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UFC 139: What happened in the classic bout between Mauricio Rua and Dan Henderson?

Paul Benson
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 20:22 IST

Shogun vs Hendo highlighted the UFC 139 card
Shogun vs Hendo highlighted the UFC 139 card

What can be said about "Shogun" versus "Hendo" that hasn't been said already? The headline battle of the November 2011 card was inducted into the 2018 UFC Hall of Fame, and for good reason.

The first time meeting between the legendary light-heavyweights was a terrifically intense, grueling, and bloody affair that tested both fighters to the limits.

Shogun got busted early on as the pair traded big-time shots. Henderson came close to finishing Shogun in the third when he dropped him with a big time right, and unloaded with hammer fists, but the Brazilian showed great resilience to reverse and attempt a heel hook which Henderson eventually escaped.

Shogun took control of the fourth and fifth with brutal punching. He had full control of Hendo in the mount during the closing stages, but could not muster the power to finish the fight.

Henderson won via Unanimous Decision, 48-47, which was probably the fair result. What a contest! One of the very best fights the UFC has ever produced. Phenomenal.

Hendo pounds away on Shogun in the classic headline clash
Hendo pounds away on Shogun in the classic headline clash

PRIDE legend, Wanderlei Silva, never did find top form in the UFC, having fought for the promotion at the start of his career and in the twilight. However, versus the older Cung Lee, he came close to turning the clock back.

Lee troubled Silva early with a spinning back fist and a big right hand, but the Brazilian recovered to land some stunning combinations. In the second round, Silva exploded on Lee with punches which were enough for the referee to stop the fight. One of the best wins of Silva's middling UFC career.

Wanderlei Silva celebrates his win over Cung Lee
Wanderlei Silva celebrates his win over Cung Lee
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Urijah Faber bested Brian Bowles with a brutal flurry of punches, knees, and elbows before securing a guillotine choke for the tap out win in the second round. It was an electric finish to a bout which in truth had failed to sparkle as a contest prior to that point.

Stephan Bonnar was booed as his trademark wild brawl never happened in his contest with Kyle Kingsbury. In truth, the fight was perfectly acceptable, and Bonnar atypically dominated his opponent on the ground, and came close to finishing in the first round, but the buzzer came to Kingsbury's rescue. No classic, but a dominating performance from Bonnar as he won via Unanimous Decision to extend his winning streak to three.

Martin Kampmann dominated Rick Story, but somehow only won via Split Decision. He nearly finished Story in the final round with a rear naked choke, but Story held on. Prior to that though, Kampmann had made a right mess of Story's face. Kampmann was impressive and exploited Story's defensive weaknesses expertly. Not the most entertaining fight, but a brilliant performance by Kampmann.

The event pulled 290,000 buys on pay per view, but many more fans have viewed this classic event since. A brilliantly entertaining card.

Published 13 Dec 2018, 18:03 IST
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