SAN JOSE -- There are few times when the word epic can be used to describe a sporting event and be used correctly. Saturday night it defined the UFC 139 battle between Mauricio Shogun Rua and Dan Hendo Henderson.
It was a fight that fans had been hoping to see since the pair's days in PRIDE and, even after almost a decade, Hendo and Shogun delivered a fight that fans will remember forever. The five-round light-heavyweight battle had everything you could imagine. Both fighters looked like they went through an absolute war.
The fight was tipping towards Hendo after the first two rounds. He had the Brazilian Rua bloodied and reeling, but couldnt land the knockout blow. Mid-way through the third it seemed like Rua got another shot of adrenaline. The fight started to look even as each threw punches, landed kicks and went for finishes.
As the rounds changed, so did the momentum. Shogun started taking over and Hendo was the one reeling. Roles had reversed, but the intensity remained. The crowd began to get louder and more raucous as each minute passed. By the end of the fifth and final round HP Pavilion was going insane.
As is the case with a lot of epic bouts, this one went to the scorecards. It was a hard fight for many to call as each fighter had advantages and looked to be in control. The fight ended in a unanimous decision for Dan Henderson. All three judges had it 48-47.
This is one of those sports moments that comes around very rarely. UFC President Dana White called this bout one of the top-3 of all-time, going on to say it is our Ali-Frazier 3.
For one night, San Jose was the epicenter of the MMA universe and the UFC did not disappoint. On a night of great fights, the epic main event between Hendo and Shogun stole the show.
Le vs. Silva: The co-main event of the evening was a bout between two legends. Wanderlei Silva took on San Joses Cung Le in this middleweight fight. The first was pretty even as Le knocked Silva down early, but was unable to build on that. That left an opening for Silva, who took advantage.
The end of the first and all of the second belonged to Silva. After a bit of back and forth, Silva landed several punches that rocked Le. Le ended up against the cage where Silva teed off with knees and more punches. Le was unable to counter anything and the ref stopped the fight. It was Silvas first win since 2010 and puts the legendary title back on his resume.
Faber vs. Bowles: Two former WEC champs took the stage in this bantamweight bout and its easy to say the fight did not disappoint. The California Kid Urijah Faber, who fights out of Sacramento, dominated early and rode a strong wave of punches and knees to a second-round finish.
After Bowles opened the second with a straight jab, Faber countered with a vicious uppercut. That began the end for Bowles. The fight ended with Faber the winner via submission by way of guillotine. He is now the number one contender for the UFC bantamweight title.
Kampmann vs. Story: In what started as a brawl, Kampmann won by split decision after a technically dominant second and third round. He was able to slow the tempo and control the fight on the ground.
Kingsbury vs. Bonnar: Bonnar defeated the San Jose native Kingsbury by unanimous decision. Crowd booed as Bonnar kept fight on the ground and used his Jiu-Jitsu to control the fight.
Knockout of the Night: Michael McDonald
Submission of the Night: Urijah Faber
Fight of the Night: Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua and Cung Le vs. Wanderlei Silva