The UFC is bringing a stacked night of fights to their fifth card on the main Fox Network on December 8th from Key Arena in Seattle, as Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson puts it all on the line against one of Stockton’s favourite sons, Nathan Diaz.
This will be Henderson’s second defence of the 155 pound strap after a controversial win over Frankie Edgar. Once again wrestling will be the deciding factor in this bout. In terms of striking Diaz would enjoy a slight speed advantage, though the power stakes are in Bendo’s favour – so no clear advantage there.
On the ground, Diaz will enjoy superior submission skills thou Henderson has not been submitted in five years making for another possible stalemate. Diaz would have to soften him up on the feet to have any chance of a sub in the latter rounds.
Then we come to the wrestling department which Henderson walks away with. Built like an NFL running back, the reigning champion should have little trouble taking Diaz down and landing some clinical ground and pound.
This fight will most likely end up going to decision thou, which Henderson should win due to the favouring of wrestling in the eyes of many judges.
The co-main event sees Alexander Gustafsson lining up against veteran slugger Shogun Rua. A win for the Swede would give him major leverage for a fight against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
This fight is much easier to predict, with Gustafsson enjoying a height and reach advantage over the undersized Rua. Another one that will likely go to decision, which Gustafsson should win unanimously. Alexander is arguably the only fighter with the physical tools to be beat Jones, though his submission defence if still up for debate, with a submission loss to Phil Davis two years ago serving as a reminder of his frailties on the ground.
Arguably the most anticipated bout on the card see the young lion in Rory McDonald taking on the legend BJ Penn. Penn looks in great shape and has brought in the likes of Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley to tighten up his wrestling, which he’ll need against the much touted young Canadian.
Size will be the biggest factor in this particular result, with BJ Penn in reality on being a 155 pounder, while MacDonald struggles to get down the welterweight and has stated plans to move up to middleweight.
MacDonald will be a UFC champion in the next two years, and should have little trouble putting away a 34 year-old former champion on the tail end of a glittering, yet over-rated career.
The final bout on the main card between Mike Swick and Matt Brown has no title implications but pits two evenly match fighters who like to trade. Swick’s chin will be tested by Brown’s crisp Muay Thai, which will be good enough for a second round KO for Brown.
FOX main card
Benson Henderson vs. Nathan Diaz -- UFC lightweight title
Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson
BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald
Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown
Michael Chiesa vs. Marcus LeVesseur
Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens
Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike Easton
Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor
Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez
Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan
Scott Jorgensen vs. John Albert
Tim Means vs. Abel Trujillo