MMA legends Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua are set to do battle once again at UFC: Brazil in Natal on March 23. The fight comes two and a half years after their first meeting at UFC 139, when Henderson was awarded a controversial unanimous decision after a bloody back-and-forth five-round war.
Henderson got the better of the early exchanges, dropping and almost finishing Shogun on several occasions before the granite-chinned Brazilian clawed his way back into the contest in the later rounds as Henderson started to tire. The bout earned “Fight of the Year” awards and is certain to go down as one of the greatest in MMA history.
Henderson is currently riding a three-fight losing streak and hasn’t won since his first fight with Shougun. Two decision losses to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans were followed by Henderson’s first knockout loss last November at the hands of Vitor Belfort.
Shogun snapped a two-fight slump with a quick knockout win over hard-hitting Australian James Te Huna last December. After dropping a decision to Alexander Gustafsson in late 2012, Shogun suffered an embarrassing defeat to Chael Sonnen in August, succumbing to a routine guillotine choke at the end of the first round after being out-grappled by the American for the entire contest.
The rematch between the pair is expected to headline the card, and fans will be hoping for fireworks once again. With neither fighter chasing a title shot, this is a great piece of matchmaking by the UFC brass and should be an early candidate to pick up Fight of the Year honors once again.