Henderson vs. Diaz: The best matchup of the year

Benson Henderson from Arizona celebrates his win over Frankie Edgar from New Jersey in their middleweight title bout during UFC 150 in Denver, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Benson Henderson from Arizona celebrates his win over Frankie Edgar from New Jersey in their middleweight title bout during UFC 150 in Denver, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Matt Ramsay

Special to theadvocate.com

This Saturday, Dec. 8, the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) Lightweight belt will be on the line in Seattle. Kicking off at 7 p.m. Central Time, this will be one of the best cards ever shown live at no charge on network cable television.

The main event will be a lightweight showdown between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz. The co-main event will be a potential No. 1 contender match between former light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson.

Main Event: Lightweight title fight

Live on Fox

Benson “Smooth” Henderson vs. Nate Diaz

Benson Henderson, Colorado Springs, Colo., 5-9, 155 pounds, 16-2-0 (Lightweight champion)
Nate Diaz, Stockton, Calif., 6-0, 155 pounds, 16-7-0

The lightweight championship belt will be up for grabs in what on paper looks like the best matchup of the year. Through the years, mixed martial artists have evolved into complete fighters, and this bout will be a perfect example of that. Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson are flawless in their fight games, and they have zero weaknesses.

This will be Diaz’s first title fight in the UFC, while it will be Henderson’s seventh. That will be a big advantage for Henderson’s corner. However, Diaz has a huge reach that could work in his favor. This fight should last three rounds or more so prepare for some textbook mixed martial arts (MMA) filled with blood, sweat and fists.

Diaz by Split Decision

Co-Main Event:

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson

Mauricio Rua, Curitiba, Brazil, 6-1, 205 pounds, 21-6-0 (former Light Heavyweight champion)
Alexander Gustafsson, Arboga, Sweden, 6-5, 205 pounds, 14-1-0

The co-main event could possibly be a No. 1 contender bout for Alexander Gustafsson, a young up and comer who has had a very impressive start, achieving a 7-1 record with only one fight going to a decision. If Gustafsson can get past Mauricio Rua, he is one of the few in the light heavyweight division who has the size to match up with the champion, Jon “Bones” Jones. Rua is looking at maybe the last title run of his career. A loss Saturday night could be devastating and may force him to contemplate retirement. Rua is still the best in the business, but the time is now as the clock is definitely ticking.

Gustafsson by TKO (Strikes)

B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn vs. Rory “Ares” MacDonald

B.J. Penn, Kailua, Hawaii, 5-9, 170 pounds, 16-8-2 (former Lightweight and Welterweight champion)
Rory MacDonald, Quesnel, British Columbia, 6-0, 170 pounds, 13-1-0

The old versus the new will be on display in this non-title matchup when Rory MacDonald faces the old man, B.J. Penn. MacDonald is one of the best and brightest in the welterweight division. He should be -- he is--the protégé of Georges St-Pierre. MacDonald’s 4-1 record in the UFC doesn’t impress Penn though. Penn is not in his prime anymore, but his jiu-jitsu is still second to none. We will see if the future hall of famer still has some left in the tank.

Penn by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Mike “Quick” Swick vs. Matt “The Immortal” Brown

Mike Swick, Houston, 6-1, 170 pounds, 15-4-0
Matt Brown, Xenia, Ohio, 6-0, 170 pounds, 17-11-0

Swick by Unanimous Decision

Live on FX

Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens

Yves Edwards, Nassau, Bahamas, 5-9, 155 pounds, 41-18-1
Jeremy Stephens, Des Moines, Iowa., 5-9, 155 pounds, 20-8-0

Stephens by Unanimous Decision

Raphael Assucao vs. Mike “The Hulk” Easton

Easton by Unanimous Decision

Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor

Nijem by Unanimous Decision

Daron “Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank vs. Henry “Sicario” Martinez

Martinez by TKO (Strikes)

Live on facebook.com/ufc

Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan

Siver by Split Decision

Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen vs. John “Prince” Albert

Jorgensen by Unanimous Decision

Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means vs. Abel “Killa” Trujillo

Means by TKO (Strikes)