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Machida vs Rua first of 2 epic rematches this month

Frank Curreri, WEC - Quick question: What was 2009’s best MMA fight of the year? If the answer doesn’t include the names Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone then you’ve either got credibility issues or failed to watch these two fighters wage a riveting, back-and-forth battle for the interim WEC lightweight title in what became an instant classic and sparked a furious debate regarding which man should have had his hand raised (Henderson, incidentally, was awarded a unanimous decision, though the “unanimous” part makes one seriously wonder whether the ringside judges understood how to properly score Cerrone’s numerous submissions that threatened to end the fight).

By Frank Curreri

WEC 10/10 Ben Henderson vs Donald CerroneLast October, UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida and challenger Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua fought a title war that ended with judges giving the five-round frenzy to Machida. The decision was met with an uproar, and a rematch was promised -- to both fans and the two fighters -- that very night. The two men are scheduled for part two of their story at UFC 113 in Montreal, Canada on May 8, less than a month away.

Machida vs. Shogun may have been the most hotly-debated fights of 2009, but if you're looking for just 2009’s best MMA fight of the year, the answer is Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone, who get their rematch on April 24. Click here or click the pictures to see the full fight for free.

Earlier the same month as Machida/Shogun, these two fighters waged a riveting, back-and-forth battle for the interim WEC lightweight title in what became an instant classic and sparked a furious debate regarding which man should have had his hand raised. 

Henderson, incidentally, was awarded a unanimous decision, though the “unanimous” part makes one seriously wonder whether the ringside judges understood how to properly score Cerrone’s numerous submissions that threatened to end the fight.

The good news for fight fans is that after tormenting each other for five rounds last October, Henderson and Cerrone were crazy enough to agree to a sequel. They will clash once more on April 24 in Sacramento, Calif., on a pay-per-view card that will be the most stacked in the WEC’s 10-year history (headlined by WEC featherweight champ Jose Aldo going head-to-head with former champ Urijah Faber).

“I got a whole ‘nother bag of tricks for Ben,” said Cerrone, who is one of MMA’s most exciting fighters WEC 10/10 Ben Henderson vs Donald Cerroneand is 2-0 in Sacramento. “I know what Ben is bringing to the fight and this time I have to beat him in more convincing fashion. I just keep thinking that after this fight I’ll hear the words, ‘And the new lightweight champion of the world … Cowboy Cerrone.’ That’s what runs through my mind. Ben and I got fight of the year last year. I think it will be fight of the year again. So if fans want to see a five-round, all-out war, tune in.”

Henderson, who took Cerrone down repeatedly and punished him with heavy shots on top, said he initially dreaded the idea of a rematch with Cerrone – especially since Henderson spent the night of the fight hospitalized for dehydration after the grueling 25 minute war. But after dethroning former WEC champ Jamie Varner by guillotine choke, Henderson welcomes a rematch with Cerrone, even if it means being pushed to his physical limit once more.

“After the fight I said, ‘No more, I don’t want to do that again,’” Henderson said. “But now I’m ready to do it again. Let’s have Cerrone-Henderson II be the fight everyone is talking about for the next six months. It is going to be an absolute barn-burner and it will make you fall in love with MMA.”
 

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