KO Wednesday ‘Air Hendo’

Hello LowKickMMA readers. My name is Paul Heyman Chavy and as the newest member of the team I’ll be taking you on trips down memory lane to simpler times in MMA. Back when fans would sit through a PPV and wonder how far Joe Rogan would unbutton his shirt. Back when Corn Nuts were the official nuts of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. And back when Face The Pain was considered outdated by about 10 years.

Throughout the years of the sport there have been an infinite amount of KO’s not only in the UFC but across the entire MMA globe that have quite the story to tell. Whether it be bad blood between fighters. Or even something small like a fighter missing weight, there is a story to be told. And that’s where I come into the picture here at LowKickMMA.

As a fan of the sport since TUF 6 (shoutout Tommy Speer & Mac Danzig) I’ve seen countless amounts of fights in my day. So, with KO Wednesday & Tapout Tuesday I hope to enlighten the newer MMA fans to some of the craziest and greatest moments the sport has to offer from it’s huge fight library. So, without further ado here is the first entry in KO Wednesday!

The year: 2009.

The PPV: UFC 100

The Fight: Dan Henderson vs Michael “The Count” Bisping

The Result: You’re about to find out.

July 11th 2009. 16-year-old Chavy to no avail is doing everything he can to watch UFC 100. UFC 100 was the biggest and baddest card the UFC had ever put together, there was no way I was missing this. I begged my parents to let me buy the card on our DirecTV, they stuffed my takedown attempt. I even went through my tried PS2 games trying to figure out which games I was willing to part with before I would make a trip to GameStop and trade them in. In short, I was down bad. Finally at about 6PM (4 hours before the PPV) my luck changed! I received the text. “Want to go with me to watch UFC at (name redacted)’s house?” Finally! My prayers had been answered I now had a place to watch UFC 100! This must be what it feels like when NFL players get the call that they’ve been drafted.

Anyone who called themselves a fan of the sport at the time remembers just how big this card was.

Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir II for the Heavyweight Title

GSP vs Thiago Alves for the Welterweight Title

Dan Henderson vs Michael Bisping in a battle of TUF 9 coaches.

These fights alone could’ve headlined the next 3 PPV’s…. but they didn’t they were on the same freaking card!

Couple that triple main event with a stacked preliminary card that included names like Jon Jones, Stephen Bonnar, UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman, CB Dolloway, Mac Danzig, Jim Miller, this card truly had it all.

Looking back, it’s crazy to think the Michael Bisping/Dan Henderson fight almost didn’t happen.

That’s right one of the greatest KO’s in UFC history was almost a “what if?”. For the unaware Michael Bisping was already slotted to be a coach on TUF 9. With the upcoming season having the gimmick of “USA vs United Kingdom” it was kind of a given that Bisping would lead the UK team. The coach opposite of him would be TBD up until UFC 93 where Dan Henderson faced off against Rich “Ace” Franklin with the winner being named the USA coach. The close fight saw most scoring it 29-28 in favor of Henderson. However, one judge (who shall remain nameless) made hearts around the world collectively skip a beat when it was read that they scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Rich Franklin. Thankfully the other two judges got it right and Henderson left Dublin, Ireland with the title of “TUF 9 USA Coach”.

TUF portrayed Henderson as a laid back coach. (Orange Cassidy like in his demeanor for all the AEW fans). While Bisping was brash and arrogant (to the surprise of nobody since this was his bread and butter at the time). Bisping spraying DeMarcus Johnson with water and constantly throwing barbs at Henderson with Hendo taking it all in stride. Bisping played the perfect heel.

The season came and went, Team UK had come out victorious with lightweight Ross Pearson & welterweight James Wilks winning the six-figure contract. Henderson had to right this wrong at UFC 100 right? 80’s movies had taught me the bad guy isn’t supposed to win.

From the TUF 9 Finale (which is worth the watch just to see Clay Guida and Diego Sanchez have one of the craziest fights you’ll ever see) let’s fast forward 21 days to UFC 100.

Hendo vs Bisping was second up on the card, (despite what Wikipedia says the Jon Fitch vs Paulo Thiago fight actually took place after the main event) and followed a hell of a scrap between the debuting Yoshiro “Sexyama” Akiyama and Alan “The Talent” Belcher. After months of hype, we were only minutes away from the fight. The opera singing blared through the TV speakers, the tale of the tape hit the screen, and everyone crammed into (name redacted)’s  basement was HYPED!

If you asked me back then how I saw the fight going of course I would’ve said Henderson by KO. Every fight Bisping had up until then is how I wanted it to play out. The man was simply that good at being a bad guy. Did I expect that to happen? Not at all. All of Henderson’s fights in the UFC up until then had gone the distance (sans his submission loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 82). I was also unaware of Hendo’s PRIDE fights where he flatlined guys like Akihiro Gono, Wanderlei Silva, and Ryo Chonan. Shame on me for not knowing Dan had dynamite in his hands!

The bell rang and it was time. The fight starts and Henderson is trying his best to make the KO a reality. He tags Bisping, Bisping recovers and starts working the jab. The horn sounds and the fighters make their way to their respective corners. Most MMA media outlets scored the round 10-9 Henderson.

The second round starts and we get some action going, but then with 1:40 left in the round Bisping does exactly what his coaches told him NOT to do. Circle to his left which put him right in the crosshairs of Hendo’s right hand. What happens next not only blew the lid off the Mandalay Bay Center, but also the house out in BFE we were watching the fights at.

Hendo catches Bisping flush on the chin with a right hook, sending him straight to the shadowrealm. What followed was a flying forearm that in real time felt like slow motion. Like Hendo had just triggered bullet time in Max Payne.

The dust settles, the adrenaline subsides, and Bisping comes to wondering what had happened. Thanks to the endless replays being shown on the broadcast he was brought up to speed rather quickly.

Henderson picked up his second modern day UFC win (he previously won a 1-night tournament at UFC 17 back in 1998) and his stock went through the roof as he scored a highlight reel KO on the biggest UFC card of all time. Now some may say this moment was overshadowed by Brock Lesnar’s throttling of Frank Mir and his post-fight speech. And to them I say “can’t we enjoy them both equally?”.

Anyways, Hendo parlays his newfound fame with his expiring contract and negotiates a deal to fight in Strikeforce. Henderson would unfortunately lose his Strikeforce debut via decision to Middleweight Champ Jake Shields on CBS (and is again overshadowed by some post-fight shenanigans).

Bisping on the other hand was able to get back in the win column with a hard-fought win over Denis Kang at UFC 105 where he again faced some adversity in the striking department.  

Happy KO Wednesday!

Chavy.

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