UFC FIGHT NIGHT 38: HENDERSON VS. SHOGUN 2 Date: March 23, 2014 Location: Natal, Brazil Venue: Ginasio Nelio Dias Broadcast: TV UFC Light Heavyweight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (-215) Profile: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-8) came into the UFC in 2007 as one of the most hyped light heavyweights in history. At that point in time, he was the incoming Pride Middleweight Grand Prix champion, and was 16-2 with wins over Alistair Overeem, Rampage Jackson and Kevin Randleman, just to name a few. He was a 26-year-old wrecking ball, but Forrest Griffin derailed the hype train. Shogun came into the UFC off what would become one of many knee surgeries, and although he would go on to win the light heavyweight championship from Lyoto Machida after beating Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman to get the shot, “Shogun” just wouldn’t look like his old explosive self after injuries took their toll. In the last six years in the UFC, Shogun has gone just 5-6 and has lost his last two in a row after being dominated by Chael Sonnen and Alexander Gustafsson. That’s the first time in his career he’s lost two in a row. Shogun is still a violent and dangerous opponent that is as exciting to watch as ever, but he has simply lost a step. That doesn’t hurt his legacy, as he will go down as one of the greatest and most exciting fighters of all time, and he still has a ton of heart, as evidenced in his fight of the decade against Dan Henderson in 2011. Fortunately for the former PRIDE star, “Shogun” was able to return to old form when he faced James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot, and knocked out the up and comer in just 63 seconds with a killer combination. Now, “Shogun” is back on the winning track and will be looking to avenge his loss against Henderson, when the two men rematch at UFC Fight Night 38. UFC Light Heavyweight Dan Henderson (+165) Profile: If you know MMA, you know Dan Henderson (29-11). He won an old-school UFC tournament back in 1998, defeated “Big Nog” to win a RINGS tournament, was the Pride Middleweight and light heavyweight champ, captured the Strikeforce light heavyweight champ title before beating Fedor Emelianenko in an epic heavyweight bout, and has quite simply participated in some of the most legendary fights in the history of the sport. Unfortunately, a knee injury to “Hendo” also led to the cancellation of a UFC event for the first time ever, preventing him from taking on light heavyweight champ Jon Jones for the title at UFC 151. And since then, he’s lost three straight. At 43 years of age, the clock is ticking away for this MMA legend, and he is coming off a tough split-decision loss to Lyoto Machida that cost him a title shot he was once lined up for against Jones. Further pushing him down the ladder was another split-decision loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 161. But regardless of those two high-profile losses, Henderson found himself in a position not usually seen by many fighters in the UFC: on a two fight losing streak and fighting a contender who is on a two fight winning streak in Vitor Belfort. This led to “Hendo” getting finished via strikes for the first time in his career at UFC Fight Night 32. While “Hendo” thought the stoppage was early, it certainly seemed fair to everyone watching. Now, “Hendo” will look to finish off his career with the UFC in high-profile fights that may get him back to one more title shot. He will next fight Mauricio “Shogun Rua” at UFC Fight Night 38 in a rematch of the pair’s epic encounter at UFC 139, a match many people consider the most exciting of all time. Opening UFC Fight Night 38 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Rua a -215 favorite (bet $215 to win $100) while Henderson opened as a +165 underdog (bet $100 to win $165) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This is a rematch of the pair’s epic encounter at UFC 139 back in 2011, which was one of the best fights in UFC history. Since that war, both men have certainly been on the decline as that fight took a lot out of both fighters. Shogun has been inconsistent, going 2-2 since UFC 139, while Henderson has lost three in a row. This rematch isn’t getting much buzz despite the fact the first fight was so good, and that’s because both men are older now and not relevant in the title picture. Still, though, how can you not look forward to this fight? These are two of the greatest fighters in the history of the game, and we already know exactly how they match up with one another. And that’s a good thing. Getting back to the odds, “Shogun” is the favorite here despite losing the first fight, but that’s justified considering how poor Henderson has looked in recent years. Still, you can’t count “Hendo” out of any fight, and this one has all the makings off another classic. Profiles by Jason Nawara.