Shogun vs. Henderson 2: A Complete Guide to UFC Fight Night 38

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterMarch 17, 2014

Shogun vs. Henderson 2: A Complete Guide to UFC Fight Night 38

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    The first time Dan Henderson and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua met, it was a true, instant, all-time classic.

    That was 2011. Ever since, people have been excited for a rematch of the close, back-and-forth contest.

    It finally arrives in the main event of UFC Fight Night 38, which goes down Sunday from Natal, Brazil.

    The UFC knows people are excited, which is why this rematch is the main event. But the promotion is also hoping the glare from this rematch is so bright that you don't notice the rest of the card.

    Because, let me be honest here, the rest of the card is not very good. It's pretty bad, actually. I say that not out of meanness but in the spirit of truth-telling that I swore to uphold on the day I graduated from journalism school.

    Not really. There wasn't any oath. I'm still telling the truth, though.

    And hey, I'm not saying don't watch it. Go ahead, watch it. MMA is always awesome, no matter what. In fact, here's a primer to get you started. I report, you decide, and so forth. What follows are information capsules, predictions and viewing coordinates for every fight on the slate. 

Francimar Barroso vs. Hans Stringer

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Francimar Barroso (16-3), Hans Stringer (21-5-3)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    I remember wanting a pair of those silver skates so badly. I remember...hold on. Wait. That was Hans Brinker. My bad.

    Stringer is actually not too bad. But the flip side of that is that he's actually not too good, either. You may remember him from World Series of Fighting 6, when he grabbed a draw after losing a point for groin striking. After that, well, the UFC just had to have him.

    He  trains with the Blackzilians and is well-rounded enough. He has faced top-level opposition before, including Attila Vegh (draw) and Dion Staring (loss). He'll make his UFC debut at this event.

    He probably won't have enough for Nova Uniao's Barroso, who won his first UFC fight last August on short notice. In the spirit of the season, if Barroso was a college basketball team, he'd be Syracuse. He's not going to overwhelm you, but you're sure as heck not going to score much on him.

    Prepare to snooze.

    Prediction: Barroso, unanimous decision

Godofredo Castro vs. Noad Lahat

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    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Godofredo Castro (9-3), Noad Lahat (7-0)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Not only are these guys anonymous, but their names are hard to spell. Why can't all the jobbers be "John Smith"? I wouldn't mind that at all. Just "John Smith vs. John Smith" up and down the prelim board. Done and done.

    Castro, perhaps better known as Godofredo Pepey, reached the featherweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 1. The submission artist has foundered since, losing three of four including that finals bout to Rony Jason.

    He's vulnerable to the knockout, and Lahat can get that done. The Israeli-born Lahat, who trains with American Kickboxing Academy (that's him rolling with one Cain Velasquez in the photo), has some heavy strikes but is mainly a grappler. And how.

    The no-gi world champ should be able to get this to the mat and work some ground-and-pound on the veteran.

    Prediction: Lahat, TKO, Rd. 2

Thiago Perpetuo vs. Kenny Robertson

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    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Thiago Perpetuo (9-2-1), Kenny Robertson (12-3)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Robertson gained fans and fame with that freaky-deaky kneebarring of Brock Jardine a year ago. Perpetuo is a slugger who lives and dies by that particular sword. Robertson can slug too, but he would be wise to brandish his college wrestling skills if he wants to emerge with a W. Don't let him bang, bro.

    Prediction: Robertson, unanimous decision

Jussier Formiga vs. Scott Jorgensen

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    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Jussier Formiga (15-3), Scott Jorgensen (14-8)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Remember when Formiga was considered one of the world's best flyweights? That was before he joined the UFC.

    Ever since then, he's been humbled by bigger, stronger fighters. His jiu-jitsu remains world class, but against yet another big flyweight in Jorgensen, he'll be controlled and punished once again.

    Prediction: Jorgensen, TKO, Rd. 2

Ronny Markes vs. Thiago Santos

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    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Ronny Markes (14-2), Thiago Santos (8-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Markes is an impressive physical specimen but not a head-turning fighter. He's in a constant state of power cruise control; think Hector Lombard after the Cuban has ascertained that he's going to win.

    Santos is apparently getting a mulligan after Cezar Ferreira submitted him in 47 seconds last summer. That was a UFC debut for Santos, and it happened on late notice, so fair enough. 

    He is a berserker in the old-school Brazilian mold, but he's not that big for a middleweight. Size will win the day here, and Markes will coast. Now's a good to time to grab that sandwich.

    Prediction: Markes, unanimous decision

Diego Brandao vs. Will Chope

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    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Diego Brandao (18-9), Will Chope (19-6)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Diego Brandao needs to take it down a notch. Just go ahead and ratchet it down there, brotatoes.

    He doesn't need to threaten to stab his opponents. Being intense is not the same thing as being stabby. That's especially true when you go on to get knocked out in the first round, as Brandao did by Dustin Poirier following said threat.

    Brandao is so aggressive toward the other guy that the wrinkles have to be ironed out of the canvas after every one of his bouts. The problem with that is he can gas and be outmaneuvered. 

    The next problem is on Chope's end. The 23-year-old is prone to the finish. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who can either stand up to or outflank a frothing bull like Brandao. The Brazilian should get back on the good foot here. Here's to hoping that no one gets stabbed.

    Prediction: Brandao, TKO, Rd. 1

Rony Jason vs. Steven Siler

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    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Rony Jason (13-4), Steven Siler (23-11)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    This is the unofficial beginning of the main card, and it could be a nice kick-starter between two exciting young guys who are seeking a rebound win.

    Jason will try to pick up the pieces from his first loss in four years—that memorable (unless you're Jason) head-kick KO from Jeremy Stephens. When last we saw Siler, Dennis Bermudez was stubbing him out like a cheap cigar.

    Jason has smooth boxing and great jiu-jitsu; don't forget he once wrangled Renan Barao to a split decision. Siler has good power and better submissions but sometimes seems to overtrust his talents. He might try to initiate a grind here, but Jason will have the more diverse stand-up and mark up Siler from long range.

    Prediction: Jason, unanimous decision

Michel Prazeres vs. Mairbek Taisumov

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    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Michel Prazeres (17-1), Mairbek Taisumov (21-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    This is a good ole grappler vs. striker matchup, right down the pipe.

    Prazeres has dangerous jiu-jitsu and the takedowns to get it rolling. He is 30 years old with plenty of experience, but he is still fairly new to the big stage. 

    So is Taisumov, a touted prospect from Austria. His kicks and punches were sharp and scary against Tae Hyun Bang in his UFC debut, but it was still Tae Hyun Bang, who went the distance (although that was a career first for Taisumov).

    This one is tough to call. I'll give it to Prazeres: The man has home-cage advantage and should be able to take Taisumov into deep water, where he's never truly been.

    Prediction: Prazeres, unanimous decision

Fabio Maldonado vs. Gian Villante

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Fabio Maldonado (20-6), Gian Villante (11-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Slugfest. Sometimes, MMA is not enigmatic.

    At this point, fans know what they're going to get from Maldonado. Is he a former professional boxer? Yes. Was he super good at it? No.

    Is he really good at it in an MMA context? Not especially. 

    But I think we can get beyond that. Because Maldonado is an extremely tough fighter with legitimate power, admirable crowd-pleasing aggression and an almost superhuman chin.

    If you admire Diego Sanchez, you admire Fabio Maldonado. Simple as that.

    is far less experienced than Maldonado (34). In fact, he only has two UFC fights to his name. But as he showed against Cody Donovan, he knows how to bang, has one heck of a chin and isn't afraid to use either.

    In case you forgot, he ate a head kick and knocked Donovan out with the counter. 

    This will be a fun, if inartful and relatively unathletic battle. I'll take the old man to win the old-man fight.

    Prediction: Maldonado, TKO, Rd. 3

Leonardo Santos vs. Norman Parke

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    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Leonardo Santos (12-3), Norman Parke (19-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Norman Parke may not have overwhelming knockout power or irresistible submissions. But so far in his UFC career, he hasn't needed them. 

    The 27-year-old from Northern Ireland is 3-0 in the Octagon, most recently earning a thoroughly convincing decision win over Jon Tuck. The key is his gas tank, the bottom of which fans haven't seen yet, and his grappling, which is judo-based and very strong, especially for a European.

    He'll have a tough test in Santos, the 34-year-old who pulled a mild upset in the finals of TUF: Brazil 2. He trains with Nova Uniao and has excellent jiu-jitsu. He's a smart fighter who has been around since 2002. 

    Here's guessing Parke passes the test. He should push the pace on the feet, land a trip or throw on Santos and land some elbows from top control.

    Prediction: Parke, unanimous decision

Cezar 'Mutante' Ferreira vs. C.B. Dollaway

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    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Cezar Ferreira (7-2), C.B. Dollaway (13-5)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Dollaway is not going to win many awards for most exciting or likable fighter. But he is going to win his share of fights. 

    Some people thought he was robbed against Tim Boetsch in October, when the judges in Houston handed Boetsch a split-decision win. Score another one for Texas.

    In any event, Dollaway is back now to right that perceived wrong and will bring his Arizona State wrestling game with him. 

    That's probably OK with "Mutante" Ferreira, who enjoys working in close quarters, be it in the clinch or on the ground. He's a powerful fighter who has strong takedowns and loves to work for chokes or deliver sharp elbows once the action is horizontal. But he also has one-punch KO power and likes to work standing.

    That phase might be the difference, although I suspect this will be a sludgy affair that Dollaway, assuming he can avoid the big strike, will be able to take via grindout.

    Prediction: Dollaway, unanimous decision

Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua vs. Dan Henderson

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (22-8), Dan Henderson (29-11)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Hendo won the first fight, which was one of the first examples of a five-round non-title fight in the UFC. This will go five rounds too, and here's guessing there will be a different outcome.

    He is always formidable. As always, he'll use his power and wrestling to mash his opponent against the fence—that is, when he's not stalking around and looking for a home for the H-bomb right hand. Still, he has lost three straight, and at 43, he may be nearing the end of the line (especially in light of the recent TRT exemption ban).

    Meanwhile, Shogun entered a little career resurgence (or at least staved off his own retirement talk) in December, when he scored a stirring first-round TKO on James Te-Huna. He showed he still has show-stopping power in his limbs and can capitalize on just about any mistake.

    Rua won't be able to finish Hendo with strikesthat's impossible. (For most mortals, anyway.) But he will have the athleticism to shoulder through Henderson's clinch and survive into the later rounds.

    The longer this one goes, the more likely it is that Hendo will shuffle around the cage and look to land that right hand. And the more that happens, the easier it will be for Shogun to score with leg kicks while avoiding any real danger. 

    This one will go the full five rounds. And it will have its moments, as Henderson lands a couple of smaller bombs and Shogun goes upstairs for some high kicks, as well as some knees from the clinch. But the fact is, their classic was two-and-a-half years ago. That's a long time in MMA years, and these guys weren't spring chickens back then.

    Sadly, this fight, while fun, will be a shadow of its earlier iteration. Just like the fighters themselves. Sorry.

    Prediction: Rua, unanimous decision


    Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. For predictions that are thankfully nonbinding and various other MMA nonsensicals, follow Scott on Twitter.