Ageless Wonders in the Big Easy (UFC Fight Night 68 Review)

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Photo Credit: UFC.com

Age is a funny thing in sports as one year an older athlete can be the savvy veteran and the next year he or she is over the hill.

It is different for every athlete of course as some can fight off aging to extend their career while others fall off much sooner.

In the end Father Time is undefeated though, and athletes simply can’t perform at the same level every year for the rest of their lives.

That battle against father time has taken a big focus in all sports lately as the average age of most of the major leagues is decreasing almost every year.

There are bigger players at younger ages and the drafts have become a way to get a great player for the very next season rather than a great player for down the road.

The same can be said for the UFC as more young fighters are beginning to make an impact in the promotion on a regular basis.

That youth revolution has not taken over completely though as many of the best fighters are still the fighters with more time in than others.

The UFC is seeing a lot of younger fighters in Paige VanZant, Michael McDonald, and Kelvin Gastelum all having success this year.

That doesn’t mean that the savvy veterans are completely out of it as the UFC still sees many fighters go far into their 30s and even into their 40s.

These fighters do have a slight advantage in the fact that they have seen everything that they can see as their careers have spanned a long time.

They also may be fought out by the time they get to this age as their careers involve a lot of fight and the more someone gets punched the softer their chin gets.

Often fighters who have never been knocked out get KO’d for the first time and begin seeing those finishes a lot more often.

The same can be said for the ground game as the more fights and the older a fighter gets the tougher it can be to grind out wins on the ground with less stamina than before.

There will be a number of fighters looking to stave off father time at UFC Fight Night 68 as the main event and co-main events will feature fighter who are all over thirty and two fighters who could be considered much older in their fighting life.

The co-main event features Ben Rothwell, 33 years old, and Matt Mitrione, 36 years old, in a battle of two heavyweights looking to make a run at the title.

The odd part of that matchup is that the younger fighter is much more experienced than the older fighter who has a lot more fighting left in him.

Rothwell began his UFC career in 2001 and has been through 43 fights and may not have a lot of time left in to make a run at the title.

Mitrione is the older of the two and is creeping towards 40 but has only fought since 2009 and has a total of 12 fights to his name.

He has not had a very long career and has time in terms of his fighting life to make a run at the title.

The difference is a strange one as the older fighter is the less experienced but for both that fight against father time is going on whether it is through their real age or their fighting age.

Both were facing off with the same end goal though as they hoped to find a boost to their careers and earn a win at a very important time in the heavyweight division with the championship only a week away.

They knew this heading in and both were in no need of taking the fight to a strange place as the two strikers were set to go toe-to-toe and swing away trying to earn a little more recognition in the heavyweight division before it’s too late.

The fight began as everyone expected with both fighters trying to find their range and unleash their big punches to earn the knockout.

It all changed part way through the first round though when Mitrione tried to take the fight to the ground in a somewhat surprising move.mma-sidebar.fw

The takedown was not successful and instead of finding himself in good position on the mat he was put into a front choke from Rothwell who sunk it in deep.

There was nowhere for Mitrione to go and the fight was over in a quick end with Rothwell showing some more skills than most had thought.

Mitrione ended a good stretch and looks to move on in the heavyweight division while competing with father time to make another run.

Rothwell on the other hand made it clear that he wants to be in the title mix and with so many years in the fight game he is looking to make a run now and continues to evolve s a better heavyweight.

The co-main event featured a different dynamic though as it featured one of the oldest fighters in the UFC against a younger opponent.

At 44 years old Dan Henderson started his fighting career when fighting started to become a legitimate career.

He had his first fight in 1997 which is a big difference from his opponent Tim Boetsch who fought his first fight almost a decade later in 2006.

Boetsch is also almost a decade younger than his opponent and heading into the fight many wondered if that was going to make a big difference.

Henderson had seen that battle with father time and has not been faring well over the past few years.

For a fighter that was known for being impossible to knockout that end has come twice in the last two years.

He is losing the battle and now back in the middleweight division he hoped to make what will likely be his last run a good one.

Boetsch was simply looking to add a big name to his wins to move into the top ten in the division against an opponent that has not been himself.

The fight between two wrestlers turned ground and pound specialists began with a quick exchange on the feet that turned bad for Boetsch almost immediately.

Henderson took a few shots only to land one big right hand than dropped Boetsch and was followed up by a big knee and a right uppercut.

The fight was over and just as Henderson seemed to be on his last legs in the UFC he had an impressive win back at middleweight.

Boetsch did not play it careful enough against Henderson allowing the former Pride champion to land his devastating right hand on a counter.

Now he looks to go back to the drawing board and will need to make a fairly long climb back up the middleweight division.

The win from Henderson was another notch in the fight against father time but with only two more fights on his UFC contract his next fights will determine how long he will have to fight for another UFC title.

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