COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 1 -- Dan
Henderson (Pictures) made it a little longer with
Anderson Silva than
anyone else has lately. His meeting with the UFC middleweight
champion on Saturday before 16,431 fans at a sold-out Nationwide
Arena almost moved into the third round, but the result was the
same regardless: another decisive victory for the most dominant
fighter in mixed martial arts.
Silva submitted the two-time Olympian wrestler 4:52 into the second
round of the UFC 82 main event.
Henderson won the first period, though. After throwing occasional
kicks during the opening two minutes, Silva lunged in for a punch
and Henderson used a body lock to take him down.
The Brazilian was on his back for the rest of the round. He tied up
Henderson's head, but the lifelong wrestler had room to throw short
hammerfists from half-guard and side-mount.
Silva, 32, found his rhythm in the second. He cut off the cage and
kicked to the body and legs of Henderson, who swung wildly in
Following a brief exchange in the clinch, Silva stalked forward,
nodding. His leg shot up for Henderson's head but missed. Next came
another kick that hit to the body, and Henderson tried for a
takedown. The 37-year-old veteran did not get it, but he worked his
way back to the feet and again wrapped his arms around Silva.
This time, however, he couldn't take him down.
The clinch broke, and Henderson leaned in with a good right hand.
His mistake was following with haymakers, which threw him off
balance and nearly allowed Silva to land a knee from his dangerous
Thai clinch. A knee did connect and hurt Henderson when Silva threw
a left head kick, and a flurry ensued.
Henderson swung desperately. With crisper punches, Silva kept
connecting on the feet until he stopped a takedown and resumed
striking from the top on the ground. The fight slowed some as
Henderson appeared to be recovering, but Silva hurt him again with
about a minute left in the round.
Several right hands stunned Henderson, who gave his back. More
punches and elbows followed before Silva secured a modified
"I needed to control the standup a little bit better," said
Henderson, now 22-7. "I didn't pressure him that much. I should
have kept him on the defense a little more. I kind of let him get
his offense going by standing there a little too much. My game
plan, I didn't execute it well enough I think."
Silva said he was not surprised that he had won with a
"Not taking anything away from Dan Henderson -- he came, he fought
very well -- but in my mind, the real champion other than myself
that I have faced in the Octagon was Rich Franklin (Pictures)," said Silva, 21-4, who defended
his middleweight title for the fourth time. "Not to take anything
away from Dan Henderson, though."
Heath Herring (Pictures) (28-13) stormed out of his corner
against Cheick Kongo
(Pictures) (11-4-1). Kongo stood
waiting, seemingly disinterested until a right hand had found his
face. The 32-year-old resident of Paris staggered into the cage but
soon executed a takedown.
In fact, Kongo scored several takedowns in the fight. Although he
had out-struck Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic last September, he chose
to engage Herring on the mat.
The strategy won Kongo the opening round. Despite absorbing that
first big punch, he hurt Herring with strikes on the ground while
the fighters traded numerous positions. Herring reversed twice, but
Kongo kept winning the scrambles and inflicted more damage when he
was on top.
In the second period, though, Herring took the top and did not
relinquish it. That, perhaps, was the difference in the fight:
Herring could get off his back, but Kongo could not.
The 29-year-old Texan moved from the north-south position to
side-control, where he worked enough knees into Kongo's body to
arguably take a second round that also saw him absorb his fair
share of strikes. The third was similar. Herring escaped from
underneath his opponent and mixed short elbows with more knees to
One judge awarded the fight to Kongo 29-28, but the other two gave
it to Herring 29-28 for a split decision.
"If I could have thrown [knees] to the head, this fight would have
been over a long time ago," said Herring, who is now 2-2 in the
UFC. "But here in the U.S., we don't have knees to the head."
Chris Leben (Pictures) (18-4) and Alessio Sakara (Pictures) (12-7) walked out of their
corners ready to trade in a middleweight bout. The similar
strategies were expected, and the result might have been equally
Sakara, a 26-year-old Italian training at American Top Team in
Florida, had the technically superior boxing. He punched in
combinations and connected more often than his freer-swinging
Leben, 27, has a chin, however, and he hits hard. The chin lets him
throw until he lands, which he did with a pair of left hooks behind
Sakara's right ear midway into the round. Sakara folded to the mat,
and Herb Dean (Pictures) stopped the fight at 3:16.
"He actually hit a lot harder than I thought," Leben said of his
opponent. "His footwork and movement was really well. He caught me
with a couple clean shots that actually hurt. It takes a lot to
hurt me, so more power to him. That's exactly what I did. I put him
in the blender. I took him in the deep end. I said you want to
swing, let's swing."
Yushin Okami (Pictures) (21-4) ruined the return of
former 185-pound UFC champion Evan Tanner (Pictures) (32-7). After two minutes of
tentative boxing, the Japanese middleweight contender threw a
one-two that sat Tanner down. The 37-year-old veteran recouped
fairly quickly but mounted no significant offense in the round.
Okami, 26, continued his typically patient approach in the second
period. Meanwhile Tanner looked out of sync on the feet --
understandable since this marked his return to fighting following a
two-year absence from the cage -- and started eating more straight
lefts as the round wore on.
The end came against the cage. Caught in the Thai clinch, Tanner
tried to throw a right hook to the body. The punch gave Okami just
enough distance to deliver a knee to Tanner's chin that dropped
him, and referee Mark Matheny called the fight 3:00 into the
Jon Fitch (Pictures) improved to 8-0 in the UFC and
16-2 overall with a hard-fought win over Chris Wilson (13-4).
A 30-year-old welterweight who trains at Team Quest in Portland,
Ore., Wilson won the first round in what was his UFC debut. He
stuck a good right hand in Fitch's face and also connected with a
jumping knee and a kick to the body.
"He's a long opponent, very good hands," the 30-year-old Fitch said
afterward. "A lot of speed."
Fitch finished two takedowns in the first period and also took the
top position off a scramble early in the second round. He passed to
side-mount and mount before Wilson worked him back into the
half-guard. Although Fitch failed to hurt his opponent, he
controlled the ground game and earned the round.
The fighters traded for the first three minutes of the last round.
Fitch, fighting out of San Jose, Calif., landed with a left hand
and a right after Wilson had thrown another kick into his body.
Another right hand then scored for Fitch, who may have sealed his
win with a single-leg takedown. Regardless, Wilson was game, as he
worked on a triangle choke until time expired.
All three judges awarded Fitch the fight: 30-27 twice and
"I'm ready to fight for that title, whoever's got it," Fitch said.
"Serra, St. Pierre -- whoever the best man is, I want to fight
them. Once you have that belt, every fight you have is going to be
the toughest. That's where I want to be."
In what could be his final fight in the Octagon, former UFC
heavyweight champion Andrei
Arlovski (Pictures) (12-5) stopped the previously
undefeated Jake O'Brien (10-1) at 4:17 into the second round.
O'Brien, 23, of Indianapolis, came out shooting for a takedown. No
doubt expecting such a strategy, Arlovski sprawled and successfully
defended the single-leg. Only more shots followed, however, and the
young wrestler eventually grounded him late in the round. Arlovski
dealt more damage from the bottom than he took, cutting O'Brien's
scalp with an elbow.
Halfway into the second round, a lengthy series of takedown
attempts again culminated with success for O'Brien. He couldn't
hurt the 29-year-old native of Belarus on the ground, though.
After getting back to his feet, Arlovski used a body lock to put
O'Brien's back to the mat. Even worse for the former Purdue
University wrestler was the fact that Arlovski had landed in the
mount. Punches followed, causing O'Brien to cover up until referee
Mark Matheny intervened at 4:17.
(Pictures) (12-3) outwrestled Luke Cummo (Pictures) (6-5) for three rounds. Fighting
out of Orlando, Fla., the 27-year-old Fioravanti scored four
takedowns in the first five minutes. The second and third periods
were no different.
Cummo, 27, of Long Island, N.Y., was active on his back throughout
the fight. He rolled out from under Fioravanti several times, only
to be taken down again before he could get his striking game going
on the feet. The decision was unanimous for Fioravanti, 30-27 on
all three cards.
(Pictures) kicked Josh Koscheck (Pictures) in the head to start their
welterweight fight, and Koscheck kicked him in the head to end it.
The first strike caught Koscheck (10-2) behind the ear, stunning
him. The American Kickboxing Academy welterweight recovered
quickly, though, and commenced trading in an entertaining opening
Hazelett, 21, of Cincinnati, had a significant reach advantage and
wasn't afraid of his athletic opponent. He threw several kicks,
which Koscheck countered with better boxing. At one point,
Hazelett, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, grabbed a guillotine
choke. Koscheck calmly defended it and later defended a triangle
after he had scored a takedown.
In the second round, the 30-year-old Koscheck, fighting of San
Jose, Calif., dug into his counterpart's body with punches. A right
hand then prompted Hazelett (10-4) to cover up in a manner that
left him open for a left head kick. Koscheck followed up with
punches on the ground until Herb
Dean (Pictures) stopped the fight at 1:24.
(Pictures) (18-2) dominated Sweden's
(Pictures) (12-6). Coming off
back-to-back losses to Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, Sanchez shot
through his opponent for a takedown to begin the fight. The
26-year-old "Ultimate Fighter" winner passed to half-guard, then
threatened with a kimura that opened up a transition to the
Bielkheden, 28, could not escape from the bottom. He bucked
numerous times, but Sanchez stayed in the mount and battered him
with punches until Bielkheden tapped at 4:43.
Cincinnati's Jorge Gurgel
(Pictures) (12-3) used strikes on the
ground to outpoint John
Halverson (16-6) in a lightweight bout. The 31-year-old Gurgel
did his best work during the second stanza. After freeing his neck
from a guillotine attempt, he sat up in Halverson's guard and began
hammering away with punches. Halverson, fighting out of Des Moines,
Iowa, looked in trouble but survived the round.
Both fighters were exhausted in the third. The 35-year-old
Halverson landed more in the standup exchanges, but Gurgel again
scored on the ground to close the fight strongly. All three judges
awarded the bout to Gurgel (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
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