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updated: 7/27/2011 3:59 PM

MMA showdown features legendary fighters

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  • Mixed martial arts legends Fedor Emelianenko, left, and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson will battle for the first time on Saturday night at the Sears Centre.

      Mixed martial arts legends Fedor Emelianenko, left, and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson will battle for the first time on Saturday night at the Sears Centre.
    Submitted photo

 
By Jayna Johns
jjohns@dailyherald.com

Two of MMA's most legendary fighters are set to battle in what could be one of the biggest fights in the sport's history.

Current Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson and former heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko headline the Saturday night superfight, presented by Strikeforce and M-1 Global at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

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"Pound for pound, of all time, these two are ranked in the top 10," said Scott Coker, founder and CEO of Strikeforce.

The star-studded card for the night will also feature women's bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen and top contender Miesha Tate, among others.

This will be the first time Henderson and Fedor have faced each other, a match that MMA fans have anticipated for years.

Russian-born Fedor is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. However, he only has three total losses out of his 35 career fights (31 wins and one no-contest).

Henderson said Fedor may have been "cocky" coming into his last two fights, as well as a little out of shape. Regardless, he knows this match will be a challenge.

"No matter if he's in shape or out of shape, he's still dangerous," Henderson said. "Anyone with their back against the wall (after two losses) is going to be more dangerous."

Henderson has had an up-and-down career, but has been on an upswing recently after winning five of his last six matches, including two knockouts and one technical knockout.

Fedor said a win against Henderson would be "very important" to him. "For me, what's most important is to be a master in the sport and to (be) at the top of my game."

Despite Henderson's recent success, Fedor is considered the favorite, aided by his size advantage. The 205-pound Henderson, who will likely go into the fight 15 pounds lighter than Fedor, doesn't consider his weight a disadvantage, however. He considers his speed and quickness as reasons why Fedor should fear him.

"I don't know if he fears me at all…," Henderson said. "I'm not afraid of him, and I'm pretty sure he's not afraid of me."

Coker of Strikeforce said the group is excited to be back in Chicago.

"We packed the house last time, so we're expecting another great show."

This highly anticipated event will feature plenty of action and hard hits. Add in the mix of national pride, and the night could be a dramatic one.

"With Fedor, there's a big Russian community (in Chicago) that he attracts," said Coker. "It'll be the USA flags and the Soviet flags … it's going to be interesting."

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