10 Thoughts on UFC 139: Shogun vs. Hendo

San Jose, California, you lucky S.O.B’s. Do you even know how awesome that main event was? Oh, you do? Good. Yes, it was epic. It was an epic, epic slugfest but there was an entire card to discuss, so let’s do that.

1. I won’t talk too much about the Spike prelims, but damn Ryan Bader looked good. Here at Inside Fights HQ, the room was very heavily behind “Darth” and after two losses, it was rad to see The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 winner getting back on the positive side of the ledger.

2. Actually, who am I kidding? With two fighters who couldn’t make weight (there were three but two “couldn’t lose more weight”), it was understandable to see Miguel Torres and Danny Castillo annoyed at their opponents. In fact, Torres had some “less than kind words” for his opponent, Nick Pace. Danny Castillo said post-fight that he felt completely disrespected by Shamar Bailey, who couldn’t make wait for their bout as well, so his win was only fitting.

3. Yes, Stephan Bonnar was better than Kyle Kingsbury on the mat. That fight was pretty uneventful and frankly, the crowd was there and let the fighters (Bonnar in particular) hear it. There is, however, no way that was a 30-25 fight. No way, no how. That’s a creepy, dangerous precedent to set.

4. Martin Kampmann looked great in the first fight since his most recent loss to Diego Sanchez. After surviving a first round deluge from Rick Story, Kampmann settled in and found his groove in the remaining rounds.

5. “California Love” is a great song on its own, but when Urijah Faber is coming to the cage in his home state to it, it’s sort of magical. The crowd went nuts when he hit the cage and rightfully so.

6. Faber looked great against Bowles. Great job with the submission win and thank goodness that he didn’t break his hands again in this fight. Faber will once again match up with Dominick Cruz for the third time (and the second time for the UFC Bantamweight title). Will things turn out differently this time? Who knows. I will make that prediction when the time comes.

7. Cung Le is still deadly with his video game style kicks. You give him range and he’ll break you – just ask Frank Shamrock and his right forearm. Tonight, however, he ran into a determined Wanderlei Silva who wasn’t afraid to engage with the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion. Several times in the first round, “The Axe Murderer” looked like he was ready to crumble. For him to recover the way that he did proves that not only is he among the greatest fighters of all time, but he’s among the greatest warriors that the sport has seen. Hyperbole? A bit. But he recovered, persevered and handled the best of what Cung Le had to offer.

8. At first glance, I wasn’t big on the Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Dan Henderson main event to UFC 139. I didn’t think it was weak, but it wasn’t something that I wanted to see in 2011. Maybe in 2005, but today, the fight wouldn’t be what it once could have been.

9. Dana White was right to make all main events five rounds. Here’s why: that fight tonight was effing epic. It encompassed everything that is right with MMA. Dan Henderson took the first three rounds, no question. Shogun Rua took the fourth and fifth rounds and those rounds wouldn’t have happened (obviously) without the change. In those frames, Rua almost came back to steal the fight. In fact, on our scorecards, he won the last round with a 10-8 which would have led to a 47-47 draw. Instead…

10. How did Henderson not lose the final frame 10-8? In a card where Stephan Bonnar was given a 30-25 from one judge, who the hell didn’t see the fight that way? The fight was great and if neither fighter was deemed the “winner,” it wouldn’t hurt the encounter. I think that was at play was the issue of the proper judging taking place. Will and I have discussed this on the radio show a bunch but 10-point musts suck. If you award each round to a fighter based on the fact that they “won” that round, tonight’s fight ends 3-2 and Dan wins. I am okay with that. Based on the standards set in place, though, this was a tie. Henderson wasn’t given a 10-8 round for his destruction of Rua and vice versa in rounds 4 or 5. No more complaining.

10 a) This fight was a classic. It’s among the best of all-time and we’ll see this on every highlight reel for years to come. If I didn’t have to pay for it, I would probably watch this fight again all week. Fight of the Year, easily.

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