Top five remaining fights in 2012
By James Walker
The year 2012 is nearly in the books. However, there are several fights remaining in mixed martial arts before the end of the calendar year to get fans excited.
HeavyMMA.com ranks the top five fights to watch for before we ring in 2013.
No. 5: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson, UFC on Fox 5
Why: This is a classic matchup of former champion against up-and-coming prospect. The winner of this fight probably gets within one fight of a title shot. Gustafsson has been on a tear since his only career loss to Phil Davis. But is Gustafsson ready for Rua? That is a big jump. Rua struggled with the rangy Brandon Vera earlier this fight, and Gustafsson could present similar issues.
No. 4: Nate Diaz vs. Ben Henderson, UFC on Fox 5
Why: This will surely be a battle of wills and cardio for the lightweight title. Both Diaz and Henderson make a living off pressuring and smothering opponents for five rounds. Diaz looks to have the advantage on the ground, where his jiu-jitsu is some of the best in the division. Henderson is a more dynamic and athletic striker. It'll be an interesting style clash for five rounds.
No. 3: Rory McDonald vs. BJ Penn, UFC on Fox 5
Why: As you can see, this UFC on Fox card is stacked. This is another matchup between a super prospect and the old guard. The caveat here is Penn, a future Hall of Famer, is coming out of retirement to fight again so knowing which BJ Penn we'll get is the wildcard. McDonald is often viewed as the next GSP, who is his training mate at TriStar Gym in Montreal. That is lofty expectations. St. Pierre bested Penn in their last two meetings, the last being a one-sided manhandling. It will be interesting to see McDonald can do the same.