As fights go, few appear to be more evenly matched or intriguing than Saturday night's main event on UFC on Fox 5, the battle for the UFC Lightweight Championship between belt-holder Benson Henderson and challenger Nate Diaz.
Henderson is fresh off of two incredibly tight victories over Frankie Edgar, the first earning him the belt, and the second seeing him (barely) defend his title. Diaz presents a major challenge for Henderson, and is coming off three straight victories over Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller.
Diaz probably holds a slight advantage if this fight stays upright, though Henderson is no slouch on his feet. Still, Henderson will look to score points with his wrestling and ground-and-pound.
Normally, that would be a risky proposition against Diaz's excellent jiu-jitsu and submissions, but Henderson is difficult to submit.
Expect this one to go the distance. Both of these fighters are tough as nails, incredibly difficult to submit, able to go the distance and unlikely to show any mental weakness whatsoever.
Let's break down this fantastic matchup with a full coverage guide, tale of the tape and prediction below.
When: Saturday, December 8 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Key Arena, Seattle, WA
Watch: The main event is on Fox, while preliminary fights can be viewed on Fox Deportes, FX and streamed online on Facebook by "liking" the UFC Facebook page.
Benson Henderson Tale of the Tape
UFC.com Quickie Scouting Report: "Wrestling, good submissions and ground and pound."
Nate Diaz Tale of the Tape
UFC.com Quickie Scouting Report: "Boxing, Jiu Jitsu and heart."
I think Henderson is going to win this bout by continually taking Diaz to the ground and earning points with his ground-and-pound.
I don't imagine either fighter taking big risks in going for a knockout blow or compromising good positioning to try and submit the other, so this will come down to the ability of each to earn points with their strengths.
Diaz has to clearly be the superior fighter when this fight remains upright, and one would imagine he's focused on his wrestling defense to keep Henderson from taking him down at will. But I think Henderson's ground game will be too tough, and he'll win this sixth consecutive decision.
But will I be shocked if Diaz comes out the winner? No way—this bout could go either way.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets have a mean arm bar. (That's a lie.)
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