Was Shogun vs. Hendo a Draw? Dana Says Yes

November 21, 2011

How did you score the UFC 139 main event between Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua?

The cage-side judges at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday scored the bout 48-47 for Henderson by unanimous decision on all three judges’ official scorecards. But UFC president Dana White saw the five-round instant classic as a draw.

“I thought it was a draw,” White told MMAWeekly.com following the event.

“This is one of those tough fights. In the first round, they both knocked each other down. You give Henderson the first three rounds. You give Shogun (round) four and 10-8 in the last round for a dominant round. It’s a draw,” he explained. “It’s one of those tough ones. That’s how I scored it. I scored it a draw.

“I don’t consider myself a professional judge, but I had the fight a draw.”

Henderson hurt Rua with a punch in the early going and the Brazilian was forced into survival mode after being knocked down. As White pointed out, each scored a knockdown in the first round. Rua recovered and finished strong, but Henderson’s early onslaught gave him the first stanza on the scorecards.

“I honestly didn’t think it was going to make it out of the first round. It thought Henderson was going to finish him in the first round and Shogun showed amazing recovery, amazing heart,” said White.

Henderson got the better of the exchanges in the second round, but it was a competitive five minutes with neither doing substantial damage. In the third, Rua looked to be finding his range but ate a Henderson right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas 90-seconds into the round.

Henderson swooped in and tried to finish, but was unable to put Rua away. Rua went to his submission skills and isolated one of Henderson’s legs. It was enough to fend off the barrage of punches, but Henderson quickly escaped the submission attempt. Rua secured a takedown and proceeded to land left hands in rapid fire. Henderson, again, did damage early and looked to be on the verge of finishing, but Rua came back in the closing minutes.

Rua came to life in round four, taking Henderson down early. Henderson had his moments in the middle portion of the round, but the final two minutes were all Rua. Fatigue set in for Henderson and Rua took advantage. He began to land power punches and secured a takedown late in the round and mounted Henderson. The round ended with Henderson reversing Rua to obtain top position, but Rua had won the his first segment of the five-round affair.

Leaving their corners for the final round, Rua was clearly the more conditioned athlete. Henderson was bent over breathing heavy and his corner advised him to clinch and not exchange in the closing round. He wouldn’t have the opportunity to. Rua secured an early takedown and spent the next four and a half minutes mounting the former two-division Pride champion several times and laying down ground and pound.

After being on the verge of being finished in the opening rounds, Rua logged the most dominant round of the fight in the fifth. Many scored the round 10-8 for Rua, including MMAWeekly’s play-by-play.

“(Rua) was hurt so many times in that fight and then comes back and wins the last two rounds, and in my opinion wins the last round 10-8,” said the UFC president.

That would mark the fight a draw on the UFC pres’ scorecard. But in any event, nearly all agree, Shogun vs. Henderson was an instant classic, rivaling the likes of the Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar slugfest at the TUF 1 Finale.

How did you score Shogun vs. Henderson?

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