It was vintage Dan Henderson on display at UFC Fight Night 39. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
Dan Henderson still has plenty of TNT left in his fabled right hand.
Henderson dispatched Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with a sweeping right hook to the nose and subsequent ground strikes in the UFC Fight Night 39 headliner on Sunday at Nelio Dias Gymnasium in Natal, Brazil. The end came 91 seconds into the third round, as Henderson (30-11, 7-5 UFC) became the first man to defeat “Shogun” twice.
Rua (22-9, 6-7 UFC) masked his power punches with a stiff jab and stout leg kicks, as he had the former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder reeling and on the verge of being stopped late in the first round. Henderson somehow withstood the onslaught, as Rua pierced his defenses with a right hook-left hook combination and some vicious ground-and-pound.
“Shogun” floored the two-time Olympian with a right uppercut in round two but failed to capitalize, settling in Henderson’s guard before a referee restart. The two clinched to start the third frame. On the break, Henderson’s right hand swept across the Brazilian’s face sending him careening backward. The stoppage followed soon after, with the dazed and disfigured Rua eating further punishment and clinging to Henderson’s leg in desperation.
“This [win] probably means more than most. ‘Shogun’ has been such a big part of mixed martial arts,” said Henderson, who earned a controversial unanimous decision over the Brazilian at UFC 139 in November 2011. “I’m such a big fan of ‘Shogun’ and how he represents the sport.”
Dollaway Blasts Ferreira in 39 Seconds
In the middleweight co-main event, Power MMA Team’s C.B. Dollaway wiped out “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 1 winner Cezar Ferreira with a two-punch combination and follow-up ground strikes. Dollaway (14-5, 8-5 UFC) needed just 39 seconds to take care of business.
Ferreira (7-3, 3-1 UFC) fell prey to his own aggression. Dollaway lured him into a close-quarters firefight, floored him with a short left hook-right hook combo and finished it with a volley of unanswered blows on the ground.
The 30-year-old has recorded three wins in his last four appearances, a disputed split decision loss to Tim Boetsch the lone hiccup.
Point Deduction Costs Parke, Results in Majority Draw
Undercut by a second-round point deduction, “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” winner Norman Parke settled for a majority draw with Nova Uniao’s Leonardo Santos in a lightweight showcase. Two of the three judges scored it 28-28; a third cast a 29-27 scorecard in favor of Santos.
Santos (12-3-1, 1-0-1 UFC) kept the Irishman at bay in the first round, where he leaned on body kicks, leg kicks and counterpunches. Parke (19-2-1, 3-0-1 UFC) closed the distance over the final 10 minutes, neutralizing “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 2 winner in the clinch with standing elbows and right uppercuts.
However, he was docked a point in round two for grabbing Santos’ shorts during an attempted takedown, costing him the victory.
The draw snapped Parke’s streak of nine straight wins.
Maldonado Wins Third Straight
Fabiano Maldonado utilized his educated hands and a superior gas tank in capturing a unanimous decision over former Ring of Combat champion Gian Villante in a featured light heavyweight battle. All three judges scored it for Maldonado (21-6, 4-3 UFC): 29-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Villante (11-5, 1-2 UFC) neutralized the Brazilian boxer with takedowns and ground-and-pound in the first round and opened a cut with a knee strike from the clinch in the second. From there, Maldonado found another gear.
Jabs, crippling body shots and accurate multi-punch combinations robbed Villante of much-needed energy and reduced him to target-practice fodder. By the conclusion of round three, with Maldonado nearing a finish, Villante could barely stand under his own power. Maldonado, 34, has rattled off three consecutive victories.
Injury Replacement Prazeres Dominates Taisumov
Takedowns, ground-and-pound and superb topside grappling Michel Richard Cunha dos Prazeres to a lopsided unanimous decision over Tiger Muay Thai’s Mairbek Taisumov in a lightweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-25 for Prazeres (18-1, 2-1 UFC), who replaced the injured Gleison Tibau.
Taisumov (21-5, 1-1 UFC) was docked two points by referee Mario Yamasaki, who eventually threatened him with disqualification for repeatedly grabbing the fence to avoid takedowns.
Prazeres did his best work in the first round, where he grounded the M-1 Global veteran with ease and moved to full mount on three different occasions. The 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt sat down Taisumov with a straight right in the second and advanced to full mount again in the third.
Bezerra Stops Siler in 77 Seconds
“The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 1 winner Rony Mariano Bezerra took care of Steven Siler with an overhand right and follow-up left hook in the first round of their featured featherweight scrap. Bezerra (14-4, 4-1 UFC) polished off his ninth victory in 10 outings 1:17 into round one.
Siler (23-12, 5-3 UFC) enjoyed early success with leg kicks, but the Brazilian’s punching power proved to be the difference. An overhand right set the American on unsteady legs and a subsequent left hook floored him, leading to referee Wernei Cardoso’s intervention despite the fact that Siler was in a defensive position
preparing to throw upkicks.
More UFC Fight Night 39 »
• UFC Fight Night 39 Prelims: Formiga Rear-Naked Choke Taps Jorgensen
• UFC Fight Night 39 Play-by-Play