UFC on Fox 5 Fight Card: Power Ranking Every Fight on the Card
UFC on FOX 5 plays host to numerous exciting matchups, none more important than the main event. Benson Henderson defends the UFC Lightweight Championship against Nate Diaz.
The free fight card has 11 fights with plenty of well-rounded fighters waiting to show their skills and go for a fight of the night bonus.
Several fights look to be fight of the night contenders on paper. The fight card is one of the very best ever given away on free television. It will also serve as a great lead-in to Saturday's big boxing fight: Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez.
These are the power rankings for every fight on the UFC card on Saturday night.
No. 11: Scott Jorgensen vs. John Albert
Scott Jorgensen (13-6) returns from his KO loss to Eddie Wineland to take on John Albert (7-3).
Both men are coming off back-to-back losses, and that could mean the loser finds his way back to the regional circuit after this fight. Both fighters have their back against the wall in this one. That could lead to fireworks.
Albert is 1-2 in the UFC. His lone win was a TKO over Dustin Pague at The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale last December.
Jorgensen is a former bantamweight title challenger and started his UFC career off with two wins. However, the top-tier talent in the division has been able to stymie his ascent back towards the top. This is a great chance to get a win before the calendar turns to 2013.
No. 10: Marcus LeVesseur vs. Abel Trujillo
Marcus LeVessuer (22-6) atoned for his submission loss to Cody McKenzie at UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier with a split decision win over Carlo Prater at UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot.
At UFC on FOX 5 he will meet Abel Trujillo (9-4) on the FX prelims.
A member of the Blackzilian camp, Trujillo is looking to extend his win streak to five in his UFC debut.
LeVessuer is a strong wrestler with excellent credentials. He will need those to stifle Trujillo in this fight. The fight could surprise a lot of people, but it also could be a 15-minute wrestling clinic by LeVessuer.
No. 9: Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez
In Daron Cruickshank's (11-2) UFC debut, he picked up a unanimous decision win over Chris Tickle. Now, The Ultimate Fighter alum will have a potential stand-up war with Henry Martinez (9-2).
Martinez entered that UFC at UFC 143 against Matt Riddle. He was a late replacement and took the fight at middleweight. He lost a contentious split decision and dropped to lightweight for his next outing. This time the split decision went in his favor and he got a win over Bernardo Magalhaes.
Martinez loves to stand, and so does Cruickshank. With the other fights on the card, it is unlikely this nabs a fight bonus, but it could be a dark horse for fight of the night if they just decide to throw down in the middle of the cage.
The fight has no immediate relevance in the division, but it will be a fun fight to excite the crowd.
No. 8: Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor
This could be the sleeper fight that grabs people's attention unexpectedly. The two TUF alums have been exciting in their short careers and could keep that going in a competitive battle on Saturday.
Ramsey Nijem (6-2) is 2-1 in the UFC. His lone loss was in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 to Tony Ferguson. He dropped to lightweight after the show and is 2-0 in the lightweight division.
Joe Proctor (8-1) was an early favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter Season 15, but he was not able to capture the title. He rebounded nicely at the finale with a TKO win over Jeremy Larsen.
Much like Cruickshank vs. Martinez, this fight has no immediate impact in the division but should be a fun one anyway. It all the potential to be one of the best fights on the card.
No. 7: Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike Easton
An exciting bantamweight tilt is lined up between Rafael Assuncao (17-4) and Mike Easton (13-1).
Assuncao is 2-0 at bantamweight in the UFC. He dropped to the weight class after losing to Erik Koch in his UFC debut.
Easton is an undefeated 3-0 in his UFC career. A win over Assuncao would likely move him into the discussion of top contenders in the division.
We all know what kind of action the bantamweights bring to the cage, and Easton is another energy shot above them. Easton may have to be more active than he was at UFC 148, but it is not likely he is going to be involved in back-to-back lackluster fights. Assuncao and Easton will be a fight you want to tune in for.
No. 6: Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown
Matt Brown (15-11) always comes to fight. He remains an underrated welterweight, but he is clearly not toward the top of the division. He is, however, a solid gatekeeper at 170.
This will be Mike Swick's (15-4) second fight since returning from an extended period away from fighting, and Brown is a great test for him. We will see where Swick is at and if he is ready to re-join the discussion as one of the best fighters in the division.
This could easily be fight of the night or knockout of the night. It has the potential to be explosive.
For all of Brown's faults, no one can say he does not come to fight. He is a scrapper. Swick loves to bang too. This is a great way to kick off the main card.
No. 5: Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens
This fight was scheduled for October, but due to some out-of-competition issues, it was shelved.
Jeremy Stephens (20-8) is coming off two consecutive losses to top-10 talent and can use this fight to get back on track.
Yves Edwards (41-18-1) will fight for the first time in over a year since a decision loss to Tony Ferguson at The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale. Edwards hopes to return in peak form.
Stephens enjoys a good brawl and Edwards is always happy to be in a stand-up fight. The two talented lightweights will headline the FX preliminary card, and it will deliver. On another card it could easily steal the show.
No. 4: Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Coming in at No. 4 on the list is the potential contenders fight between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (22-6) and Alexander Gustafsson (14-1).
Shogun comes back to network television after headlining UFC on FOX 4 with a TKO victory over Brandon Vera. The former PRIDE Grand Prix and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion can make his case for a future date with the Jon Jones with an impressive victory.
Gustafsson has a lot of hype surrounding him, and a win over a legend like Rua will move him in to the spotlight. The casual audience may be introduced to Gustafsson in a big way on FOX.
Not only does this fight have title implications, but it is just a great matchup. The co-main event of the evening will answer a lot of questions about each fighter and clear up some of the division's questions.
No. 3: Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan
Dennis Siver (20-8) vs. Nam Phan (18-10) is my pick for being the sleeper fight of the night.
Siver is the more diverse striker of the two, and he won his featherweight debut by beating Diego Nunes by unanimous decision. Siver can quickly move up the ladder of contenders in this division with an impressive win over Phan.
Phan is coming off a split decision victory over Cole Miller at the last UFC on FOX show. In recent outings, he has shown an excellent array of striking, but none more impressive than his body shots.
This fight will open the FX portion of the prelims. You will want to be tuned in and have popcorn ready. You will see some excellent techniques and hopefully a fantastic fight between two fun featherweights.
BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald
This could very well be the true main event of the evening. BJ Penn (16-8-2) returns to the Octagon after more than a year away to battle one of the fastest rising stars of the UFC, Rory MacDonald (13-1).
In Penn's two fights in 2011 he was 0-1-1. A draw with Jon Fitch and a decision loss to Nick Diaz sent him away from the cage to re-evaluate his future in the sport. When he returns, the slate does not get easier.
MacDonald has won three in a row since dropping a fight against Carlos Condit in 2010. A fight he was winning until cardio got the better of him. Penn is without question a step up in competition from his last three opponents at welterweight. A win here would move him into the top slots in the division.
The talk between the two fighters has been palpable. The UFC's Road to the Octagon show on FOX highlighted both fighters in their lead up to the fight.
Penn vs. MacDonald will have a lot of attention on Saturday night, and we will see who comes out on top and is ready to make a run at the gold.
UFC Lightweight Championship: Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz
This fight is not No. 1 merely because it is for the UFC Lightweight Championship, but because Benson Henderson (17-2) and Nate Diaz (16-7) are exciting fighters who bring it in the cage every single time.
Diaz returned to the lightweight division after a brief stint at welterweight. Since his return, he is 3-0 and one of the best fighters at 155. Hence the title shot. His combination of outstanding boxing and jiu-jitsu makes him a difficult fighter to take on.
Henderson is coming off two close decision victories over Frankie Edgar, and that is why the title rests around his waist right now. 5-0 in the UFC and looking to make it 6-0. Henderson is strong, athletic, fast and is a complete fighter.
These two are rarely involved in a lackluster fight, and this fight should blow the roof off the building. Both men are capable of ending the fight by knockout or submission, or fighting all 25 minutes at a good pace. Even if this fight was not for the championship it would be number one on this list.
Henderson and Diaz will put your hair on end. Do not miss it.