Tonight's UFC event was a classic. I predicted that the fighter with the most heart, the fighter that simply wanted it more would win this fight because each had many reasons to leave it all out there. Both fighters gave every ounce they had in this one. In fact, every fight lived up to the hype, especially the final three.
The California Kid won in a great fight in his home state, to the delight of the crowd in the arena. Faber beat Bowles with a second round submission, after a brutal assault that started to pick up steam in the second round. After Faber put on a show, Wanderlei Silva welcomed Cung Le to the UFC with a loss in his first fight. Cung Le, entered the octagon with a reputation of powerful kicks, but it was a series of kicks by Silva that changed the course of the fight. Le spun kick after kick, but when Silva attacked with four consecutive kicks to Le, it changed the whole fight. None of the kicks hurt Le badly, but it seemed to effect his mindset. The kicks seemed to catch him completely off guard, and from that point forward he could never regain the upper hand. I believe Le was confused by the kicks, and was therefore watching for them throughout the rest of the fight, which ultimately led to him being assaulted with punches and elbows, and being finished off by four violent knees to the face. This fight had Fight of the Night written all over it, until Shogun and Henderson took to the Octagon.
In the post fight interviews and commentary, Joe Rogan said the fight might have been the greatest in UFC history, and the greatest that he had ever called. I completely agree. I will give a brief summary, but this fight needs to be seen to completely understand how great it was. I have never seen a fight better than this. The unbelievable beatings these two fighters took were legendary.
Henderson put a beating on Shogun in Round 1, catching him with a few blows that left him looking slightly confused. He got him to the ground and it looked as though the fight could have been stopped, but the ref let them fight, and it's a good thing he did. Round 2 brought another round won by Henderson, but not without a burst from Shogun. Round 3 was the turning point in my eyes. Henderson won the round, but towards the end of the round, Shogun began to find rhythm and some life, but not before being absolutely beaten on the ground. He was able to get a single leg, but couldn't get a good hold. At the very end of the round, Henderson was tiring and Shogun was still alive. This ended up being the deciding round, as two judges scored it 10-9, and one scored it 10-8-Henderson. After the tremendous beating that Shogun took, I understand why it was scored a 10-8, but I was not sure if any of the judges had scored it a 10-8 while watching live. Round 4 saw Henderson endure an unbelievable amount of damage, taking fist after fist to his face. His tank was empty. He let his hands down and let his face absorb the abuse. He had no energy left to defend himself, but every now and then countered with a strong hook after taking one right to the jaw. He wobbled but he did not get knocked out. He fought with all he had to keep the fight going and to not get it called. He was not going to lose unless he was knocked out. Clearly Shogun took this round. Round 5 was one sided, completely dominated by Shogun on the ground. Numerous times he had Hendo in a mount, and numerous times Henderson found the strength to escape. I have no idea how. The final seconds saw another full mount, that Henderson survived until the end. All three judges gave round 5 to Shogun, 10-8. It was not enough though, as the first three rounds proved to dominant by Dan Henderson and he won by by unanimous decision, 48-47.
I recommend everyone find this fight somehow and watch it because who knows when we will ever see a fight like this again. This fight was worth the many years that we have all waited. Congrats to Hendo on an amazing performance.