A Night of Champions Finishes Big

UFC 139 had a total of 6 former champions on the fight card in what promised to be a great card. The march of champions started when former WEC Bantamweight champions faced off as Urijah Faber took on Brian Bowles for a shot at the UFC Bantamweight title. It continued with a fight between former Pride Champion Wanderlei Silva and former Strikeforce Champion Cung Le. Then the night finished off with one of the biggest matchups between former Pride, Strikeforce, and just about every other title holder Dan Henderson took on former UFC and Pride Champion Mauricio Rua. Rua represented the one title that Henderson had never reached as he has held a title in every organization he has competed in but had not been able to get the UFC belt he wants. Rua had this belt but could not defend it against current champion Jon Jones and was looking to get back to the #1 contender spot. This matchup was greatly anticipated as both fighters spent the sometime in Pride and never faced each other. Through their time in Pride the matchup was requested by fans but never happened especially after both went to the UFC with Rua sitting in the Light Heavyweight division and Henderson in the Middleweight division. Usually with the hype around fights the fans are disappointed as the fight never lives up to the hype beforehand. This was the furthest from the truth this night as Henderson and Rua put on one of the best fights ever seen in the UFC octagon. Both fighters came out swinging from the start of the fight. In the first three rounds of this 5 round fight Henderson seemed to have Shogun on the ropes constantly. With some devastating overhand rights Henderson bloodied Rua and sent him to the mat multiple times with these punches. Rua did not give in too easily though as he landed his own shots hurting Henderson as well. After three rounds it was a tight fight with the rounds seemingly leaning towards Henderson although the third round could have gone either way. This third round seemed to be the turning point in the fight as Rua began to come back into the fight. With the new rule in the UFC the main event was a 5-round fight giving Rua two more rounds to come back and show his strength. The fourth and fifth round were just this with Rua punishing Henderson and almost ending the fight more than once. Both rounds saw a similar finish as Rua got on top of Henderson and advanced to full mount where he continued to dominate. The fight went the full 5 and had everyone watching on their feet after a major war that saw two legends in a true scrap. The fight went to the judges and it was obvious that Henderson took the first two rounds while Rua took the last two leaving the 3rd and decisive round up for grabs. The judges’ decision came in and it was as many had though he had won the first two and lost the last two but every judge gave him the third as well. Henderson took the Unanimous Decision win and added to his long list of accomplishments with one of the best UFC fights ever. Rua took the loss but did not get dominated keeping him in the conversation just behind Henderson. Hendo will move on to continue his quest for a UFC title as he has stated he will fight anyone in the Light Heavyweight division and will only fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. With Lyoto Machida and Jon Jones facing off in December Henderson could be the next in line for a title shot and his great performance at UFC 139 would make a title shot hard to argue against.

The fights leading up to this match between two legends were nothing to scoff at either as the other 4 champions faced off in matches worthy of recognition. Just before the main event another legend came into the octagon as Wanderlei Silva faced off against Cung Le. Both of these fighters are nearing the end of their careers and a loss on the night could mean a serious conversation about retirement. Both fighters did not want to lose and came out trying to finish from the bell. Le used his unique kicks and strikes to hurt Silva many times as Silva looked to be on his way out of the UFC. A new and patient Silva did not submit to the strikes though as he did not begin to come forward wildly and instead stalked Le to find an opening. After surviving the first round Silva moved into the second and picked apart Le with some strong punches that shocked Le. Silva then got Le into the clinch and landed some big knees that sent the former Strikeforce champion to the mat. From there Silva looked like his old self as he pounced on Le and finished off the fight to end the retirement talk. Silva is back and will continue to fight and with a new attitude on fighting he could make one more run at a title. Le lost the fight and will need to decide whether to continue to fight at 39-years old or focus on his acting career. Leading off the march of champions was a matchup of two former WEC Bantamweight Champions who had more than pride on the table. Brian Bowles took on Urijah Faber for a chance to become the #1 contender for the Bantamweight Title currently held by Dominick Cruz. Faber seemed to outclass Bowles throughout the first round as Faber’s speed seemed to have Bowles going backwards. Faber finished the first round on top of Bowles giving him an advantage in the scorecards. Then in the second Faber made sure the fight did not go to the scorecards as he caught Bowles with a big uppercut sending him to the mat. While on the mat Faber was able to work his way quickly into a guillotine choke and finish off the fight. The win gives Faber the chance to avenge a loss to Cruz for the Bantamweight Title next year. The best fights of the night involved the six former champions on the card as the march of champions led to a great finish on a stellar card.

The Bonuses totaled $70,000 for each fighter involved in the best performances of the night that saw two fights of the night on one card. The “Submission of the Night” went to Urijah Faber for his guillotine choke against Brian Bowles that gave The California Kid a title shot in the Bantamweight Division. The “Knockout of the Night” went to Michael McDonald who showed that he is the future of the Bantamweight division by knocking out Alex Soto in round one of their preliminary fight.  There were two fights of the night with the first $70,000 bonus going to Wanderlei Silva and Cung Le for their battle that ended in a Sila Knockout. The second bonus went to the main event as Henderson and Rua battled it out for 5 rounds in the fight of the year.

 

Full Results:

Dan “Hendo” Henderson def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva def. Cung Le

(TKO; Rd. 2)

 

“The California Kid” Urijah Faber def. Brian Bowles

(Submission; Guillotine Choke, Rd. 2)

 

Martin “Hitman” Kampmann def. Rick “The Horror” Story

(Split Decision)

 

Stephan “American Psycho” Bonnar def. Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Ryan “Darth” Bader def. Jason “Hitman” Brilz

(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Michael “Mayday” McDonald def. Alex “Extremo” Soto

(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Chris “The All-American” Wideman def. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor

(Submission; D’Arce Choke, Rd. 1)

 

Gleison Tibau def. Rafael dos Anjos

(Split Decision)

 

Miguel Angel Torres def. Nick Pace

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Seth “Polish Pistola” Baczynski def. Matt “The Immortal” Brown

(Submission; Guillotine Choke, Rd. 2)

 

Danny “Last Call” Castillo def. Shamar Bailey

(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events:

TUF Finale: Team Mayhem vs. Team Bisping (Dec. 3rd; 9:00 pm)

– Free Live on Sportsnet

– Las Vegas, Nevada (The Pearl)

– Main Event: Michael “The Count” Bisping vs. Jason “Mayhem” Miller

– The rest of the card will be determined after the conclusion of the reality show this week

 

UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida (Dec. 10th; 9:00 pm)

– Toronto, Ontario (Air Canada Centre)

– Main Event: Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida [Light Heavyweight Title]

– Notable: Frank Mir vs. Minotauro “Big Nog” Nogueira

– Notable: The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio “Little Nog” Nogueira

 

UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem (Dec. 30th; 10:00 pm)

– Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Garden Arena)

– Main Event: Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair “The Reem” Overeem

– Notable: Nate Diaz vs. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone

– Notable: Jon Fitch vs. Johnny Hendricks

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