(Shogun vs. Henderson 2 highlights via Fox Sports)
Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua fought for the second time last night in Natal, Brazil, and though we weren’t treated to another five-round dogfight, the rematch turned out to be nearly as incredible as their first meeting. This time, it was Henderson who was getting beaten up in the early rounds, as an energized Shogun Rua came close to finishing the American legend on more than one occasion. It seemed like Henderson’s heart, experience, and still-solid chin were the only things keeping him alive going into round three. And then…boo-yah.
All it took was one right hand directly across the chin to snap Shogun’s head back and send him into a backwards somersault across the mat. Arguably, referee Herb Dean could have stopped the fight as soon as Shogun went ass-over-teakettle, but he allowed Hendo to follow up the knockdown with some controversial blows to the back of the head, as Shogun groggily clung to Henderson’s leg. To those of you who expected Herb Dean to penalize Henderson during the finishing sequence: You haven’t been watching MMA for very long, have you?
Henderson and Rua each earned $50,000 Fight of the Night bonuses for their headlining battle, and Dan Henderson also scored a $50,000 Performance of the Night award. (The unofficial Broken Nose of the Night award went to Shogun.) The other Performance of the Night bonus went to Godofredo “Pepey” Castro, who wrecked Israeli UFC newcomer Noad Lahat with a flying knee in the first fight of the night.
The Pepey/Lahat KO was just one of five matches at UFC Fight Night 38 that ended in the first round. Notably, middleweight vet CB Dollaway TKO’d TUF Brazil 1 winner Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira in just 39 seconds with an impressive display of counter-punching, which you can watch below…