A lot was expected from Saturday night, and it did not disappoint. From the opening bout between Scott Jorgensen and John Albert which delivered the fight and submission of the night through to the main event title match between Ben Henderson and Nate Diaz which was a fantastic fight and reputation maker for Henderson. The night wasn’t done there as Manny Pacquiao took on Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time, to the shock of many Marquez KO’d the Filipino in the 6th round with a thunderous right hand.
The UFC on Fox delivered an excellent card for fans, the main event saw Ben Henderson take a clear unanimous decision victory over Nate Diaz to retain his title, Henderson’s wrestling and kicks to Diaz’s lead leg allowed him to secure the win. Diaz was dropped on a number of occasions and only really had leg lock attempts to cause concern to the champ, Henderson had a good game plan; stuck to it and clearly beat Diaz. Next up hopefully we see the winner of Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis take on Henderson, both have put on incredible fight of the night performances against Henderson in the WEC, and Pettis is the only man to beat “Smooth” under the Zuffa banner.
In the co-main event Gustafsson used his superior reach to keep Shogun at bay and pick him apart with strikes, throwing in a take-down whenever he chose to. The fight wasn’t enough to have people clamouring for the Swede to get an immediate shot at Jon Jones, but he said in the post fight press conference he wants to fight again soon, and with Jones tied up filming the new season of TUF expect to see him take a fight with one of the divisions elite in the near future.
Seeing Shogun gas and get dominated was a sight that was not enjoyable to watch, however BJ Penn’s showing against Rory MacDonald was painful at points, clearly undersized Penn was taken apart by the young Canadian, at times looking as if he was a punching bag rather than an opponent, it really saddened me seeing this, having been there live to see Penn decimate Joe Stephenson at UFC 80 and truly announce himself as THE premier lightweight in the world, seeing him lick Stephenson’s blood off his gloves in celebration is an image I will never forget, an unstoppable force who could destroy his foes, now reduced to hanging on as a huge WW used him for target practice.
MacDonald’s beatdown of Penn was extremely impressive and he called out Carlos Condit in his post fight interview, which would make for a great rematch, hopefully we have seen an end to BJ in the WW division, I hope to see him retire, or move back to LW if he still has the motivation.
Another veteran; Mike Swick will be taking a serious look at his career options, blighted by injuries of late, the TUF season 1 contestant was knocked out cold by Matt Brown (who is now on a 4 fight win streak), it was an all action affair of grappling in the first and then in the second both men came out swinging, it was Brown who connected with a left, right combo that knocked Swick clean out.
The under-card also delivered great fights, Scott Jorgensen forced a tap from John Albert with less than a second to go in the first round of their fight deservedly winning the submission of the night, it also won fight of the night but my pick would have been Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez, Cruickshank battered Martinez from pillar to post, utilising some fantastic Tae Kwon Do kicks, and great hands, Martinez absorbed some unreal punishment until Cruickshank put and end to the fight with a picture perfect head kick KO.
In the last fight on the prelims veteran of over 60 fights Yves Edwards delivered a precise counter right hook that sent Jeremy Stephens crashing to the mat, he followed up with elbows and punches on the ground, to become the first man to stop Stephens through strikes as Joe Rogan said during the broadcast Stephens has never even been rocked in the UFC, making the KO even more impressive.
Ben Henderson def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision (50-43, 50-45, 50-45)
Alexander Gustafsson def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Rory MacDonald def. B.J. Penn via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Matt Brown def. Mike Swick via knockout (punches) — Round 2, 2:31
Yves Edwards def. Jeremy Stephens via knockout (strikes) — Round 1, 1:55
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 knockout (head kick) — Round 1, 2:57
Abel Trujillo def. Marcus LeVesseur via TKO (knees) — Round 2, 3:56
Dennis Siver def. Nam Phan via unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25, 30-26)
Scott Jorgensen def. John Albert via submission (rear-naked choke) — Round 1, 4:59