UFC on Fox 5 Preview
From the mind-bending title fight to the potential stand up war of the century, UFC on FOX 5 has all the reasons to be one of the most exciting UFC events in recent memory. Each of the four fights on the main card features a battle between some of the toughest, most highly skilled competitors in the game today. And all of whom must put on the greatest performance of their lives on network television to remind the fans why they are worthy of elite status within their division. Here is a preview to the four fights on the main card of UFC on FOX 5, a night in which some of the best athletes in the world will put it all on the line inside the Octagon.
"Technical brawler" Matt Brown has had it rough for the past two years. The former Ultimate Fighter contestant had to dig deep to build himself back up after three consecutive losses in 2010 and a tumultuous 2011 that still prevented him from really advancing in the incredibly stacked welterweight division. However, 2012 saw the iron chinned Brown end this dry spell with three wins in a row (one over highly touted kickboxer Stephen Thompson), earning him this fight with veteran Mike Swick, who is coming off a huge knockout victory over Damarques Johnson after being away from the Octagon for almost two years.
Matt Brown has an affinity for epic striking battles, and if Swick has done his homework he will most likely do whatever he can to stop Brown from establishing comfort and control on the feet. Yet, Swick's nickname "Quick" comes from his reputation of ending fights in the first round either with his striking or grappling skills, where he will definitely have an advantage on the ground as Brown's three losses in 2010 were by submission. The longer this fight lasts, the greater the chances of victory for Matt Brown. Look for Swick to try to end this one early or take it to the ground if Plan A doesn't work out.
"The Prodigy" is back and in quite possibly the best shape of his life after being overwhelmed by the fists of Nick Diaz last October. He has returned to challenge the young workhorse Rory Macdonald, who at age 23, has already proven that he has the talent to compete with top welterweights such as Carlos Condit and Nate Diaz. Macdonald has won fights with both his relentless wrestling and powerful punching ability. His incredible quality of fitness has many thinking that Penn may have bitten off more than he can chew by looking to derail the momentum MacDonald has built.
Penn's submission game is unrivaled and will definitely be a threat if Rory decides to wrestle the former champion, which he may very well do since it led him to victory over another submission expert in Nate Diaz. They are just about evenly matched on the feet, so it may come down to Jiu-Jitsu versus wrestling if a solid punch isn't landed early on. It's no secret that Penn has struggled with conditioning before, so much so that his boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lose their effectiveness when he becomes too tired to deliver. Still, B.J Penn looks as motivated and fit as ever for this match, so it will be interesting as to whose stamina and intensity will prevail.
Fans will be roaring with anticipation when two of the most dangerous and versatile strikers in the UFC go head to head for light heavyweight title contention. It will be the seasoned veteran "Shogun" Rua, owner of a career flush with knockout victories, against the much younger Swedish kickboxing sensation that also possesses the power to end this fight with one solid punch, kick, or knee. Rua has been known to involve himself in prolonged back and forth wars of striking and clinch-based grappling. While the Brazilian has definitely proven that he can withstand some of the most destructive punches in the UFC with his epic war with Dan Henderson, it's his tendency to gas out in longer fights has many questioning as to whether the athleticism of Gustafsson (accompanied by his unbelievable accuracy) will be the downfall of the former light heavyweight champion.
Despite being known as a striker, Shogun has been known to initiate physically taxing clinch strategies that push his opponent up against the cage and force them to carry his weight. Both men have shown mild comfort on the ground, yet Shogun's black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may very well give him the edge in this situation. We will see how much Gustafsson has worked his wrestling, because if he can fend off any grappling attempts from Rua and drag him into the later rounds, the Swede's speed and conditioning have a great chance of earning him the win.
Lightweight champion Benson Henderson has excellent wrestling, multi-faceted striking, and the athleticism to fight ten full rounds without getting tired. His title defenses have showcased his speed, unique striking attacks, and strong wrestling base that allows him to control the pace of his opponent and the entire fight as well. What has earned underdog Nate Diaz this opportunity is his ability to utilize his range for the use both of striking and submissions. The most impressive of Diaz's wins was his domination of Donald Cerrone, in which Nate's long arms and unorthodox boxing enabled him to dish out a significant amount of damage without taking much in return. If Henderson can avoid these punches along with Diaz's lethal submission arsenal from his back, the champion's swift movements and intense grappling will lead him to victory once again.
Diaz has had trouble with wrestlers who penetrate his distance, despite being such a well versed black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If Henderson does choose to wrestle Diaz, he will need to keep him neutralized and immobile while also not getting too comfortable Diaz's guard. Many believe that Benson is simply too fast for Diaz on the feet and too physically strong for Diaz to effectively trap in a submission hold. This may very well be the case, yet if Diaz can somehow do what no other fighter has ever done to Henderson and prevent him from dictating the pace of the match, Nate's range and boxing will take down another dominant lightweight in 2012.
UFC on Fox 5 airs this Saturday on Fox. Check out all of our UFC on FOX 5 news