UFC on Fox 5: Five Key Facts About Ben Henderson vs. Nate Diaz

McKinley Noble@KenTheGreat1Correspondent IDecember 1, 2012

UFC on Fox 5: Five Key Facts About Ben Henderson vs. Nate Diaz

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    Even without looking at the raw numbers, it's pretty clear that Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz are two of the UFC's most amazing fighters.

    Both of these lightweight warriors have played parts in some of the most entertaining fights in modern mixed martial arts history, and next Saturday, they'll get the opportunity to amaze millions of MMA fans during UFC on Fox 5.

    But what separates these two from the rest of their division?

    Well, that's why the raw numbers are important. Here's five key facts that hardcore and casual fight fans alike should know about these two headliners—and what those statistics actually mean.

Henderson & Diaz Have Never Lost by KO or TKO

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    Between the two of them, Henderson and Diaz have endured 42 professional fights against some of the sharpest strikers in the lightweight division.

    Considering some of the wars that both men have survived, it's incredible that neither has been stopped on strikes yet.

    What It Means:

    Although Henderson and Diaz have extremely potent stand-up skills, neither of them possess "one-punch" knockout power. That, plus their solid iron chins, means that a KO or TKO finish is highly unlikely for either fighter.

    If this bout stays on the feet, expect a long, violent, bloody war of attrition that will hopefully drive TV ratings right through the roof. After getting the shaft at UFC on Fox 1, Henderson deserves that much.

Diaz Has Landed 717 Significant Strikes in His UFC Career

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    If the UFC on Fox 5 main event turns into a slugfest, it'll be hard for Diaz to lose.

    Even though the young Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter dismissively claimed to Inside MMA that he probably won't win a decision against Henderson, he just might.

    What Diaz lacks in power, he makes up in volume, holding a Fight Metric record for "significant strikes landed" with 717 total—and 238 of those happened in just one single bout.

    What It Means:

    If Diaz can stay off his back, it's possible that he can actually outpoint Henderson—and if he gets really lucky, stop the champion on strikes.

    Ben Henderson has competent stand-up for certain, but also has a nasty habit of dropping his guard and getting tagged with stiff shots. If Diaz can keep up with Henderson's elite kicking game and fast-paced footwork, a rare decision win could go the Stocktonian's way next Saturday.

Henderson's Had Six Championship Bouts in Three Years

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    Ben Henderson may be the current UFC lightweight title-holder, but he's already had plenty of championship experience during his World Extreme Cagefighting days.

    Over the last three years, Henderson has logged in a lot of cage time, fighting in six championship bouts between the WEC and UFC with four of those matches each going five full rounds against Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis and Frankie Edgar (twice)—all notorious pressure fighters.

    What It Means:

    For all the years Nate Diaz has spent in the Octagon, Henderson has a unique edge thanks to the valuable experience of his six title fights. Unlike his opponent, "Bendo" knows what it's like to go into the championship rounds in many different scenarios.

    We've never seen Diaz outside of three rounds, but Henderson has proven thrice that he can close a five-round battle. That could make the difference between a decision win and a loss.

Diaz Has Gained 11 Submission Finishes in 16 Wins

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    Nate Diaz is one of the lightweight division's more dangerous grappling threats and he's got 11 submission wins to back it up.

    Not only is that a rather impressive statistic in itself, but it's also one of Diaz's most valuable assets—he's the second most successful "Submission of the Night" award winner, second only to Joe Lauzon's six-time record in that category.

    What It Means:

    If Ben Henderson wants to score points and exercise an all-inclusive offense, he'll eventually try to take Diaz to the mat with his superior wrestling. After all, that tactic worked wonders for Rory MacDonald and Dong Hyun Kim.

    But even with Henderson's remarkably strong submission defense, Diaz's crafty jiu-jitsu skills make taking him to the mat an extremely risky option.

Henderson Has a 65 Percent Takedown Rate in the UFC

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    When Henderson wants to take someone to the mat, he usually does.

    Despite Fight Metric only tracking 11 of the UFC lightweight champion's 19 career fights, the MMA Lab product nonetheless boasts extremely high takedown accuracy by the database's records.

    In fact, Henderson holds a UFC record as the sixth most-accurate fighter in that area alone, surpassing the likes of Jon Jones and Rich Franklin.

    What It Means:

    One of Nate Diaz's greatest weaknesses is a strong wrestler with solid takedowns.

    As much of a threat as Diaz might be on the mat, Henderson may be confident enough in his submission defense that he'll recklessly try to wrestle his way to a win. Other fighters have done that with plenty of success, but at least Diaz won't be as badly outmuscled as he was in the welterweight division.