Dan Henderson walked to the Octagon tonight for the main event at UFC Fight Night 68 as an underdog — a rarity in his long MMA career.
Henderson, who faced Tim Boetsch in a middleweight bout for the New Orleans event, had lost five of his last six fights, including a first round TKO in his previous bout.
On the other hand, Boetsch hadn’t fared much better, earning only a pair of wins in his last half dozen appearances in the Octagon. But conventional wisdom had him, a durable middleweight still in his 30’s, as the favorite.
What did the old legend Henderson, who began his MMA career 17 years ago, have left?
Henderson had the answer for this, his 44th professional fight (coincidentally, at age 44) — a fight which ended in classic “Hendo” fashion.
A Henderson right hand rattled Boetsch seconds into the bout, and the veteran capitalized immediately — eventually scoring a devastating first round knockout.
The 0:28 win for Henderson capped off a hard-hitting event which saw ten of twelve bouts go to a finish rather than a decision.
The evening’s co-main event, a heavyweight bout between Matt Mitrione and Ben Rothwell, was among those bouts to be decided within the distance. It also may have been the strangest.
Mitrione began the bout by earning a slight advantage in striking exchanges, but then inexplicably went for a takedown against the superior grappler in Rothwell. Rothwell responded by securing a modified guillotine choke, dubbed a “gogo choke” by announcer Bruce Buffer, and Mitrione quickly tapped in submission.
Rothwell went on to give a bizarre post-fight interview, complete with a movie villain’s evil laugh. It failed to electrify the New Orleans crowd.
For full results, please see Dana Becker’s play-by-play coverage at http://www.fightline.com/ufc-fight-night-68-results-play-play/