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

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

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AP

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series opener in Chicago:

Giants (19-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Ty Blach (R) P (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Cubs (22-20) 
1. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Addison Russell (R) SS
7. Jason Heyward (L) RF
8. Javier Baez (R) 2B
9. John Lackey (R) P (4-3, 4.37 ERA)

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

SAN ANTONIO -- The Specter of 73 haunts the Warrior still and you can feel it in their dismissive, yes-but responses to being on the brink of yet another entry into the NBA record book.

Though they do not believe their pursuit and achievement last season of an NBA-record 73 wins sabotaged their chances for a championship, it is evident the Warriors came away with diminished appreciation of gaudy numbers.

They can add to their list of shiny accomplishments Monday night. A victory over the Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals would make the Warriors the first team ever to open the playoffs with three four-game sweeps and a 12-0 record.

“My wife asked me this morning: What if you guys win and you’re 12-0?” general manager Bob Myers told NBCBayAreaSports.com Monday afternoon. “Well, for me, the record thing kind of got screwed up last year.”

Yes, the record thing. The Warriors chased 73 and got 73 and yet they’ll be known just as much, if not more, as the first team to blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

“It’s all about 16,” Stephen Curry told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Getting to 16 wins in the postseason means getting to the top. Winning it all. The very thing the Warriors did not accomplish a year ago.

They are one win away from being three-quarters of the way there.

“Going 12-0 sounds great,” Curry said. “But it probably would have happened if the Lakers would have played a seven-game series to start the run through the playoffs.”

The Lakers twice swept their first three postseason series -- in 1989 and 2001 -- but in both instances the first round was best-of-five. Both streaks ended at 11 in a row.

The Warriors seem to view numbers as decoration, ancillary components to the primary. They may have felt that way all along, but going through what they did last season, losing The Finals to the Cavaliers, provided an acute sense of context.

“It’s unfortunate that we put so much into the last game of the season, or winning the whole thing because there are a lot of things that we, as an organization, should be proud of no matter what happens,” Myers said. “But it’s hard, knowing where were last year, to see that regular-season record and then not win the championship. It’s a mixed feeling.

“So when you talk about records and numbers and things like that, and you know what it’s like to win a championship and you know what it’s like to lose, it’s hard to put them in proper perspective.”

The Warriors have made it clear they are less than impressed with their average victory margin of 16.5 points through the first 11 games in these playoffs. The record is 14.5, set by the Bucks in 1971.

They’re not buying into the hype generated by leading all playoff teams in points per game (117.4) and field-goal percentage (49.7) and field-goal percentage defense (41.6).

Numbers. Just numbers. Like, for example, 73.

“To know that we have a great regular-season record and a tiny little banner in our practice facility, “ Myers said, “it doesn’t feel like it should.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say it doesn’t mean anything. But it’s hard to really understand what it means right now. And knowing that we’ve been in the midst of all these numbers and records and road-win records and things like that, you get lost in it in good and bad ways. It’s fantastic, but also what does it mean? Because what we’re really trying to do is win a championship.”

Which, of course, comes back to numbers.

“You can learn lessons in winning and you can learn lessons in losing,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of how you respond from game to game. But 12-0 would be irrelevant come next series.”