Henderson: “I was wary of his armbar attacks”

Henderson in photo by Esther Lin

Dan Henderson’s panel of trainers includes Jiu-Jitsu black belt Ricardo “Pantcho” Feliciano. And Jiu-Jitsu was a vital part of Hendo’s win over Fedor Emelianenko at this Saturday’s Strikeforce show.

After ending up on bottom, Dan deftly slid to Fedor’s back, where he cleared the way for the knockout. got in touch with Pantcho, who also sent in some of Dan Henderson’s opinions. The fight went just the way they had hoped it would.

“Fedor’s a really tough fighter, a legend of the sport. I knew he’d come out guns a-blazing; but that I would win,” said Henderson.

“I expected a really tough fight, a great challenge. I felt he was going to try to knock me out and use his aggressive ground-and-pound game, but I was prepared for all that. I had to avoid getting hit as much as possible and, even when taking his ground and pound, be wary of his armbar attacks. I knew it would be a war but that I’d beat him,” added the veteran and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion.

Black belt Ricardo Pantcho / Photo: personal archive

Pantcho gave his take on the fight, too:

“I knew Henderson was going to stand and trade and that it wouldn’t be easy. Our plan was precisely to attack with ground-and-pound from the top, but we had to be careful for Fedor’s armbars. But Hendo has great control from top positions; it’s hard to move and get up. If you mess up when under him, he capitalizes and always looks for a better position. I knew he was ready.”

Another fighter from the team to win Saturday night was Tarec Saffiedine, who overcame Scott Smith by unanimous decision.

“Tarec’s a striker, so he prefers to stand and trade. But I wasn’t surprised when I saw him going for a submission. He’s improved a lot in Jiu-Jitsu, has been training a lot of No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu and even competes in the gi here in California. He even had six matches at the last Pan, only losing in the final, by decision,” said Pantcho in closing.

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