UFC 139 recap: HendoShogun lives up to legendary status

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UFC 139 recap: HendoShogun lives up to legendary status

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.

Undercard notes:

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

49ers safety Reid endorses LSU safety Adams: 'We'd have to battle it out'

49ers safety Reid endorses LSU safety Adams: 'We'd have to battle it out'

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers already have three safeties selected within the top two rounds of the draft.

But as the organization has considered its options with the No. 2 overall pick, LSU safety Jamal Adams had been in the discussion. Adams recently visited the 49ers, where he and Eric Reid had a chance to catch up with each other.

Reid’s final season at LSU was 2013. The 49ers traded up to select him with the No. 18 overall pick. The 49ers drafted Jimmie Ward at the end of the first round in 2014, and Jaquiski Tartt was a second-round pick in 2015.

In the past 25 years, only two safeties -- Eric Berry (2010) and Sean Taylor (2004) – have been selected in the top five. Both were chosen with the No. 5 overall selection. Adams has a chance to go as early as No. 2 overall.

“I’m excited to see where he ends up. He could end up here. You know what I’m saying?” Reid said on Wednesday at the 49ers’ voluntary minicamp.

“He’s the best one in the draft. Someone will be very happy to have him, I’m sure.”

Adams (5 foot 11 ¾, 214 pounds) is considered more of a box safety. He recorded five interceptions in his 36-game college career, but Reid said he believes Adams can also play free safety.

“No doubt,” Reid said. “The kid can do it all. That’s why they got him projected to go where he is. I believe he could.”

In the 49ers’ new defense, which is based on Seattle’s scheme, Ward is getting a long look at free safety in the team’s minicamp. Ward started at cornerback last season.

After recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid has one interception over the past two seasons. He played 10 games last season before sustaining a season-ending with a torn biceps.

Reid said he is learning a new position but he believes playing closer to the line of scrimmage suits him. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the season as he plays this year with a salary of $5.676 million on the fifth-year option.

“I’m used to being on the back end,” Reid said. “I’m used to dealing with a lot more space. So, really, it’s the run game. And the run fits, knowing the gap schemes, the run (stunts) and knowing where the D-linemen are going to fit and filling the holes. That’s been the biggest difference for me.

“I like it. I’m a bigger safety in this league, so I think it’ll work for me.”

And what if the 49ers select Adams on Thursday evening?

”That’ll be interesting,” Reid said. “We’d have to battle it out. We’ll see how it goes.”

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

The Raiders offense is stacked. It was before this offseason, when tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse entered the mix.

Then Marshawn Lynch signed up on Wednesday and filled the last immediate offensive need.

The Raiders have talent and depth at most every offensive position, contrasting the defensive depth chart.

The Raiders need help there, possibly with a few instant impact players taken in this weekend’s NFL draft. The first round starts Thursday evening, with the next two rounds Friday afternoon and the remainder of this draft starting Saturday morning.

Despite clear needs, Reggie McKenzie says position is secondary to his ranking system.

“We’re going to take the best player,” McKenzie said in his pre-draft press conference. “There are some good defensive players in this draft, but we’re going to follow our board like always.”

The Raiders general manager says that could lead to an unexpected draft haul. At least he tried.

“Don’t be surprised if I draft all offensive players,” McKenzie said, unable to keep a straight face. “How about that?”

McKenzie knows his roster is strong, with clearly identifiable needs on defense. The Raiders need a starting inside linebacker. They need a slot cornerback. They need help rushing on the defensive interior. They need safety help.

McKenzie tried to fix some of those areas in free agency, but could find a match beyond weakside linebacker Jelani Jenkins. The draft offers the best opportunity to upgrade on defense, and volume could help fix that unit.

“Hopefully we can get a couple of defensive players that can help our team,” McKenzie said. “But, like we both said, we just want to help this football team, regardless of who comes at a spot whether it’s first or seventh round. And hopefully we get some good players after the draft. That’s the plan, we just want to keep stocking and let the chips fall.”

This draft is critical as the Raiders enter a new phase. He deconstructed the roster and reconstructed it while getting right with the salary cap. Now they need to extend members of the awesome 2014 draft class, including quarterback Derek Carr, guard Gabe Jackson and edge rusher Khalil Mack. Drafted quality must continue to cycle through to keep the team strong and the team’s competitive window open.

McKenzie must keep an eye on the horizon, though a few more quality players could push his unit into serious contention for a conference title.

“What we want as a team moving forward, we just want more impact players,” McKenzie said. “You can never have enough playmakers on both sides of the ball and depth on both sides. That’s when you come in and try to get you the best player who can do those things. We’re not just going to plug holes if that’s what you’re asking. We’re going to get some good football players regardless of who we have here.”