‘UFC On FOX 5’ takes place tomorrow night and we’ve got our full list of predictions for you below.
Ben Henderson vs. Nate Diaz
The more I think about this fight, the more I believe it could end up looking something like Henderson’s classic five round scrap with Donald Cerrone in the WEC.
Of course Diaz holds a big win over Cerrone, but their styles are similar – good stand-up, deadly jiu-jitsu and just general all-round toughness, while Henderson has the edge in strength, wrestling and the all-action pace that he sets.
In the first Henderson Vs Cerrone fight ‘Bendo’ was coming off second best in the stand-up, but was able to take Cerrone down with relative ease and spend long spells on top. Along the way he got caught in multiple submissions, but showed an uncanny ability to survive and escape each time before continuing as if nothing had happened.
I think the same thing could well apply here. Henderson should be able to get Diaz down – and he’ll need to or else he’ll get lit up on the feet. His busy offensive work on the mat still leaves holes in his defense that Diaz will feed on, but I’m going to say that Henderson is once again able to escape and stays busy enough in-between times to just scrape an extremely close decision.
Ben Henderson to win by decision.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Mauricio Rua
It’s going to be very interesting to see how this light-heavyweight No.1 contender bout plays out on the feet as both men are talented in that regard.
Gustafsson operates from distance well, firing out solid, straight shots and showing good footwork to maintain his range. I’d say ‘Shogun’ hits harder overall, but likes to get inside on his opponents to do so, and that could be easier said than done here so I expect him to also utilize leg kicks to score points and attempt to slow the Swede down a little.
I think ‘Shogun’ would have the advantage if the fight hits the deck – his ground and pound is very good and he’s got good jiu-jitsu too, but he’s a warrior who enjoys the striking battle these days so I’m not convinced he’ll use this, and I believe that would be a mistake.
‘Shogun’s’ been in a lot of wars over the years and I think he’s starting to seem a bit battle-worn now. He’s still tough, but can be sloppy at times and gets hit more than he should. He’s also shown cardio issues at times, and I sometimes wonder if that’s partly due to all the trouble he’s had with his knees. Overall, Gustafsson seems like the fresher, hungrier fighter at this moment in time, and if he can keep his distance and not get drawn into an all-out slug fest then I can see him edging this one.
Alexander Gustafsson to win by decision.
Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn
MacDonald is a terrific athlete and has a well-rounded skill-set that’s constantly improving. Penn’s come in great shape for this fight after a long training camp, but a long spell away from fighting probably hasn’t helped his overall endurance which has been an issue in the past.
Penn’s abilities are well documented and on the feet I think he can cause problems for MacDonald despite their size differential. He did well against the rangey Diaz in the first round of their fight before tiring, utilizing good head movement and picking his moment to land with accurate strikes and I think he’ll have more success against MacDonald who’s not yet a complete striker.
However, MacDonald has the size and strength advantage and I fully expect him to use that, getting this fight to the mat with regularity and attempting to rough up Penn with ground and pound. MacDonald isn’t as dominant on the mat as his team-mate GSP so Penn may find more opportunities to attempt submissions, but he’ll have to be at his very best and pounce instantly.
Overall, while there’s always that feeling that Penn could produce something magical, it’s difficult to look past the more logical outcome here which is that MacDonald’s size, strength and cardio will prevail here, giving him a decision win. As I’ve said all along, if Penn really wants to prove he’s still a major force the smart move would be to move back down to 155lbs.
Rory MacDonald to win by decision.
Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick
This should be a fun fight. Brown is a tough, gritty customer who’d like to stand-and-trade, and Swick may well oblige him.
I feel Swick is the slicker fighter of the two – lighter on his feet and faster which should serve him well if he uses that to his advantage and doesn’t just look to slug it out punch-for-punch. On the mat Swick is more capable and could have some success with submissions as that’s Brown’s achilles heel.
Overall it’s a fight I think Swick edges regardless of where it plays out, but I’m going to say he gets it done with a sub late in the fight.
Mike Swick to win by submission in Rd3.
Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens
Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan
Mike Easton vs. Bryan Caraway
Scott Jorgensen vs. John Albert
Ramsey Nijem Vs. Joe Proctor
Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez
Abel Trujillo Vs. Marcus LeVesseur