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UFC 139 live blog: Dan Henderson beats Shogun Rua in epic five-round battle

Wanderlei Silva and Urijah Faber also emerge victorious at HP Pavilion

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Associated Press

Dan Henderson, top, punches Mauricio Rua during the fourth round of a UFC 139 Mixed Martial Arts light heavyweight bout in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. Henderson won by unanimous decision.

Updated Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 | 10:09 p.m.

UFC 139

Dan Henderson, top, punches Mauricio Rua during the fourth round of a UFC 139 Mixed Martial Arts light heavyweight bout in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. Henderson won by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

Note: Scroll to the bottom for full results from the seven preliminary bouts.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Nominating the UFC 139 main event between Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for Fight of the Night simply isn’t enough.

The five-round light heavyweight war that Henderson won via unanimous decision — all three judges scored it 48-47 — was more like the Fight of the Year. Heck, it was maybe even the Fight of the Decade.

Both men stood in the pocket and took everything the other had. They also traded submission attempts, takedowns and everything else in the mixed martial arts arsenal.

“I hit him hard,” Henderson said in his post-fight octagon interview. “I thought I could finish him.”

Henderson rocked Shogun on multiple occasions in the opening three rounds, but couldn’t knock him out. By the end of the fight, it was Shogun who had to think he could knock out Henderson.

In the fifth round, Shogun took Henderson down and ground-and-pounded him for the entire five minutes. Henderson also took a lick in the fourth round, but held on for the victory.

“He stood in there with great heart like a champion should,” Rua said.

The main event overshadowed plenty of other dramatic performances at the HP Pavilion, including second-round finishes by Urijah Faber and Wanderlei Silva.

Scroll below for full results from UFC 139 and round-by-round coverage of the main card. Check back to lasvegassun.com for full coverage later tonight.

Shogun Rua vs. Dan Henderson

Fifth Round The crowd gets these guys a wild ovation. Everyone, including the fighters themselves, have to wonder how it got this far. Shogun takes Henderson to the floor early. Henderson defends himself for almost a minute before Shogun breaks out. Shogun is raining ground-and-pound. Henderson is surviving, but barely. What would this be without another momentum change? Henderson gets Shogun's neck, but the guillotine is never that close to working. These guys are too slippery. Shogun has Henderson's back. But Henderson gets out of that, too. Both have come so close to being finished so many times. This round has been all Shogun, though. Henderson must be the toughest guy in mixed martial arts. He's 41, but doesn't even look like he's close to being knocked out after 20 or so more punches from Shogun. Henderson has shown no offense in the final five minutes. Henderson can't get out from under Shogun, who is in full mount with 15 seconds to go. More ground-and-pound and this has to be in consideration for a 10-8 round. But since Henderson was never in serious trouble, 10-9 is more in order for Shogun. Las Vegas Sun scores it 48-47 for Henderson. Dan Henderson wins a unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 48-47.

Fourth Round Shogun's right eye is almost swollen shut. He looks totally beat up, but quickly gets the fight to the ground. They roll for a while and Henderson sinks in a choke. Shogun somehow weasels out of it and they are back on their feet. Henderson shoots in and takes down Shogun. Henderson is smothering Shogun and trying to pass into side control. Shogun closes his guard, but takes some ground-and-pound punches from Henderson. Rua rolls over after one hurts him badly. Henderson feeds knees to Shogun, who pops back up and stumbles. Back in the middle of the cage now and blood streams out of Shogun's mouth. He hits Henderson with a jab. For the first time, Henderson looks exhausted now. They trade a few shots, but Shogun's surprisingly have more power behind them. A right hand from Shogun rocks Henderson. He's barely up but shoots for a takedown. It doesn't work, but Henderson feeds Shogun a right. Shogun takes it in stride. He's somehow getting stronger. The same can't be said for Henderson. They lock up with 30 seconds to go and Shogun takes Henderson down. Ground-and-pound now from Shogun and Henderson might be done. He goes for a rear naked choke, but Henderson spins out. Henderson is on top as the round ends. Shogun takes it 10-9, but trails 39-37 on this scorecard.

Third Round These guys might be trying to preserve some energy at the beginning of this round. Hard to blame them with a possibility of a five-round war looking more likely. Rua lands the first few punches, but Henderson comes forward and punches Shogun into the fence. Henderson trips him to the ground, but can't pounce on it and Shogun is right back up. Shogun works the body. But Henderson counters with a right hand that drops him. Shogun curls up. He's in trouble. Henderson is raining ground-and-pound and Shogun's blood is splattering. Shogun covers his face and the fight will go on — for now. Midway through the round and Shogun is still in trouble. Shogun grapples his way to Henderson's leg and works a leglock. The submission isn't deep but he's working on it. Henderson is back to his feet. Shogun has him against the cage. Henderson has to be wondering how he can put this guy away if the last flurry of shots weren't enough. Shogun looks gassed. He's grabbing the fence until the referee reminds him to stop. Shogun is doing what he needs to do to stay alive. He picks up Henderson and gets a takedown. But Henderson returns to his feet. Not much damage in the final half of the round, but this is already a definite Fight of the Year candidate. Henderson wins another round 10-9 because of how close he came to the finish.

Second Round Shogun looks much better after getting his face cleaned up in his corner and pushes forward to open the round. Shogun is jabbing more, but it's not hurting Henderson. Shogun gets Henderson against the cage in the clinch and they are trading knees. Shogun lands a few, but most of Henderson's are short. They break out and Henderson hits Shogun with a hard right hand. Henderson has Shogun against the cage and rocks him with an uppercut. The action is unreal in this fight. Henderson takes a deep breath two minutes in, but looks more prepared for a long fight than Shogun at the moment. They exchange in the middle of the cage with Henderson slightly getting the best of it. Shogun rushes in with a combination. It's the most success he's found in this round. But Henderson switches positions against the cage and they wail away at each other for a few seconds. Henderson is kneeing Shogun's thighs in the clinch repeatedly now. After a breakneck pace for nine minutes, the fight has slowed down a bit. Referee Josh Rosenthal breaks them apart with 40 seconds to go. Shogun lands a right hand. And another, but Henderson uppercuts him and Shogun retreats. Another close and exciting round, but Henderson takes it 10-9. He has won both rounds on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard.

First Round The crowd is partial to the 41-year old Henderson, but he comes in as a slight underdog to the man who held the UFC light heavyweight championship at the beginning of the year. Shogun works his leg kicks early. Henderson pops him with a right hand and Shogun has to dive in for a takedown. He gets in, but nothing happens much to his liking. These guys are brawling. Henderson gets Shogun in a guillotine that he pops out of and they proceed to throw bombs on each other. Shogun is taking the worst of it. Blood drips from the Brazilians face as he presses Henderson against the cage. Henderson gets away and throws Shogun to the floor. The result of wrestling seems to have worked for Shogun, however, as he doesn't look as dazed. He's throwing hard leg kicks and goes for a takedown near the three-minute mark. Henderson sprawls and Shogun will have to look elsewhere for points. They meet in the middle and Shogun drops Henderson with a right hand. What a change of fortune. Henderson is on his knees, but looks to have recovered when he bounces back up. The right side of Shogun's face is covered in blood. Shogun gets Henderson against the cage with 30 seconds to go, but Henderson works a few knees to the body. An insane amount of action for one round, but Rua's late surge isn't enough to take it. Henderson goes up 10-9 after five minutes.

Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le

Second Round Silva trips up after evading one of Le's first combinations, but is able to get to his feet right away. They are keeping their distance and Le's kicks aren't playing as much of a factor as he'd probably like early in the round. The crowd is behind Silva, but he takes a chopping kick to the shoulder from Le. Silva reddens Le's stomach with a leg kick. Le does the same to Silva. This is back-and-forth and very close. A Le spinning back fist grazes Silva, but he's not in trouble like the last time he ate one of those. Le comes in and Silva's right hand knocks him back at the midway mark. The left side of Silva's face is beginning to bruise, but he's not hurt. Silva pushes in for combinations on two different occasions. Le finally works a kick that pushes Silva back, much to the delight of his hometown supporters. With a minute to go, Silva comes in and throws a combination that drops Le. He's got Le in big trouble, beating him up along the fence and throwing knees all over the place. Le is bloody but alive. Silva sends him back one more time with a knee, but Le shoots in for a takedown. Not happening, as Silva brushes him off and hits him again. The referee jumps in. It's all over. Wanderlei Silva defeats Cung Le via knockout at 4:49.

First Round Le pushes forward with one of his trademark kicks early. Silva is circling and keeping his distance. Le comes in for a combination and Silva starts wrangling hooks. He catches Le the next time he tries to drop in with a combination. Le retreats and looks fine. Silva is countering effectively when he can. Le lands a spin kick, but there's not much behind it. Silva blocks the next few kicks. But Le drops him with a spinning back fist. Silva pops right back up and answers. Silva's chin may not be as shot after all, as he answers with a right of his own. Silva is definitely fighting passively, letting Le control the direction of the fight. He's not exactly moving fast, but has gotten away from a few of Le's kicks to the body. Silva is hitting Le well when the San Jose native comes in. Le is scoring when he actually lands his kicks from distance. Silva mixes it up and goes for a couple kicks of his own. One hits Le in the head, and though he stumbles, he's alright. A barrage of punches opens a cut on the side of Le's face. Silva is getting loose and working the body. A strong end to the round gives Silva a 10-9.

Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles

Second Round Faber is bouncing around and frustrating Bowles. He rocks him with an uppercut and the place goes wild. Bowles falls to the ground and Faber rushes in for the finish. He lets his hands go, but Bowles seems to regain his bearings. Bowles tries to get up but Faber knocks him back down with an elbow. This is getting ugly. Bowles taking more punishment, as Faber goes for a guillotine choke. It's deep and it's good. Urijah Faber defeats Brian Bowles via submission at 1:26.

First Round Faber is stalking Bowles, who might be looking to counter, early. Faber lands the first significant strike with a kick to Bowles' thigh so loud it ricochets through the arena. "Let's go Faber" chants start but break up when he connects with a right hand. Faber is faster, but Bowles has more power as seen when his jab pushes Faber back. Bowles is loosening up and throwing some combinations, but Faber is avoiding them for the most part. Faber throws a kick to Bowles stomach, but the Athens, Ga. native answers with a punch combination. Faber's right hand sends Bowles against the cage. He's in control with two minutes to go and lands a kick to Bowles' chest. Faber gets an emphatic takedown with 1:16, throwing Bowles to the floor. Bowles gets his neck for a guillotine attempt, but only for a split second. Faber is in Bowles' guard and trying out elbows. A few land. Most miss. Faber is standing and Bowles is throwing up kicks. One rocks Faber, who falls forward on top of him. Entertaining first round, but Faber wins it 10-9.

Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story

Third Round Story is looking for big shots early, while Kampmann is sitting back and looking for a more methodical pace. Story looks a lot more tired than Kampmann, which might have been Kampmann's gameplan all along. They're locked up against the cage until Kampmann takes Story down. Story gets right back to his feet and they get back to the center of the octagon with 3:30 to go. Story goes to the body. Kampmann answers with a knee. Both shoot for takedowns. Story's works for a second until Kampmann wall-walks to his feet. Back in the clinch, Kampmann throws two straight knees that connect softly with Story's chin. Kampmann has Story's back against the cage, but can't get him down. He picks him up and tosses him with 1:30 to go. But Story doesn't stay down. He's back to his feet. It's mostly wrestling this round until they trade hooks. Story gets Kampmann down and he's right back up. Reverse script for Kampmann. Kampmann has two hooks in on Storys back and looks for the rear naked choke. This should seal it for Kampmann. Bell rings and Kampmann wins the final round 10-9 and the fight 29-28 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Martin Kampmann takes a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) over Rick Story.

Second Round They are trading again in the opening minute, but Story continues to get the better of it. Kampmann is landing some punches now, but more juice are always behind Story's strikes. No panic from Kampmann, who might think he can wear down Story. He lands a hard short hook that was probably Kampmann's best shot of the evening. Kampmann keeps the pressure on and looks to be pulling ahead before Story puts his right hand to Kampmann's chin shortly before the halfway mark. They're back in the center now with two minutes to go. Story hits Kampmann with an uppercut. Kampmann misses his counter. Story tosses one Kampmann takedown attempt away, but the Las Vegas-based fighter trips him to the floor afterward. This could be a huge takedown for Kampmann. The cut to the side of Story's eye is bleeding much worse than Kampmann's now. After a sloppy start, Kampmann is back in this by controlling the fight on the ground. Kampmann takes round two and it's all even heading into the final five minutes.

First Round A lot of movement early and some solid exchanges as Story moves forward. Story goes to the body and follows it with two hooks to Kampmann's face. Story is loading up and throwing over and over. Kampmann seems hesitant to get into a slug fest and might want a more technical fight. The strategy isn't working for him so far as Story is the only one landing puncheswith any substance. Kampmann's left eye is already swelling up a minute-and-a-half into the bout. Story has gone to the body successfully multiple times. He's got Kampmann back-pedaling after a right midway through the round. Kampmann is trying to work his kicks, but Story has blocked them. In addition to the eye, Kampmann is also cut on his forehead now. Blood and sweat is dripping to the ground and Kampmann is struggling to deal with Story's power. Story's face is bloody now, too, cut on his eyebrow after Kampmann starts to work his jab. Kampmann goes for a late takedown against the wrestler, who shrugs it off. Bloody bout underway with Story taking the first round 10-9.

Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury

Third Round Kingsbury still looks fresh at the beginning of the round, but can't stuff a Bonnar takedown attempt. Bonnar's working for his back, but Kingsbury spins out of that. With the fight back on the ground, Bonnar is going through the same routine as the second round. He's transitioning position and feeding knees to Kingsbury's side and punches to his face. No submissions are there for Bonnar, though. The crowd is getting restless, but Bonnar is throwing elbows and staying busy enough on the ground. Bonnar throws about 10 straight jabs to Kingsbury's face. Boos continue as Bonnar dominates Kingsbury. This is a very poor performance from Kingsbury, who still can't get up or really make any attempt at offense from his back. Bonnar has suffocated him for most of the 15-minute fight. Kingsbury's nose is bleeding badly now as the fight ends. Bonnar takes a 30-27 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Stephan Bonnar wins a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25) over Kyle Kingsbury.

Second Round Kingsbury is mixing in some kicks to start the round off. But the jab is open for Bonnar when he opts to use it. They're standing, but Bonnar has Kingsbury's back in an awkward position against the cage. Bonnar gets another takedown. Kingsbury is in half guard as he rolls over to not let Bonnar take his back. Bonnar is ground-and-pounding Kingsbury two minutes in, but the San Jose native's submission defense has kept him from being in trouble of a finish. Bonnar is looking for any opening to punch. There aren't many. Although he's not doing damage, Bonnar is scoring a lot of points by leaving Kingsbury helpless on his back. Bonar working on an armbar, which gets the crowd roaring, but it doesn't go far. Kingsbury is not really threatening to get up with a minute to go. Round ends in the same position, with Bonnar smothering Kingsbury on top. Bonnar takes another and is ahead 20-18 entering the final round.

First Round They touch gloves and go at it in the middle of the octagon. Kingsbury lands an early combination and locks up with Bonnar against the cage. Bonnar is staying offensive by using his knees. Kingsbury reciprocates. They're broken free one minute in and exchange hooks at the same time. Both land on the chin and each fighter goes stumbling back. Close round two minutes in, but Bonnar is the one coming forward before they clinch up again. A bizarre cut has somehow opened on Bonnar's back. "The American Physco" takes Kingsbury down for a split second, but they are back up and trading. Kingsbury is bleeding out of his nose after a right hand from Bonnar. Kingsbury lands a few soft elbows, but Bonnar pushes the pace and gets him against the fence. A takedown attempt for Bonnar is succesful with a minute to go. He's in side control and punching when available. A Bonnar choke attempt doesn't work, but more punches are thrown in Kingsbury's direction and he briefly takes the prospect's back. Bell rings and a clear 10-9 round to Bonnar to start.

Pre-main card

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The UFC 139 main card can boast at least one statistic that not many other events can — six former champions will enter the octagon tonight.

Each of the three headlining contests feature two men who have held mixed martial arts gold. The crowd here at the HP Pavilion, the former home of Strikeforce, is clearly pumped up about it.

Not many empty seats remain and the noise has reached its loudest level of the night, as the pay-per-view main card is moments away from getting started.

This event’s appeal is its depth. Ask a handful of fans which of the five remaining fights he or she is most excited for and expect a vote for every one.

The obvious answer is the light heavyweight main event between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson. It’s a fight that almost happened twice when the two were fixtures in PRIDE, the Japan-based mixed martial arts promotion that was once the biggest in the world.

The closest it ever came was when Henderson fought Rua’s brother, Murillo, and won a split decision in 2001. Murillo Rua never had Henderson in serious trouble during the bout.

Then again, no one ever has. The most remarkable tidbit of the 41-year old Henderson’s 14-year MMA career is that he’s never been knocked out.

Out of Henderson’s eight losses, five have come via decision and one by stoppage. Henderson is one of two former Strikeforce champions at the event.

Former Strikeforce middleweight belt-holder and San Jose native Cung Le meets Wanderlei Silva in the co-main event. If the two can avoid an early knockout, it’s a matchup with a potential for Fight of the Night.

Both are strikers, with Le using his world-class kickboxing and Silva liking to pressure opponents by constantly coming forward.

The winner of the bout before that, Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles, will receive the next 135-pound title shot. Welterweights Martin Kampmann and Rick Story are looking to get back into contention themselves.

Kampmann has lost two in a row and Story also dropped his last fight. Another defeat for either of them would be devastating and drop them further down the rankings.

The final fight is a light heavyweight bout between Las Vegas-based Stephan Bonnar and San Jose prospect Kyle Kingsbury. Like most of the fights on the main card, the oddsmakers tag it as a near pick’em.

Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for live round-by-round coverage of the five fights on the main card and look below for full results from the preliminary card.

Ryan Bader snapped a two-fight losing streak against Jason Brilz. Bader knocked out Brilz with one right hand 1:17 into the first round. The previously undefeated Bader was winless in 2011, dropping bouts to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz, before UFC 139.

Northern California native Michael McDonald pummeled Alex Soto in front of hometown fans. McDonald knocked Soto out with a right hand at 0:56 of the first round. "That's one of my favorite moves," the 22-year old McDonald said of the right hook. "I'm always looking for it, especially when someone comes at me."

Middleweight prospect Chris Weidman defeated Tom Lawlor via submission at 2:07 of the first round. Weidman put Lawlor to sleep with a d'arce choke before he could tap out.

In an exciting battle between two Brazilians, Gleison Tibau took a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) victory over Rafael dos Anjos. The second round was the only stanza that wasn't close, as Tibau nearly knocked out dos Anjos with an assortment of left hands.

Miguel Torres won a unanimous decision in his bantamweight bout against Nick Pace. The former WEC bantamweight champion won all three rounds on all three judges' scorecards.

Seth Baczynski forced Matt Brown to tap out at 0:42 of the first round in their welterweight bout. Baczynski locked in a guillotine choke at the beginning of the round after easily winning the first round. "The Ultimate Fighter" 11 alum has won two straight since the UFC granted him a second chance in the octagon.

Danny Castillo ground-and-pounded fellow wrestler Shamar Bailey to defeat seconds before the end of the first round. Castillo officially beat Bailey via TKO at 4:52 of the first round. The fight was contested at a catchweight of 158 pounds after Bailey came in over the weight limit, which Castillo said was a sign of disrespect.

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

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  1. Human Turkey fight. What a deal.