Last night at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington the changing of the guard occurred for two fighters and a champion firmly established his weight-class dominance. In a night which main card was advertised primarily as old school vs new school the UFC fans were treated to several dominate performances that will not be forgotten The two new school fighters Rory MacDonald and Alexander Gustafsson firmly established themselves with dominate performances over two former UFC champions, B.J. Penn and Mauricio Rua, while Benson Henderson silenced all his critics with a utterly dominating unanimous decision victory over the gritty Nate Diaz.
Benson Henderson’s dominating unanimous decision victory last night over Cesar Gracie Fighter Nate Diaz can not be questioned. Unlike previous fights for Benson, he clearly showed the judges, the fans and everyone in attendance that he was the stronger, faster and better fighter.
In the first round, Benson wasted no time showing off his game-plan which included leg-kicks early-and-often. It was clear that Benson wanted to use his kickboxing to keep Diaz at a distance and strike from angles. About halfway through the first Benson further showed his kickboxing superiority by kicking Diaz’s leg from underneath him. As the two tussled on the ground they eventually got back up and Benson finished off the round with a solid combination that left a mark.
The second round started quicker as Benson immediately went in for a take-down but ended up landing against the fence. From there Benson continued to be the more aggressive fighter and landing several leg-shots. As the round wore on, Diaz finally scored some points with a nice hip-toss that put Benson to the mat but not for long though. Benson was ready for the onslaught and was ready for the third round.
The third frame opened up with Diaz clearly worried as he was striking early and often. Benson quickly understood what the brawler was trying to do and planted Diaz onto the mat with a solid take-down. From there Diaz tried working several submission and tried remaining active as possible. At one point, Diaz unsuspectingly went for a knee-bar, but that did bring the fighters to their feet. From there Benson dropped Diaz cleanly and the round ended with Diaz trying to grab anything of Benson’s he could on the ground while he recovered.
The fourth and fifth rounds were mirror images almost for the champ Benson. Benson clearly new he was ahead in the judges scorecard so for him it was just stick-and-move and dominate as much as possible. At no point in the fourth or fifth rounds was Benson even in any danger. Not to mention, by the fifth round Benson clearly looked like he could have gone another 2-3 rounds at his pace. To cap off the unforgettable performance Benson put a staple on the unanimous decision victory with a huge slam in the fifth round that all but silenced all the critics. Utterly dominate performance by the champ and one that will not be overlooked. Benson Henderson defeated Nate Diaz via UD (50-43, 50-45, 50-45)
In the nights co-main event the fans were treated to the first changing of the guard type matches which featured Mauricio “Shoghun” Rua facing off against Swedish Skyscraper Alexander Gustafsson. This contest wasted no-time getting started either as with in the first minute Gustafsson landed a heavy blow that dropped Shogun. Luckily, the more experience veteran showed his intelligence by grabbing a deep heel-hook while trying to recover. As the two fighters got back up Gustafsson continued to use his size to his advantage by keeping Shogun at bay with various uppercut and straight combinations.
The second round opened with the veteran Shogun trying to pickup the pace but Gustafsson was smart and pushed Shogun against the cage. From there Gustafsson used his weight to slow the pace of the round down and stifle Shogun. Shogun then tried taking the fight to the ground but was countered by the stronger Gustafsson. The round ended with Gustafsson laying some heavy damage to Shogun from the top-position.
The final round of the contest showed that Gustafsson was the fresher of the two fighters. Gustafsson kept shooting in for take-down after take-down. Shogun clearly had no answer for Gustafsson’s game-plan and couldn’t stop his take-downs. The round ended and fight ended with Gustafsson taking Shogun down again one last time and this time with some heavy blows from the top-position. Gustafsson firmly took control from the start of this match-up and moved on with the unanimous decision victory. Alexander Gustafsson defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
In the nights co-feature B.J Penn hoped to silence his long-time critics and Rory MacDonald by trying to show that he is still relevant. Unfortunately for Penn, Rory had other plans for him and showed that from the minute of the first round. The fight opened with Penn trying to get Rory to the ground, but Rory immediately used his size and strength to throw Penn against the cage. As the round continued Penn tried getting off the cage but was having a great deal of problems with Rory’s size. When Penn finally escaped he was met with a series of vicious elbows that clearly left some damage. The round ended with Rory landed some jabs and kicks that left the mark.
In the second round, Rory came out the same as he did in the first by looking for some punishing blows. Like the first round, Rory decided to press the fight against the cage and continually punish the smaller Penn. As the round wore on, Penn ate a huge kick to the sternum that almost had Referee Herb Dean stopping the fight. As the round came to a conclusion, Rory taunted the crowd and Penn and finished the round off with an uncontested take-down that clearly showed Penn’s old-school attitude withering away.
The final frame slowed down for both fighters but was still much of the same. Rory continued to punish Penn at every angle. Every time the two fighters clinched up against the cage Rory would get the better of the exchanges and by halfway through the round it almost felt as if Rory was toying with boy Penn and the crowd. The round ended much the same as the others with Rory being in a dominate position but unable to finish the old-school Penn off. The changing of the guard was clear in this fight was Rory easily won a unanimous decision victory and Rory even went as far as calling out Carlos Condit as he looks to avenge his last loss. Rory MacDonald defeated B.J. Penn via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
The fox cards opening contest featured UFC veteran and underdog Matt Brown facing off against the always flashy Mike Swick. The first round opened up with both fighters swinging and Swick surprisingly going for a take-down. As the two fighters hit the mat, Brown immediately went for a D’arce choke that was unsuccessful. As the round wore on Brown ended up stealing a more dominant position the ground and started landing some heavy shots from the top. The round ended with Swick turning Brown around with momentum but landing in a vicious triangle by Brown. The submission attempt was halted though as the round came to a close.
The second round opened up with Swick looking to establish his stand-up game. Brown decided to use this game-plan against Swick and close the distance. As Brown worked to get a clinch he started landing some solid inside-elbows. As the two separated, Swick was starting to swell on the side of his face and looked for a sloppy take-down. As Brown continued to fight it off and the two flurried, Brown caught Swick with a nice counter left-hook that dropped Swick to the canvas and stopped this fight in brutal KO fashion. Matt Brown defeated Mike Swick via KO (punches) – Round 2, 2:31
FX Preliminary Card:
Yves Edwards defeated Jeremy Stephens via KO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:55
Raphael Assuncao defeated Mike Easton via UD (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Ramsey Nijem defeated Joe Proctor via UD (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Daron Cruickshank defeated Henry Martinez via KO (head kick) – Round 1, 2:57
Abel Trujillo defeated Marcus LeVesseur via TKO (knees) – Round 2, 3:56
Dennis Siver defeated Nam Phan via UD (30-24, 30-25, 30-26)
Facebook Preliminary Card:
Scott Jorgensen defeated John Albert via SUB (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:59