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Henderson stops Rua in rematch

March 24, 2014 « Praying for Wenger to stay | Test Wayin World Cup »
Dan Henderson was nearly knocked out twice before rebounding to finish Mauricio Rua in their rematch at UFC Fight Night 38 © Getty Images
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Dan Henderson was on shaky legs and had been dropped twice earlier in the fight, but he still had his right hand - and that was enough.

Henderson (30-11) recorded an incredible third-round TKO against Mauricio Rua in the main event of a UFC Fight Night 38 on Sunday in Natal, Brazil.

The finish came at the 1:31 mark of the round, when Henderson landed his patented right hand after getting Rua, aka 'Shogun', to drop his arms to defend a takedown. The victory ends a three-fight losing streak for Henderson, who will turn 44 in August.

"You know, this one probably means more than most," said Henderson, on the win. "Shogun is such a big part of mixed martial arts; such a talented, tough fighter.

"Especially after the year I had, coming off that, I wanted to make sure I got a win."

As much as the fight was a testament to Henderson's knockout power, his chin more than proved itself as well.

The fight had shades of the first meeting between the two, which was considered by many to be the fight of the year in 2011. That five-rounder featured several momentum changes, with Henderson ultimately earning a unanimous decision.

Heavy exchanges were once again a theme in the rematch. Coming off the first knockout loss of his 17-year career to Vitor Belfort in November, Henderson was nearly finished in the first and second rounds by punches.

Henderson hurt Rua (22-9) with a short left hook on the inside in the first round, but ate a counter left by Rua moments later that knocked him down. Referee Herb Dean was on the action as Rua moved into Henderson's guard and landed hammerfists. The bell might have been the only thing that saved Henderson from a first-round stoppage.

Rua appeared to be on the verge of a knockout again in the following round when he dropped Henderson with a right uppercut. Henderson eventually got Dean to stand the fight back up by tying up Rua from the bottom, but still appeared unbalanced on his feet. With all momentum clearly in Rua's favor, Henderson shot on a weak double leg early in the third and then connected with the right hand. The blow caused Rua to flip completely over backwards. He attempted to recover by turtling on a single leg, but a few hammerfists from Henderson rendered him defenseless.

"He definitely dinged me," Henderson said. "He rung my bell a tad in the first round and again in the second. I just decided to be patient, but think I was a little too patient in the first two rounds. I wasn't very offensive.

"In the third round, I think we decided to get after it."

Henderson gets his hand raised for the first time since that initial bout against Rua in November 2011. He was scheduled to fight Jon Jones for the title the following year, but withdrew due to a knee injury. Rua falls to 1-3 in his last four fights.

Middleweight C.B. Dollaway scored his first stoppage win since 2008 when he finished Cezar Ferreira © Getty Images
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Dollaway crushes Ferreira in Round 1

C.B. Dollaway wasn't as hurt as Cezar Ferreira thought he was.

A defensive Dollaway (14-5) leveled Ferreira (7-3) with a counter right cross, left hook that dropped the Brazilian less than one minute into their middleweight bout.

The finish came just 39 seconds into the fight. Ferreira struck first with a straight left to Dollaway's chin, but grew wild as he pursued an early finish.

"I'm going to go home, look at the top-10 list in my weight class and figure out who I match up well against," Dollaway said. "I might call them out because it's time for me to start making my move. I love fighting down here in Brazil. The fans show incredible passion and it is awesome to see I'm starting to develop a small fan base. I knew if I stuck to my game plan, I could control the fight and finish him and that's exactly what I did."

The knockout is the sixth of Dollaway's career and first since UFC 92 in December 2008. He slipped a few Ferreira left hands in the opening 10 seconds, but stiffened noticeably when the one connected.

Rather than circle away from the fence, Dollaway stood his ground and landed the clean counter punches. Ferreira tried to sit up and draw Dollaway into his guard, but referee Mario Yamasaki called the bout as Dollaway unloaded punches.

Dollaway is now 3-1 in his last four, with the loss coming via split decision to Tim Boetsch at UFC 166. Ferreira, 29, fell to 3-1 in the UFC.

A questionable point deduction by referee Wernei Cardoso prevented Norman Parke from his fourth consecutive UFC win.

Earlier, a lightweight bout between Parke (19-2-1) and Leonardo Santos (12-3-1) ended in a majority draw, thanks in part to a penalty Parke received in the second round.

The Irish lightweight grabbed the shorts of Santos as he went for a takedown, which prompted Cardoso to take an immediate point with no warning. The call impacted the outcome, as two scorecards read 28-28. A third had it 29-27, Santos.

For two of three rounds, Gian Villante provided Fabio Maldonado target practice.

Maldonado (21-6) poured it on Villante (11-5) from the second round on of their light heavyweight bout, earning a dominant unanimous decision in the process. After being handled by Villante on the ground early, Maldonado took advantage of his superior striking and cardio to cruise to scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27.

"It was a war standing up, but that was after he gave me a hard time on the ground," Maldonado said. "His wrestling is very good, so I knew I had to impose my striking game and avoid the fence. I knew that, striking, he'd get tired first."

Michel Prazeres earned a unanimous decision over Mairbek Taisumov - but the hardest-working man in the cage might have been referee Mario Yamasaki.

Prazeres (18-1) cruised in a lightweight bout that was marred by Taisumov's (21-5) penalties. The Russian was docked points in each of the first two rounds and received a warning in the third.

The penalties, which were due to an illegal kick and for fence grabbing, ultimately had little effect on the outcome as Prazeres won all three rounds on his own merit. All three judges scored the contest 30-25 for Prazeres.

"I only have one thing to say: My team deserves a lot of praise," Prazeres said. "The result speaks for itself, they did an amazing job."

Rony Jason collected his second win by knockout in the UFC, although he might have benefited from an early stoppage by referee Wernei Cardoso.

Jason (14-4) scored a TKO over Steven Siler at the 1:17 mark of the first round. He caught Siler (23-12) with a right hand over the top and then a perfect left hook.

That was all Cardoso needed to see. He stepped in and put a stop to the featherweight bout even as Siler, who was knocked down by the left hook, threw upkicks from his back.

"I had an amazing camp. I made weight and still had some grams to spare," Jason said. "I'm very happy. I feel like everything went perfectly. Last time I was crying, this time I'm smiling. That's how a fighter's life goes."

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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