The main event of UFC 139: "Shogun vs. Henderson" tonight (Sat., Nov. 19, 2011) in San Jose, California, featured a light heavyweight showdown years in the making, as Mauricio Rua and Dan Henderson, who just missed each other in Pride, finally did their thing inside the cage.
While nothing is assured in the UFC, a win in a fight like this would go a long way in determining the next challenger to either the 205-pound title (Rua) or the 185-pound title (Henderson).
By the time all was said and done, though, a title shot was the furthest thing from anyone's mind. The entire mixed martial arts world collectively marveled at the amazing feats of athleticism and heart we witnessed tonight.
The judges ultimately awarded the back-and-forth slugfest to Henderson by scores of 48-47 across the board.
Rematch, please. Immediately.
These two didn't waste any time getting the party going. Rua looked to land first but it was Henderson who hit with his flurry and bloodied up "Shogun" within the very first minute of the fight.
The "H-Bomb" was ready to detonate.
Rua showed he wasn't to be counted out, though, by making "Hendo" eat a few knuckle sandwiches, Brazilian style. End of round one and this was already as fun as imagined.
Naturally, everything was slowed down in the second frame, as expected. This was, after all, a five round fight and energy had to be conserved.
It wasn't until the middle of round three that Henderson finally landed a huge right hand to the temple. And when he did, he attacked with killer instinct. But somehow, some way, "Shogun" survived.
He even worked a heel hook shortly after.
Thankfully, this was a five round fight and we were treated to yet another round of what was turning into what was already an awesome bloodbath.
Henderson kept the edge, earning a takedown and landing shots from top.
And then Rua started landing and it was clear "Hendo" was completely gassed. He was just eating every punch and hoping to survive through sheer force of will and determination.
Somehow they made it to round five and shortly into it, "Shogun" earned a takedown and got to side control. Then he switched to full mount and started raining down blows. Both men were sucking air with deep, deep breaths.
Rua maintained his dominant position and attacked with the determined fervor one couldn't possibly expect from him after the absolute beating he took in the early rounds.
By the time the final horn sounded, we had witnessed one of the greatest fights in recent memory. It was everything fight fans could possibly ask for. Two outright warriors giving it everything they had and battling through five rounds of blood, sweat, and guts.
Winner be damned, that was awesome.
Remember to check out MMAmania.com's coverage of the UFC 139 pay-per-view by clicking here.