Faber earns title rematch

The Union Democrat Sports Department /

By AMBER PAPPE

For The Union Democrat

SAN JOSE - Twenty-four warriors took over San Jose, home of the Spartans and the Sharks appropriately enough, to battle - and battle they did.

With 12 strong match-ups on the card, UFC 139 wowed the crowd of 13,173 Saturday night at HP Pavilion.

Sacramento superstar Urijah Faber earned submission of the night

for his intense bantamweight bout with Brian Bowles. Always a crowd

favorite, the charismatic "California Kid"made quick work of Bowles,

powering him around the cage in the first round, and then flooring him

with a huge uppercut that set up the victory via guillotine choke in

the second.

"It's the best I've seen him look,"said TJ Dillashaw, a 2004 Bret

Harte graduate and member of Faber's Team Alpha Male. "Bowles is a

tough opponent - he took him out fast and aggressively."

Coming in to the fight, Faber was confident and eager to prove

himself against the talented Bowles. "I think our skills are pretty

even as far as being well-rounded, but I think I'm a little better in

every category,"said Faber, the former WEC title-holder at

featherweight.

With the victory, Faber becomes the official number one contender at 135.

Post-fight, he called on current bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz from the Octagon.

"Dominick, you can run, but you can't hide,"he challenged.

He also gave a shout out to Dillashaw, crediting him with the combination he used to submit Bowles.

"Call out to TJ Dillashaw,"said Faber. "You guys see TJ on The

Ultimate Fighter, that's my boy right there. And he gets everybody with

that."

The respect from Faber was an appreciated accolade to add to a

weekend spent swarmed by TUF fans seeking photos, autographs and

friendly chatter.

"Urijah is really generous,"said Dillashaw. "He always shows

appreciation to anyone who helps him out. It was cool of him to

recognize me."

Faber was not the only Alpha Male on the card. In a lightweight

bout, teammate Danny Castillo took on Season 13 Ultimate Fighter champ

Shamar Bailey. Castillo, in control throughout, secured a first round

victory via TKO due to punches.

In other action, Oakdale's Michael McDonald, the youngest fighter

in the UFC, faced Alex Soto. The 20-year-old McDonald, a bantamweight

who fights out of Oakdale MMA, sister gym to Sonora MMA, made quick

work of Soto, knocking him out in first round and earning a $70,000

knockout of the night bonus.

The blistering pace of the evening continued as veteran

middleweights Wanderlei Silva and Sanshou kickboxing champ Cung Le

stormed the Octagon in the co-main event. To begin, Le did a solid job

keeping Silva out of range with spinning strikes. As Round 1 closed,

the two swapped several violent exchanges, with Silva drawing blood.

The action revved up another notch in Round 2 as Silva decimated Le's

nose, dropping him to the mat and into the arms of the reeree. The

legendary Brazilian "Axe Murderer"earned the victory via stoppage.

The night concluded with light heavyweight legends Dan

"Hendo"Henderson and Mauricio "Shogun"Rua in what experts are calling a

war for the ages. UFC president Dana White hailed the fight as one of

the top three all-time.

For five rounds, the headliners put on an action-packed, bloody

brawl. The non-stop slugfest began with Henderson relying on heavy

punches. Rua scored a late-round knockdown, but Hendo was up and the

two continued to trade.

Heavy hitting and harsh punishment continued in the second, with

the two in the clinch as the round ended. Power shots filled Round 3.

Henderson, the former Strikeforce and PRIDE champion, dropped Rua and

rained down punches and vicious elbows as the referee eyed the action

carefully for stoppage.

Illuminating just why the fight will make UFC history, the fighters

stayed in it to the very last moment. Just when it looked to be over,

each found a second life. Bloody, battle weary and clearly relying on

mind over matter, both scored takedowns in Round 4. Rua capitalized and

landed several punishing punches; Henderson, obviously dazed, worked to

regroup. Rua grabbed another takedown, but could not maintain control

and the two ended the round spent.

More of the same closed out the final five minutes. The fight

looked to be up for grabs as the two worked for victory. Rua took the

fight to the mat and used ground and pound to try to end it, but could

not make it happen. Though some expected a draw, the victory went to

Henderson, with all three judges scoring the bout 48-47.

"I don't know how the judges scored the last round. It could have

been, or should have been, a 10-8 round. But that doesn't take anything

away from Dan Henderson,"commented Rua. "He is a legend."

Thus, UFC 139 will long be remembered for a night of amazing athleticism, incredible will and awe-inspiring heart.

Gracious and clear-minded in defeat, Shogun recognized that he had been part of something extraordinary.

He concluded, "Those are the type of fights that create a legacy."

11854600
The Union Democrat
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