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Henderson decisions Franklin at UFC 93

Report by Brady Crytzer
Photos courtesy of Josh Hedges/UFC

In the UFC’s first appearance in the Republic of Ireland, former Pride FC welterweight and middleweight champion Dan Henderson scored a three round split decision over former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin.

Round one witnessed Henderson begin by working the legs of Franklin with hard kicks. The former Olympian backed Franklin into the cage with a hard punch that just missed and the men slipped to the floor. In the top position, Henderson blasted the former UFC champion with hard punches. Once he created some space, Franklin began to hammer the midsection of his opponent with hard body kicks. Always a workhorse, Franklin showed tremendously quick footwork and really pushed the pace. After an accidental clash of heads, the men continued to brawl at the bell.  

Franklin continued his hard work on the feet in round two. Keeping Henderson at bay with good lateral movement, Franklin used a long southpaw jab to dish out punishment and keep his opponent away. Henderson closed the distance and slammed Franklin to the mat. On his back and now bleeding from the forehead, Franklin struggled to control his incredibly strong opponent. Henderson worked from the side mount over the last minute of the final round.  

The former champion Franklin came out firing to start round three and engaged Henderson immediately. During the exchange, Henderson grabbed a leg and threw Franklin to the mat. Though Franklin was on his back, he never stopped working and eventually rose to his feet. Sensing opportunity, Franklin pressed a now tired Henderson into the cage and began to work with short knees. With less than a minute left, Franklin looked like the much fresher fighter and began to pour on punches in bunches.  

Suddenly, Franklin dropped. As the men were engaged, Franklin suffered an accidental eye poke. After a two minute break, the men touched gloves and began to fight.  

With just :37 seconds remaining, both men unloaded with punches but neither man landed anything substantial.  

Judges scorecards read as follows:

29-28 Henderson

30-27 Franklin

29-28 Henderson  

With this split decision victory, Dan Henderson becomes the newest coach of the reality series The Ultimate Fighter where he coaches Team USA. Fellow 185 lb. standout Michael “The Count” Bisping will coach the opposing Team UK.  

“Shogun” Stops Coleman

In the UFC 93’s co feature, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua earned his first UFC victory stopping Mark “The Hammer” Coleman in the final round with a hard four punch combination. As the fight wound down, both fighters were terribly exhausted. The 44 year old Coleman was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame last August.  

Round one saw the 44 year old Coleman score an immediate takedown. With Rua on the bottom, “The Hammer” dropped three hard punches. The much younger Rua showed fantastic ground skills from his back however as he used his tremendous flexibility to get out of danger. After attempting a triangle choke, Rua rose to his feet to take the stronger Coleman to the mat. From side control, “Shogun” began to isolate an arm but lost the position. Once back on his feet, Rua blasted Coleman with two hard low kicks.  

Round two saw Coleman dragging from fatigue. Very tired, Coleman ate two hard kicks to the legs by Rua. When it looked like the Hall of Famer was all but finished, Coleman returned to his roots to slam his younger opponent to the mat. Although he took his man down, the Ohio native could not keep him there. “Shogun” rose to feet and began to tee off on “The Hammer.” With round two ended, Coleman scored another very slow takedown. In response, Rua locked in a tight omoplata but failed to finish the hold before the round ended.  

Round three began with both men unbearably tired. Barely able to hold his hands up, Coleman ripped a body shot to the abdomen of Rua. “Shogun” advanced forward with a left-right combination. Although the punches landed, Rua gave up a big takedown. For the next two minutes, the 44 year old Mark “The Hammer” Coleman outwrestled and outworked the former number one light heavyweight on the planet. In a last ditch effot, Rua rose to his feet and threw a knee to Coleman which was deemed illegal by the referee Kevin Mulhall. With the fighters restarted Rua came forward and landed a brutal four punch combination that floored Coleman. The fight was waved off at 4:36.  

Palhares Outclasses Horn

Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt Rousimar Palhares soundly defeated Jeremy Horn over three round to earn a unanimous decision. Though Horn was dangerous, Palhares’ grappling experience was simply too much for the Utah native.  

After a tense moment on the feet, Palhares scored a quick takedown. With Horn on his back, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt transitioned at will while landing hard shots. From inside the guard of Horn, Palhares dropped for a footlock. The veteran Horn used the opening to work back to his feet, but was quickly taken down again. The Brazilian missed a kneebar but was able to take the back of Horn in the process. Once locked in, Palhares was content to throw hard punches until the bell sounded.

Palhares began the round by landing a hard right hook followed by a thunderous slamming takedown. Following a warning for grabbing the cage, Palhares took the back of Horn yet again. In a flash, Horn reversed his opponent and transitioned to mount. The fighters scrambled back to the feet where Horn blasted Palhares with a left hook. Sensing the end, Horn threw a wild head kick which allowed for the Brazilian to score a momentum killing takedown.  

Palhares gained an early advantage by suplexing Horn onto his back after slipping a lazy punch. Once in control, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt pushed Horn into the cage from inside the guard of the 100+ fight veteran. From the top, Palhares rode out a large part of the round from inside Horn’s guard with little offensive activity. The fighters were stood up due to inactivity and both men were very winded. Horn threw a head kick to end the round but was taken down for a final time.  

Judges’ scorecards read 30-27 all in favor of Rousimar Palhares. The victor apologized for the slow fight claiming that he believed to have suffered a fractured right hand.

Belcher Plays Spoiler, Submits Kang

In a highly anticipated middleweight showdown, 24 year old Alan “The Talent” Belcher scored a wild upset submitting the internationally recognized MMA superstar Denis Kang with a tight guillotine in the second round. The official time was 4:36.

Kang showed his stand up skills early by landing a vicious combination on his younger opponent. After trading blows, Kang quickly took Belcher to the mat. An international superstar in the sport of MMA, Kang displayed fluid ground skills as he transitioned to side mount. Belcher shirked his more experienced opponent off and regained his footing and was met with a hard body shot in return. Kang once again scored a takedown and unleashed a rapid-fire submission attack as he attempted a D’arce choke, anaconda choke and finally a kimura shoulder lock as time expired.  

Round two began with Belcher driving Kang into the fence. After some clinch fighting, the men separated where the Canadian fighter scored another takedown. Working from inside the guard of Belcher, Kang landed hard punches from the top position. Due to inactivity, the fighters were restarted on the feet. Looking winded, Kang went for another takedown which was timed perfectly by Belcher. From his back, Belcher locked in a tight guillotine choke which forced Kang to tap at 4:36.

Davis Gets Split Nod Over Lytle

Thought to be a possible fight of the night candidate, welterweight Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis scored a razor thin split decision over Chris “Lights Out” Lytle in a true slugfest.  

The fighters lived up to their word and exchanged punches immediately. Although Davis is known as the bigger puncher, Lytle was the first to land a stunning blow. While Davis stumbled backwards, Lytle rushed ahead with a wild flurry. Good footwork allowed Davis to move out of danger and land a right cross to the body as well. Following an exchange, Davis caught a kick from Lytle and threw him to the floor. Showing gamesmanship, Davis stepped back and allowed the Indiana native to rise to his feet. Fans cheered as the men threw simultaneous punches at the bell.  

The second round began with Lytle taking over early after teeing off with over a dozen punches. Davis once again used slick footwork to get out of harm’s way and began to throw straight punches. Despite the similar backgrounds, the fight became defined by the tight punching of Davis’ against the wild haymakers of Lytle. Davis landed a crisp southpaw left that dropped Lytle and he once again was allowed to rise to his feet.  

Round three saw Lytle begin to tire. Davis, a consummate mixed martial artist, kept his opponent guessing as he began to hammer the legs and body of Lytle with hard kicks. Although Lytle was still dangerous, Davis used quick combinations and quicker footwork to land punches. As the bell rang, the fighters traded punches to finish the contest.  

Scores were read 29-28 three times, twice in favor of the winner by split decision, Marcus Davis.  

Undercard results

John Hathaway defeated Thomas Egan despite heavy hometown support in the opening round with elbows from the top position. The official time was 4:36 of round one.  

In his welterweight debut Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann scored a second round TKO over Alexandre Barros. After a competitive round one, Kampmann finished Barros from the top position with hard punches at 3:07.  

Jiu jitsu ace Eric Schafer stopped Antonio Mendes in the first round with punches from the mount. The fight was waved off at 3:35.  

In a light heavyweight contest, Tomasz Drwal stopped Ivan Serati at 2:02 of round one with hard punches from the top position.  

Lightweight Denis Siver started the night off with a bang as he knocked out Nate Mohr with a spinning back kick at 3:27 of the third round.  


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