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This Day in MMA History: Hendo TKOs Shogun, Pettis KOs Wonderboy, Rumble beats Arlovski

March 23rd has delivered a handful of epic finishes.

UFC Fight Night: Shogun v Henderson Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

With no new fights to report on, we are still taking the time to look back into the annals of MMA history. Today we are mostly focusing on epic TKO/KOs.

March 23, 2014: Dan Henderson knocks out Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC Fight Night 38

PRIDE favourites Dan Henderson and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua put on one of the greatest contests of all time when they met at UFC 139 in November 2011. That fight, which Henderson won via unanimous decision, has since been recognized by the UFC’s imaginary Hall of Fame.

After that bloody war Henderson went on a three fight losing streak, losing to former UFC light heavyweight champions Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. Shogun fared a little better; rebounding to TKO Brandon Vera, but then losing to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen.

After Shogun KO’d James Te-Huna in Brisbane, he and Henderson found themselves matched-up once again. This time they were given the headline spot at UFC Fight Night 38 in Natal, Brazil.

The rematch wasn’t as thrilling as the first bout, but few fights are. Still, Henderson vs. Shogun 2 was an exciting back and forth contest. In the first round both fighters scored a knockdown, but it was Rua who came closest to the early finish; pummeling Hendo against the cage as the round ended.

In the second round both men traded more big shots. Again, it was Shogun getting the best of the action, dropping Henderson for a second time with a huge uppercut. Heading into the third Bloody Elbow had scored the first two rounds for Shogun. Based on what happened next, Henderson probably thought he was behind on the scorecards, too,

In the third the American came out all guns blazing. He threw his patented H-Bomb with reckless abandon and, when he landed, that was the beginning of the end for Shogun. Here’s Tim Burke’s live commentary of that third and final round:

Round 3 - Hendo missed with the H-Bomb. Hendo charged in an connected with a right. Shogun with a few jabs. Then a monster right hook sent Shogun flying! What a huge shot! He jumped him and landed another huge shot on the ground. A few hammerfists were borderline to the back of the head, but he landed a few to the side of the head and it was enough for Dean to stop the fight. WOW. Shogun’s nose is sideways!

See some highlights, including the finish of the fight, right here (via Fight Network):

On that same night C.B. Dolloway beat Cezar Ferreira by TKO, Thiago Santos beat Ronny Markes with a body kick, and Godofredo Pepey scored another highlight reel finish — with a flying knee on Noad Lahat.

You can watch Pepey’s KO here, on UFC Fight Pass.

After beating Rua this night, Henderson fought on for two more years. His results were inconsistent. He took losses to Daniel Cormier, Gegard Mousasi and Vitor Belfort (again). But he got knockout wins over Tim Boetsch and Hector Lombard. The last fight of his career was at UFC 204, in a rematch versus then UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. Bisping won the bout via a unanimous (some would say controversial) decision.

Shogun, now 38, has fought seven times since that loss to Henderson. His most recent bout was only in November, a draw to Paul Craig. Over that stretch he has gone 4-2-1.

March 23, 2019: Anthony Pettis knocks out Stephen Thompson at UFC Nashville

We are only turning the clock back one year for this one. At 2019’s UFC Nashville, headlining honours were given to two fighters with a history for highlight reel knockouts; Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.

Former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Pettis came into this welterweight bout off the back of a corner stoppage loss to Tony Ferguson. Prior to that he submitted Michael Chiesa.

Thompson was going through a rough patch. He had just lost to Darren Till, after beating Jorge Masvidal. Prior to the Masvidal fight he failed to win the UFC welterweight belt on two back to back occasions; thanks to a majority draw and then a majority decision loss to Tyon Woodley (in two utterly forgettable fights).

Given these fighters’ pasts, many were confident their fight in Tennessee would not go the full five rounds. And those people were right, with the fight stopping in the second thanks to a superman punch from Showtime.

Here’s the finish, along with Tim Burke’s reaction:

Round 2 - They trade low kicks. Hook kick from Thompson. Pettis still leg kicking. Side kick the chest from Wonderboy. Pettis lands a punch to the body. Slapping kicks from both men. Thompson is landing the jab with regularity. Thompson with a body-head combination. Pettis with some oblique kicks. Another hook kick. Body shot from Thompson. Pettis pushes off the cage with a superman punch and THOMPSON IS OUT COLD! HOLY HELL!

After this Pettis lost fights to Nate Diaz and Carlos Diego Ferreira. Thompson beat Vincente Luque last time out, at November’s UFC 244.

March 23, 2013: Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson defeats Andrei Arlovski at WSOF 2

There wasn’t much happening outside the UFC on previous March 23rds. However, there was a heavyweight fight between Anthony Johnson and Andrei Arlovski in the now defunct WSOF promotion.

You can see that whole fight below:

After losing the decision to Johnson Arlovski took one more WSOF fight, then a bout in his native Belarus, before returning to the UFC in 2014. Back with ZUFFA he went on a four fight win streak, beating Brendan Schaub, Bigfoot Silva. Travis Browne and Frank Mir. He then lost his next five. Arlovski has mostly lost since then. His most recent appearance was last November, when he was knocked out by Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

Johnson also returned to the UFC soon after this fight. He turned himself into a UFC light heavyweight title challenger after wins over Phil Davis, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Alexander Gustafsson. He lost that title fight to Daniel Cormier, but earned a second shot with wins over Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira. He lost his second title fight to Cormier, too.