Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Dan Henderson recovered from nearly getting stopped in the first round to defeat Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in their rematch at the main event of UFC Fight Night.
The victory stopped Henderson’s three-fight losing streak, and allowed him to have a repeat victory over the Brazilian Rua. The two fighters had first fought in 2012 in a bout considered as one of the best MMA encounters ever.
“This one probably means more than most. Shogun’s been such a big part of mixed martial arts and is such a talented and tough fighter,” said Henderson, as quoted by MMA Fighting.
“Especially the year I had last year, coming off of that, I wanted to make sure I got a win. I was a little too patient, I think, at the beginning of the fight. It just means a lot more to me than most fights to fight and beat a guy like Shogun,” he added.
Rua seized early control of the fight through leg kicks in the opening frame, while at the same time blocking Henderson’s famous right hand. Rua’s counters also proved effective, at one point landing a combination that sent Henderson to the canvas.
In the second round, Rua connected on a huge uppercut that once again sent Henderson to the canvas. Henderson managed to get some hits of his own, notably through a left hand that rocked the Brazilian.
Rua tried to end the match in the second round with some ground and pound, but there was little activity, prompting referee to stand the two fighters up. It was again the Brazilian who landed the cleaner hits towards the end of round two.
Henderson finally turned the tables in the third round, landing a right hand as the fighters moved from a clinch. Rua crashed to the canvas, and “Hendo” landed hammer fists that prompted the referee to stop the fight.
The official time of stoppage was 1:31 of the third round.
Henderson later acknowledged that Rua “definitely dinged me a little bit.”
“He definitely rang my bell in the first round, and again in the second,” he said. “I just decided to be patient. I think I was a little too patient in the first two rounds. I wasn’t very offensive.”
“That third round, we both decided to get after it and leave things where we left the last fight,” he added.
In the undercard, CB Dollaway knocked out Cezar Ferreira in just 39 seconds, connecting on a left hook that sent the Brazilian sprawling and then adding more punches to force the referee to stop the fight.