Dan Henderson is no stranger to representing the U.S. having competed on its Greco Roman Olympic teams during the summer games of 1992 and 1996.
Thanks to the former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion’s three-round split decision victory over Rich Franklin on Saturday night at UFC 93, Henderson will once again represent the U.S. as a head coach on The Ultimate Fighter reality television show.
Henderson will lead a team of eight Americans against a team comprised of eight fighters from the United Kingdom. The UK team will be coached by Michael Bisping with both fighters expected to fight each other soon after the show has finished airing. Bout agreements for a Henderson vs. Bisping matchup have yet to be signed but the fight could be scheduled for July.
Henderson moved into the coaching slot by using his wrestling background to take Franklin out of his striking element and getting him to the mat. The 38-year old spent the majority of the first round on top of Franklin and won the round in decisive fashion thanks to a good display of ground and pound.
While Franklin fared better in the second round, Henderson still managed to get the fight to the floor for a good portion of the round. Franklin, a former UFC middleweight champion, delivered several nice kicks to the body of Henderson while the two were standing but was unable to dole out a sustained amount of punishment.
Soon after the start of the third round, Henderson once again found himself in top position on the ground and inside of Franklin’s guard. Despite causing very little damage, Henderson still managed to eat up clock and limited Franklin’s window to rally.
When the fighters eventually returned to the standup position, Franklin displayed a sense of urgency and attempted to rally from behind and avoid a decision loss by trying to finish Henderson. However, Henderson hung on for the victory, earning scores of 29-28 from two judges with Franklin surprisingly garnering a 30-27 score from the third judge.
While Franklin had trouble sustaining momentum during the fight, he fought well in spite of being the victim of accidental fouls on two separate occasions. The Ohio native suffered multiple lacerations to the top of his forehead following an incidental head butt. Then, in the third round, the fight was stopped for several minutes after Franklin was the recipient of an accident eye poke.
In addition to Henderson winning, former PRIDE superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua recorded his first victory in the UFC with a third round TKO over UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman.
Rua was fighting for the first time in nearly a year and a half due to recovery from knee surgery while the two were also fighting each other for the first time in nearly three years. In their first meeting at PRIDE 31, Coleman was declared the winner via TKO just 49 seconds into the fight after Rua landed awkwardly on a takedown and suffered a dislocated elbow.
Following Rua’s victory, sources revealed to FiveOuncesOfPain.com that it was determined that his next fight will take place against Chuck Liddell at UFC 97 during a yet-to-be announced card tentatively scheduled for April 18 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
The show’s pay-per-view telecast also saw Rousimar Palhares defeat Jeremy Horn via unanimous decision; Alan Belcher upset former PRIDE star Denis Kang with a guillotine choke submission at 4:36 of round 2; and Marcus Davis beat Chris Lytle via split decision.
The event’s non-televised undercard featured Martin Kampmann’s successful debut at welterweight following a second round TKO over newcomer Alexandre Barros. Other preliminary bouts saw John Hathaway successfully represent England over Ireland with a first round TKO over Tom Egan; German wrestling standout Dennis Siver using a spinning back kick to help TKO the returning Nate Mohr in round 3; Eric Schafer recording his second consecutive UFC victory with a first round TKO over Brazilian Antonio Mendes; and Tomasz Drwal TKO’ing Italian boxer Ivan Serati at 2:02 of round 1.