When two old warriors clash in a long awaited rematch, does it make a sound within the MMA community? We'll find out for sure at UFC Fight Night 38 when two legends, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Dan "Hendo" Henderson battle for the second time in Natal, Brazil.
In their first meeting, Henderson won a unanimous decision in a spirited five-round battle. Unfortunately for Henderson, that was the last time he won a fight. He's lost three fights in a row since.
Quite honestly, a fourth consecutive loss could spell the end of Hendo's career.
Rua revitalized his career with a spectacular KO of James Te Huna in December at UFC Fight Night 33. At 32 years old, Shogun isn't technically old, but he has been fighting professionally since 2002.
He's been in countless wars and those take a toll. Because Rua is almost certainly in for another bruising affair, the question is: How many more wars does he have left in him?
Both men are in a bit of a must-win situation. A loss would make both vulnerable to the promotions cut line in the immediate or near future.
Here's a look at the card and viewing information. The predictions are listed after each matchup.
Just below the predictions is a closer look at three of the key bouts from the main card.
Preliminary Bouts (on UFC Fight Pass) at 4 p.m. ET
Godofredo Pepey (9-3) vs. Noad Lahat (7-0) - Pepey by decision
Francimar Barroso (16-3) vs. Hans Stringer (21-5-3) - Barroso by decision
Preliminary Bouts (on UFC FOX Sports 1) at 5 p.m. ET
Diego Brandao (18-9) vs. Will Chope (19-6) - Brandao by KO
Ronny Markes (14-2) vs. Thiago Santos (8-2) - Markes by KO
Jussier Formiga da Silva (15-3) vs. Scott Jorgensen (14-8) - Jorgensen by decision
Thiago Perpetuo (9-2-1) vs. Kenny Robertson (12-3) - Perpetuo by KO
Main Card Bouts (on FOX Sports 1) at 7 p.m. ET
Mauricio Shogun Rua (22-8) vs. Dan Henderson (29-11) - Rua by decision
Cezar Ferreira (7-2) vs. CB Dollaway (13-5) - Ferreira by decision
Leonardo Santos (12-3) vs. Norman Parke (19-2) - Parke by decision
Fabio Maldonado (20-6) vs. Gian Villante (11-4) - Maldonado by KO
Michel Prazeres (17-1) vs. Mairbek Taisumov (21-4) - Taisumov by submission
Rony Jason (13-4) vs. Steven Siler (23-11) - Jason by submission
Stormin Norman Parke will Outwork Santos for the Win
Parke has no reservations about taking on Santos in his own backyard. The 27-year-old from Northern Ireland seems confident and ready for whatever Santos brings into the Octagon. Speaking with Mark Spence of The Mirror, Parke said:
"I'm hoping we can stand and strike for a while, but I predict he’ll probably try to take me down. If I hurt him at any time, I’ll definitely be hunting hard for the finish."
That aggressive approach will serve him well against Santos. The Brazilian has scored just one of his 12 wins by KO. He's primarily a submissions fighter who looks to gain an advantage on the ground.
However, Parke has the grappling skills to make a good account of himself on the mat.
He owns 12 submissions wins himself. He's the more effective and accurate striker, and that balance will lead to a unanimous decision win.
Mutante Will Subdue Dollaway
From a pure potential standpoint, not many middleweights have the upside that Cezar "Mutante" Ferreira has. His game is well-rounded, he's athletic and tough.
Dollaway certainly brings the latter quality to the table, but his defense has left a bit to be desired in the past.
He's been known to get careless in close quarters, and that's something he can't afford to do against Ferreira. That issue was the main factor in his losses to Jared Hamman and Mark Munoz.
Fighting in his native Brazil, look for Ferreira to be poised, focused and intense.
This is a major opportunity for him to grab a statement win at 185 pounds. He'll show his ever improving jiu-jitsu skills and use his dominating ground game to control the fight.
Hendo is Headed for Retirement
At 43 years old, Hendo has to win this fight to break his losing streak. If he doesn't, it's hard to substantiate him staying on the roster—let alone remaining at main event status.
He's a one dimensional fighter at this stage of his career. If he faces a fighter capable and comfortable on the mat, Henderson is in peril. Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans used this approach to easily control him.
If Rua is wise, he'll follow suit.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has the tools to handle Henderson if he presses him with takedown attempts. In their first fight, Rua allowed the fight to be fought at Henderson's tempo and according to his brawling style.
Rua got hurt early and spent much of the first three rounds trying to recover. He had a few moments late when Hendo gassed, but that's not the ideal approach.
If Rua fights smart, he'll win this one easy.
Henderson will be fighting with absolute desperation. There is so much on the line for him in this fight, as Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog breaks down:
This bout will be something of a milestone, as the Brazilian commission has announced that the therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy granted to Henderson will be the last of its kind in the country. Whether Henderson will be able to continue his MMA career without the treatment remains to be seen.
If Hendo can't win without TRT, the case for him hanging up the gloves gets even stronger.
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