We are a little over 24 hours away from what will truly be a historic night in Seattle as the UFC invades the Key Arena with UFC on Fox 5: Henderson vs. Diaz. The whole card consists of 11 bouts with one airing on Facebook, six on FX and four on Fox.
All four main card bouts have the potential to be incredible fights as the UFC and Fox have really stepped up their game as they end the first year of the seven year contract that was inked last year. Here I will make predictions on the four bouts that will make up the main card.
Mike Swick 15-4) vs. Matt Brown (15-11) – Welterweights:
After spending 30 months on the shelf due to various injuries and ailments Swick made a return to the Octagon in August on the UFC on Fox 4 card against DaMarques Johnson. The first round was extremely exciting and Swick found himself in some precarious positions, but made it through to round number two where he floored Johnson and finished him off with punches 1:20 into the round. Swick was in shape, he faced adversity and he showed he still has plenty of skill left in his 33-year-old body to make some noise in the welterweight division.
Brown’s record nor his style may be the most aesthetically pleasing, but when it comes to toughness you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has battled through more in and out of the cage than he has. The 31-year-old Ohio native has won three in a row and four of his past five. He is rugged, has good cardio and has never been knocked out in 26 career bouts. I would give Swick the edge in striking and submissions while giving Brown the nod in power. I see this one being a back and forth brutal affair that will go all three rounds.
Winner By Unanimous Decision- Mike Swick
BJ Penn (16-8) vs. Rory MacDonald (13-1) – Welterweights:
I don’t know if there is a hotter young prospect in mixed martial arts than Rory MacDonald. At 23-years-old he will be competing in his sixth bout for the UFC and doing it against a former two-division world champion in Penn. His lone loss was to former UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit at UFC 115 in June of 2010. MacDonald had controlled the first two rounds and somehow Condit turned it up at the end of round three earning a TKO victory with just seven seconds left. He’s big, strong and athletically gifted, training side by side with Georges St. Pierre every day is also a huge benefit for the British Columbia native. This kid knows how to finish fights having won six bouts by knockout and six by submission.
No one has ever questioned BJ Penn’s talent or God given abilities, the questions that always surround the Hilo, Hawaii native have always centered around his conditioning and commitment. Judging by all reports and videos that we have seen, Penn looks to be in the best shape of his life mentally and physically. He says MacDonald has lit a fire under his ass and the fans have yet to see his best performance inside the cage yet. If that’s the truth then it will be a long night for MacDonald. I’m a realistic person and I know full well that a fight can end at anytime, Penn will be outweighed by over 20lbs come tomorrow night and his conditioning will be tested early and often. I believe BJ when he says he’s not done and I see a repeat of his first fight with Matt Hughes. Penn goes into the fight an underdog against a bigger, stronger opponent and comes out on top.
Winner By First Round Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)- BJ Penn
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-6) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (14-1)- Light Heavyweights
This is another case of the former champion taking on the hungry, young lion. Rua is just 31-years-old and is a former UFC light heavyweight champion as well as a former Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Champion. His all around skills are so good and he can hurt his opponent in so many different ways. Shogun is a powerful puncher who has a very good top game, under rated submissions and can take a beating with the best of them. This old dog will not go down easy. The edge in experience is so huge here as Shogun has literally fought every top light heavyweight of the last ten years.
Gustafsson is the man who many consider to be the biggest threat to Jon Jones’ light heavyweight championship. His lone loss came to Phil Davis at UFC 112 in April of 2010. He has since won five straight, but while he may be extremely talented the biggest win of his career has come against Thiago Silva, a fighter who was coming off a yearlong suspension. I am not taking anything away from Gustafsson, he has a very good chance to win this fight tomorrow night, but I’m inclined to go with the the man who has proven time and time again to be one of the best fighters of our era.
Winner By Second Round TKO (Punches)- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Nate Diaz (16-7) vs. Benson Henderson (17-2)- For Henderon’s UFC Lightweight Championship:
I am in complete agreement when I hear anyone say that Diaz has really earned this shot at the championship. After toying around in the welterweight division for a few fights, the Stockton, CA native made the right decision to drop back down to 155 and it certainly has paid off big time. He destroyed Takanori Gomi, defeated Donald Cerrone and then became the first fighter to ever finish Jim Miller. With each and every fight he has improved his striking and his takedown defense. Much like his older brother Nick, Nate will pepper is foes with punches in bunches before landing the shot that ends their night early. Let’s not forget the man has an extremely slick submission game learned under the watchful eye of Cesar Gracie.
Henderson is another fighter who has earned his spot in the main event. Say what you will about his two fights with former champion Frankie Edgar, the belt remains around his waist and this man has a take on all comers approach that has earned him the respect of the fans and fellow fighters. Bendo is strong and his cardio is insane, although he won’t have an advantage over Diaz who competes in triathlons for fun. Henderson will have the edge in wrestling and his submission defense is second to none in the sport, just ask Cerrone. This fight will be fast paced and more than likely will go all five rounds. These guys are so close and super talented it’s really hard to pick a winner, but someone has to be sent home unhappy.
Winner By Unanimous Decision and New UFC Lightweight Champion- Nate DiazTags: "bj Penn", Alexander Gustafsson, benson henderson, Carlos Condit, featured, georges st. pierre, Matt brown, Matt Hughes, Mauricio shogun rua, Mike Swick, MMA NEWS, nate diaz, Rory MacDonald, ufc news, ufc on fox 5