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Behind the UFC 139 numbers: Shogun Rua vs Dan Henderson fight complete statistical breakdown


On Sat., Nov. 19, 2011, two men who are larger than life in the mixed martial arts (MMA) world will step inside the Octagon at UFC 139 in San Jose, Calif., to determine which veteran of the sport still has got "the juice."

Lately, the fight landscape has been unkind to the legends who have paved the way for some of the current and emerging bigger names (see Mirko Filipovic and B.J. Penn, among others).

Both Mauricio Rua and Dan Henderson believe they still have what it takes to take on the best of the best. And it has even been suggested that this 205-pound showdown is possibly a number one contender eliminator match (though that has never been officially confirmed).

The two men share a total of six common opponents. They both fought for Pride FC in Japan and now both fight for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Yet, somehow, they've never fought each other.

After the jump, we'll take a look at the numbers and see if they shed any light on the outcome of Saturday night's main event:

"Shogun" and "Hendo" have both fought the following common opponents:

-- Kazuhiro Nakamura
-- Ricardo Arona
-- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
-- Renato Sobral
-- Akiro Gono
-- Hiromitsu Kanehara.

Againts those six shared foes, Rua holds a record of 5-1, while Henderson's record versus the bunch is a nearly identical 5-2 (he fought Sobral twice).

The math whizzes over CompuStrike went to the trouble of analyzing 12 of each fighter's bouts and collected data based on those respective contests. Once again, CompuStrike was kind enough to share its findings.

It's no secret that Rua and Henderson have knockout power and possess the ability to put a man to sleep in the blink of an eye. Let's take a look at who the numbers favor in the general striking game:

Total Strikes:

Rua -- 55 of 97
Henderson -- 53 of 107


Rua -- 57%
Henderson -- 50%

Total Power Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 32
Henderson -- 31

Total Non-Power Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 23
Henderson -- 22

Pretty close, other than the accuracy aspect. This probably will not surprise most MMA fans because Henderson is known for sometimes throwing wild, looping shots that are intended to end fights in one fell swoop.

Let's take things one step further.

The stand up game comprises what are called "arm strikes" (any punch or elbow blow) and "leg strikes" (and kick or knee). So who's got better hands?:

Total Arm Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 16 of 37
Henderson -- 17 of 49

Percentage of Arm Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 53%
Henderson - 35%

Power Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 10
Henderson -- 12

Non-Power Strikes Landed

Rua -- 6
Henderson -- 5

It would appear as though Rua's "arm strikes" are more accurate, but Henderson may have a slight edge in the "power" department.

During his Pride FC days, Rua had a reputation for using lethal "soccer kicks" and knees to finish his opponents. Therefore, one would assume that the Brazilian would hold the advantage over Henderson on the "leg strikes" end of things.

Let's take a look-see:

Total Leg Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 14 of 22
Henderson -- 10 of 15

Percentage of Leg Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 64%
Henderson 67%

Power Leg Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 8
Henderson -- 5

Non-Power Leg Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 6
Henderson  -- 5

Interesting. And much closer than you'd think. Henderson would appear to be the more accurate of the two, while Rua is slightly more powerful.

Moving along, Henderson is a world class wrestler. While Rua is certainly not terrible on the ground, you'd think Henderson would be a huge favorite if the fight hits the canvas. 

Let's check the actual numbers and see if they back up this assumption: 

Ground Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 25 of 38
Henderson -- 26 of 43


Rua -- 66%
Henderson -- 61%

Power Ground Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 14
Henderson -- 14

Non-Power Ground Strikes Landed:

Rua -- 11
Henderson -- 12


Rua - 30 of 48 for 68%
Henderson - 18 of 33 for 55%

Submission Attempts:

Rua - 16
Henderson - 4

Dominant Positions:

Rua - 37
Henderson - 7


That's a bit unexpected, but you have to take into account the fact that Henderson prefers to stand and trade, regardless of his Olympic-level wrestling pedigree. 

Is this what you expected the numbers to bear out? Are you thinking any differently than before or do you Maniacs not put a lot of stock into statistics?

Opinions, please!

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