The night of Saturday, December 8th, will be an evening chock full of fights with title implications. At the conclusion of this fateful evening, a championship will be determined, while two other bouts will see the winners move a step closer to their title aspirations. One fight even pairs two veterans, looking to elevate out of their perennial neutral zones.
Ladies and gentlemen, no disrespect to a storied rivalry, but this card that I’m speaking of has nothing to do with Manny Pacquaio or Juan Manuel Marquez. The card I’m speaking of requires a variety of martial arts. The card I’m speaking of falls under the umbrella of the world’s fastest growing sport. The card I’m speaking of, for you cost efficient combat sports fans out there, is the fifth installment of UFC on Fox.
Since its inception back in November 2011, matchmakers of the Fox events have improved tremendously from their inaugural product. This card coming up, has the makings to be the best Fox product to date.
Let’s dig deeper into this four-bout event and what should come of it, shall we?
The opening tilt of this card features two veterans that like to let their hands go. Although Brown is better submission artist of the two, I can’t help but think that Swick will live by his moniker and unleash quick hands upon his foe. Swick’s “Quick” striking gives him a second round KO/TKO to start things off.
BJ “The Prodigy” Penn vs Rory “Ares” MacDonald (UFC Welterweight Division Bout)
In a match that should move the winner a step closer to title contention, the operative words here are “conventional wisdom”. Why? For starters, conventional wisdom suggests youth will outlast experience, given Penn’s last performance, where the overwhelming attach of Nick Diaz forced him into retirement. Conventional wisdom says that MacDonald is the better conditioned fighter, who is built to last for the duration. Penn’s conditioning/cardio has always been a roller coaster throughout his career. Conventional wisdom even says MacDonald’s partnership with Georges St. Pierre, who has two wins over Penn, gives him advantage over the future hall of famer.
While conventional wisdom appears to lean on the side of MacDonald, it looks like he doesn’t apply it to himself. I know the youngster is on fire with three straight wins, but you don’t just dismiss “The Prodigy” as if he’s a tune up fight. Under the surface of “Ares’” explosiveness is his vulnerable chin. Carlos Condit exposed it back at UFC 115. I expect Penn to do the same. This encounter ends in favor of Baby Jay, courtesy of a second round knockout.
At a stature of six feet, five inches, Gustafsson has drawn comparison to current division king, Jon “Bones” Jones. Before analysts go too far in drawing the parallels, let me advise you to stop at the height. While “The Mauler” had an impressive outing against grizzled veteran Thiago Silva back in April at UFC on Fuel TV 2, he is still a few levels removed from being comparable to the champ.
On the other hand, Rua is on a mission to reclaim what was once his. Since his loss to Jones, “Shogun” has won two of his last three fights, that included wars with Dan Henderson and Brandon Vera, although his conditioning wasn’t the best. Is Gustafsson built for a drawn out, grueling battle? A submission from Rua should see the stifling of Gustafsson’s rise.
If there is any Lightweight out there that can dethrone Henderson, it’s Diaz. Talk about an aggressor! His endurance is uncanny. He has a chin of granite. His striking is pinpoint accurate and his submissions bear trap tight.
Unfortunately, Diaz’s thin frame will be taken to the brink. While Diaz has a three-inch, height over the champion, he’s at a disadvantage in terms of girth. “Smooth” is the biggest Lightweight in the division. He’ll use his size and strength to throw Diaz to and fro inside the octagon. Fans, you could be looking at a fight of the year candidate here, but when it’s all said and done, Henderson will complete his second title defense in the form of a decision.
Fight fans should consider this free, action packed card an early Christmas gift. Enjoy the fights this weekend and please make sure you check back in with TNP Sports for a full recap of UFC on Fox 5.
By Antoine Hoffman