Dan Henderson was forced to step out of the UFC 152 title fight against Jon Jones because he suffered a partial MCL tear, which needed time for recovery. Due to the injury, Chael Sonnen was called in to replace Henderson with an 8-day notice. Sonnen was ready to step in, but Jones declined the bout. Jones says his team felt he would need more time to adjust his game plan. UFC President Dana White canceled the entire event, the first event ever to be canceled in the history of its company. UFC 152 would simply be wiped off the face of the planet as if it never existed and we move on to UFC 153. The UFC 153 will is set to headline a UFC light heavyweight championship fight between current champ Jon Jones and Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort. Click here for more on the UFC 153 event in Toronto
No bones about it: The top fight of the night when UFC 151 takes place on Sept. 1 is the battle between reigning UFC light heavyweight Jon “Bones” Jones against Dan Henderson, who’s twice captured a title in Japan’s revered PRIDE Fighting Championship. East vs. West, sort of, since both fighters are actually from America.
Jones is a former state champion wrestler from Endicott, New York, fighting these days out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Oh, and he’s the youngest UFC champion in history, now just 25 with a record in July 2012 of 16-1. So far, he’s made dust of three tough opponents in defending his title. He’ll try to make that four on Sept. 1.
Jones’ punishing elbows have gathered an infamous reputation: In his fourth UFC fight, his first and only loss thus far, Jones was disqualified in December 2009 for the rain of downward elbows he delivered to Matt Hamill. So his only loss was for elbowing someone wrong. That should at least register as a draw, since a loss like that doesn’t exactly offer consolation to Jones’ future opponents.
Henderson has faced tough opponents before. Now at 41, with a record of 29-8, he’s by far the more experienced of the two. Hailing from and still training in California, Henderson has never been knocked out in 15 years of mixed-martial arts fighting. Besides the cast-iron chin, he’s worn some coveted belts himself, including holding both the welterweight and middleweight belts for the most recent PRIDE Fighting Championships. He’s also faced with impressive results more champs than his opponent, from Anderson Silva and Renzo Gracie to Fedor Emelianenko and Rich Franklin.
Announcing the Hendo vs. Bones fight in May, UFC president and founder Dana White called it one of the biggest fights of the year, in which “Dan Henderson, one of the most accomplished fighters in MMA history, will attempt to dethrone (the) reigning UFC world light heavyweight champion.”
This clash of titans is just one of several lined up for UFC 151. Two welterweight former collegiate wrestling champions, each currently ranked in the UFC’s top 10, will butt heads: Pennsylvania-based Jay Hiero (23-5), fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada vs. Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (27-6), who’s from Omaha, Nebraska but fighting out of Lake Forest, California.
Other fights on Sept. 1 promise to offer just as many thrills as the top-billed tangles between the big boys. At bantamweight, striker Takeya Mizugaki of Japan (15-7-2) lines up incongruously against Californian Jeff “Hellbound” Hougland of California (10-5), considered a versatile MMA fighter in just his third UFC fight.
The night is loaded with fights featuring well-rounded and experienced mixed-martial artists on both sides of the octagon: scrappy featherweight Eddie Yagin (16-5-1) and Russian slugger and take-down specialist Dennis Siver (20-8), as well as lightweights Michael “The Menace” Johnson of St. Louis (11-6), who’s known for his striking and wrestling ability, against California favorite Danny “Last Call” Castillo (14-4). The most recent fight added to the ticket is a featherweight flurry of fists between Brazilian John “Hands of Stone” Lineker (19-6) and Japanese striker Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-5-6).
Looks like the champ, Mr. Jones, will be one of the least experienced fighters on the card (only Hougland has fought less fights). What it will amount to is a final showcase of the blazing, hot fire of Jones and the old, steady heat of Henderson. As any fight fan knows: Both attributes can be dangerous.
UFC 151 takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be broadcast live on pay-per-view on Sept 1st at 10 p.m. ET.
Author Bio: Rick Friedman is a part-time sports blogger and is definitely a fan of UFC fights. He recommends FansEdge for the latest MMA t-shirts for many of today’s top MMA stars.