At 40 years old, Dan Henderson adds another belt to his trophy case.
In the main event of Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson,” challenger and former UFC and Pride titleholder Dan Henderson defeated Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante by technical knockout to win the Strikeforce light heavyweight title.
Henderson overcame being knocked down in the first round by a right hand to the chin by Cavalcante to win the second round and finish in the third.
The Team Quest founder stalked his opponent the entire fight with his powerful right hand cocked and ready to unload. It found its target early in the third round, face-planting “Feijao.” Henderson pounced on him, taking his back and finished with a series of strikes.
“Leading up to his fight, everyone was talking about the belt, and I didn’t really give it much thought until now. It’s definitely going to be an honor to have this Strikeforce belt,” said Henderson in his post-fight interview.
“My main focus was to win this fight. I couldn’t have done it without the team behind me: All the Team Quest guys and the Dynamic Fitness guys that got my ass in shape, so thank you,” added the new light heavyweight champion.
“I kind of wanted to be real patient in this fight. Obviously, I would liked to have knocked him out in the first minute, but I felt that he’s a tough guy. He’s real powerful, especially that first round,” said Henderson about the fight.
“He caught me with a good dinger that first round for a second, but I felt like I finished the round real strong. I wanted to be patient, win each round and then hopefully catch him in that fourth or fifth round, and that’s about what happened.”
In the other title bout on the card, women’s welterweight titleholder Marloes Coenen retained her belt with a triangle choke submission over Liz Carmouche.
Carmouche took the fight on two weeks notice and put the women’s 135-pound division on notice with her performance.
The first round was mainly a kickboxing match that was back and forth. Carmouche took over the fight in the second and third rounds. Both rounds ended with Coenen mounted and taking punches. Coenen was blocking most of the strikes, but the fight could have been close to being stopped in each round.
In the fourth, Carmouche got an early takedown, but Coenen worked her submission game and applied a triangle choke. She tightened it down and Carmouche was forced to tap out.
Carmouche replaced the injured Miesha Tate, and Coenen expressed her desire to reschedule that match up next.
“I would love to fight her,” said Coenen following the fight. “Miesha, if you see this, I will come and get you.”
Kicking off the Showtime telecast of “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson” was a lightweight match up between Jorge Masvidal and Billy Evangelista. Evangelista was undefeated heading into Saturday’s fight.
Masvidal utilized his reach and boxing to pick Evangelista apart over the course of three rounds. All three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Masvidal.
Tim Kennedy faced dangerous striker Melvin Manhoef in middleweight action. The two had opposite game plans entering the cage. Manhoef wanted to keep it standing and Kennedy needed to get the fight to the ground.
Early on, Manhoef fended off Kennedy’s takedown attempts and was landing powerful leg kicks. Eventually Kennedy secured a takedown along the fence and quickly took Manhoef’s back. From there, he flattened him out, softened him up with punches and sunk in a rear naked choke. Manhoef was forced to tap out.
“Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson” took place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday.
Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson Full Results:
Dan Henderson def. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante by TKO (strikes) at :50 of round 3.
Marloes Coenen def. Liz Carmouche by submission (triangle choke) at 1:29 of round 4.
Tim Kennedy def. Melvin Manhoef by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:41 of round 1.
Jorge Masvidal def. Billy Evangelista by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards).
Preliminary Bouts (Non-Televised):
Roger Bowling def. Josh Thornburg by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards).
Jorge Gurgel def. Billy Vaughan by submission (guillotine choke) at :44 of round 1.
Jason Freeman def. Jason Riley by TKO (strikes) at 1:52 of round 1.
Brian Rogers def. Ian Rammel by TKO (strikes) at 4:23 of round 1.
Mitch Whitesel def. Marc Cofer by submission (guillotine choke) at 3:55 of round 1.
John Kuhner def. JP Felty by submission (triangle choke) at 4:31 of round 2.