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UFC on Fox 5 results & analysis - Bendo manhandles Diaz for 25 minutes

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SEATTLE – The changing-of-the-guard theme apparently doesn't apply to Benson Henderson.

The UFC's lightweight champion survived a few precarious submission attempts from challenge Nate Diaz, but dominated the striking battle on his way to a unanimous decision win and the second defense of his title. Henderson won with scores of 50-43 – getting two 10-8 rounds from one judge – and a pair of 50-45s.

The light heavyweight bout was part of the main card of Saturday's UFC on FOX 5 event at Seattle's KeyArena. It aired on FOX following prelims on FX and Facebook.

"It's just a matter of being well-prepared and being in the gym as much as possible," Henderson said. "All these guys want to talk about being fighters and they train this hard, and Nate obviously trains his butt off, he's freaking tough as heck. But at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz., that's what we're all about."

Post #1   12/8/12 10:44:14PM   

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Apologies upfront - missed the first few prelim fights while I was at work, so they're not discussed below. Based on the recaps around the horn, though, they're totally worth watching.

Benson Henderson vs Nate Diaz - Mastery and control everywhere all night by the champ, 5 rounds to love. I don't want to get all gushy here, but wow. Where to start? Benson controlled distance the whole fight, both on the feet and in the clinch. Those weird punches to the thigh set up a big punch to the face. The leg kicks were unconventional but worked every time. Benson continued to show among the most brutal GnP elbows in the sport, along with the approriate amount of effort in the ground scrambles. He was patient but decisive, strong but efficient. When Nate beckoned him in, he made him pay for it without being careless. It was the most disciplined and mature, but clear and damaging title fight of his so far. Totally came in prepared, listened to his corner from bell to bell, like with a minute left in the fight when his corner ordered him to control his emotions. He's not quite GSP, and he went against a guy who's struggled against strong wrestlers, but I'm getting echoes of that kind of style - and it's hard not to, when we see things like the perfectly timed slip-into-takedown in R3. This was the Benson that opened our eyes during the Cerrone fights, and everyone else's in the Miller fight. As for Nate, he was always lucid, he constantly threatened with submissions, but it was against a savvy, more powerful guy, and he never created the opportunity for his boxing to get going.

Alexander Gustafsson vs Mauricio Rua - Standup war as expected, the decision clearly going to the Mauler. Honestly, as much as I love Shogun, I was expecting him to get hammered here, but he looked rather good for the first 2 rounds. His overhand rights were landing, his knees to the thighs were meaty, and his cardio seemed to hold up. It was the third round in which he faded a bit, and Gustafsson played it smart and picked him apart with his diverse toolset. Very impressed with 2 things from him - first, the uppercuts, as Shogun covers the sides of his head and leaves the chin open; and second, his own striking defense, not just relying on an evidently solid chin but combining that with shoulder rolling to reduce the impact. I didn't like his lack of body work after the big liver shot in R3 - Shogun's chin is so good, not only historically but the fact that he soon after walked through a Gustafsson front kick to the face. While I didn't see anything from Gustafsson that made me think he's any more of a threat to Bones than I thought before, he remains an interesting matchup on a lengthy winning streak and I'd like to see it happen.

Rory MacDonald vs BJ Penn - A grueling stand-up clinic for MacDonald, taking it easily in 3R. While the how was different than expected, Rory owned BJ in every second of this fight as the odds predicted. The jab was quick and accurate, the switch kicks deceptive, the combos flowing and the Superman elbow (yep) beautiful. BJ was visibly hurt for the first time I've ever seen, in R2 following a huge body kick. Rory continued to work and crumple the body, and though this was a loss, it was another page in the legend of BJ Penn's heart and durability. Rory was hittable at several points, though, showing almost no head movement and keeping his hands low as usual. Considering the timing of their recent fights and the progression Rory's shown, he's gotta get that rematch with Condit next. Sure, Condit's coming off a loss, but I think it's the right time for it. And really, screw that crowd for booing him.

Matt Brown vs Mike Swick - A long 1-2 from Brown shuts Swick off midway through R2. This fight really showed the strengths of Brown (aggression, clinch work, submissions) and the weaknesses of Swick (lack of combos, fades when pressed). I felt Swick had 2 options here, either to snatch a guillotine out of nowhere as he can or to rely on jabs and points for a decision. But the latter isn't really his game, though I feel he'd be quite effective there. Nope, Brown tangled Swick with both a guillotine and a triangle in, dazing him a bit with elbows up close and superior timing from distance. That finishing combo was impressive - Swick was already on the way down from the left, but the right was on point and rolled his eyes back.

Yves Edwards vs Jeremy Stephens - Edwards apes opponent's game, KOs Stephens in R1. Who expected this, especially since Edwards has been dropped himself lately? We saw Stephens' power early, not quite dropping Yves but clipping him enough to force retreats. Then Yves came out of nowhere, trapping Stephens near the cage and landing a sweet short hook to the jaw - almost a mirror image of the left from Stout a while back, and similar to Condit/Hardy. Stephens collapsed and stayed alert for just a bit, but Yves did what a veteran does and picked his elbows smartly to finish. Great stuff, and it shows that even a scary slugger can disdain his opponents for only so long.

Mike Easton vs Rafael Assuncao - Precise, well-timed counters take Assuncao to an obvious decision. Not really surprised here. Easton's a gorilla of a bantamweight, and while he hits super hard, he has a way of warming up in the first round that I felt was a weakness waiting to be exploited. And Assuncao did just that, measuring the distance expertly and cracking Easton on all levels. Once the tone was set in the first round, Easton was never able to slip past and leverage his power as he wanted to. Fight was almost entirely on the feet, with each guy stuffing takedowns and getting out of the clinch fairly quickly. Assuncao looked fantastic, and though Easton did land some strikes, most were mitigated and the correct decision was made.

Ramsey Nijem vs Joe Proctor - Varied, Back-and-forth scrap goes to Nijem in an entertaining 3R. No question that Nijem's aggression and top control won him the fight, though Proctor was always lucid and threatened with both sharp counters and tricky submissions. Nijem's striking looks to have improved significantly, but sloppy low hands were exposed more than once. Hackleman's apology for the F-bombs in between rounds 2-3 was hilarious, as was Nijem eating a punch in super slo-mo replay. I liked Nijem on the feet more, actually - even though Proctor was rarely in trouble there, it had more to due with his excellent chin (because Nijem did tag him with some solid shots) and his more technical counters. Presuming Ramsay tightens up that technique and defense, he could do a lot of damage with that long frame.

Daron Cruickshank vs Henry Martinez - Dominant violence from Cruickshank, ending with a perfect head kick KO in R2. I managed to catch that first live episode of TUF 15, and I was bummed that Cruickshank didn't make it in. Seemed like a talent, and not to fighter bash, I think Vick lucked out a bit with that punch. With that said, I'm glad we're seeing the real Cruickshank here, and it looks like he may have either matured or settled down a bit since the show. While Martinez started with decent offense of his own and stayed in the fight for a long time, his torso was pulverized by rib roasters and snapping body kicks. That opened up a ridiculous head kick in R2, which knocked him out cold with an arm sticking straight up in the air. Brutal stuff, and I'm looking forward to more Cruickshank in the future.

Post #2   12/8/12 10:46:45PM   

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Lets see... I really wanted Swick, Penn, Shogun and Diaz to win. Great night for me.

Post #3   12/8/12 10:53:48PM   

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Summed everything up nicely as usual

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Post #4   12/8/12 11:02:07PM   

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I was not impressed with the Champ's performance.

Post #5   12/8/12 11:04:23PM   

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My thoughts: BJ stay retired or stay at LW, Rua move down to MW, Trujillo seems to be a promissing new prospect, Gus vs Jones before it's too late and Jones start talking about fighting a can (too late).

Post #6   12/8/12 11:37:31PM   

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Rua and his trainers have noted he'd have to lose a limb to get down to 185. Adjustments clearly have to be made, but that one may not be physically possible.

Post #7   12/8/12 11:40:39PM   

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i disagree with your statement about shogun /gus being a standup war. i was actually surprised with the amount of takedowns specifically how many times Gus took shogun down. very good write up though. this was my first live show and i'm really glad that i got to see BJ and shogun before their careers are over.

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Post #8   12/9/12 12:06:37AM   

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Posted by isk

Rua and his trainers have noted he'd have to lose a limb to get down to 185. Adjustments clearly have to be made, but that one may not be physically possible.



it's like what rogan was saying, his cardio is just not up to par.

Post #9   12/9/12 12:08:08AM   

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All this Gustaffson/Jones talk is funny.

Jones would walk thru Gustaffson, imo. There's nothing left for him at 205. I'd like to see him vacate the belt and make the jump.

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Post #10   12/9/12 12:08:28AM   

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Posted by tcunningham

i disagree with your statement about shogun /gus being a standup war. i was actually surprised with the amount of takedowns specifically how many times Gus took shogun down. very good write up though. this was my first live show and i'm really glad that i got to see BJ and shogun before their careers are over.



Yeah, I was surprised by Gustafsson's takedowns as well. There was a bit of ground work to be fair, but really I felt the most significant damage and action took place on the feet.


Posted by aussiemma

it's like what rogan was saying, his cardio is just not up to par.



YEP. I'd props this if the site let me. It was as good as it's been since the Machida fights, but it's weird. I've seen comments that Shogun is one of the best gassed fighters in history, and it makes some sense. He's one of those freaks who can take a lot of damage, and while his tank could be better, he lasts through stuff that would've floored a lot of other guys.


Posted by emfleek

All this Gustaffson/Jones talk is funny.

Jones would walk thru Gustaffson, imo. There's nothing left for him at 205. I'd like to see him vacate the belt and make the jump.



I'm not unopposed to it in theory, and while I think Jones is way too much for Gustafsson, I'd still like to see the fight for the "what if" factor, for the completeness of clearing out a division of contenders, and for the likely addition to Jones' legacy.

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Post #11   12/9/12 12:13:08AM   

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Bendo vs Diaz: Message to Nate Diaz, "Turns out Ben Henderson is a better fighter, not just a better round winner. I will be interested to see the excuses you guys make for this one." Mostly what I expected. Diaz is a very skilled fighter but he was up against a much better athlete.

Gus vs Rua: I actually wasn't too impressed with Gus. I thought he would win more convincingly in the stand up. He had to resort to grinding to get the win. That might have a lot to do with Shogun though, maybe he's got more left in him than I thought.

MacDonald vs Penn: This fight was very impressive for MacDonald not because he won but because of how he did it. I expected him to grind out a win, not dominate standing. Although, he did wear BJ out a bit in the clinch first. BJ needs to go to LW or retire.

Swick vs Brown: I still think Swick is the better fighter. Long lay-off had a lot to do with the result here.

Yves vs Stephens: I was expecting a decision win for Edwards but this didn't really surprise me. Yves is underrated by a lot of people.

Post #12   12/9/12 12:25:22AM   

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Posted by bjj1605

Bendo vs Diaz: Message to Nate Diaz, "Turns out Ben Henderson is a better fighter, not just a better round winner. I will be interested to see the excuses you guys make for this one." Mostly what I expected. Diaz is a very skilled fighter but he was up against a much better athlete.

Gus vs Rua: I actually wasn't too impressed with Gus. I thought he would win more convincingly in the stand up. He had to resort to grinding to get the win. That might have a lot to do with Shogun though, maybe he's got more left in him than I thought.

MacDonald vs Penn: This fight was very impressive for MacDonald not because he won but because of how he did it. I expected him to grind out a win, not dominate standing. Although, he did wear BJ out a bit in the clinch first. BJ needs to go to LW or retire.

Swick vs Brown: I still think Swick is the better fighter. Long lay-off had a lot to do with the result here.

Yves vs Stephens: I was expecting a decision win for Edwards but this didn't really surprise me. Yves is underrated by a lot of people.



agree with everything except about the comments for swick and him being the better fighter than brown. Swick was beaten wherever the fight took place and he was bewildered by the immortal's stand up. Matt brown is definitely the better fighter, no excuses.

Post #13   12/9/12 2:06:47AM   

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Posted by TeamDEY

Lets see... I really wanted Swick, Penn, Shogun and Diaz to win. Great night for me.



Same here, and I was there live. Very bittersweet evening for me.

Post #14   12/9/12 4:09:05AM   

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Posted by emfleek

All this Gustaffson/Jones talk is funny.

Jones would walk thru Gustaffson, imo. There's nothing left for him at 205. I'd like to see him vacate the belt and make the jump.




Agree

Post #15   12/9/12 4:35:54AM   
 
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