UFC 139: Shogun vs Henderson

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will hold its next event, UFC 139, this Saturday, November 19th, at the HP  Pavilion in San Jose, California.  This will be the first time the UFC has come to San Jose, although it has been a popular venue for other MMA fights. There are no championship fights on this card, but two of these fights will determine who gets the opportunity to fight for the UFC Light Heavyweight and Bantomweight Championship belts next.  In addition to these two fights, there is another Light Heavyweight fight, a Welterweight fight, and a Middleweight fight on the main fight card. The main event is a Light Heavyweight fight between two of the most well-known fighters in the UFC.  This is a fight that fans have been wanting to see for many years, and now they will finally get their opportunity.  Here is a breakdown of the main fight card that Dana White and the UFC have scheduled for UFC 139: Shogun vs Henderson.

The main event – Light Heavyweight bout:  Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (20-5-0) vs Dan “Hendo” Henderson (28-8-0)

UFC Light Heavyweight fighter Mauricio RuaMauricio Rua is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and wants his opportunity to regain that title.  With a win this Saturday, he will have his opportunity.  Rua is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.  Rua had his first professional fight just before his 21st birthday.  Fighting professionally for 9 years, he is just coming into his prime at 29, and he is one of the strongest in his weight class.  He will be fighting someone who may be past their prime at 41 years old.

Rua is famous for his wild, aggressive style, and has been known to use stomps and kicks on downed opponents.  He has quick hands, throws punches in bunches, and will need to use these to his advantage in a standup fight.  He also has power in both hands, and good ground and pound to finish fights.  Rua is better than his opponent at Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, but he is focusing on his boxing for this fight.  He is also working on his agility in order to move better and be quicker than his opponent. Rua would like to avoid his opponents heavy hands and possible takedown attempts.

Rua is 4-3 since signing with the UFC, but two of those losses were for the Light Heavyweight Championship.  Prior to the UFC, he was 12-1 in the Pride Fighting Championship, including winning the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Championship in 2005.  In his 20 wins, 17 have been by KO/TKO.  He is not too successful in takedown attempts, but typically doesn’t want his fights to go to the ground.  Defensively, he does not avoid as many strikes as he should due to his aggressiveness.  He has been taken down too easily by his opponents in previous fights.  In his five losses, Rua has been knocked out twice, submitted twice, and lost only one by decision.  His best chance to win this fight is to stay on his feet, but use his Muay Thai to keep his opponent off-balance.  He may want to show some caution in this fight in order to avoid getting hit with a knockout blow.  Rua says he wants to be the first to knock out Dan Henderson. Due to their similar aggressive fighting styles, this fight may end up being won by whoever strikes first.

UFC Light Heavyweight fighter Dan HendersonDan Henderson has had an illustrious 14 year MMA career, and has faced many of the top MMA fighters in the world.  Prior to that, he was a successful wrestler whose career began in high school.  He went on to wrestle in college, and was a gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling at the Pan American Championships.  He is the former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion, and former Pride Fighting Championship Welterweight, and Middleweight Champion.  He wants to add the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship to his titles, and a win would put him in contention.

Henderson is 41 years old, but says he is not done yet.  He is obviously a supreme wrestler, but also has good boxing skills with knockout power in both hands.  His overhand right may be the most powerful pound for pound in the UFC.  He keeps a low stance and also uses his left hook effectively as well.  Out of his 28 wins, 13 have been by KO/TKO, and 13 by decision.  Henderson has amazing ground and pound as well, and can finish a fight in a hurry.  He has an iron chin, and although he has been rocked several times, he has never suffered a KO or TKO in his career.  Out of his 8 career losses, 3 have been by submission and 5 by decision.  He has an amazing ability to recover quickly, and always comes into his fights in great condition.

Henderson is 3-0 since turning 40, and is 6-1 in his last 7 fights.  He is not an overly effective striker, but is a good dirty boxer, and his power compensates for his ineffectiveness.  Being a fighter that mainly moves forward, he also is not great at avoiding strikes.  He is fairly successful with his takedown attempts, but typically likes to stand and punch just like Rua.  With his wrestling experience, he has very good takedown defense.  Henderson is not a submission guy, and will look to stand and throw punches.  He will either look for a knockout punch, or take his opponent to the ground and pound him to a TKO.

Middleweight bout: Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (33-11-1, 1NC) vs Cung Le (7-1-0)

UFC Middleweight Fighter Wanderlei SilvaWanderlei Silva started training in MMA at 13 because he said when he was little he was short and fat.  He spent his early MMA career fighting in Brazil, then in Tokyo with the Pride Fighting Championship organization.  He was the Pride Middleweight Champion from 2001 to 2007, and holds the record for most wins and knockouts in Pride history.  He was unbeaten, with 16 wins, between August 2000 and October 2004.  Silva fought in the UFC one time back in 1998, but didn’t return to the UFC until 2007.  Back in the UFC, Silva is 2-4, and has dropped down from Light Heavyweight to Middleweight.  Although he has had a decorated fight history, he seems to be at a crossroads in his career.  Starting off with a 27-3-1 (1NC) professional MMA record, he is only 6-8 in his last 14 fights.  Sylva is 35, and has had 46 professional MMA fights.

Silva has world-class experience, is a Muay Thai specialist, and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  He is an intense fighter with good striking and precise technique.  He loves to engage his opponents, punch, and throw knees in the clinch.  He is what you would call a dirty boxer, but it works for him and his aggressive style.  Out of his 33 wins, 24 have been by knockout, but he has also been knocked out in 6 of his 11 losses.  Silva has pretty good striking defense, but can be taken down.  Silva says he wants to test the chin of Le, and wants to have the fight of the year.  He may need it if he intends to remain in the UFC.  Look for Silva to try to get in tight with his opponent.  He will look to end the fight early with knees and upper cuts in the clinch against the fence.

UFC Middleweight fighter Cung LeCung Le is from San Jose, and will be fighting in the UFC for the first time.  At 39, he is no spring chicken, but he has been training in martial arts since he was very young.  He was enrolled in Taekwondo at an early age to deal with bullies and racism at his school.  He was an All-American wrestler in high school, and also wrestled in junior college.  Le is a black belt in Taekwondo, blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and experienced in Sanshou.  He was undefeated (17-0) in his kickboxing career from 1997 to 2004.  Le didn’t begin his professional MMA career until just before his 35th birthday.  He won the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship in only his sixth professional fight.  He has amassed a 7-1 record, with every win coming by knockout.

Le is a striking expert, with some serious leg kicks that can end a fight.  He also has good power in his punches.  Le should be quicker than his opponent, and should have the endurance to outlast his opponent if the fight goes three rounds.  Although he lacks the experience in the Octagon, Le has plenty of fighting experience.  He will try to win the fight by using his quickness and leg kicks to keep his distance from the power of Silva.  Then Le will look for his opportunities to strike, and wear down Silva throughout the fight.  If Le can survive the early onslaught, I think he can endure and come up with a win.

Bantomweight bout: Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (25-5-0) vs Brian Bowles (10-1-0)

UFC Bantomweight fighter Urijah FaberUrijah Faber was previously the WEC Featherweight title holder, and successfully defended that title five times.  Faber started wrestling in the eighth grade and continued throughout his college days at Division I, UC Davis.  Shortly after graduating in 2003, he started training in MMA.  Faber is a very well-rounded fighter, with a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  He has the ability to adapt to a variety of situations, and is a strong fighter for his size.  He can beat you with his lightning fast hands, his strong takedowns, or his effective submissions.

Faber won his first 8 fights, lost one, then won his next 13 fights while becoming the WEC Featherweight Champion.  After starting his career 21-1, his record is 4-4 since then. He has won 13 fights by submission and 7 by knockout, and he has never been submitted. Faber is a good standup striker, and okay at defending strikes.  He is not very successful with his takedowns, but about as good as his opponent at defending the takedown.  He has a solid punch, and will surely be in good enough shape to go hard the entire fight. Faber lost his last fight, for the Bantomweight Championship, and he wants an opportunity to win that belt back as soon as possible.

Both Faber and his opponent have an aggressive offensive approach, so it will be interesting to see who wins the middle of the ring.  Faber feels that he is more creative, faster, and stronger than his opponent.  He will need to defend against the big punch, and stay on his feet.  Later in the fight, Faber might look for a takedown, and a submission, which may be the exact same approach his opponent may have.

UFC Bantomweight fighter Brian BowlesWith only eight professional MMA fights under his belt, Brian Bowles is a well-rounded fighter with a lot of drive and ambition.  He joined his wrestling team in high school because he was sort-of a loner.  One of his wrestling buddies got him interested in MMA several years later. Since then, Bowles has become a skilled wrestler and kickboxer.  He is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is also very strong for his size.  He is proficient in his standup boxing, and has good submission skills. He is also furious with his ground and pound, and does not quit.  He has heavy hands, uses his knees, and locks in his submission chokes when he sees the opportunity.  He won his first 7 amateur fights, and in only his eighth professional fight, he won the WEC Bantomweight Championship by way of knockout.  Bowles has a great guillotine choke, and has won 6 of his 11 fights by submission.  He also hits with power, and has 3 wins by knockout.  His only loss was due to a doctor stoppage when he broke his hand.

Bowles is a warrior that goes for the kill and wants to finish fights.  He might possibly be the hardest hitter in the 135lb division.  Bowles is a good striker, and is also good at avoiding strikes.  He is successful at taking down his opponents when he decides to do so.  With his wrestling experience, he is good at avoiding the takedown.  Bowles says there is no way Faber wants to win this fight more than him.  With a similar fighting style, look for Bowles to try to out box Faber and avoid any serious damage.  If he rocks Faber, look for Bowles to take it to the ground, and either submit him, or ground and pound Faber for a TKO.  Bowles has not had one of his 11 fights go the distance, and this fight shouldn’t make it to a judges decision either.  The winner of this fight will get the next shot at the Bantomweight title.

Below is the list of the remaining UFC fights on the card for UFC 139 Shogun vs Henderson:

Preliminary card (Facebook)

  • Lightweight bout: Shamar Bailey vs. Danny Castillo
  • Welterweight bout: Matt Brown vs. Seth Baczynski
  • Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres vs. Nick Pace
  • Lightweight bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Rafael dos Anjos
  • Middleweight bout: Tom Lawlor vs. Chris Weidman

Preliminary card (televised)

  • Bantamweight bout: Michael McDonald vs. Alex Soto
  • Light Heavyweight bout: Ryan Bader vs. Jason Brilz

Main card

  • Light Heavyweight bout: Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury
  • Welterweight bout: Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story
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~ by Troy Erickson on November 19, 2011.

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