Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson faces rising AKA prospect Adam Piccolotti at Bellator 220 on April 27. The MMA Lab standout has turned things around in the Bellator cage after a 1-3 start, coming off back-to-back wins over Roger Huerta and most recently Saad Awad at Bellator 208 in October. While Piccolotti isn’t a big name in Bellator’s lightweight division, “Smooth” believes his improvements in the cage have made this an interesting matchup.
“I think I match up pretty well.” Henderson told MMANews “He’s a huge prospect coming up under AKA. He took a couple of back-to-back losses but he’s rebounded the way he’s supposed to. This kid is a for real fighter. He’s legitimately gotten better in each and every one of his fights. He’s come along, he’s right up there and a tough kid. This is a great opportunity for him to get a walk off home run. This is his chance, good luck.”
Henderson (26-8) looks for three-straight wins for the first time since April 2013 when he faces “The Bomb.” One of the areas Henderson looks to showcase in this fight is his striking, which he says we haven’t seen at its full potential yet.
“I feel like I’m going to have a great performance. That’s all I’m ever after is having a great performance. My coaches did a great job breaking down his game. Seeing what he does. He likes this side or that side down this side. Some of the mistakes and some of the holes he makes. I’ve been trying to grow as a martial artist, always trying to grow and get better. I’m working with a newer stand-up coach Eddie Cha for the past last two years now. I really haven’t had a chance to showcase some of that stand-up stuff. So maybe this fight I’ll be able to show some of that stand-up stuff. Show all the hard work, the hours that I’ve been putting in.”
The 35-year-old may not be the only fighter in his household making waves in the near future. Henderson revealed his wife Maria could be someone we see soon in the cage and is someone we should keep an eye on.
“My wife is going to start fighting soon. So of course I’ll be helping her out and all that. Baby number three is due [this year] So maybe another six months or so after that she’ll be having her first [MMA fight] She’s been training for a little while now. I’m biased but I think she’s a lot better than she gives herself credit for. But because having three kids in three years, she hasn’t been able to train super consistently. She’s been dabbling at this for a while now. She’s going to be a household name pretty soon.”
Bellator 220 takes place April 27 at SAP Center in San Jose, California. In the main event, Rory MacDonald defends his welterweight title against Jon Fitch as part of the welterweight grand prix.