In the HP Pavillion in San Jose nearly 14,000 fans were treated to a show that will go down in history as one the the best fights ever to grace the octogon. Dan Henderson took on Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua in the light heavyweight division in a battle of power and wits. Having lost the light heavyweight title to Jon Jones, Rua was looking to get back into contention to challenge for the title once again. Dan Henderson, already a legend in the sport of mixed martial arts was making his return to the UFC having racked up an impressive knockout win over Fedor Emelianenko in his last fight.
As the first of five rounds commenced it was Henderson who came out of blocks the quickest of the two fighters. He had Rua rocked almost immediately with some heavy blows and when Rua tried to shoot for a takedown Henderson locked in a vicious guillotine choke. Rua managed to escape but he had taken a lot of damage including a nasty cut over the right eye. Henderson continued to beat Rua up for the rest of the first round.
Rua attempted to push the pace early in the second round but once again Henderson picked his shots and landed with big heavy stikes.Rua managed to hold on til the end of the round but looked visibly shaken and once again taking damage to his face. it seemed like a matter of time before Henderson would land the knockout blow.
In the third Henderson came out in search of the knockout. Two minutes in he knocked Rua down and scrambled for top position punishing Rua's face and body with some brutal ground and pound. The referee's decision not to stop the fight appeared to be the correct one as Rua scrambled free and attempted an ankle lock. Henderson released himself but was gassed and Rua immediately pinned him to the cage landing some good shots in the process.
In the forth round the complexion of the fight began to to change, Henderson now seemed tired and was struggling to keep his hands up. Rua moved in alternating heavy punches with takedowns and ground and pound. Henderson now looked in trouble but used his wrestling skills to avoid taking too much damage.
As Henderson stood up for the fifth and final round he still appeared to be feeling the effects of the fourth round. rua took full advantage of this this taking him to the ground. Rua maintained top position for the full five minutes landing stikes the whole time as Henderson hung on. It did appear however that Rua himself was too tired to land the definitive knockout punch or lock in a submission he continued batter henderson until the round came to a close. It would now go to the judges scorecards
As both fighters waited in the middle of the cage convinced of victory Bruce Buffer announced a unanimous decision in favour of Dan Henderson. Many people including Dana White were convinced the fight was actually a draw but he insisted that a rematch was highly unlikely. Henderson may have now worked himself a title shot at either Jon Jone's light heavyweight title or Anderson Silva's middleweight title. One things all the fans will agrre on was that this was a top quality battle from beginning to end and they will look forward to these two men being involved with the sports for years to come.
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