Old legends and young lions. Guys with angel wings on their backs and guys with middle fingers in your face. Hot-headed blood lickers, and reasonable folks who understand the health risks of such behavior. It’s UFC on FOX 5 — a card so good that you don’t even need lazy storylines to sell it.
On the menu tonight: Benson Henderson looks for his second lightweight title defense against Nate Diaz, Alexander Gustafsson makes his case for #1 light-heavyweigght contendership against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and BJ Penn will go to the death — or pretty damn close — against Rory MacDonald. Plus, a MySpace grudge-match nearly eight years in the making!
Running our “Henderson vs. Diaz” liveblog is New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee Jim Genia (congrats Jim!), who will be throwin’ down live results from the FOX main card after the jump beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and toss your own thoughts and observations in the comments section.
What up, spuds. ‘Tis I, Jim Genia. Here are the results from the undercard:
-Yves Edwards def. Jeremy Stephens via KO (Punches) at 1:55, Round 1
-Raphael Assuncao def. Mike Easton via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
-Ramsey Nijem def. Joe Proctor via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
-Daron Cruickshank def. Henry Martinez via KO (Kick) at 2:57, Round 2
-Abel Trujillo def. Marcus LeVesseur via TKO (Knees) at 3:56, Round 2
-Dennis Siver def. Nam Phan via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-24)
-Scott Jorgensen def. John Albert via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:59, Round 1
And now, the main card, which is probably the best selection of fights Zuffa has ever given to FOX for airing for free.
First up, Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick:
You know and love Swick from his time on the seminal TUF season and the years of beatings both given and received in the Octagon. You know Brown for pretty much the same thing, although his coming out party was at TUF 7. We’ve seen them bang in impressive fashion, but Father Time has got to be taking his toll these grizzled dudes, so the question is: who’s still got enough grit left to pull out the win?
Round 1: After about 30 seconds of feeling each other out, Swick and Brown begin taking turns lunging in and winging punches. Neither really connects though, so Brown grabs one of his opponent’s legs and dumps him on the canvas, and works into side-control. From there Brown slips on a tight-as-hell D’Arce choke. Swick is stuck defending the technique while in Brown’s guard. He guts his way out of it, but not long after Brown has him in an even tighter triangle choke. Somehow, some way, Swick survives, and with 3o seconds left they get back to their feet and pepper each other with short punches and knees from the clinch. Ding, end of round.
Round 2: Brown comes out and starts Muay Thai-ing the crap out of Swick, which is weird because doesn’t Swick live in Thailand or something? Anyway, what can Brown do for you? I dunno, but for Swick it’s elbows and knees and some smothering clinch-work. Swick seems to fade fast, and while he’s walking backwards, Brown tags him with a left hook on the chin and a right hand in the grill, and Swick is out and probably dreaming of a better Pad Thai than you and I will ever know.
Matt Brown def. Mike Swick via KO (Punches) at 2:31, Round 2
Next, BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald:
What more can I say about Penn that hasn’t been said? The man’s a legend, he’s accomplished more in the sport than most can ever dream of, and when he bleeds, he bleeds grape-flavored Hawaiian Punch. MacDonald is supposedly one of the next big things, but screw that. BJ, dispatch this clown.
Round 1: Penn comes straight across the cage and goes for a takedown. MacDonald shrugs it off, and from his upper-body control, it becomes apparent that his size and height advantage is going to make it hard for Penn to move him around. They two create some space, and for the next two minutes MacDonald uses his reach to land some low kicks, a high-kick to the head that the former lightweight- and welterweight champ shrugs off, some jabs and elbows. Penn gets some good licks in, but it’s almost all MacDonald, and the young upstart wobbles the Hawaiian with an elbow with about 45 seconds left in the round. They make it to the bell, but yeesh, Penn is getting hurt.
Round 2: MacDonald stalks Penn into the cage, and with jabs and kicks, begins to have his way with him. Penn doesn’t circle, doesn’t really move his head, and aside from a right hand here and there, he’s a sitting duck. MacDonald cracks him to the body with a kick at the midway mark of the round, and Penn nearly crumbles, staying upright only to eat more painful body blows. With 38 seconds in the frame MacDonald grabs Penn and dumps him onto the canvas, and he feeds him short punches until the bell.
Round 3: Penn comes close with a single-leg takedown right out of the gate, but MacDonald gets out of it and tries to hug him to death against the cage. Referee Herb Dean seperates them, and MacDonald resumes hurting Penn with strikes from the outside. With all the confidence in the world, MacDonald shuffles his feet and throws question-mark kicks, Superman punches and just about anything else he wants, and all Penn can do is walk around and take it. And then the bell sounds and it’s all over, and I go to my room and cry.
Rory MacDonald def. BJ Penn via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Next, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alexander Gustafsson:
Shogun was, at one time, one of the best in the world. Now he’s a walking pile of barely connected bones, ligaments and aged muscles. Will the big Swede striker be the one to finally make the Brazilian collapse into a heaps of twisted flesh in the cage?
Round 1: Apparently Shogun watched Penn’s fight on the monitor backstage and said “I ain’t going out like that.” Within the first 30 seconds of the bout Gustafsson sends him to the canvas on his butt, but Shogun swivels into a heelhook attempt that the Swede has to seriously work to get out of – and when he does, the former PRIDE and UFC champ almost takes his back and manages to land a sweet knee to the chops when they’re against the fence. They make some space and throw strikes, with Shogun opting to cover up, eat whatever his opponent throws so he can wade in and land something himself. It’s a dangerous ploy, and he winds up bleeding from his nose – but still very much in the game – by the time the round ends.
Round 2: Winging overhand rights and lefts, Shogun re-establishes himself as a threat to the taller fighter. Gustafsson almost hip tosses him two minutes in, but a flubbed takedown attempt soon after has Shogun on his back regardless. They work back to their feet and Gustafsson nails two takedowns and bangs his foe up with some ground and pound, and when Shogun stands the taller fighter just blasts him, wobbling him with knees and punches. The bell sounds with Shogun that much worse for wear.
Round 3: Gustafsson resumes dinging Shogun up, and when Shogun fights back with more overhand rights, the Swede takes him down and tries to work him over there. They get back to their feet and the dance continues, with Shogun trying to land that big money shot and Gustafsson alternating between strikes from outside and successful takedowns. About midway through the round Gustafsson lands a shot to Shogun’s liver, which turns the Brazilian into the Walking Dead while Gustafsson lands whatever he wants. A front kick to the face, jabs, and takedowns – Gustafsson does it all, and time expires with Shogun on the bottom and fighting like maybe he should have retired a year and a half ago.
Alexander Gustafsson def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Next, Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz:
Henderson won the UFC lightweight title by narrowly defeating Frankie Edgar, and reiterated his claim to the belt by defeating Edgar in another close fight and razor-thin decision. Diaz ain’t about that life, though. Diaz will beat you up in the parking lot, kiss your girl and smoke your pot, and there’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well start packing your bong now, son. Ahem.
Round 1: Henderson wastes no time throwing kicks to Diaz’s legs, and Diaz wastes no time taunting him and tying him up against the cage. They trade knees while jockeying for advantage, and this goes on for about two minutes. Diaz makes some distance and lands an elbow, and Henderson manages two takedowns and some hard ground and pound. The fine upstanding citizen from Stockton gets back to his feet, but he remains open to leg-kicks, and Bendo drops him with one. Diaz is up again, and the round expires with the two pressed up against the cage.
Round 2: The champ muscles the challenger to the mat about 30 seconds into the round, and when Diaz rises, he throws a kick to the head that Diaz barely blocks. They wrestle a bit on the feet, and when they seperate the two trade some strikes and it almost seems like the TUF winner is starting to find his boxing groove. But no, Henderson resumes kicking the crap out of his leg, than drops him with a knuckle sandwich and pounds on him. Diaz survives, gets vertical and scores with a sweet judo throw, but Henderson scrambles back up and continues his dominance.
Round 3: Henderson opens up with another leg-kick, Diaz answers back with some of his bread and butter punches, and at a minute in the champ hits a takedown and drops bombs. Back on their feet and then another takedown, and it’s clear Diaz’s guard is ill-equipped to deal with the heat Henderson brings from above. Diaz rolls and works into a leglock attempt that morphs into a toehold. Henderson expertly escapes, fends off another heelhook attempt, and when they stand once more Bendo drops Diaz with a right hand. With time running out, Henderson lands an axe-kick to Diaz’s body, and then the bell sounds.
Round 4: Henderson gets a takedown against the fence about 35 seconds into the round, batters Diaz whenever Diaz turtles, and repeats the whole process when they get back up. The Cesar Gracie black belt has maybe one half-ass kimura attempt and heelhook attempt, but that’s it, and you have to wonder if Diaz should maybe consider moving down to 145 pounds.
Round 5: They’re up against the cage early, and with 3:30 left on the clock Henderson hoists Diaz up and slams him like a pimp shaking down one of his hookers. Diaz scores with one hip throw, but the champ scrambles to safety, and other than that one brief moment of brilliance, the challenger is nothing more than a grappling dummy that curses a lot. And then time runs out and it’s all over.
Benson Henderson def. Nick Diaz via Unanimous Decision (50-43, 50-45, 50-45)
That’s all she wrote, folks. Peace out.