UFC on Fox 5 Preview

UFC-on-FOX-5-posterThe UFC continues its deal with the Fox sports channels this weekend and like usual the free fight looks to be better than most pay per views. The UFC has been stuck in a pattern as of late as they have regularly put together great free fight cards and when it comes to the paid fights they tend to fall short. It is not for lack of trying though as the pay per views feature the biggest belts and the biggest names yet the fights do not produce as much as they should. Then came UFC on Fox 5 with one of the most stacked cards all year and a lot of that has to do with the now infamous UFC 151. Thanks to the cancelled fight at UFC 151 many fights were moved around and many would land at UFC on Fox 5. The one constant on the fight card though was the main event in one of the most exciting weight divisions in the UFC. The Lightweight division has been one of the few weight divisions with turnover as they do not have a dominant champion that has eliminated all competition. Few champions have been able to defend the belt more than once making it a great division. There has been a pattern in the division as well with fights being so close that they require rematches. It started in 2010 while BJ Penn was the champion of the division. Frankie Edgar would come and take Penn’s belt and then defend his belt for the first time against Penn in a rematch. After that Edgar would take on Gray Maynard and fought to a draw forcing a rematch once again. The rematch went to Edgar as he defended his belt and moved on to the next challenger. This would be Benson Henderson who would beat Edgar to win the belt and would defend the belt for the first time against Frankie Edgar in a rematch. It has turned into the pattern of the lightweights as the fights are too close to call many of the times making for interesting fights and some questionable decisions. Now Henderson moves on to his first new opponent since winning the belt in Nate Diaz and there is nothing about this fight that says it will not be as close as the last lightweight title fights. Henderson will defend his belt for the second time against a very scary Nate Diaz in a clash of styles on live TV. Henderson is a very calculated fighter who does not take too many risks while winning rounds with good strikes and a good wrestling base that keeps opponents at bay. Diaz on the other hand loves to press his opponents into making mistakes as he takes the thought of constant pressure into his fights. Diaz is not the fighter he used to be though as his wild style has become more calculated so that he does not fall into a bad situation. Still Henderson will represent the calculated fighter who sees small openings and takes advantage while Diaz represents the fighters who make their own openings and force opponents into mistakes with constant pressure. It will be an exciting fight and one where Henderson will be hard pressed to stop Diaz on either the ground or the feet. Diaz will want to stand for the fight with Henderson having a wrestling background but if the fight goes to the ground he has the ability to submit Henderson. Still Henderson is a very good fighter and one that does not make a lot of mistakes which is why he will likely win rounds and take the fight in a unanimous decision over Diaz.

There are some great matchups throughout the card but two stand out for their similarities. Two of the main card fights will feature changing of the guard types of fights as two young fighters will take on two veterans for a chance to see who can be the next challengers in their weight classes. First will be a matchup between the young Canadian welterweight Rory MacDonald and formerly retired legend BJ Penn. Penn was a superstar at a very young age in the UFC as he would earn his first belt at 25 years old and retired in 2011 after a Hall of Fame career. Then came Rory Macdonald who was on the rise in the welterweight division with a 4-1 record, the only loss coming by way of Carlos Condit, since beginning his UFC career in 2010. After his latest victory against Che Mills MacDonald would challenge the former champion pulling Penn out of retirement and bringing back the fire to fight. MacDonald is on his way up the welterweight ladder with some impressive wins and the label of the next great star while Penn is looking to make a possible comeback to the UFC and add another chapter to his legendary career. After both of these welterweights face off the light heavyweight division will see the likely next challenger for the title. It will either be the former champion and UFC veteran Mauricio Rua or the young star, and best bet for a European champion, Alexander Gustafsson. Rua has tasted the championship when he beat Lyoto Machida in 2010 but the feeling was short-lived as he would lose the belt in his first defence against Jon jones. Now Rua is continuing his climb back up to the top for a potential rematch with Jones to win the belt again. He will take on one of the most promising young fighters in the division as Alexander Gustafsson represents the best chance for a European champion in the UFC. With a 6-1 record Gustafsson has been one of the top contenders and his win against Thiago Silva in his home country launched him into the title conversation. Both will face off on Fox for what could be the #1 contendership after Jon Jones fights Chael Sonnen in 2013. Both fights will represent a new fighter coming into the fold and challenging the veterans of the UFC to earn their spot among the best in each division.

 

Fight Card:

Main Event:
Benson “Smooth” Henderson vs. Nate Diaz [Lightweight Title] (FOX/Sportsnet)

 

Main Card:
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (FOX/Sportsnet)

“The Prodigy” BJ Penn vs. Rory “Ares” MacDonald (FOX/Sportsnet)

Mike “Quick” Swick vs. Matt “The Immortal” Brown (FOX/Sportsnet)

 

Preliminary Fights:
Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens (Sportsnet)

Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike “The Hulk” Easton (Sportsnet)

Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor (Sportsnet)

Daron “Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank vs. Henry “Sicario” Martinez (Sportsnet)

Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means vs. Abel “Killa” Trujillo (Sportsnet)

Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan (Sportsnet)

Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen vs. John “Prince” Albert (Facebook)

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