For the second time in UFC history, a UFC Championship will be put on the line in headlining fight of a UFC on Fox card. At the first UFC on Fox event, Junior Dos Santos successfully dethroned former Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and roughly 13 months later in the Lightweight division Nate Diaz will try to emulate Junior’s success. Opposing Diaz will be the former WEC champ and reining UFC Lightweight king Ben Henderson. Henderson is fresh off a controversial split decision title defense at UFC 150 against Frankie Edgar, the man Benson originally took the title from.
Both Henderson and Diaz head into this bout on impressive winning streaks. The Champion is undefeated since transitioning from the WEC compiling a 5-0 record with some impressive names highlighting the list including Jim Miller, Clay Guida, and the aforementioned Frankie Edgar. Diaz has been victorious in three straight battles picking up wins over Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller in the main event of the May UFC on Fox card. This will be Diaz’s second opportunity to capture a title in a major organization with his previous challenge taking place at WEC 24 back in late 2006. Diaz came up short in that attempt losing by submission to Hermes Franca and interestingly enough Ben Henderson’s attempt fight involving the WEC title also ended in defeat. Henderson will go down in infamy as the man on the wrong end of the Anthony Pettis ‘showtime’ kick that ultimately cost him the WEC belt. If simply defending the title isn’t enough motivation for Benson, a rematch with one of his two greatest WEC rivals could be on the horizon as Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone are paired in a title Eliminator bout scheduled for the next UFC on Fox card.
Co-Headlining the event, former Light Heavyweight champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua battles rising contender Alexander Gustafsson. The young Swedish fighter is being viewed as the next legitimate challenger for Jon Jones’s title, but the former Champ has aspirations of returning to contention with an impressive victory over his talented adversary. The Brazilian represents by far the greatest challenge of Gustafsson’s career, but if he is able to add Shogun to his ever growing list of victories he will prove that he is in fact deserving of a title shot opportunity. Shogun needs this fight to remain to relevant within in the division and Gustafsson needs a victory to further establish his position.
Filling out the four-fight main card, Rory MacDonald and BJ Penn will finally square off in a Welterweight clash. Penn is returning from a brief retirement in search of a kick start to his stalled career and if he is able to emerge victorious it will quickly reaffirm his position in the 170 pound rankings. If MacDonald is able to soundly defeat Penn it will be another significant victory in the young career of an almost guaranteed future title challenger. In the opening bout of the night, Welterweight veterans Matt Brown and Mike Swick collide. Swick is coming off a huge knockout victory that was preceded by a significant amount of time on the shelf and Matt Brown has battled his way through 3 consecutive wins will be looking to make it four.
The prelims are highlighted by a Featherweight clash between Dennis Siver and Nam Phan, the sophomore appearance of Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Chiesa, and a bantamweight battle between Rafael Assuncao and Mike Easton. You can check out the entire card posted below and as always make sure you listen in to the latest episode of Kamikaze Overdrive MMA Prediction for all of you UFC on Fox Main Card breakdowns and picks.
UFC on Fox 5 Main Card
Ben Henderson (C) vs. Nate Diaz
Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson
BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald
Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown
FX Preliminary Card
Michael Chiesa vs Marcus LeVesseur
Raphael Assuncao vs Mike Easton
Dennis Siver vs Nam Phan
Ramsey Nijem vs Joe Proctor
Yves Edwards vs Jeremy Stephens
Daron Cruickshank vs Henry Martinez
Facebook Preliminary Card
Scott Jorgensen vs John Albert
Tim Means vs Abel Trujillo