The five-round classic between the light heavyweight contenders followed Wanderlei Silva’s knockout of Cung Le and Urijah Faber’s submission of Brian Bowles on the pay-per-view card.
Henderson returned to the Octagon after two years in Strikeforce and hurt Rua in the opening rounds, but was unable to put the former UFC champion away. Down three rounds to none, Rua stormed back in the fourth and dominated a tired Henderson in the fifth, but all three judges saw both rounds as just 10-9, allowing Henderson to escape with a 48-47 unanimous decision (MMAFrenzy.com scored the fight a 47-47 draw).
Henderson improves to 29-8 with his fourth-straight win, including a July knockout of heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and has already called for a title shot, while Rua falls to 20-6 after his second loss in three fights.
In the UFC 139 co-main event, Wanderlei Silva outpointed Cung Le in a standup battle before finishing the former Strikeforce middleweight champion with a barrage of strikes capped off with a series of hammerfists late in the second. In the previous bout, Urijah Faber rocked fellow former WEC champion Brian Bowles before scoring a guillotine from the top to likely earn a third meeting with bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz.
The UFC 139 main card also saw welterweight Martin Kampmann edged Rick Story by split decision, while light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar earned a unanimous decision over Kyle Kingsbury. In featured UFC 139 prelims on Spike, Ryan Bader and Michael McDonald scored 77- and 56-second knockouts respectively, while Chris Weidman, Gleison Tibau, Miguel Torres, Seth Baczynski, and Danny Castillo also picked up wins on the preliminary card.
The complete UFC 139 results were:
- Dan Henderson def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Wanderlei Silva def. Cung Le via KO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:49
- Urijah Faber def. Brian Bowles via submission (guillotine) – Round 2, 1:27
- Martin Kampmann def. Rick Story via split decision (28-29, 30-27,29-28)
- Stephan Bonnar def. Kyle Kingsbury via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-27)
- Ryan Bader def. Jason Brilz via KO (punch) – Round 1, 1:17
- Michael McDonald def. Alex Soto via KO (punches) – Round 1, 0:56
- Chris Weidman def. Tom Lawlor via submission (D’arce choke) – Round 1, 2:07
- Gleison Tibau def. Rafael dos Anjos via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
- Miguel Tores def. Nick Pace via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Seth Baczynski def. Matt Brown via submission (guillotine) – Round 2, 0:42
- Danny Castillo def. Shamar Bailey via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:52
For complete coverage of UFC 139, stay tuned to MMAFrenzy.com.
Pictured: Dan Henderson