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Victor Henry reacts after the conclusion of his bantamweight fight against Raoni Barcelos of Brazil during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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It’s Not Just Winning For Victor Henry, It’s How He Wins

UFC Bantamweight Victor Henry Is Determined To Dominate Rani Yahya At UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez And Get A Win In Emphatic Fashion

Sometimes the fight game can be a real kick below the belt.

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Just ask Victor Henry.

Moments into the second round of his UFC 294 bout with Javid Basharat, an accidental groin kick put Henry on the canvas. Immediately, it was clear that this wasn’t your average low blow. Henry was yelling out in agony and doing everything he could to get back in the fight, even though the doctor seemingly discredited Henry. After some time, Henry was unable to continue, and the bout was ruled a no contest.

Victor Henry reacts after receiving a low blow from opponent Javid Basharat of Afghanistan in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 294 event at Etihad Arena on October 21, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Victor Henry reacts after receiving a low blow from opponent Javid Basharat of Afghanistan in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 294 event at Etihad Arena on October 21, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“It was a weird experience, and a lot of people don’t really understand exactly what happened,” Henry told UFC.com. “They think it’s a low blow or whatever, right?

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“There are a few types of low blows - there is the impact, of course, but what happened to me specifically, if you rewatch the fight, in the first round he kind of grazes by my cup. I think he was throwing a body kick but, on the retraction, it grazed my cup, so I fixed it. You can see that in the first round. After that, I’m readjusting my cup and what actually happened is some manhood slipped out between rounds one and two because I was adjusting my cup.”

“So, I had some of my Victor Henrys coming out, so when he kicked me, it hit between my cup and my leg, which is why it hurt so bad. It wasn’t just the impact, it was more of a bite.”

Victor Henry poses on the scale during the UFC 294 ceremonial weigh-in at Etihad Arena on October 20, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Victor Henry poses on the scale during the UFC 294 ceremonial weigh-in at Etihad Arena on October 20, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

It took days for the swelling to go down and Henry was in significant pain for a while after the fight. But even with that injury and the fact that the fight ended in a no contest, the California bantamweight doesn’t look back at what happened with any resentment.

After all, it is the fight game.

“Fights are fights and it happens,” Henry said. “I’m excited for fights, the way they turn out is the way they turn out. We’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen in the Octagon.”

Victor Henry punches Tony Gravely in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on March 11, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Victor Henry punches Tony Gravely in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on March 11, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Henry makes his return to action this weekend when he faces Rani Yahya at UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez. It’s an intriguing matchup for Henry, who knows that he’ll be facing a true submission ace in Yahya. The jiu jitsu specialist has won 21 professional fights by submission and is tied with Urijah Faber for the most submission wins in UFC bantamweight history (6).

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Preventing Yahya from getting the fight to “his world” is the most important factor in this fight for Henry. That’s a testament to how dangerous and efficient Yahya is when given an opportunity to execute his style of fight.

“He has a very Demian Maia approach to it, which is awesome to see because those stylistic guys are legit. He even calls himself a jiu jitsu practitioner first before a fighter,” Henry said of Yahya. “Avoiding his jiu jitsu is going to be a challenge, but I think I’ve done the work in the gym, and I believe in my abilities to beat that.

Victor Henry Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez
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Victor Henry Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez
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“There is only respect for him, but I do believe I can beat him.”

One of the biggest factors in why Henry respects Yahya is that he’s a true finisher. He doesn’t see Yahya as a point fighter or someone who is unwilling to risk victory to get a finish. In that sense, he believes the two are cut from the same cloth.

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“I don’t think either one of us care about only winning; we want to win, of course, but we don’t care about just going out there and getting a win,” Henry said. “There are a lot of guys out there and it’s a five-minute round - they won three minutes of the round and coast the two minutes just to get the win because the win earns them more. I think that’s the wrong way of looking at fighting.

“Go out there and dominate your opponent and win. If you don’t get the finish, then fine. You got to go out there and actually tried to win. Win the entire fight the entire time by finish.”

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There are a variety of ways that Henry sees this fight going, and he believes that the fans watching their prelim bout on ESPN2 and ESPN+ will love the clash of styles that they’ll see.

But if he had to nail down how he’d beat Yahya, it’s pretty simple.

“Kicking him in the mouth. Kicking someone upside the grill is usually the best way and the most exciting way,” Henry said before following up with how he’ll get his desired result. “Starting off, I’d just like to punch Yahya in the face a few times and then if he doesn’t go away, then maybe I’ll kick him in the head. If he still doesn’t go away, we are going to have to dabble in the grappling.”

And, of course, hopefully Henry can avoid any and all low blows this go-round.

UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez took place live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 27, 2024. See the final Prelims and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!