UFC Fight Night 38 Results: Real Winners and Losers from Henderson vs. Shogun 2
UFC Fight Night 38 delivered for MMA fans.
The night's main event featured one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history, as legendary mixed martial artists Dan Henderson and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua attempted to recreate their Fight of the Year performance at UFC 139 in November 2011.
Despite the seemingly impossible task before them, "Hendo" and Rua exceeded expectations and put on a show of brutality that displayed each man's knockout power, adequately capping off their prior scrap.
While the two celebrated veterans will capture most of the post-fight interest and buzz, the entire card at UFC Fight Night 38 was sensational.
We saw knockouts, submissions, awful refereeing, fantastic refereeing and everything in between.
The card as a whole was sensational, and there's plenty to talk about in its wake.
Let's separate the winners from the losers from this magnificent event.
Personally, I liked part two of the Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua collection better than the original.
Like The Godfather, part one remains an absolute masterpiece, but part two just went above and beyond, flashing excellence in the best ways possible.
Rua and Henderson threw bombs throughout the entire fight, and Hendo was badly hurt on multiple occasions. After Henderson suffered his first career knockout in his last fight against Vitor Belfort, many people questioned the aging fighter's chin, but those naysayers were quickly put to rest in this one.
Hendo survived some absolutely brutal shots from Shogun in Rounds 1 and 2, but he came back in Round 3 and countered with his lauded H-Bomb. The shot floored Rua, and the fat lady took over the microphone, cleared her throat and prepared for song.
A few follow-up shots later, and this one was done.
Hendo pulled off the impossible comeback, and Shogun's impressive first two rounds were rendered meaningless.
Don't let the picture fool you: Herb Dean was fantastic at UFC Fight Night 38.
In the night's main event, he allowed Henderson every opportunity to recover (despite the fact that Hendo appeared to be on the cusp of unconsciousness on a few occasions), and Hendo brushed himself off and came back to win.
That's great refereeing.
Enter Wernei Cardoso, the new poster boy for not-so-good refereeing.
Cardoso made two atrocious calls Sunday evening, each costing its recipient dearly.
First, Cardoso overreacted and stopped the main card's opening matchup between Steven Siler and Rony "Jason" Mariano Bezerra way, way early.
Jason caught Siler with two solid punches, yes, but Siler was throwing an upkick as his opponent attempted to follow up that successful attack.
Is firing back with an appropriate, measured counterattack "intelligently defending" oneself?
To Cardoso, apparently not.
That call was awful, but Cardoso outdid himself in a later matchup between Norman Parke and Leonardo Santos.
Parke tripped Santos in pursuing a takedown, and Santos saved himself from winding up on his back by taking a nice handful of fence.
Did Santos receive a warning for the infraction? No.
Did Parke lose a point for grabbing Santos' shorts in this quick fit of activity? Yes.
This was just ridiculous.
Parke's grab seemed unintentional, and the point deduction came without warning. Santos' blatant fence grab, however, went by without a word from Cardoso.
The fight eventually ended in a majority draw, and Cardoso's decision directly cost Parke a split-decision victory.
Sorry, Herb. Even your later excellence didn't help me forget the mess that was Cardoso's refereeing at UFC Fight Night 38.
Winner: CB Dollaway
CB Dollaway's record in the United States: 10-5.
CB Dollaway's record outside the U.S.: 4-0.
The former Division I wrestling standout apparently enjoys being away from home when he fights, a point showcased by his excellence outside the states.
Taking on the hyped Cezar Ferreira, Dollaway turned in one of the best performances of his UFC career.
After no feeling-out process, the two fighters began to slug it out against the fence. Dollaway, with his back to the cage, beautifully rolled with Ferreira's punches and returned fire with a wicked combination that sent the Brazilian to the mat.
The 39-second knockout marked the fastest win of Dollaway's career, and suddenly, the former The Ultimate Fighter finalist is looking like a top-15 middleweight inside the Octagon.
Big things await Mr. Dollaway after this phenomenal performance.
Loser: Air Conditioning
UFC Fight Night 38 combatants had to fight in a sauna tonight, folks.
UFC President Dana White tweeted the following midway through the event, putting a number to the Ginasio Nelio Dias' horrible fighting conditions:
It's 93 degrees in the arena and 83% humidity!!! That's brutal— Dana White (@danawhite) March 24, 2014
Yeah, not cool. Not cool at all.
Winner: Nap Time with Godofredo 'Pepey' Castro
While MMA fans continue to gush about Dan Henderson's phenomenal knockout (and rightly so), I cannot stop thinking about the crushing knee landed by Godofredo "Pepey" Castro earlier in the evening.
Midway through Round 1, Pepey connected with a flying knee that sent his opponent directly into the land of the unconscious in picture-perfect fashion.
Just look at the way Lahat gets planted on the canvas, back perfectly placed against the cage, head cocked just slightly to the side. Pepey's follow-up punch completely whiffed, but it did not matter one bit. Noad Lahat was done, and the referee swooped in to stop the fight.
If the Knockout of the Night bonus still existed, Pepey would have earned my vote over Hendo for this savage display of combat brilliance.
Loser: Gian Villante's Cardio
Gian Villante's performance at UFC Fight Night 38 was difficult to watch.
Taking on Fabio Maldonado, Villante looked to impose his physical strength and grappling prowess on his opponent, a game plan that worked for exactly five minutes.
After one round of domination from the American, things shifted...rapidly.
In Round 2, Villante looked completely drained, and Maldonado began to tee off on his gassed foe to the delight of the Brazilian crowd.
UFC middleweight Michael Bisping summarized the situation quite nicely:
I thought the walking dead wasn't on till later.— michael (@bisping) March 24, 2014
As a professional fighter competing at the sport's highest level in the UFC, Villante has to bring more than five minutes to the cage.
Yes, it was hot, and that probably mattered, but his cardio was noticeably worse than the night's other competitors.
He will need to fix that if he hopes to elevate his stock inside the light heavyweight division moving forward.
Winner: Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos looked sensational at UFC Fight Night 38.
The Brazilian opened Round 1 of his fight against Ronny Markes in devastating fashion, dropping his opponent with a swift kick to the midsection and following up with some ground-and-pound that forced the referee's hand early.
The finish came just 53 seconds into the fight's opening frame, and Santos displayed his power and precision in its full glory.
After a disappointing 47-second loss to Cezar Ferreira in his last fight, this was exactly the type of showing Santos needed to reestablish his legitimacy inside the stacked middleweight division.
Loser: Leonardo Santos' Killer Instinct
Leonardo Santos shared the cage with Norman Parke for three rounds at UFC Fight Night 38, but the The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 winner fought for only 10 minutes.
After two close rounds, Santos' corner could be heard during the broadcast telling its fighter that he was ahead on the judges' scorecards and that only a finish could win the fight for Parke.
That information proved to be false.
Santos refused to engage in the fight's final frame, and he gifted Parke the round through his apathy. He knew that, according to his corner, he only needed to survive and looked to do no more as the round played out.
Instead, the fight was scored a majority draw, and Santos' coast-to-victory mentality cost him big.
Nine out of the 11 underdogs at UFC Fight Night 38 proved the betting odds wrong and snagged victory against their supposedly superior foes.
Seven first round finishes and nine underdog wins tonight. @FOXSports1— Dana White (@danawhite) March 24, 2014
Most notably, both Dan Henderson and CB Dollaway came into their matchups as the less favored fighters, and each man ended his bout in definitive, knockout fashion.
As we've seen (and will continue to see) in MMA, every fighter has a chance, and writing somebody off because of a pre-fight number could prove costly.
At UFC Fight Night 38, the underdogs came through in abundance, adding another dimension to the already exquisite night of fights.