Dan Henderson looked like maybe time had finally passed him by when the first round of his fight against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua ended. At 43-years old, Henderson seemed ageless, but after he got blasted by Rua in the opening minutes of their rematch and nearly didin’t survive, it appeared the minutes were running out on the iconic fighter.
A second round didn’t go much better and the clock seemed to be ticking on Henderson’s career.
That was until the third round when Henderson countered with a right hook — his signature punch known as the H-bomb — that absolutely crushed Rua’s nose and sent him crashing to the mat. A few punches later and the fight was over with Dan Henderson’s arm being raised for a second time against Rua inside the Octagon.
In other action on the card, CB Dollaway silenced a loud and raucous Brazilian crowed with a blistering first round finish over Cezar Mutante, while Fabio Maldonado showed tremendous heart and endurance to best Gian Villante in a light heavyweight battle on the main card.
Full results and play-by-play below:
MAIN EVENT: Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua vs. Dan Henderson
Shogun opens with some quick leg kicks while Henderson looks to counter with the one big shot. Henderson tags Shogun with a big left that backs the Brazilian against the cage, but the former PRIDE Grand Prix champion fires back and unloads a huge right hand of his own. Henderson drops to the canvas and Shogun follows up with a nasty barrage of strikes. Henderson hanging on for dear life as the round comes to an end.
R1 10-8 Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua
Henderson still visibly shaken but he’s swinging with Shogun again this round. Following a very sloppy takedown attempt, Shogun times a perfect uppercut that nails Henderson on the chin. Shogun on top but he’s not doing much damage despite another near finish to get the fight on the ground in the first place.
R2 10-9 Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua
Shogun plodding forward with kicks and punches, looking like he’s in complete control. Following a clinch, Henderson breaks away and unloads a huge right hook that sends Shogun crashing to the mat. Henderson follows up with a few more hammer fists and referee Herb Dean rushes in for the stoppage. As Shogun tries to get up, he falls crashing back to the mat. The right hand absolutely crushed Shogun’s nose. When he finally stands up, Shogun’s nose is absolutely mangled.
Official result: Dan Henderson def. Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua by TKO (strikes) at 1:31, R3
Analysis: There was no way this fight was going to live up to the original, but the drama was as close as you could get to the first one. Shogun nearly finished Henderson early and looked like he was in complete control. Out of nowhere, Henderson blasted Shogun with his signature right hand that finished the fight in the third round. The win stops Henderson’s three fight skid and as he said after the fight this one was a little more special than most considering what was on the line for him. Henderson has said he still has a couple of more years left in the sport, and he will certainly get the opportunity now after demolishing Shogun on Sunday night.
Shogun on Sunday night. Cezar ‘Mutante’ Ferreira vs. CB Dollaway
CB Dollaway showing huge confidence in his hands. He tags Ferreira with an early punch to back the Brazilian off, but the TUF Brazil winner comes right back at him. Dollaway uses good head movement to avoid his strikes and he fires with a right hook and then a left that puts Ferreira down on the mat! A few more strikes and Dollaway gets the knockout. Super impressive performance from CB Dollaway — his second win in Brazil no less.
Official result: CB Dollaway def. Cezar Ferreira by TKO (strikes) at :39 seconds, R1
Analysis: Dollaway has found a new level of confidence lately and he just seems to be getting better and better. He was robbed of a victory in his last fight against Tim Boetsch, but Dollaway showed up huge in Brazil absolutely scorching Cezar Ferreira with a first round knockout. Depending on how things go in April, Dollaway earning a fight with former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold would be a great matchup for the former Ultimate Fighter finalist.
Leonardo Santos vs. Norman Parke
Parke is clearly the stronger fighter moving Santos around the cage. Parke keeps moving forward with strikes, showing no fear of Santos’ striking, but the Brazilian tosses a couple kicks that land with a slap to the Irishman’s body. Santos doing a great job with his counter strikes, which is his biggest strength on the feet. Very close round
R1 10-9 Leonardo Santos
Parke using the clinch again to control Santos, but he’s not doing much damage at all. Parke goes for a takedown but grabs Santos’ shorts to get there, and the referee stops the action and immediately deducts a point. Seems a bit rash considering he didn’t even get the takedown and with no warning. Parke back to the clinch and this time he’s working some nice uppercuts from inside as the round comes to a close
R2 9-9 draw after a point deduction by the referee
Parke is back in the clinch against the cage to start the final round. No desperation from Parke despite the fact that he might be fighting for a draw even if he wins this final five minutes. They finally get into an exchange on the feet, but Santos shoots in for a takedown this time and he’s immediately reversed and back in the clinch they go.
R3 10-9 Norman Parke — FOX Sports scores the fight 28-28 a draw after three rounds
Offiical result: Norman Parke and Leonard Santos declared a majority draw (29-27 Santos, 28-28, 28-28)
Analysis: Not a fight anyone is going to rush back to watch over again. Santos started strong in the first round, but then couldn’t do much of anything for the final 10 minutes. The shorts grab from Parke while deliberate probably didn’t deserve an immediate point deduction without at least a warning. The fight ends as a draw on both fighters’ records, and a dud as far as the card goes.
Fabio Maldonado vs. Gian Villante
Villante takes the fight to the ground 20 seconds into the round. Villante showing some off the training he does everyday with middleweight champion Chris Weidman, just suffocating Maldonado on the mat. Not the most exciting round, but Villante in control from start to finish.
R1 10-9 Gian Villante
Villante tags Maldonado with an early punch to start the second, but the Brazilian starts firing back with some of his own. Maldonado tagging him with the jab over and over again so Villante rushes in and gets a takedown. The fighters work back up and Villante unloads a huge knee that opens up a nasty cut on Maldonado’s head. It doesn’t matter to Maldonado because he’s moving forward and landing at will on the feet. Villante is gassed and he’s eating a huge amount of punches.
R2 10-9 Fabio Maldonado
Maldonado’s combinations are adding up and Villante is still slowing down. Maldonado just punishing Villante to the head and body and he has no counters at this point. Villante’s arms are at his side and Maldonado is just destroying him on the feet.
R3 10-8 Fabio Maldonado — FOX Sports scores the fight 29-27 Fabio Maldonado
Official result: Fabio Maldonado def. Gian Villante by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Analysis: Fabio Maldonado had a rough first round giving up the takedowns, but this guy is seriously like a zombie the way he absorbs punishment and just keeps coming forward. Maldonado’s boxing combinations may be some of the best in the UFC and his body shots are devastating. Once again, Maldonado makes a strong showing for himself and proves he’s always going to be a fun fighter to watch in the UFC.
Michel Prazeres vs. Mairbek Taisumov
Prazeres overwhelming on the ground, moving to mount a couple of times during the round. Taisumov has to use the cage to help stop another takedown, and then later in the round kicks at Prazeres on the ground, but the Brazilian’s knees are on the mat so it’s deemed illegal. Mario Yamasaki sees enough and takes a point away for the illegal strike.
R1 10-8 Michel Prazeres (extra point due to the deduction)
Taisumov has another point deducted to start the second round after he grabs the fence yet again. Good move by referee Mario Yamasaki. Taisumov needs a finish to win this fight. Prazeres keeps the pace up in the second round, landing some solid strikes in an otherwise lackluster round.
R2 10-8 Michel Prazeres (extra point due to the deduction)
Prazeres again looking for the body clinch and Taisumov grabs the cage again! Yamasaki stops the fight and tells Taisumov that if he grabs the cage one more time, he will be disqualified. Prazeres gets a takedown with less than two minutes to go as Taisumov struggles to not grab the cage on the way down. Taisumov gets back up and just clinches against the cage and his coach Roger Huerta starts yelling at him ‘just give up’, obviously frustrated that his fighter isn’t going for the kill knowing he’s down on the scorecards.
R3 10-9 Michel Prazeres — FOX Sports scores the fight 30-25 Michel Prazeres
Official decision: Michel Prazeres def. Mairbek Taisumov by unanimous decision (30-25 on all cards)
Analysis: Strong performance from Michel Prazeres, good takedowns and solid striking over all 15 minutes. The real star of the fight, however, is referee Mario Yamasaki, who ended up taking two points away from Taisumov during the fight. Once for an illegal strike and the second for an illegal fence grab. Fence grabs have long been a problem in MMA inside the cage, but rarely do they result in a penalty. Good job, Mario Yamasaki for setting a precenent while you’re in charge of the Octagon.
Rony Jason vs. Steven Siler
The fighters were exchanging some strikes early and the commentators were paying close attention to Siler’s defense, which he worked on tirelessly ahead of this bout. Just as they say that, Jason uncorks a big overhand right that lands behind Siler’s ear. With Siler on wobbly legs, Jason tags him with a left that drops him to the mat. The referee swoops in to stop the fight as Siler was already kicking up his legs to stop Jason’s oncoming attack. Awful stoppage from the referee in Brazil.
Rony Jason def. Steven Siler by TKO (strikes) at 1:17, R1
Analysis: Rony Jason with a big knockout finish after suffering a similar fate in his last fight. Strong performance, but it’s marred by a terrible referee’s stoppage when Siler was clearly still defending himself. The fight could have ended seconds later if Jason had a chance to jump in with his attack, but we will never know now.
Ronny Markes vs. Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos cracks off a nasty body kick and Markes drops to the mat. Santos wastes no time in delivering a beat down on the ground, and with a few extra hammer fists, the referee has seen enough and it’s all over! UFC commentator Brian Stann sums it up best when replaying the body kick and saying ‘you can see the soul of Ronny Markes exit his mouth’. Well said, Mr. Stann.
Official result: Thiago Santos def. Ronny Markes by TKO (strikes) at :53 seconds, R1
Analysis: Extremely impressive knockout for Thiago Santos. His body kick slammed into Markes’ stomach and left him reeling in pain. Markes missed weight on Saturday, and then got bludgeoned on Sunday so it’s been a rough couple of days for him. Two knockout losses in a row for Markes plus missing weight doesn’t make his UFC future all that bright. Santos, who weighed in at 183 pounds, picks up a huge win over an established veteran. His future could possibly be at welterweight, but he’s not doing bad at middleweight either.
Jussier Formiga vs. Scott Jorgensen
Fast pace to the start of this round and it looks like an accidental headbutt puts Jorgensen down to the mat. Formiga wastes no time jumping on his back and sinking in the rear naked choke. Jorgensen tries to fight out, but to no avail and he taps out.
Official result: Jussier Formiga def. Scott Jorgensen by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:07, R1
Analysis: While the headbutt was unfortunate, give Formiga credit for smelling blood in the water and going for the finish. Once upon a time, Formiga was the No. 1 ranked flyweight, but a couple of losses in the UFC have knocked him out of title contention so this win was huge to his overall relevancy at 125 pounds. Unfortunately, Jorgensen drops to 0-2 at flyweight and 1-5 in his last six fights. This might be the end of the UFC road for Jorgensen
Thiago Perpetuo vs. Kenny Robertson
Robertson lands a quick kick that bloodies up Perpetuo, and a few moments later he had the Brazilian down on the mat and mounted. Robertson unloads some huge shots forcing Perpetuo to spin, which leaves his neck open. Robertson locks up the rear naked choke and Perpetuo taps out. Dominant performance for Robertson fighting in enemy territory.
Official result: Kenny Robertson def. Thiago Perpetuo by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:45, R1
Analysis: Robertson made short work of Thiago Perpetuo in this one. The American has bounced back and forth between wins and losses since coming to the UFC and seeing as he was coming off a defeat, it seems his streak is still alive. Now the mission becomes winning two fights in a row.
Francimar Barroso vs. Hans Stringer
Hans Stringer making his UFC debut, fighting out of the Blackzilians camp and despite his name, he’s not actually a villain from Die Hard. Stringer tags Barroso early and gets into his guard where he starts raining down some nasty elbows from the top. Back on the feet, Stringer tags Barrosso with some short elbows in the clinch that opens a cut under the Brazilian’s right eye.
R1 10-9 Hans Stringer
Barroso better this round landing some nice kicks before taking Stringer to the mat. Both fighters are slowing down showing some lacking gas tanks, but Barroso still working some solid strikes. As tired as Barroso appears to be, he’s still launching one punch at a time and landing with great accuracy.
R2 10-9 Francimar Barroso
Grinding pace in the final round with both fighters sucking wind. It’s over 90 degrees inside the arena in Brazil so don’t be surprised to see this happen a few times tonight. Very slow round with both guys exchanging a few leg kicks but not much else. Barroso hits a takedown with just about 40 seconds to go. Very close round that should decide the fight.
R3 10-9 Francimar Barroso — FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 Francimar Barroso
Official decision: Hans Stringer def. Francimar Barroso by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Analysis: Probably not the fight either guy will want on career highlight film, but still Stringer did enough to get the win. Both fighters looked exhausted when it was over so it will be interested to see how each looks in their next fight respectively
Godofredo Pepey vs. Noad Lahat
Right away get used to hearing Noad Lahat referred to as ‘Neo’. It’s his nickname and word around American Kickboxing Academy is that’s the only name he has in the gym. Godofredo Pepey is throwing some insanely wild strikes with very little technique to start the fight. Lahat much crisper with his striking, but Pepey still tags him with a big overhand right. Out of nowhere, Pepey throws a double knee strike and cracks Lahat right on the chin and he’s out cold! Incredible knockout.
Official result: Godofredo Pepey def. Noad Lahat by knockout at 2:39, R1
Analysis: This was exactly the kind of performance Pepey needed after a couple of losses, and that’s a knockout that’s going to be seen on a few highlight reels. Pepey may have earned a ‘performance of the night’ bonus as well with that flying knee attack. It also has to be noted when Lahat was still down on the mat, Pepey came over and sat with him to make sure his fallen opponent was okay. Great show of sportsmanship.