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
"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
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
The respect from Faber was an appreciated accolade to add to a
weekend spent swarmed by TUF fans seeking photos, autographs and
"Urijah is really generous,"said Dillashaw. "He always shows
appreciation to anyone who helps him out. It was cool of him to
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."