Previewing UFC Fight Night 38: Shogun vs Henderson 2

One of the greatest fights in MMA and UFC history took place on the night of November 19th, 2011 on UFC 139, between two of the most legendary fighters in the sport: Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. What took place that night was nothing short of spectacular as the two former Pride legends engaged in a 5-round all out battle for the ages. This Sunday, yes Sunday, the two combatants will meet again in a rematch headlining the UFC Fight Night 38 event in Natal, Grande do Norte, Brazil.

#8 Dan Henderson (40-11) (+165) vs #7 Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (22-8) (-215)

Dan Henderson comes into this fight on a 3-fight losing streak–with all losses coming against top 10 guys, Lyoto Machida (split), Rashad Evans (split), and most recently suffering his first career knockout at the hands of Vitor Belfort. Ironically Dan Henderson’s last victory was against the same opponent he will be facing Sunday, Shogun Rua–also meaning that Henderson hasn’t won a fight since 2011. The former Pride welterweight, middleweight, and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion returned to the UFC for a 3rd stint in 2011 and has gone 1-3 since. Fresh off signing a new 6-fight contract, at 43 years old, the former 2-time Olympian is undecided on his future after Sunday, specifically in regards to the recent TRT ban. Henderson will be the last fighter to be granted a TUE for TRT after the ban came into effect earlier in the month by the Nevada Athletic State Commission and other commissions followed suit.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has had a rather inconsistent UFC career up to this point–6-6 record, especially when you consider coming into the UFC from Pride when he was ranked the #1 light heavyweight in the world. The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion and Pride Middleweight Grand Prix champion is coming off a much needed knockout victory over James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia. Prior to that, he had lost back-to-back fights to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen. Since losing the epic grueling battle to Dan Henderson, Rua has gone 2-2.

Let’s take a statistical look back at the first fight between Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua:

This was one of the first non-title 5-round fights after the UFC had instilled a new rule making all main event fights 5 rounds. And in hindsight, without that new rule, we would have never been able to witness the greatness that was about to ensue. The first two rounds and the first half of the 3rd round were dominated by Dan Henderson, who came out and landed his patented h-bombs on the chin of Rua–who to his credit took the punches and never went down. The first three rounds were enough to win Dan Henderson the fight, however, there were 2 more rounds to go.

The final two rounds were all about survival for Dan Henderson, who at 40 years old ran out of gas by the 3rd. Shogun also wasn’t doing well when it came to the cardio aspect, but had more than Henderson to compete in the 4th and 5th. Shogun landed 4 of 4 takedowns on the exhausted Olympian–previously landing just 1 of 6 in the first 3 rounds, and came very close to stopping the fight with his ground and pound. Shogun out-landing Henderson 33-9 and 79-8 in the final two. In total strikes, Shogun nearly doubled the amount of Henderson’s by the end of the fight (191-113), but it was Henderson’s early shots that did the damage. The fifth round could have easily been scored a 10-8 round for Rua, and thus would have resulted in a draw, but the judges scored every round 10-9 and awarded Dan Henderson the win.

Dan Henderson def. Mauricio Rua via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)

Fighter KD Sig. Str. Sig. Str. % Total Str. TD TD % Sub. Att. Pass Rev.
Henderson 1 77 of 141 55% 113 of 179 1 of 4 25% 1 2 2
Rua 0 96 of 194 49% 191 of 293 5 of 10 50% 1 8 0
Henderson 0 23 of 43 53% 28 of 48 0 of 1 0% 1 0 0
Rua 0 10 of 25 40% 24 of 40 0 of 3 0% 0 0 0
Henderson 0 25 of 42 60% 35 of 53 0 of 0 0% 0 0 0
Rua 0 20 of 45 44% 28 of 53 0 of 0 0% 0 0 0
Henderson 1 21 of 35 60% 33 of 48 0 of 1 0% 0 0 0
Rua 0 17 of 38 45% 27 of 49 1 of 3 33% 1 0 0
Henderson 0 8 of 20 40% 9 of 21 1 of 2 50% 0 2 2
Rua 0 23 of 44 52% 33 of 54 3 of 3 100% 0 2 0
Henderson 0 0 of 1 0% 8 of 9 0 of 0 0% 0 0 0
Rua 0 26 of 42 62% 79 of 97 1 of 1 100% 0 6 0


The rematch in Shogun’s home country of Brazil will also be contested over 5-rounds. In their first fight, Mauricio Rua got off to a slow start, and conversely Dan Henderson got off to a very quick start. Shogun after being rocked attempted to takedown Dan Henderson, who on a full gas tank was able to defend all 3 of his attempts in the first. In terms of game plans, it will be no surprise what Dan Henderson is going to look to accomplish–as he has come rather predictable–that is stalk down his opponent with his right hand cocked back and looking to land that huge h-bomb on the chin.

On the other hand, Mauricio Rua, while being primarily a striker, has shown the ability to become a bit unpredictable, by changing levels and taking his opponent down. Both fighters have the tendency to slow down if the fight goes past 2 rounds, but while Shogun may give off the impression that he’s exhausted, he continues to remain dangerous in the later rounds.

Striking metrics indicate that Mauricio Rua is a slightly more accurate (51% to 48%) and slightly more defensive (55% to 50%) striker than Dan Henderson, with Shogun also landing 1 more significant strike per minute on average.

When it comes to wrestling, the 2-time Olympian clearly has the advantage, ahead in both takedown accuracy (56% to 48%) and takedown defense (61% to 43%)–that is for as long as his cardio lasts in the fight.

While the rematch will almost never live up to the unexpected greatness of the first, it certainly has potential to be another war of attrition. And at stake is a chance to climb the light heavyweight rankings for both still currently top 10 ranked fighters.


Mauricio Rua


Dan Henderson


Wins/Losses/Draws 22-8-0 29-11-0
Average Fight Time 08:36 12:20
Height 6′ 1″ (185 cm) 6′ 1″ (185 cm)
Weight 205 lb. (93 kg) 205 lb. (93 kg)
Reach 76.0″ (193.04 cm) 74.0″ (187.96 cm)
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Age 32 43
STRIKING (Significant Strikes)
Strikes Landed per Min. (SLpM) 3.58 2.46
Striking Accuracy 51% 48%
Strikes Absorbed per Min. (SApM) 2.31 2.46
Defense 55% 50%
Takedowns Average/15 min. 2.33 1.73
Takedown Accuracy 48% 56%
Takedown Defense 43% 61%
Submission Average/15 min. 1.05 0.39


The full 12 fight card also features an abundance of past The Ultimate Fighter winners including the return of the TUF Brazil 1 middeweight winner, Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (7-2) taking on C.B. Dollaway (13-5) in the co-main event.

TUF Brazil 2 welterweight winner Leonardo Santos (12-3) drops to lightweight, competing in his first fight since winning the season, takes on TUF Smashes lightweight winner Norman Parke (19-2).

TUF Brazil 1 featherweight winner, Rony “Jason” Bezerra (13-5) looks to bounce back from his first loss in 9 fights, against Steven Siler (23-11).

And the 4th TUF winner on the card, TUF 14 featherweight winner Diego Brandao (18-9) takes on the 6’4″ Will Chope (19-6) on the ‘main event of the prelims’.

Two more fights to highlight on the card, a couple of top 15 ranked flyweights throw down in what should be an entertaining preliminary fight: #7 Jussier “Formiga” Da Silva vs  #13 Scott Jorgensen. Also the undefeated featherweight out of AKA, Noad Lahat (7-0) makes his UFC debut against TUF Brazil finalist Godofredo “Pepey” Castro (9-3).

And as per usual, this UFC Fight Night 38 card in Brazil features 13 Brazilians on the card–with at least 1 in each fight.

Full UFC Fight Night 38 Card (Sunday, March 23):
Main Card (7 PM EST, FOX Sports 1)
Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua
C.B. Dollaway vs. Cezar Ferreira
Norman Parke vs. Leonardo Santos
Fabio Maldonado vs. Gian Villante
Michel Prazeres vs. Mairbek Taisumov
Rony Jason vs. Steven Siler
Preliminary Card (5 PM EST, FOX Sports 1)
Diego Brandao vs. Will Chope
Ronny Markes vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
Jussier Formiga vs. Scott Jorgensen
Thiago Perpetuo vs. Kenny Robertson
Preliminary Card (4 PM EST, UFC Fight Pass)
Noad Lahat vs. Godofredo Pepey
Francimar Barroso vs. Hans Stringer


Tags: Cb Dolloway Cezar Ferreira Dan Henderson Diego Brandao Fabio Maldonado Francimar Barroso Gian Villante Godofredo Pepey Hans Stringer Jussier Da Silva Kenny Robertson Leonardo Santos Mairbek Taisumov Mauricio Rua Michel Prazeres MMA Noad Lahat Norman Parke Ronny Markes Rony Jason Scott Jorgensen Shogun Steven Siler Thiago Perpetuo Thiago Santos UFC UFC Fight Night Ufc Fight Night 38 Will Chope

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