Aug. 31 in Milwaukee, UFC 164 takes place and brings back some interesting matchups from yesteryear. The main event showcases a rematch from 2010 between Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis. In the co-main event, Frank Mir and Josh Barnett compete to see who moves up the chain at heavyweight. Both Barnett and Mir are former UFC champions from the last decade, but are just as relevant now as they were 10 years ago in the league.
Here’s a look at how these two fights will go down:
In the main event, Pettis and Henderson can be simplified to if the fight is standing, it’s in the favor of Pettis, or on the ground, it’s in Henderson’s advantage. Pettis won’t be looking for take downs, he’ll be aiming to use his colorful kicks and punches to land a knockout. I think the unusual and imaginative attacks of Pettis are definitely something that can pose a problem in this fight. He’s come out in the past with kicks off the kick, cartwheel kicks and has a whole bunch more tricks in his bag, including a 540-degree kick which is thrilling to even think about. But as creative as Pettis is, it will be tough to put away Henderson.
Henderson is a very durable lightweight and is able to channel some powerful strength to continue at a frantic pace, even as the fight goes into deep waters. What Henderson will be able to do is avoid the big KO strikes, and get some of his own shots in on the feet, and then get take downs, which for Henderson means he will be able to strike on the ground, and continue to earn points on the scorecards. But just like Henderson’s fights with Frankie Edgar and Gilbert Melendez, this one will be close. Henderson by decision.
In the co-main event, Barnett and Mir is a duel between two expert grapplers and very experienced strikers. This could go either way on the feet, as well as on the ground. Striking-wise, Barnett can definitely take a shot and deliver one. Even though Barnett clearly was on the losing side of his fight with Daniel Cormier, he forced Cormier into some tough terrain in that fight. Barnett has never been afraid to stand with fighters, going back all the way to last decade when he took on Pedro Rizzo and stood with the feared kickboxer at the time. Mir has constantly developed his kickboxing and shows some moments of brilliance in dropping Cheick Kongo, hammering Roy Nelson with knees from the clinch and knocking out Mirko Filipovic with one knee strike.
On the ground, both fighters are at a real high level of grappling, but I’d lean slightly towards Mir just because he moved up many notches in my estimation after pulling off his unbelievable kimura against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in their rematch. I think this is very evenly-matched fight, but the x-factor might be the game-planning skills of team Jackson, which Mir belongs to. Greg Jackson is a master of putting together plans of action which work. Decision for Mir.