Wrestling Observer UFC on Fox 5 Staff Preview & Picks: Henderson or Diaz?



UFC on Fox 5


By Josh Nason


One of the best main cards in ages and it's on free TV?!? It's UFC on Fox 5, an event Dana White hopes is truly Saturday night live. (Weekend puns!)

Let's get into it:

Our panel:

- Dave Meltzer (92-42): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Todd Martin (83-51): Weekly FFD guest & RAW recapper | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (86-48): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Mike Sawyer (82-52) of Tough Talk

- Josh Nason (80-50):
FFD guest | FIGHT! Magazine | Bloody Elbow

- Oliver Copp (79-49) of Tough Talk

- Bryan Alvarez (19-14): FFW founder

> Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson (17-2) vs. Nate Diaz (16-7)


The unsubmittable force against the always moving object. This is one of the most compelling title fights in recent UFC history and everything a fan would want out of a 25-minute affair.

The 29-year-old Henderson rides into Saturday on a five fight win streak and is going to for the second defense of his 155-pound title. The 27-year-old Diaz has won three in a row in his return to lightweight with two submission wins.

Diaz: Martin, Nason, Alvarez
Henderson: Copp, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer

> BJ Penn (16-8-2) vs. Rory MacDonald (13-1)

The true co-main event of the night has the old guard vs. the new guard in one of the best built fights this fall/winter. At 33 years old, Penn returns after a year-plus layoff and a winner in just one of his last five fights. We've heard about Penn's physical state peaking, but it's the rest of his makeup that needs to pass the test.

In MacDonald, the UFC has another Canadian star waiting to explode. He is a 23-year-old destroyer, a winner in his last three and a finisher in 12 of his 13 wins. A win puts him in the upper echelon of the division, but what will a win for Penn do?

MacDonald: Copp, Martin, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer, Nason, Alvarez

> Alexander Gustafsson (14-1) vs. Shogun Rua (21-6)

In a match to determine the next title contender at 205 pounds, the 25-year-old Gustafsson looks to impress people outside the MMA hardcores. A winner in his last five, the Swede has four finishes of them and last dispatched Thiago Silva in April by unanimous decision.

The 31-year-old Rua has been a .500 fighter in recent years, looking quite human in defeating Brandon Vera by fourth round TKO in August. I talked about this with Bryan Alvarez on Wednesday, but this could be the fight that really puts the retirement train in motion for Rua.

Gustafsson: Martin, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer, Nason, Alvarez
Rua: Copp

> Mike Swick (15-4) vs. Matt Brown (15-11)


The 33-year-old Swick continues his comeback after returning from two years off, last seen knocking out DaMarques Johnson in August. The 31-year-old Brown has won his last three after a stretch in 2010-11 where he went just 1-4. While not big on marquee value, this has the promise to be a hell of a fight.

Swick: Copp, Martin, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer, Nason, Alvarez

> Yves Edwards (41-18-1) vs. Jeremy Stephens (20-8)


In the match originally scheduled for October (put off due to Stephens' incarceration for a previous assault charge issue), Edwards returns after a year absence. He's lost two of his last three, but is in a better spot than Stephens who has lost two in a row and desperately needs a victory.

Edwards: Copp
Stephens: Martin, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer, Nason, Alvarez

Both Dave and Bryan are in Seattle LIVE for the event, so as you're watching, follow along with the action here on WrestlingObserver.com & Twitter with @BryanAlvarez.

Long-term, what are your thoughts on Lucha Underground?

 

What did you think of Wednesday's Ultimate Fighter TV show?

 

What did you think of TNA Impact?

 

What did you think of Lucha Underground last night?