We’ve discussed this show ad nauseam and finally it’s here. Let’s get to it.
1. Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick
I expected them to throw leather in the first round, but Matt Brown decided to tie Mike Swick up like a pretzel. They looked like two puzzle pieces. Brown also got the better of the exchanges.
Brown threw a left hook straight right combination that put Swick out. It was reminiscent of the famous Rich Franklin/Nate Quarry knockout. Brown looked very impressive.
Winner: Matt Brown by 2nd round TKO
2. Rory MacDonald vs. BJ Penn
BJ Penn aged 5 years in that first round. He can’t even outbox MacDonald. MacDonald staggered him and I thought Penn was going down. He took a lot of punishment. MacDonald is varying his strikes and Penn doesn’t see where the shots are coming from.
This fight is really hard to watch. BJ can’t even get out of the way of punches and his defense was to try and protect much of his body and using his front leg as well and just taking it. Rope-a-dope this was not. That’s probably a 10-8 round. I thought BJ was going to quit at one point. He needs an out of left-field knockout.
Well, round three wasn’t much different. MacDonald stood right in front of him and pretty much hit him with anything he wanted. He buckled BJ with a left hook right to the mouth. Have to give Penn credit for hanging in there, but no one wanted to see him take that much damage and not be able to do anything about it.
Winner: Rory MacDonald by way of unanimous decision
The scores were 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27.
3. Alexander Gustafsson vs. Shogun Rua
Gustafsson beat him in the stand-up, but nearly got caught. Rua had him in a leg lock and it looked deep for a second. But back on the field, Gustafsson is longer and crisper. Rua has to lunge to get inside.
These guys are hitting each other very hard. Rua is more so landing right hands one-at-a-time, while Gustafsson is landing upper cuts and then following them up with huge knees. Two rounds in a row for Gustafsson and this is about the time where Rua’s gas tank abandons him.
Like Mike Goldberg said, this round wasn’t unlike the third round of the previous fight. Shogun took some unreal punishment and just shook it off. He was also taken down three times while taking all that punishment. Gustafsson should win every round and get the W.
Winner: Alexander Gustafsson by way of unanimous decision
4. Nate Diaz vs. Benson Henderson
Henderson landed two leg kicks and then he slipped into Diaz’s grasp. Diaz couldn’t take him down and then Henderson got the upper hand. He couldn’t take Diaz down either. Henderson finally took him down and Diaz tried for a triangle but it wasn’t there. Back on their feet, Henderson kicked Diaz’s leg out from under him. Henderson’s round and he was crafty and impressive. Diaz is a second slow.
Henderson has Diaz all out of sorts. Diaz missed a punch and Henderson nearly knocked his head off with a haymaker. Henderson is just doing everything much better than Diaz. This isn’t a usual Diaz fight where he’s controlling the pace and dictating where it’s going. He’s having that done to him. Diaz got a sweet judo takedown near the end of the round. Henderson is up 2-0.
Diaz is both now getting taken down easily and just falling into his guard. He’s gone for a leg lock and a guillotine and hasn’t come close. Henderson looks too strong for him. Diaz figured-four’d his leg for a knee bar and transitioned to a heel hook, but Henderson fought it. Pretty amazing scramble. Diaz is doing some amazing work off his back. I wonder if it will swing the round toward him. He’s also been taken down and knocked down. Great round.
Diaz spent nearly the entire round on his back, both because he was probably tired of getting kicked in the legs and also to try and goad Henderson to the ground. It didn’t work. Diaz even tried to call him to the ground and Henderson didn’t fall for anything. He’s up by a large margin.
Benson picked Diaz up like he was going to pump-handle slam him. That was impressive in round five. Diaz tried for a kimura, but it wasn’t much. Diaz couldn’t get anything going submission-wise and Diaz knew it. Diaz raised his hand at the end of the fight.
Winner: Benson Henderson by way of unanimous decision
The scores were 50-43, 50-45, 50-45.