I honestly see this fight being very similar to Coenen’s last outing against Liz Carmouche. As much as the former Marine came out of left field and laid a beating on the champ for two of the first three rounds, the Dutch veteran kept her cool and used her submission game to get the win in the fourth.
Tate is a better wrestler than Carmouche who is capable of putting Coenen on her heels and grinding out the fight on the ground. But just as in her last fight, Coenen has a huge edge in experience and the composure to stay patient if Tate puts the pressure on.
Neither has great hands, but Coenen probably gets a slight edge and if she can keep the fight standing, she’ll pick Tate apart. On the ground it’s a toss-up. If Tate can stay tight and be fairly active, she could walk out the new champion, but Coenen will be looking for submissions the whole time. All she needs is a small window of opportunity, just like her last two outings.
Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) vs. Dan Henderson (27-8)
This is a battle between two legends that should prove to be entertaining.
Emelianenko needs this win. His invincible aura has been shattered over the last 13 months and a third straight loss will certainly damage the way he’s remembered in the MMA history books. We haven’t seen many positives out of Emelianenko in his last two outings, which makes it hard to predict what we’ll get from him here.
Without any challengers in the light heavyweight division, this is the only bout that was out there for Henderson. It doesn’t make a ton of sense for him, other than adding another marquee name to his resume, but that’s enough for a Strikeforce event at this point.
This fight hinges on Fedor and what frame of mind he’s in when the cage door closes. On paper, he’s got more ways to win this fight and his size, strength, speed advantage should give him the edge over Henderson, but it’s so hard to gauge his mental state right now. He always looks so emotionless that you can’t tell if he’s excited, motivated, or indifferent, and that is the danger here.
You know Henderson is coming ready to roll and wing overhand rights, but if he doesn’t connect and Fedor has his head on straight, he could be in trouble.