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Published Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 | 4:55 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 | 8 p.m.
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Benson Henderson had something to get off of his chest.
Immediately after defeating Nate Diaz by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-43) to retain his lightweight championship belt, Henderson yelled a message that appeared to be directed to no one in particular.
"I don't talk," Henderson blurted at the top of his lungs. "I do it in here. You guys get it?"
Everyone at Key Arena gets it after the main event of UFC on Fox 5. Henderson put on the most dominant performance in his relatively short time in the UFC, and on the biggest stage, no less.
He wanted to avoid getting drawn into Diaz's trash-talking games, before or during the fight. Henderson saw that as one of the only ways even a slight advantage could turn in Diaz's favor.
Henderson succeeded wildly. Even with Diaz hurling insults and flipping him off, Henderson kept his composure and continued to ground-and-pound the infamous Stockton, Calif., challenger.
Diaz couldn't argue after this one. Henderson was far better.
"It's just a matter of being in the gym and training really hard," Henderson said.
The other two headlining contests showcased two performances that were just as lopsided. Alexander Gustafsson and Rory MacDonald routed former champions Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and B.J. Penn, respectively.
Neither Gustafsson nor MacDonald lost a single round on any judges' scorecards in taking unanimous decision victories.
"I’m happy with my performance and the new techniques I used successfully out there," MacDonald said. "Looking back, I’m sure I will find a lot of areas that I can improve in, but I pushed myself very hard and I’m satisfied with my conditioning. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t get the finish, but not everything can go according to plan.”
The first fight on Fox resulted in the main card's only upset and finish, as Matt Brown knocked out Mike Swick at 2:31 of the second round.
Check below for round-by-round coverage of the main card and full results from the undercard. Keep coming to lasvegassun.com complete full coverage of UFC on Fox 5 later.
Note: Full results from the preliminary card available at the bottom of the page.
Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz
Fifth Round Henderson needs to survive for five more minutes and he's got the win. He lands a body shot early before they clinch again. Henderson is just giving Diaz no space to work with. He grapples until he gets into position to slam Diaz on his head. Diaz is still conscious, but that one had to hurt. Henderson follows with steady ground-and-pound. When they get back up, Henderson keeps the pressure with knees to Diaz's thighs. He takes Diaz back down. Diaz may not have much left with two minutes to go. Diaz badly wants the referee to break them loose. Instead Henderson gets another takedown. He hasn't stopped looking for the finish, ground-and-pounding Diaz while getting flipped off. Henderson rocks Diaz with another kick. Crowd cheers as they swing away with 30 seconds to go. Diaz puts his chin out for Henderson, who is not taking. Not a lot to like about Diaz's performance. Henderson wins 50-45 on the Sun's scorecard. Benson Henderson defeats Nate Diaz by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-43).
Fourth Round They exchange in the middle with Diaz getting the best of this one, for once. It's not long until Henderson throws him back to the ground. And again. Diaz lands hard the second time. Henderson's ground-and-pound is also having an effect. Diaz has mounted practically no offense through the first two minutes with Henderson repeatedly taking him down and wailing away with strikes. "Bendo" starts elbowing Diaz to the body. He deserves some credit for variety. There aren't many more ways he could possibly beat up Diaz worse. Diaz, however, gets a hold of Henderson's arm. He'll work for a kimura. It's not there, and Henderson stays with the status quo. Henderson gets in Diaz's half-guard and brutalizes him more than ever. Diaz is cut around his eyes and his face is swollen, but he's still talking trash to Henderson. He's trying to get him to come down and trade submissions, but Henderson just hits him instead. Henderson fakes ground-and-pound because Diaz won't get up. Finally, Diaz works his way to his feet but that's the end of the round. Henderson has shut out Diaz thus far.
Third Round Henderson comes out with a leg kick and a right hand. Diaz is clearly flustered as Henderson lands again. Diaz throws his jabs, but Henderson is so quick that he's able to get out of the way of most of them. Case in point: Henderson ducks under one and throws Diaz on the ground with a double-leg takedown. He lets some ground-and-pound fly before Diaz gets back up. Then, Henderson uses a single-leg takedown to get on top of Diaz. There's more ground-and-pound from Henderson, who looks reluctant to play in Diaz's guard. One particular big punch from up top gets the crowd roaring. Diaz sweeps and gets a hold of Henderson's heel. Henderson goes the same. They're both working for the submission, but eventually surrender. Henderson takes Diaz's back momentarily. Diaz works his way out. There's a lot of momentum shifts in this grappling exchange. Diaz keeps looking for a foot lock. Diaz flips off Henderson and throws several punches. They get back up and Henderson drops him with a left hand. Henderson pounces, and here comes more jiu-jitsu. Nothing is working for Diaz. This was Henderson's most dominant round yet and he caps it off with a big ground-and-pound strike. It's a clean sweep at 30-27 so far.
Second Round Diaz wants to draw Henderson into a brawl, which explains why he stared him down at the end of the first round and again at the beginning of this one. But it's not working. Henderson tosses Diaz to the ground. He surprisingly lets him up without much resistance. Then shows why. Henderson kicks Diaz across the face, and the challenger has no room to breathe against the fence as Henderson follows by rushing in to clinch. Henderson lets Diaz go, but only after an elbow to the temple. A right hook from Henderson hits Diaz at about the same spot. Diaz tries to come in, but Henderson is whipping kicks against his legs and jabbing his body. Another body shot makes Diaz stumble. Henderson fakes to the body and drops Diaz with a right hand to the face. Diaz didn't see it coming. He's down and trying to stay alive. Diaz works his way to his feet and locks up. This should give him time to recover, but he's way behind. Henderson rockets another right hand. Henderson tries for a takedown attempt, but Diaz flips him over on his back. Henderson pops up and kicks Diaz in the face. Diaz has a small cut on his nose. He hits Henderson with a left hand near the end of the round and yells something at him at the bell. Another good round for Henderson, as it's now 20-18 for the champion.
First Round No touch of the gloves for this one. Henderson throws a leg kick to get things under way. Diaz looks for his jab, but Henderson keeps up with the kicks. Diaz clinches Henderson against the cage and throws a knee. Diaz is trying to smother Henderson until the champion reverses the position. Henderson looks for a takedown, but they're stuck and locked up for now. Henderson gets Diaz on one knee, but he's right back up. There's not a lot of action early, but it might be how Henderson wants it. Diaz lands a couple punches when they break free. Diaz sprawls away from a Diaz single-leg takedown. Henderson eventually converts. He's standing over Diaz, watching out for upkicks and throwing ground-and-pound when appropriate. Diaz gets up, but Henderson presses him against the cage. Henderson chops Diaz down with a leg kick when they find their way back to the middle. Diaz throws a kick when Diaz gets back up. Diaz comes forward with jabs, but Henderson is light on his feet and elusive. They trade body shots with Henderson getting the best of it. Henderson throws a perfect one-two combination across Diaz's face. The round ends with them against the cage. Henderson wins, 10-9.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Third Round Gustafsson hits Shogun with a left hand for the first significant strike. But Shogun counters with a big strike of his own. Gustafsson gets the former champion back to the ground and lets loose some ground-and-pound. Shogun kicks him off and gets back to his feet. Gustafsson is winning there, however, with a kick across the body scoring points. They charge in at the same time, and both miss. The striking has been uneventful in the third round, but Gustafsson deposits Shogun on his back again. Shogun is gasping for breath with his hands down with Gustafsson marching forward. Gustafsson's straight left flings Shogun into the cage. He follows with a knee. Shogun isn't as fresh, and the accuracy of his punches has faded. Gustafsson hits Shogun with a right hand when he thinks about shooting for a takedown. A front kick to the face also lands on Shogun. With 30 seconds to go, Shogun doesn't look to have much left. Gustafsson pushes him into the cage and down to the ground to finish off the second straight fight to go a full 15 minutes. Gustafsson wins 30-27 on the Sun's scorecard. Alexander Gustafsson wins a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) over Shogun Rua.
Second Round Gustafsson swings wildly, but somehow Shogun gets the best of the exchange in the opening seconds. Gustafsson stumbles backwards. He seems to regain his senses quick, though. Shogun keeps the pressure with another overhand right. Shogun is throwing everything he has into every punch. It's working through the first minute of this round, but worth wondering how long he can keep it up. Gustafsson shoots for a takedown after ducking under a Shogun left hand. Shogun uses the fence to keep himself upright. The referee wastes little time in breaking them up. Gustafsson hits Shogun with a combination but suffers from a counter. Gustafsson tries to trip Shogun, but the Brazilian acrobatically stays on his feet. Not for long. Another takedown attempt works for Gustafsson. He lets Shogun up, however, after no more than 20 seconds. Bad decision, as Shogun stuns him with another right hand. But Gustafsson recovers fast as usual. He also gets another takedown. Shogun pops right back up. They clinch and Shogun throws some knees before getting reversed against the cage. Gustafsson trips Shogun again, landing some ground-and-pound for points. Gustafsson has taken control late. He's stringing combinations together effortlessly. Shogun continues to land with power, but Gustafsson has probably surpassed him in volume. Gustafsson takes a close second round, 10-9. It's 20-18 heading into the third.
First Round Gustafsson comes forward with a combination. He's keeping his distance from the former champion early. Shogun appears to trip while trying to get away from a Gustafsson right hand. Gustafsson swarms on the ground and Shogun gets him in a heel hook. He can't finish, as Gustafsson lunges to his feet. They are against the cage with Shogun trying to take the young Swedish star down again. Back in the middle now, where Gustafsson is having his way. He lands an uppercut and puts Shogun on his back with a takedown. Gustafsson passes on the chance to follow Shogun to the ground. A straight right stuns Gustafsson and puts him on the ground. Gustafsson wall-walks back up. There's been a lot of action midway through the first round. Shogun throws some leg kicks into Gustafsson before they break up. Gustafsson lands a knee and some punches. Shogun's turn now, as a right hook affects Gustafsson. Shogun fires a leg kick as Gustafsson tries to use his reach advantage to keep him away with jabs. Shogun is landing now, though. But Gustafsson has Shogun's nose bleeding with another knee. Gustafsson also lands an elbow. They lock back up with Gustafsson in position against the fence. Gustafsson wins first round, 10-9.
B.J. Penn vs. Rory MacDonald
Third Round Penn tells the referee he's ready to go while gasping for air. MacDonald looks fresh, spitting on the ground before the round starts. Penn knows he needs to finish MacDonald judging by the opening seconds. He gets rid of caution and throws everything he can at MacDonald. He looks for another takedown, but MacDonald is just too big for the former lightweight champion. MacDonald presses Penn up against the cage until the official breaks them up. MacDonald looks for a spinkick but trips when Penn gets out of the way. MacDonald locks up with Penn again, but backs off to pepper him with jabs. Penn hasn't gotten any kind of rhythm down since early in the first round. MacDonald is showing off again, which the crowd doesn't appreciate. Penn looks lost, hesitant to make any move with fear of the comeback from MacDonald. Penn says something to MacDonald and then lands a jab. MacDonald pushes him against the fence again. Like clockwork, they are broken up. MacDonald connects with a head kick with one minute left. He's keeping a desperate Penn at bay with kicks. MacDonald fires a knee and an elbow with 20 seconds to go. He just made a statement against a legend. MacDonald wins with a perfect 30-27 on the Sun's scorecard. Rory MacDonald defeats B.J. Penn by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26).
Second Round MacDonald works his kicks early again. Penn is trying to adjust, but having trouble with the range. He lands a right hand, but MacDonald gets out quickly. MacDonald's jab is going now. Penn is in trouble, covering up against the fence. All of MacDonald's combinations are landing. Penn circles, but he can't escape the peppering of kicks and punches from the young Canadian. Penn tries to catch one of MacDonald's kicks, but he slips out. Penn tries to be aggressive and knocks MacDonald with a right hand. MacDonald misses with a wild kick in response. A couple stiff jabs from Penn have made it look like "The Progidy" is still alive. But MacDonald tees off now, hitting Penn to the body with a kick and going up top with a combination of hooks. Penn is in trouble again as MacDonald rocks him with multiple strikes. Penn can't even stop MacDonald's jab. Penn's left eye is black, but he's trying everything he can. He counters MacDonald on a couple occasions. A flashy move, and maybe a little talk, by MacDonald draws boos from the crowd. MacDonald gets the first takedown of the fight. Penn is flailing his fists off of his back, but that's not going to do anything. MacDonald is way ahead at 20-18 after two rounds.
First Round Key Arena is deafening for the return of Penn, who charges forward strong right away. They lock up against the cage with Penn scoring with a knee and short punch. MacDonald is pressing Penn up against the fence, but Penn is providing more offense. MacDonald looks for leg kicks when they break out. They exchange punches with neither fighter creating much separation two minutes in. Penn lands a right hand behind MacDonald's ear. A soft front kick from MacDonald hits Penn. "B.J." chants start. He's out-landing MacDonald so far. The left side of MacDonald's face is red. Penn shoots for a single-leg and gets MacDonald down for a second. He pops back up. Penn looks for the trip, but MacDonald is aware and backs away. A "Rory" chant in response to the love for Penn gets going. MacDonald shoots for a takedown now, and Penn stuffs him. MacDonald does a land a few kicks, though. Penn is wobbled after a jab. He's up against the fence looking to get his senses back. MacDonald is attacking with the kicks. Penn comes forward and lands a right hook. MacDonald throws an elbow, but Penn uses his head movement to get away. Bell rings to end a close round. MacDonald may have taken it late, 10-9.
Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown
Second Round Swick lands a few jabs, trying to keep his distance. Brown comes in for the more powerful strikes. He capitalizes with an uppercut to Swick's chin. Swick is still in retreat mode, having a difficult time figuring out Brown. They clinch up against the cage slightly before the one-minute mark. Back in the middle now where Swick connects with a couple knees. Brown returns the favor, but his don't strike with as much force. The elbow works for Brown, though. Swick shoots for a takedown after a knee from Brown. But the fence will help keep Brown up. Swick lands a couple successive punches when they break out. But Brown comes forward and drops Swick with a combination keyed by a left hand. Swick is out. Matt Brown knocks out Mike Swick at 2:31 of the second round.
First Round Brown lands a combination about 20 seconds in for the first action of the fight. He hits Swick again soundly with a right hand. Swick shoots for a takedown, but he's denied. In the middle of the octagon, Swick throws a combination of an uppercut and right hook. Brown tosses him to the ground a few seconds later. Brown's looking for the guillotine and he locks it in. He's on his back cranking. Brown will need to convert on this opportunity, or else he'll be in a poor position when Swick breaks out. Swick is out and throws a short punch to announce his presence. He continues with a few more shots of ground-and-pound. He's looking to pass, but Brown is forcing Swick to stay in his guard. Brown wraps his legs around Swick's neck for a traingle choke. This attempt looks deeper than the guillotine and the crowd is amped. But Swick looks fine. Brown starts punching him, while looking to transition to an armbar. Swick is safe. Brown gets out from under to get on top, but Swick wraps his arms around Brown's neck. They're up now and exchanging against the cage. Brown gets the better of it, as he has for the first five minutes. That round goes to Brown, 10-9.
SEATTLE — They say the fights are better when the participants are actually fighting for something.
No wonder UFC on Fox 5 made for a fast sellout and one of the most anticipated cards of the year. Three of the four main-card bouts at Key Arena feature some sort of a grudge, the co-main event light heavyweight tilt between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alexander Gustafsson serving as the only exception.
Two of them were easy to forecast. Nate Diaz, the No. 1 contender to the lightweight title, can’t engage in combat without making the man across from him in the octagon his enemy.
In tonight’s case, that’s Benson Henderson. “Bendo” has talked about the danger of getting drawn into Diaz’s mental games, and he’s responded by trying to ignore the trash-talk.
Diaz often continues to accost opponents verbally during the fight, so Henderson must keep restraining himself in order to avoid a slugfest that would favor Diaz’s style.
Neither B.J. Penn nor Rory MacDonald, who meet in a long awaited welterweight clash, is holding back his distaste for the other. MacDonald set off Penn months ago by saying the former UFC champion looked out of shape and old.
MacDonald’s conclusion was that he would destroy “The Prodigy”, which didn’t sit well. At every media outing this week, Penn has called out MacDonald and gotten in his face during photo opportunities.
Further fueling the hypothesis of bad blood increasing the stakes, fans are clearly most excited for Penn vs. MacDonald.
The feud between main-card openers Mike Swick and Matt Brown is pettier in its nature. Brown was a big fan of Swick on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” seven years ago, before the UFC blew up to fill arenas and reach its current status closer to the top of the sports landscape.
Brown sent Swick a MySpace message saying as much and asked for advice. It went unanswered. Years later, Brown claims he’s better than Swick in every aspect of fighting.
Swick, who lost in the semifinals of the first “TUF” to Stephan Bonnar, begs to differ.
Shogun and Gustafsson may share nothing except for respect, but they might put on the best fight of the night. Several of Rua’s bouts are remembered for their legendary nature, most notably last year’s Fight of the Year against Dan Henderson at UFC 139.
The 25-year old Gustafsson has an electric style himself. Anything less than an all-out battle would be a disappointment.
Check below for full results from the UFC on Fox 5 preliminary card and stay tuned for a round-by-round blog of the main card.
Yves Edwards knocked out Jeremy Stephens with a right hook and ensuing ground-and-pound at 1:55 of the first round. Edwards countered a Stephens advance and placed his punch right on the jaw. "When he went down, I thought he was out for a second," Edwards said. "But his eyes were open and I said, 'I can't let this guy recover.'"
The unattainable pace set by the first five fights of the night came to an unforgiving end with a bantamweight bout between Raphael Assuncao and Mike Easton. Assuncao beat Easton by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) after 15 minutes of the two opponents keeping their distance and engaging in little action.
Ramsey Nijem defeated Joe Proctor by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a lightweight bout. It was yet another undercard fight that exceeded expectations, as Nijem knocked Proctor down with a kick to the chin in the first round. Proctor came back with a right hand that rocked Nijem late in the first round and a handful of submission attempts in the second round.
Daron Cruickshank scored one of the knockouts of the year. Cruickshank knocked Henry Martinez out cold with a headkick at 2:57 of the second round in their lightweight bout. It was nothing less than a breakout performance from "The Ultimate Fighter Live" alum, who landed a handful of other headkicks and haymakers in the first round.
Lightweight newcomer Abel Trujillo made last-minute replacement Marcus LeVesseur wish original opponent Tim Means would have never injured himself by slipping in the sauna Friday. Trujillo beat LeVesseur by second-round TKO — 3:56 was the official time — with a slew of knees to the side of the body. Trujillo, who trains with the Blackzilians in South Florida, also knocked LeVesseur down a couple times in the round before the finish.
Dennis Siver hit Nam Phan with everything he head — punch combinations, elbows and spin kicks included. The judges noticed, as Siver won an extremely lopsided decision. Siver officially beat Phan by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-24), earning at least one 10-8 round on every judge's scorecard.
Who says ground fights are always boring? The first contest of the night, between bantamweights John Albert and Scott Jorgensen, was spent almost entirely grappling but had more excitement than most stand-up fights. It culminated appropriately, with Jorgensen forcing Albert to tap out to a rear-naked choke with one second left in the first round.