Former Ultimate Fighter participant Joseph “Leonidas” Henle felt he could implement his game plan well against fellow middleweight up-and-comer Luke Harris in his MFC debut this past August. What he didn’t expect was how easily he was able to do so.
“I walked into the fight and knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was able to implement kicks and find range early, and once it hit the ground, I was still in control and was never threatened with everything,” said Henle.
“I had wondered if he would be a challenging opponent, but on the feet it was like fighting Frankenstein’s monster; it was really easy getting in and out. I feel really good about the performance and was happy I could end it with a knockout.”
While the fight might not have been as challenging as he had initially thought, Henle told MMAWeekly.com that in comparison to just a couple years ago, he’s grown tremendously.
“Coming from my time on The Ultimate Fighter, I’ve grown leaps and bounds,” he said. “Not necessarily in technique, but in comfort and how I string things together.
“I admit, before, there were times that I would move not to get hit, and now I move in order to defend the punches; there’s a huge difference in that.”
Henle feels a true gauge of where he’s at will come when he returns to Canada at MFC 35 on Oct. 26 – live on AXS TV – against Elvis Mutapcic for the promotion’s 185-pound crown.
“I still think the real test will be Elvis with how fluid he is on his feet with his punches and kicks,” said Henle. “I think that will give me a better barometer on how comfortable I’ve become with all my work standing up.
“It’s hard to say where I’ll have an advantage on Elvis. We’re pretty evenly matched. He’s really calm, so I don’t see him getting flustered. I’m getting ready for a grind and this is one of those fights where we’ll see who breaks first.”
While the bout could turn into an all-out brawl on the feet, Henle feels that it will not be the type that most people are used to.
“It could become a technical slugfest,” he said. “I think we’re both technical in the way that we strike, so we’re not just going to look like two out of control kids just throwing punches at each other.
“At the same time, he has a great right hand that comes quick; my left is sharp, my jab is nice; so what you’ll see is controlled powerful punches coming from both of us.”
A victory on Oct. 26 could cap off Henle’s biggest year yet, with the possibility of even better things to come in 2013.
“If I can get a win over Elvis that will be four wins this year, my first signing to a major organization after TUF, and winning a major title. So this year is going to be one of the best so far,” he said. “From there on, I’ll just be looking forward to bigger fights and seeing what we can do in the MFC and where it can take us.”
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