Veterans Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua once again delivered plenty of fireworks in their highly-anticipated light heavyweight rematch at UFC Fight Night 38 in Brazil.
The two legends produced one of the most memorable contests in Octagon history at UFC 139 in San Jose and their latest battle also provided plenty of excitement. The 43-year old Henderson rejuvenated his career with a vicious come-from-behind third-round knockout after having been rocked on multiple occasions in the first two rounds.
The pace of the contest was much more methodical this time around as the opening round featured a number of impressive leg kicks from Rua. Henderson wobbled “Shogun” with a big left hook but ran into trouble when he was rocked by a Rua right-left combination. Henderson seemed to be on the verge of being finished as the round came to an end with Rua raining down hammerfists from top position.
Henderson again had to rely on his remarkable chin and his veteran savvy in the second round when he was nearly finished by a massive right uppercut. Rua took top position but failed to land any further significant damage and couldn’t close the show.
The thing that has always made “Hendo” so formidable is his tremendous one-punch knockout power, and it was on full display in round three. Henderson shattered Rua’s nose with a perfectly placed right hand that sent the veteran to the deck. He would follow up with another right uppercut to a prone Rua and subsequent hammerfists until referee Herb Dean finally halted the proceedings.
It was a sensational and career-salvaging effort for Henderson, who was in the midst of a three-fight losing skid and coming off the first knockout loss of his career. He was ranked no. 8 heading into the contest and has likely punched his way into another high-profile fight. Henderson netted $100,000 in bonuses for both Fight and Performance of the Night.
The loss was one of the most brutal of Rua’s career and stalls the momentum built by his impressive finish of James Te Huna in his last fight. The former light heavyweight champion is now just 1-3 in his last four fights and it’ll be interesting to see what his next career move will be.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports