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Third-round knockout leads to Strikeforce belt for Dan Henderson

Marloes Coenen defends her belt after taking early beating

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The Associated Press

Dan Henderson fights against Rich Franklin at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland in this file photo.

Dan Henderson insisted he wasn’t overly concerned about winning another championship heading into his Strikeforce title fight against Rafel “Feijao” Cavalcante on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

The 40-year-old Henderson said he simply wanted to win and while grabbing a title would be great, it wasn’t his focus. That all changed when Strikeforce officials strapped the light heavyweight championship belt on Henderson after his third-round knockout of Feijao.

“Everyone was talking about the belt and I didn’t really give it much thought until now,” Henderson said in the cage afterward. “It’s definitely going to be an honor to have that Strikeforce belt.”

It’s the fifth major title of Henderson’s career. He earlier held belts in two different PRIDE weight classes and won separate tournaments in both the UFC and PRIDE.

Henderson caught Feijao with an overhand right and sent him crashing to the mat at 0:50 of the third round.

“I wanted to be real patient in this fight,” Henderson said. “Obviously, I would have liked to have knocked him out in the first minute, but I felt he’s a tough guy and real powerful.”

Feijao sent Henderson to the ground early in the first round with a powerful straight right.

“He caught me with a good dinger,” Henderson said.

Henderson recovered and took down Feijao to control the rest of the first round. He built on that momentum in the second round and seemed to take control in the clench and with another late takedown.

Still, the fight was nearly dead even before Henderson ended it. Henderson now faces the challenge of defending the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt, which none of the previous five holders accomplished.

“Hopefully I can break the curse next time,” Henderson said.

Below are the results from the Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson main card.

Women’s Welterweight Championship: Marloes Coenen defeated Liz Carmouche via submission at 1:29 of the fourth round. Carmouche was way ahead in the fight, out-striking the champion 221-48, before Coenen manuevered her way for a body triangle.

Middleweight Bout: Tim Kennedy beat Melvin Manhoef via submission at 3:41 of the first round.

Lightweight Bout: Jorge Masvidal scored a unanimous decision victory over Billy Evangelista. All three judges scored it 30-27 to ruin Evangelista’s undefeated record.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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