Benson Henderson will put his lightweight title on the line against Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5
Benson Henderson (-160) vs. Nate Diaz (+130): This is a matchup between two of the most dynamic lightweights on the UFC roster. Nate Diaz is on a spectacular five fight win streak, and has ripped through the best UFC 155ers like a buzz saw. Diaz is just the type of fighter that can give the champ fits in five round fight. Henderson may be the more athletic of the two, but Diaz sets a rapid pace in the octagon with his volume punching and relentless style of fighting. The champ may be a small favorite, but this is clearly a fight that Nate Diaz can win.
Benson Henderson has the ability to take the fight where ever he pleases and may dominate the challenger on the ground with his superb wrestling and excellent top control. The trouble for Henderson is that Diaz is a top-notch Brazilian Jui-Jitsu practitioner and can easily put the champ in more than a few compromising positions throughout the fight. Henderson has spent a grand total of 50 minutes in the octagon over his last two fights with the gritty Frankie Edgar, and will be ready for anything the Diaz throws at him.
This matchup is as close to a coin toss as a match can possibly be. Both fighters can easily win this bout, but expect the relentless Diaz to smoother the champ and either score a late round submission or win a decision. Prediction: Nate Diaz via fourth round submission.
Shogun Rua and Alexander Gustafsson face off during the UFC on Fox 5 weigh in
Alexander Gustafsson (-288) vs. Maurico ‘Shogun’ Rua (+188): Alexander Gustafsson’s matchup against Shogun Rua is, essentially, a litmus test to see if he is ready to swim in the deep end of the light heavyweight pool. Shogun, who is no longer in his prime, is still a formidable fighter that can separate the wheat from the chaff in the division. If Gustafsson can get an impressive victory over Rua, he will be in prime position to get the next shot at the light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Shogun, on the other hand, might not be afforded the same luxury, since he has already been beaten convincingly by Jones.
This matchup is Gustafsson’s to lose. As dynamic and aggressive as Shogun can still be, he is not the same menacing fighter of old, and does not have many ways to win this fight. Gustafsson controls the distance, has the better cardio, and will not be controlled on the ground. Shogun’s best chance is to win this fight is with an early blitz of leg kicks and strikes. If the matchup goes into the final round, Shogun is always liable to run out of steam and get picked apart by the younger Gustafsson.
Prediction: Gustafsson wins a close decision in an all-out-war that sees Shogun look impressive in defeat.
Rory McDonald looks to make his mark on the welterweight division with a Victory on Fox
Rory McDonald (-293) vs. BJ Penn (+238): Every time BJ Penn fights we get word that the former lightweight and welterweight champ is motivated and coming out of the best training camp of his life. But when he actually steps into the cage we get an out of shape, yet, still dynamic BJ Penn that gases after a round or two. The trouble for Penn is that talent alone is not enough to get by in the new age of mixed martial arts, where training has been perfected into an exact science, and working alone in your own gym will no longer get the job done.
Rory McDonald, on the other hand, is the prime example of the new breed of MMA fighter that has been training all disciplines from the moment he stepped foot in a gym. McDonalds is a young and aggressive welterweight that trains with best fighters in the world, and is expected to be the future of the welterweight division. If you have not had a chance to watch McDonald fight, the kid is a monster. There are only two ways this fight can end, with a first round stoppage for Penn or a complete Rory McDonald domination. Penn has a chance to win this fight, but McDonalds is the type of fighter that will not let it happen.
Prediction: Rory McDonald wins a dominant five round decision.