This Saturday, the UFC will pitch its tent in Seattle, Washington, USA, from where a stellar cast will be broadcast around the globe. In the main event, the relentless and well-rounded Ben Henderson puts his belt up for grabs for the second time, when he takes on tough-as-nails Jiu-Jitsu black belt Nate Diaz. And in the co-main event, Brazil’s Mauricio Shogun squares off with Swedish powerhouse Alexander Gustafsson.
Which are the fights you’ll be sure not to miss this Saturday? If you haven’t made up your mind yet, GRACIEMAG.com will make things easy for you, with a synthesis of the fights where first-rate Jiu-Jitsu and MMA are sure to be flowing off the hook.
1. Ben Henderson vs. Nate Diaz
Like at the last event, headlined by GSP and Carlos Condit, the main event should be the best of them all. The defending champion, Ben Henderson, is riding a five-fight win streak; but he’ll have a stern test ahead of him in Nate Diaz, whose skillful boxing, first-rate Jiu-Jitsu and greater reach make him a tough nut to crack. Nate has won his last three outings. Both Nate and Ben are major exponents of gi-clad Jiu-Jitsu, but Ben doesn’t tend to let his back stay in contact with the octagon floor for long. Will he be leaving the cage with his belt? Best not blink, gentle reader.
Prediction: Ben Henderson
2. Mauricio Shogun vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Even after such sterling displays of fistic excitement as his encounters with Forrest Griffin and Dan Henderson, Mauricio Shogun is still trying to convince fans that his gas tank will carry him and that he might still return to the greatness he displayed in his heyday, when he captured the Pride FC middleweight belt in 2010. The acid test is now, against one of the most promising light heavyweights around, and one of the most promising fighters ever to come of European MMA. The Swede has rattled of five wins in a row–including against the likes of Matt Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko and Thiago Silva. Now Shogun is coming off a win over Brandon Vera at UFC on Fox last August. Gustafsson shored up his Jiu-Jitsu by bringing in Herbert Burns to train with him, while Mauricio called on Leo Nogueira for a No-Gi intensive. Could the ground indeed be the way to go, Shogun?
Prediction: Mauricio Shogun
3. BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald
The veteran BJ Penn is back in the octagon following his brief retirement after losing to Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in October of 2011. A father now, BJ claimed he didn’t want his daughter to see his face so banged and bruised. But he doesn’t care about that anymore. “I’m coming back to prove I’m still one of the best of all times in the sport,” said the Nova Uniao black belt. The problem isn’t that BJ’s background isn’t up to snuff, it’s who will be toeing the line at the other end. Rising star Rory MacDonald, 23, is the real deal, comes in off three back-to-back wins, and he knows that victory is vital if he wants to be where his Tristar teammate and countryman GSP is in the near future. Who knows?
Prediction: Rory MacDonald
4. Raphael Assunção vs. Mike Easton
Brazil’s Raphael Assunção lost his promotional debut to Erick Koch at UFC 128 in March of 2011, but he learned from the setback and righted his ship by beating Johnny Eduardo and Issei Tamura in his next two outings. To keep afloat in an increasingly competitive division, he’ll have to make it past a game Mike “Hulk” Easton (13w, 1l), who has three wins in the promotion. Easton, a Lloyd Irvin student, will be looking for the takedown and topward pressure, or even the finish.
Prediction: Mike Easton
5. Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan
Seasoned Russian-born German Dennis Siver is coming off a win over Diego Nunes last April at UFC on Fuel TV. And he wants to keep his tenure in the featherweight division victorious by beating Nam Phan. His path to victory could be to take it down and bring on the ground and pound. If the actions stays on the feet, things could get tricky for Dennis, as Nam’s striking is plenty deft. Who wins it?
Prediction: Nam Phan
UFC on Fox 5
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
December 8, 2012
Benson Henderson vs Nathan Diaz
Mauricio Shogun vs Alexander Gustafsson
BJ Penn vs Rory MacDonald
Mike Swick vs Matt Brown
Under card (FX)
Raphael Assunção vs Mike Easton
Dennis Siver vs Nam Phan
Ramsey Nijem vs Joe Proctor
Yves Edwards vs Jeremy Stephens
Under card (Facebook)
Daron Cruickshank vs Henry Martinez
Scott Jorgensen vs John Albert
Tim Means vs Abel Trujillo