Not All Things Change in Seattle (UFC on Fox 5 Review)

UFConFox5The UFC went to Seattle on Saturday in a fight card that could easily change the future of the UFC. It was not a fight that would change the path of the company like UFC 100 or UFC on Fox 1 would but for three weight classes it would determine the near future. For the Light Heavyweight and Welterweight divisions UFC on Fox 5 would show the future take on the past. In both fights a young up and coming star would take on the old guard in an attempt to show everyone that the new breed was ready to take over. In the main event though the UFC would see the Lightweight division determine their immediate future as the title would be up for grabs once again. The lightweight division is widely considered one of the most talented divisions in the UFC and a large part of that is because there have been plenty of champions in the last three years. The division is one of the few without a dominant champion who has wiped out the division. Most other divisions have one fighter that nobody can beat leaving the rest of the division without a true challenger. In the lightweight division though the challengers are plenty and the man having to deal with them has changed more than other divisions. Right now it is up to Benson Henderson to fend off the many challengers as his true defence of the title would begin live on Fox. After beating Frankie Edgar for the belt Henderson spent his first defence proving to everyone that he really did beat Edgar by beating him a second time. Now he would take on his first new opponent as a Champion against the very scary Nate Diaz. Diaz was the next man up in the UFC after running through a lot of the division with his relentless pressure and great submissions. He would be the next fighter to try to continue the pattern of the title changing hands. Henderson is clearly no pushover though as a big lightweight with his great creativity and balanced attack. He would have to deal with the boxing ability of Diaz and making sure to not get caught in a submission from a very good Jiu Jitsu practitioner. The first round saw the beginning of a chess match between both fighters with Diaz and Henderson both looking to get the advantage. Much of the round would be fought against the fence as Diaz would clinch Henderson and look for the takedown. Henderson would reverse the position and earn his first takedown where not much would happen. It was clear that both fighters were not going to give much up in this fight. The second round would begin to see the fight lean to one side as Diaz would not be able to handle the size of Henderson. The second round saw the first big damage as Henderson would catch Diaz with a big left hand and drop him where Henderson would begin his ground and pound. Henderson would continue to dominate as he would continue to take away the movement of Diaz with heavy leg kicks and even punching his leg to take his legs out of the equation. The only real scare for the champion would be in the third round when Diaz would put Henderson in a tough spot cranking the champions knee. Henderson would not panic though as he got out of the submission attempt and stood up only to go to the ground again after hitting Diaz with another big punch. The championship rounds would not fare much better for the challenger as he was clearly behind on the scorecards. The fight would continue the way it has been in the first three rounds as the champion would continue to dominate the fight. In the end Henderson took the win and defended his belt with a unanimous decision victory. It may even be a sign that the lightweight division is beginning to come under the reign of a dominant champion. Henderson seemed at another level in this fight and with the win will move on to start the cleaning out of the division and will likely face Anthony Pettis or Donald Cerrone for the next title defence. Diaz will fall back into the very talented division and will work his way back to a rematch for the title which will take him some time.

As the lightweight division saw little change with the champion leaving with the belt once again the other two divisions saw some changes. The Welterweight division would see a legend and potential Hall of Famer in BJ Penn come out of semi-retirement to face a man many consider the future of the division. Rory MacDonald is considered by many as the next champion of the welterweight division while Penn had already had this distinction and made good on the hype. Now they would face off after MacDonald called Penn out of semi-retirement in a matchup of the legend against the up and comer. It would be a rout as MacDonald proved that he is the future of the division completely dominating Penn in three rounds. The only issue was the fact that MacDonald did not seem to have that killer instinct as he had many chances to end the fight but never took them. Still MacDonald won the fight and proceeded to call out former interim champion Carlos Condit for a rematch to avenge MacDonald’s only loss. Meanwhile the Light Heavyweight division would see a legend take on a young star fighter with a shot at the title in full focus. Mauricio Rua would look to take the win and get a rematch against Jon Jones who beat Rua for the light heavyweight title. He would be taking on the best European fighter in the history of the UFC, even at only 25 years old, in Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson would continue the trend of the night as he would get past the legend for the win and the potential to fight Jon Jones for the championship and the chance to become the first European champion. It may take some time though as Jones will need to get through Chael Sonnen first meaning Gustafsson will likely have one more fight to be the top contender. UFC on Fox 5 would be a changing of the guard for two weight divisions while one division would continue on. It was an important fight card that will have plenty of repercussions in the near future as the new breed of fighter continues to make themselves known while the lightweight division may have seen their first dominant champion since BJ Penn had the belt.

The fight card was an important one but it was not limited to the top three fights as the free card once again provided more than enough drama. It would be a tough card to decide the bonuses but the UFC and Dana White did just that with plenty to choose from. Each fighter would be given $65,000 for their efforts in one of the best cards of the year. The “Knockout of the Night” would go to UFC veteran Yves Edwards who became the first person to finish Jeremy Stephens with a vicious KO in the first round of their undercard fight. Meanwhile one fighter impressed more than any other in a night that had many great fights as Scott Jorgensen earned two bonuses. In the only Facebook fight of the night Jorgensen would take on John Albert and would finish the fight. Jorgensen would end the fight with a Rear Naked Choke, earning “Submission of the Night,” just when it looked as though Albert had the win. The comeback and back and forth of the fight would earn both fighters the “Fight of the Night.” Another free fight produced another amazing night with plenty on the line for many divisions as the UFC kicked off a busy month of fights with the best card of the year.

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
“Smooth” Benson Henderson def. Nate Diaz [Lightweight Title]
(Unanimous Decision)

Main Card:
Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
(Unanimous Decision)

Rory “Ares” MacDonald def. “The Prodigy” BJ Penn
(Unanimous Decision)

Matt “The Immortal” Brown def. Mike “Quick” Swick
(KO; Rd. 2)

Undercard:
Yves Edwards def. Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens
(KO; Rd. 1)

Raphael Assuncao def. Mike “The Hulk” Easton
(Unanimous Decision)

Ramsey Nijem def. Joe Proctor
(Unanimous Decision)

Daron “Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank def. Henry “Sicario” Martinez
(KO; Rd. 2)

Abel “Killa” Trujillo def. Marcus “The Prospect” Levesseur
(TKO; Rd. 2)

Dennis Siver def. Nam Phan
(Unanimous Decision)

Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen def. John “Prince” Albert
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events:

UFC on FX: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson (Friday December 14th; 9:00 pm EST)
– Free Live on FX/Sportsnet
– Gold Coast, Queensland (Gold Coast Convention Centre)
Main Event: George Sotiropoulos vs. Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson
Notable: Robert Wittaker vs. Brad Scott [TUF Smashes Finals/UFC Contract]

 

TUF 16 Finale: Nelson vs. Mitrione (December 15th; 9:00 pm EST)
– Free Live on FX/Sportsnet
– Las Vegas, Nevada (The Joint- Hard Rock Hotel and Casino)
Main Event: Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione
Notable: Mike Ricci vs. Colton Smith [TUF 16 Finals/UFC Contract]

 

UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II (Saturday December 29th; 10:00 pm EST)
– Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
Main Event: Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez [Heavyweight Title]
Notable: Forrest Griffin vs. Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis
Notable: Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch vs. Constantinos “Costa” Philippou

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