvidal was originally booked for this card(against Kim who’s also a Southpaw).

On the feet, I strongly feel distance management will be the name of the game as Jorge will try to find his range while Ben attempts to manage it. Luckily for Henderson this is something he’s made a career off of as he’s edged out many strikers & scorecards with his stylings. Generally circling just outside of range(and usually along the black inner-octagon lines) is where Henderson calls home as he’ll explode into counter attacks and reset to this space. His main tool to manage & check range is his kicks, something I suspect Ben will lean heavily on given Jorge’s defenses.

Though renown & respected for his striking skills, one of Masvidal’s few technical flaws is his reluctancy to check kicks. This could play a big factor in this fight given the variety & effectiveness of Henderson’s leg kicks. Variating his techniques & targets, Ben will go from inside-to-outside as he attacks thighs, calfs, and even the rear leg given his opponents stance. Henderson’s left body kicks & right side-kicks could also have play with Jorge’s natural inclination for a shell defense. Ben will still have be very mindful while throwing these as Masvidal show’s the ability to catch kicks and counter(Something he could use to get an offensive angle or even behind Ben).

Though Jorge is often pressuring forward, he’s ultimately a counter fighter as he looks read and react to his opposition. Though I stated Henderson’s advantage at distance, it’s the mid-to-pocket range where Masvidal makes his money and should have the advantage here. Look for Henderson to safely navigate these waters with his classic hard slip to the right(his orthodox opposition’s left/weak side) as he comes back into play with a right body hook-left hand follow up. Though only facing one Southpaw in the UFC(Tim Means) Masvidal showed excellent “outside-foot awareness” and should not make things comfortable for Henderson.

Masvidal’s biggest threat in this fight is his counter punching abilities(especially off clinch-breaks or exiting exchanges) as that will be his best chances against Benson in particular. Henderson will sometimes(especially when throwing his left hand) put himself out of position and off balance. In doing so, this will cause him to counter balance himself as he’ll use his(sometimes wild) head-movement off strikes to reset. The problem with this is that he’ll occasionally reset right back into a dangerous range, as we saw him burned by this in his Dos Anjos fight. Henderson will most likely dictate the striking distance by playing all-the-way out, or all-the-way in.

That brings us to clinch space, which I feel is a Key Factor in who wins this fight. With Masvidal’s dangerous inside elbows & knees, expect Ben to employ his strong & savvy clinch game as he’ll use his entire body in syncronisity to operate. Using his leg dexterity to strike or assist take-downs, he favors grounding opposition from the body lock. Ben will likely have trouble(at least early) getting Masvidal down who has solid take-down defense at 83%. Not to mention Masvidal’s underrated counter-wrestling and transition game, which can really make the ground exchanges fun should Jorge keep pace.

The pace however, is where this fun road begins to split for me. Masvidal has shown to coast & conserve energy in previous bouts, and though crediting this to extreme weight cuts(something he avoids at Welterweight), he’s still shown some inconsistency overall. Benson on the other hand, has excellent conditioning and an experienced know-how on winning 5 round affairs. As a fan of Masvidal, I’m happy to see him finally get a big fight as he more than has the tools to beat the former Champion. But I ultimately see Henderson’s distance game frustrating Masvidal to be the most likely outcome. I hope this fight will visit all the terrains of MMA as this is a match up where both men can shine technically and send us off satisfied.

Official Pick: Henderson – Decision

Official Outcome: to be determined

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Dongi Yang def. Jake Collier
  • Yui Chul Nam def. Mke De La Torre
  • Tae Hyun Bang def. Leo Kuntz
  • Cortney Casey def. Seo Hee Ham
  • Yao Zhikui def. Fredy Serrano
  • Ning Guangyou def. Marco Beltran
  • Dominique Steele def. Dong Hyun Kim

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Doo Ho Choi
-Dong Hyun Kim
-Benson Henderson

Low Tier Picks:

-Mike De La Torre
-Dongi Yang
-Alberto Mina

Pieces for your parlay:

-Doo Ho Choi
-Tae Hyun Bang
-Benson Henderson

Props worth looking at:

-Choi – By KO/TKO
-Dong Hyun Kim – Inside the distance

Fights to avoid:

-Yui Chul Nam vs Mike De La Torre
-Jake Collier vs Dongi Yang
-Sexyyama vs Alberto Mina

For the complete undercard analysis & past UFC events visit and for future breakdowns & your latest in world-wide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws

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