The Hit List: Top 5 moments from UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson 2
A six-week run of UFC events came to a close Sunday in Natal, Brazil, with Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua facing off in a rematch of their epic encounter from UFC 139.
On a night filled with upsets (and some curious officiating), the final two bouts of the evening created an eerie silence inside the Ginasio Nelio Dias.
These are the Top 5 moments from UFC Fight Night: Rua vs. Henderson 2.
This is The Hit List.
Henderson Detonates Another ‘H-Bomb’
While a well-placed shot with four-ounce gloves has the potential to topple any fighter, there aren’t many athletes competing in the Octagon that have true one-punch power — the kind of force that can turn a fight on a dime and bring it to a halt in an instant.
Dan Henderson is one of those men, and the veteran light heavyweight showed it Sunday night in his main event rematch with “Shogun” Rua.
Late in the first frame, Rua dropped Henderson and appeared to be on the brink of victory, by the savvy American veteran was able to avoid the finish and make it to the second round. “Shogun” rocked Henderson with a right uppercut midway through the second frame and looked to be in complete control.
Through the first 10 minutes, the 43-year-old former Pride and Strikeforce champion seemed incapable of mounting much of an offense against his familiar Brazilian foe.
Coming out of a failed takedown attempt early in the third round, KA-BOOM! Henderson connected with a powerful right hook off the break, sending Rua tumbling backwards, a series of hammerfists bringing about the ending seconds later.
One of the all-time greats in MMA, the victory halts the first three-fight losing streak of his career and puts Henderson back in the mix in the light heavyweight division.
Beware of Dog
C.B. Dollaway has been displaying steady improvement since his time on Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter. Sunday night against rising Brazilian prospect Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira, “The Doberman” showed that he’s ready to take the next step up in the middleweight division.
After getting backed into the cage by the Brazilian, Dollaway slipped a couple big swings before dropping Ferreira with a right hook, left hook, right hook combination. From there, the 30-year-old Power MMA product swarmed for the finish, dropping heavy leather on the down and dazed Ferreira until referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in to wave things off.
The win marks the second time that Dollaway has made his way to Brazil and upset a local favorite, and should elevate him to the fringes of contention in the middleweight division. If not for a sketchy split decision loss to Tim Boestch last October, Dollaway would be riding a four-fight winning streak. As it stands, he’s back in the win column and opening some eyes with this 39-seconds finish on Sunday.
“The Brazilian Zombie”
Fabio Maldonado has earned a place on the exclusive “Never want to miss one of his fights” list, turning in another entertaining performance opposite Gian Villante.
The veteran Brazilian light heavyweight doesn’t look the part of an athlete that can rattle off 15 minutes of high output striking, but without fail, there is Maldonado, turning up the intensity and battering his opponents as the fight wears on. Sunday night, “The Brazilian Zombie” endured a tough first round to put it on the New Yorker over the final two frames, tiring out Villante and picking him apart en route to a unanimous decision win.
It’s not just a sloppy brawl either — Maldonado has slick hands, using both his jab and thunderous body shots with great efficiency and frequency than the majority of UFC fighters. Brandishing one of the best chins in the sport doesn’t hurt either, as Maldonado is able to wade into exchanges knowing he’s likely to hold up better than his opponent.
While he’s never going to be a title contender, the 34-year-old should remain a regular fixture and must-see attraction on these Brazilian events going forward.
Flying Knee Finish
Godofredo Castro entered Sunday’s opening bout backed into a corner, having been stopped in the first round in each of his last two outings and sporting a 1-3 record in his four UFC appearances. For the former TUF: Brazil finalist, his bout with newcomer Noad “Neo” Lahat was a clear must-win.
And win he did.
Midway through the first round, “Pepey” planted a blistering flying left knee on the chin of Lahat, sending him slumping into the cage, his time inside The Matrix coming to an abrupt end. Watching the highlight back, the finish looked even more impressive, as it showed Castro catching Lahat with the beautiful switch knee—forcing him to avoid the right and ending his night with the left.
There have already been some amazing knockouts in the UFC this year, but this finish deserves to be mentioned among the best so far. “Pepey” earned one of the two Performance of the Night bonuses for his impressive knockout.
Get up, have a little brunch, watch some fights — not a bad little Sunday.
While Saturday will remain the primary night for UFC events and Wednesday will feature its share of shows, breaking out an occasional Sunday fight card is a nice deviation from the standard schedule.
The UFC already has another Sunday event on the schedule, booking the Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale for July 6 in Las Vegas. Headlined by the third bout between Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn, the event will follow UFC 175 and look to capitalize on the traffic generated by International Fight Week on the holiday weekend.
But Sunday shows don’t have to be attached to Saturday pay-per-views — this event was a stand-alone at the tail end of a long stretch of UFC action and was a refreshing change of pace that delivered across the board.