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.
With Georges St. Pierre over his injury doubts following an authoritative display against interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit at UFC 154, what’s next for the Canadian superstar with talks of a super fight with Anderson Silva in 2013 looming?
It’s not many top-line athletes that came back an ACL re-construction, but GSP is one such, who was still able to hit his famed double leg takedown with ease. Not afraid to bring the fight to Condit either, and bar a flash knock-down in third round, GSP never looked like losing.
The win added some fire to speculation of a GSP vs Silva super fight, however the cards seem stacked in the favor of the bigger Brazilian. GSP has showed no interest in the fight at 185 pounds and has hinted that the only way he’d take the fight is if Silva was prepared to cut down to 170 pounds to challenge for his belt. Silva hasn’t fought at that weight since competing in Pride eight years ago. The 37 year-old is no spring chicken either and generally walks around at 220 pounds between fights.
Preliminary Card (FX)Middleweight Bout: Patrick Cote (17-8) vs. Alessio Sakara (15-9)
Finally after 19 months we get to see Georges St. Pierre make his Octagon return. GSP has been the king of the welterweight division for nearly five years, but the division has improved tremendously while GSP was on the shelf nursing a torn ACL.
GSP has defended his belt six straight times, but he will get his toughest test this Saturday night against Carlos Condit. "The Natural Born Killer" enters the octagon on a five-fight win streak against some very tough competition.
During his win streak he has knocked off Nick Diaz, Dong Hyun-Kim, Dan Hardy, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger. Three of those five rank in the top-ten in the ESPN rankings among the welterweight division.
Also on the card, (20-5) Martin Kampmann takes on (13-1) Johny Hendricks to determine who gets the winner of GSP vs. Condit.
With the belated demise of Strikeforce all but complete, as rumors of a final show in January do the rounds, before tenuous ties with Showtime Sports are cut forever: Where does this leave the landscape of MMA in North America, in dire need of a viable competitor to the UFC?
Strikeforce in reality died the day that Zuffa took ownership of the promotion, as the cream of the crop was shifted over to the UFC ranks, seeing title-holders like of Nick Diaz, Alastair Overeem and Dan Henderson cherry picked, in-so depleting much of the star power of the organisation and souring relations with Showtime.
At the end of the day, Zuffa was never interested in running two separate brands and has always been committed to building the UFC Empire, crushing all and sundry in the process.
The end of Strikeforce is a blessing in disguise as Showtime can finally look for other alternatives. Showtime has invested a lot of collateral into building MMA into the psyche of their viewership on Cable TV, and would be surprising for them to pull out this far down the line.