Las Vegas, NV (USA)-Two powerhouses of the light heavyweight division will collide on Saturday, Nov. 19 for a chance to prove that they deserve at shot at the sport’s ultimate prize - the UFC world championship. Former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson returns to the Octagon at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. to take on former UFC light heavyweight champion and international superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The winner looks to earn a coveted shot at the UFC light heavyweight crown next year.
Plus, San Jose’s own Cung Le makes his UFC debut when he battles mixed martial arts legend Wanderlei Silva in middleweight action. In addition, Sacramento’s “The California Kid,” Urijah Faber takes on former world champion Brian Bowles in bantamweight action, while welterweights Rick Story and Martin Kampmann collide in a pivotal 170-pound bout. The loaded Nov. 19 card will also feature San Jose’s Kyle Kingsbury battling 205-pound star Stephan Bonnar.
“The UFC light heavyweight division is arguably the deepest division in the sport and Dan Henderson and 'Shogun’ are fighting to prove that they deserve to be next in line for a shot at the title,” UFC President Dana White said. “Both of these guys want to earn the right to be called the best 205-pound fighter in the sport. These guys both have incredible power and I expect a great fight on Nov. 19.”
Fresh off a massive knockout victory over rival Forrest Griffin in August, former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) is as motivated as ever to reclaim the title. The 29-year-old, a Muay Thai ace known for being the only man to ever knock out Lyoto Machida, also owns victories over the likes of Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. In November, he hopes to add Henderson’s name to his list of victims and prove to the world that he is ready for a return shot at the belt.
“I’m very happy to have a chance to fight Dan Henderson, who is a legend of the sport,” Rua, owner of a 20-5 record, said. “His career speaks for himself, and to be able to keep fighting at a high level for so long speaks volumes about him as a fighter. This is a fight that could have happened long ago in Pride, and I’m very happy to have a chance to compete against him in such an important time in our careers. Every time Dan Henderson fights, much like me, he comes to fight and is always trying to finish, so I expect a very tough fight that the fans will love!”
One of the sport’s most accomplished stars returns to the Octagon for the first time since UFC 100, as former two-division Pride champion Dan Henderson (fighting out of Temecula, Calif.) begins his quest to capture the UFC light heavyweight title. The former Strikeforce champion, who has won three straight, including a devastating knockout victory over Fedor Emelianenko in July, heads to San Jose on Nov. 19 with his sights set firm on Shogun. Henderson (28-8) believes a win at HP Pavilion will springboard him toward a chance to secure his first UFC world championship.
“This is a fight that the hardcore and old-school Pride fans have been waiting for,” Henderson said. “Shogun is a tough opponent and this is a fight that I’m excited about. The fans are in for an explosive bout.”
Hometown hero Cung Le (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) makes his UFC debut on Nov. 19 in a familiar location - the HP Pavilion. The once-beaten former San Shou world champion has fought all eight of his professional mixed martial arts bouts at the building known as “The Shark Tank.” On Nov. 19, Le (7-1), who owns wins over the likes of Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith, faces the toughest test of his career when he battles mixed martial arts legend Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.). The 35-year-old former Pride 205-pound champion is known as one of the most fearless competitors to ever grace the cage. Owner of wins over Michael Bisping, Rampage Jackson and Dan Henderson, Silva (33-11-1, 1 NC) continues his quest at middleweight when he meets Le in his opponent’s backyard.
A pioneer in the lighter weight classes, Urijah Faber (fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) looks to earn another shot at the bantamweight crown when he locks horns with former 135-pound titleholder Brian Bowles (fighting out of Athens, Ga.). The 32-year-old Faber is fresh off a thrilling five-round war with champion Dominick Cruz. He believes a win in his native Northern California on Nov. 19 will secure him the rubber match he so highly covets. Standing in his way is the hard-charging Bowles (10-1), who has won two straight since dropping the title to Cruz in March of 2010. Equally hungry to earn another crack at the champion, expect the 31-year-old to press the action against “The California Kid” when the two meet in a pivotal bantamweight match-up.
At just 27 years old, welterweight Rick “The Horror” Story (fighting out of Vancouver, Wash.) has won six out of his last seven fights in the UFC en route to becoming one of the division’s hottest prospects. Now, the hard-hitting former collegiate wrestler meets proven veteran Martin Kampmann (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in what is sure to be an all-out war. With memories of his Fight of the Year candidate with Diego Sanchez from March still fresh on fans’ minds, Kampmann (17-5), a 29-year-old Danish slugger, hits San Jose with a ton of steam. Owning wins over notables such as Paulo Thiago, Jacob Volkmann and Carlos Condit, expect “The Hitman” to come out swinging when he meets Story (13-4) at HP Pavilion.
Exciting light heavyweights Stephan Bonnar (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) and Kyle Kingsbury (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) fight on Nov. 19 with the winner expected to move into the 205-pound title picture. The 34-year-old Bonnar (16-7) is a Carlson Gracie black belt known for his legendary fight with Forrest Griffin in 2005 that helped launch the UFC to what it has become today. Riding back to back wins over Igor Pokrajac and Krzysztof Soszynski, “The American Psycho” gears up for an intense battle with the 29-year-old Kingsbury (11-2, 1 NC), winner of four straight.
For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com.