There was no way the rematch between Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was going to live up to their epic first fight in 2011, but when the two light heavyweight superstars met in Natal, Brazil in 2014, they made every effort to give fans a repeat of a bout that made it into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Six years later, we look back at Henderson vs. Rua 2.
It wasn’t a repeat of their first meeting over two years ago in terms of a sustained 25 minutes of action, but Sunday, at the sweltering Ginasio Nelio Dias in Natal, Brazil, veteran MMA superstars Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua added another worthy chapter to their series, with “Hendo” emerging victorious once again, snapping a three fight losing streak this time by way of a come from behind third round knockout.
“This one probably means more than most,” said Henderson, who defeated Rua via five round decision in their first bout in November of 2011, a fight most consider to be one of the best of all-time. “Shogun has been such a big part of mixed martial arts and such a talented and tough fighter. Especially after the year I had last year, coming off that I wanted to make sure I got a win.”
It was a war of nerves in the opening minutes of the fight, with Rua’s leg kicks doing practically all the scoring, but Henderson slowly but surely getting himself into range to land his fight-altering right hand. It was Henderson’s left hook that was the big shot that scored though, rocking Rua. Shogun got even right away with a left of his own, hurting Hendo badly. Rua moved in for the finish, yet after some rough moments, Henderson made it to the end of the round.
After being told by his corner to wrestle, Henderson still looked to land his “H-Bomb” in round two, but it was Shogun confidently moving forward and locking his opponent against the fence before breaking and resuming their stand-up battle. An ensuing takedown attempt by Henderson was easily tossed aside by the former UFC light heavyweight champion, and a follow-up right uppercut put the American on the deck again. After a stalemate, referee Herb Dean restarted the action with under a minute left, and Rua was clearly the fresher of the two, with Hendo’s fatigue perhaps due not just to his foe’s punches, but the 94 degree heat in the building.
But in the third round, Henderson struck paydirt with the right hand, drilling the 32-year-old Rua and sending him to the canvas. Rua appeared to be seeking a single leg takedown as Henderson delivered another right hand, but after a series of hammerfists, Dean intervened, halting matters at the 1:31 mark.
The 43-year-old Henderson, who was coming off losses to Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort, moves to 30-11 with the win; Curitiba’s Rua falls to 22-9.
Arizona’s CB Dollaway made it two for two in Brazil, as he followed up his 2013 win over Daniel Sarafian with a 39 second knockout of TUF Brazil 1 winner Cezar Ferreira.
Ferreira came out firing at Dollaway, but as soon as “The Doberman” staggered his foe with a straight right, the die was cast. Dollaway moved in, and as the two exchanged, a left hook put “Mutante” on the deck. The Brazilian seemed to have recovered, but Dollaway wouldn’t let him off the hook, pounding away with both hands until referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight just 39 seconds into the opening round.
Dollaway improves to 15-6 with the win; Belo Horizonte’s Ferreira, who lost for the first time in four UFC bouts, falls to 8-3.
A second round point deduction cost Norman Parke his eleventh straight win in lightweight action, with his three rounder against Leonardo Santos being ruled a draw.
Scores were 28-28 twice and 29-27 in the battle between former Ultimate Fighter winners.
Santos’ striking was sharp in the opening round, with kicks to the head and body being his main
weapon of choice. The Rio native got his punches in as well, raising a swelling under Parke’s left eye. Parke aggressively went after Santos in response, but he wasn’t able to get into any form of offensive rhythm until a late round rally.
In round two, Parke lost a point without warning from referee Wernei Cardoso for grabbing Santos’ shorts, putting him in a hole on the scorecards, even if he did have a good second frame against the Brazilian.
Parke (20-2-1) stayed in control in the final round, pinning Santos (12-4-1) to the fence and mauling him there for much of the final five minutes.
Gian Villante looked to be heading to an easy win over Fabio Maldonado in their light heavyweight bout, but after being on the wrong end of a rough first round, Florianopolis’ Maldonado roared back to dominate the next two frames and earn a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
Scores were 29-28 twice, and 29-27.
Villante took Maldonado down as soon as he got his hands on him, and he smoothly moved from side control, taking Maldonado’s back. While there, Villante unleashed knees to the legs, keeping the Brazilian from getting any offense going. With less than two minutes left, Villante took side mount, his dominance bringing boos from the Natal crowd, but the New Yorker wasn’t budging.
Maldonado finally got his stand-up game going in the second, with a jackhammer jab doing
much on the dirty work. Villante, who landed a hard left early in the round, went back to what was working, locking up Maldonado and putting him on the deck. As the two rose with under three minutes to go, knees by Villante cut the Brazilian around the eye, but it appeared to fire up Maldonado, who went after the Strikeforce veteran with shots to the head and body. At this point, Villante was clearly winded from the body attack, and Maldonado was just getting warmed up, igniting the crowd.
Villante went for a takedown as the third round opened, but Maldonado tossed it aside and went back on the attack against his exhausted foe. The body shots were clearly having an effect on Villante, and Maldonado wasn’t going to let up. Villante kept looking for the takedown though, showing a lot of heart as Maldonado teed off with both hands until the fight ended.
With the win, Maldonado improves to 21-6; Villante falls to 11-5.
Belem’s Michel Prazeres was on top of his game for all three rounds against Mairbek Taisumov, handing the Grozny native his first UFC loss by way of a shutout three round decision.
All three scores for Prazeres in the lightweight bout were 30-25.
Prazeres (18-1) tagged Taisumov at will early on, allowing him to close the distance and slam his opponent to the mat. Prazeres transitioned quickly into the mount, but Taisumov was able to escape immediate danger, even while remaining on his back. Midway through the round, Taisumov got loose and to his feet, only to get put back on the canvas. Prazeres moved into the mount a second time, and while Taisumov was able to get free, he was still being dominated everywhere by the Brazilian. Making matters worse for the Russian was that he deducted a point by referee Mario Yamasaki for an illegal head kick.
Refusing to take his foot off the gas in round two, Prazeres dropped Taisumov (21-5) with a right hand and nearly sunk in a guillotine choke before seeing his opponent slip free, but “Beckan” recovered quickly. What he was having trouble with was keeping his hands off the fence, and after several warnings, he lost a second point from Yamasaki. Prazeres wasn’t running out the clock though, as he aggressively went after his opponent, landing several hard punches in the process.
Needing a finish to win, Taisumov got another stern warning from Yamasaki in the third for grabbing the fence, and though he finally began to land more consistently with his strikes, a takedown by Prazeres in the final two minutes guaranteed that he wouldn’t get what he was looking for.
TUF Brazil season one winner Rony Jason rebounded from his November knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens with a knockout of his own, halting Steven Siler 77 seconds into their featherweight bout.
Siler’s disciplined stand-up attack appeared to be working well early, but a right hand from Jason staggered the Utah native. A follow-up left hook dropped Siler to the canvas, but as he began to recover with an upkick, referee Wernei Cardoso intervened at the 1:17 mark, drawing an immediate protest from the American, but to no avail.
“I’m disappointed because it was an incredibly early stoppage by the ref," said Siler. "I didn’t even have time to communicate I was okay because he jumped in so fast. I got hit, dropped to my back to take a defensive posture and was throwing an upkick to give me some space. And then, all of the sudden, it was over. I guess it was my fault for getting hit, staying exposed.”
With the win, Quixada’s Jason ups his record to 15-4; Siler falls to 23-12.
It took four UFC fights, but hometown hero Jussier Formiga finally showed off the form that had him listed among the best flyweights in the world on Sunday, as he submitted Scott Jorgensen in less than a round in UFC Fight Night action from Ginasio Nelio Dias in Natal, Brazil.
“Scott was the favorite," said Formiga, who was 1-2 in his first two Octagon bouts. "Everyone I fight is the favorite. This win proves that I’m able to beat tough opponents. I’m here to prove I’m one of the top fighters in my division."
Jorgensen (14-9) set a furious pace at the start, looking to implement his striking game as Formiga tried to find an opening for the takedown. Formiga (16-3) didn’t shy away from standing with Jorgensen though, and after pushing his foe to the canvas midway through the round after a clash of heads, he had his chance to get his ground game going. From there it didn’t take long, as Formiga took Jorgensen’s back and locked in the rear-naked choke that forced “Young Guns” to tap out. The official time was 3:07.
"He jumped in and when I threw he headbutted me," said Jorgensen. "It was enough to wobble me. I woke up on the ground defending a rear-naked choke."
Despite giving up a large advantage in weight to his opponent, middleweight Thiago Santos scored the upset in a big way, knocking out Natal’s Ronny Markes in the first round.
Markes, who weighed in at 190 pounds to Santos’ 183 on Saturday, was drilled with a left kick to the body early in the opening round, and after a delayed reaction, he fell to the canvas. Rio’s Santos pounced immediately, with a series of unanswered hammerfists bringing in referee Mario Yamasaki to halt the bout at :53 of the first round.
With the win, Santos improves to 9-2; Markes falls to 14-3.
Kenny Robertson silenced the Brazilian crowd in his welterweight bout against Thiago Perpetuo, impressively submitting the Santo Andre native in the first round.
An early head kick by Robertson landed, but also landed him on the mat, as he fell with Perpetuo in the top position. Robertson escaped, got his own takedown and moved into the full mount though. He then proceeded to fire off a series of strikes on his bloodied foe, and as Perpetuo turned, the East Peoria, Illinois native took his back and locked in a rear naked choke that produced a tap at 1:45 of the round.
With the win, Robertson moves to 13-3; Perpetuo, who was making his welterweight debut, falls to 9-4-1.
Light heavyweights Hans Stringer and Francimar Barroso battled it out for 15 grueling minutes, with UFC newcomer Stringer taking a close split decision win.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Stringer, now 22-5-3; Barroso falls to 16-4.
Stringer hit the deck early on after Barroso tripped him there, but after a restart from referee Mario Yamasaki, a right hand from the Netherlands native returned the favor, and Stringer took advantage as he worked effectively from the top position. After piling up some points, Stringer stood up with two minutes left and then scored another takedown. Barroso got up quickly this time, only to get locked up against the fence, where the newcomer landed more punches at close range.
Barroso fired off three hard kicks to begin the second round, forcing Stringer to seek refuge in the clinch. The kicks continued once the two broke, and as Stringer looked for a takedown, Barroso reversed position and wound up on top. Midway through the round, Stringer got to his feet, with the two remaining locked up. When they broke, Barroso emerged with a mouse under his left eye and both looked fatigued. Barroso did land with a flush uppercut to close the round strong.
The pace slowed in the final round, with each fighter firing off strikes sporadically between clinches. And while Barroso may have thought that a takedown in the final minute clinched it for him, the judges didn’t agree, awarding Stringer the verdict.
In the featherweight opener, Godofredo Pepey got the Brazilian fans on their feet and kept them there, snapping a two fight losing streak with a highlight-reel knockout of previously unbeaten newcomer Noad Lahat.
The bombs were flying early from both fighters, with Lahat more on target than the wilder
Pepey. Two minutes in though, a right hand by Pepey scored a flash knockdown, and moments later, a flying left knee from the Brazilian landed flush on Lahat’s chin, knocking him out instantly. The official time was 2:39.
“I’ve been working on this knee strike for a long time, but I wasn’t able to get it right in my past few fights because I was too nervous," said Pepey. "I wasn’t in a good place, mentally. Now I’m back. The lion is awake."
With the win, Pepey improves to 11-3; Lahat falls to 9-1.
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