Diaz-Henderson Proves Just How Stacked The Lightweight Division IsEven with former champ Frankie Edgar heading down to featherweight, the UFC's lightweight division just grows deeper and deeper. Right now, Benson Henderson's the group's top dog. Seamless defensive wrestling keeps him on his feet and dominating opponents with brutal kicks and smothering body control. Diaz, with his unparalleled ability to wear opponents down using distance, will attempt to dethrone the new emperor in a fantastic title fight.
Watch Out For Alexander GustafssonTo non-die hard fans, Alex Gustafsson may be a unknown commodity. That should change Saturday night, especially if the talented young Swede can handle MMA legend "Shogun" Rua. Gustafsson, like Nate Diaz, is incredibly long, which could help him withstand Rua's early bull rushes. On the ground, Gustafsson is a snake, smothering opponents and finishing them with chokes and punches.
How Much Does Shogun Have Left?Like with Wanderlei Silva, we find ourselves wondering how much a fighter has left even when he's only in his early 30s. Both Silva and Rua--legends in the sport--have absorbed brutal damage in ascending as high as they have. In Shogun's case, that means multiple knee surgeries, a shoulder operation, and a busted elbow from his Pride days. Even in his relatively advanced age, Shogun can still be laser sharp and punishing with his strikes, just ask Forrest Griffin and Brandon Vera.
B.J. Penn, Of Course, Says He's Hungrier Than Ever"The old B.J." is a now infamous punchline in the MMA community, mostly because few these days can really remember when Penn was the devastating, blood-lusting brawler that cemented him as a legend in the sport. Penn, of course, posted pictures of himself in tremendous shape for his comeback fight with Rory MacDonald. That's certainly a start, but B.J. , 33, will need to be supremely motivated and vicious if he wants to dismantle the hungry 23-year-old.
The FX Undercard Is StackedTune into Fox's sister channel, FX, Saturday night to watch some excellent prelims. Yves Edwards-Jeremy Stephens is guaranteed fireworks, and two guys on the undercard, Dennis Siver and Mike Easton, could be only a few fights away from a title shot. That and free fights are good fights.
Saturday night, if you can resist the lure of the rickety dive bar around the corner or a Star Trek marathon with some of that stuff that just got legalized in Washington and Colorado, check out the UFC on FOX, the promotion's fifth card on the network.
Free, high-quality MMA on TV is far from widely available, which makes enjoying UFC on Fox cards all the more imperative.
The four-fight showcase includes a title fight between ironclad champion Benson Henderson and testy contender Nate Diaz. Additionally, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will face off against young gun Alexander Gustafsson in what Dana White has pegged as a #1 contender fight for the light heavyweight strap, though we've seen the president rescind those promises in the past due to injuries or a more compelling fight becoming available.
And, to add another layer of intrigue, MMA legend B.J. Penn returns from his self-imposed retirement to take on top welterweight prospect Rory MacDonald.