UFC Fight Night 39 Notebook: Fire Still Burns

By Brian Knapp Mar 21, 2014
Dan Henderson owns a 6-5 mark in the UFC. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com



Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua had to expect a sequel.

A little more than two years after they spent 25 minutes uncorking nearly 500 strikes at one another, Henderson and Rua will meet for a second time in the UFC Fight Night 39 main event on Sunday at Nelio Dias Gymnasium in Natal, Brazil. Henderson held on for a unanimous decision over “Shogun” at UFC 139 in November 2011. Few secrets exist between the two light heavyweights.

“I know what to expect a little more,” Henderson said in a pre-fight interview with Fox Sports. “We’ve both been fighting for so long. It’s not like we haven’t seen each other fight. We both know what to expect out of each other. My game plan might have changed just a tad since the last fight.”

A two-time Olympian and former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder, Henderson was not surprised when Ultimate Fighting Championship brass presented him with the idea of a rematch.

“I didn’t ask for it,” he said. “I feel like it’s going to be hard to duplicate the first fight. It was such a good fight. The fans loved [it] and now we have to do it better. I’m sure we’re going to both try. It could be better. It could be a little more boring. I don’t know. I welcomed it, but I think ‘Shogun’ has been asking for it for a while.”

Henderson, who turns 45 in August, recently agreed to a new six-fight deal with the UFC. Skeptics notwithstanding, he indicated he plans to complete the contract.

“We’ll see,” Henderson said. “My body’s feeling good. I’m able to feel like I’m in good shape and [can] recover still. I still feel like I’m able to compete with the top guys out there.”

Henderson will enter the cage on the first three-fight losing streak of his career. The Team Quest co-founder dropped back-to-back split decisions to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 and Rashad Evans at UFC 161 before being knocked out by a Vitor Belfort head kick in his most recent appearance at UFC Fight Night 32 in November.

“I was just as motivated or more motivated to get in here and make sure I’m in shape and ready to go,” Henderson said. “I felt like that last fight against Vitor I got caught, and that’s the way it goes. The other two really could have been wins, just as easy as losses. It really didn’t sit too bad with me as far as getting beat up or [asking myself], ‘Should I be doing this anymore?’ Those thoughts never crossed my mind.”

BACK TO WORK


Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com

Brandao needs to rebound.
Diego Brandao wants to move beyond his most recent performance.

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner will look to bounce back from his knockout loss to Dustin Poirier in a preliminary featherweight scrap with Will Chope at UFC Fight Night 39. Brandao, 26, has not fought since UFC 168 in December, when he succumbed to first-round punches from American Top Team’s Poirier at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The defeat snapped his string of three straight victories.

One of the world’s tallest featherweights, the 6-foot-4 Chope carried a 14-fight winning streak into his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 34 in January, only to lose to Max Holloway by second-round technical knockout.

“It’s another challenge in my career,” Brandao said in his pre-fight interview with UFC.com, “and I am training hard to put on a great show against him.”

THIS & THAT


Before earning NCAA All-America honors at Arizona State University, Power MMA Team’s C.B. Dollaway was a two-time All-American at Colby Community College in Kansas, where he won a junior college national championship in 2003 ... Fabio Maldonado holds a perfect 22-0 record, with 21 knockouts, as a professional boxer ... Nova Uniao’s Leonardo Santos has submitted five different opponents with arm-triangle chokes ... Jungle Fight alum Michel Richard Cunha dos Prazeres started his MMA career with 16 consecutive victories ... The eight men to whom Scott Jorgensen has lost -- Zach Makovsky, Urijah Faber, Eddie Wineland, Renan Barao, Dominick Cruz, Antonio Banuelos, Damacio Page and Joey Jesser -- own a combined record of 160-42-2 ... “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 quarterfinalist Steven Siler sports 13 first-round finishes on his resume, including 21-, 45-, 50-, 82-, 85- and 87-second stoppages ... A former Shooto South American champion, Ronny Markes lists Paulo Filho and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as his heroes ... Kenny Robertson wrestled collegiately at Eastern Illinois University, the same institution that spawned UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes ... Born on July 6, 1987, Dutch grappler Hans Stringer shares a birthday with actor Sylvester Stallone, the Dalai Lama, singer Della Reese and George W. Bush -- the 43rd President of the United States ... When the American Kickboxing Academy’s Noad Lahat sets foot inside the Octagon, he will become the second Israeli-born fighter to compete in the UFC. Moti Horenstein was the first at UFC 10 in July 1996.

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