It started differently than their epic first fight. And it ended quite differently, too. But the same man felt his hand raised.
Dan Henderson endured several onslaughts by Maurcio “Shogun” Rua in the first and second round to finish the Brazilian with an explosive third-round H-bomb. Unlike their 2011 fight, Rua dominated early. He dropped Henderson in the first frame and again in the second with a sharp right uppercut. Shogun stuffed several takedown attempts by the two-time Olympic wrestler.
Henderson, behind on the scorecards, sought a takedown in the third round that turned into a scramble that recalled the chaotic scene that immediately prefaced Hendo’s knockout of Fedor Emelianenko three years ago. Hendo,43, brought the younger man down with a brutal right hand after failing to bring him down with wrestling. Henderson followed-up the punch to the nose with hammerfists on the deck, pausing to look up at Herb Dean to take mercy on his opponent. The referee intervened, and the Rua attempted to protest before rebutting his argument by collapsing confused on his back.
Henderson, who became the first man to defeat Shogun twice, breaks from a three-fight losing streak. He ups his record to 30-11. Shogun, who sported a terribly mangled nose after the fight, drops to 6-7 in the UFC and 22-9 overall.
“This one probably means more than most,” Henderson noted after his victory. “Shogun has been such a big part of mixed martial arts. Such a talented and tough fighter. Especially with the year I had last year, coming off that, I wanted to make sure I got a win. I was a little too patient, but it means a little more than most fights, beating a guy like Shogun.”