Dan Henderson claims Strikeforce belt with vicious knockout win

By Dann Stupp

COLUMBUS, OhioDan Henderson still has it.

The 40-year-old former PRIDE world champion and UFC tournament winner was wobbled early by Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante but battled back to land his signature right hand and claim Strikeforce‘s light heavyweight title.

The bout served as the main event of Saturday night’s “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson” event, which took place at Nationwide Arena and aired on Showtime.

The win didn’t come easily for Henderson, who was in trouble in the opening frame. After touching Cavalcante on the chin with a stinging right, the Brazilian unleashed his own heavy hands and staggered “Hendo.” But the former Olympic wrestler returned to his roots but dragging “Feijao” to the mat, buying time to regain his with. The veteran move paid major dividends.

In the second, Henderson again relied on his vaunted wrestling skills by working in the clinch, as well as planting Cavalcante on the canvas and grinding away from top position. It wasn’t necessarily aesthetically pleasing, but it changed the momentum of the fight by slowing down Cavalcante, who had been finding some early success on the feet.

In the third, Henderson finally landed his trademark right, or as Showtime broadcaster Mauro Ranallo suggested, unleashed the “H-Bomb.”

With Cavalcante looking to open up on the feet, Henderson landing a shot to the chin that appeared as much grazing blow as direct hit. Nevertheless, the blow sent Cavalcante tumbling to the floor. Henderson immediately pounced with six heavy punches to the temple that sealed the knockout result 50 seconds into the third frame.

Following the win, Henderson said the fight played out exactly as he had hoped.

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