If you weren’t paying attention, you probably missed it.
Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko gave Nick Diaz and Paul Daley a run for their money for the most action-packed single round of the year tonight at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The two came out of the gate like they had a problem with each other, digging in their feet and letting loose with the haymakers. Emelianenko had Hendo backing up, but a few hard counters from the gritty American put The Last Emperor on his heels.
The Russian legend wouldn’t go that easily though, he stood his ground and fired back with looping counter shots. They wrapped up before too long and it was the lighter Henderson who pressed Emelianenko into the fence and worked knees to the thighs. After they broke, Emelianenko went after Henderson with bad intentions, landing a volley of heavy shots that moved Hendo, even when they didn’t land flush.
Henderson was sent to the canvas from the power of The Last Emperor’s punches, but the savvy vet reversed position and deftly slipped out the back door when Emelianenko looked to tee off with ground and pound. Once behind Emelianenko, Henderson threw a hard uppercut from under the Russian’s armpit that landed flush on the jaw and sent him face-first into the canvas. He landed a few follow up shots before Herb Dean put a stop to things.
Emelianenko mentioned post-fight that he felt the bout was stopped early and many have already voiced similar opinions. Controversy aside, both Henderson and Emelianenko showed what MMA is about tonight by both bringing everything they had and leaving it all inside the cage. On a card where many of the next generation played it safe and technical, these two old school bruisers burned a hole through the canvas and left the crowd on its feet.
Henderson improves to 28-8 with the win and makes it three victories in a row. Emelianenko, on the other hand, falls to 31-4 and is on a three-fight losing streak — calls for his retirement will no doubt grow louder, but, as always, Emelianenko is leaving things in God’s hands.