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UFC on FOX 5 main card to feature Henderson-Diaz, Rua-Gustafsson, and Penn-MacDonald

The UFC is poised to end the year in style after news surfaced today surrounding the main card for UFC on FOX 5. While other shows on the network have been solid, none compare to the lineup the organization has planned in December including three fights that could easily headline a PPV.

The evening’s main event will feature a lightweight title-fight between defending champion Benson Henderson (17-2) and #1 contender Nate Diaz (16-7).  Henderson is coming off of his controversial UFC 150 Split Decision win over Frankie Edgar, while Diaz headlined UFC on FOX 3 where he finished Jim Miller.

Also announced, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua (21-6) and rising star Alexander Gustafsson (14-1) will meet in what is likely a bout where the winner of the fight will get a crack at the light heavyweight  belt. Rua is coming off of a TKO win over Brandon Vera at UFC On FOX 4 and would have already received a title-shot were it not for Lyoto Machida‘s exception knockout of Ryan Bader. Meanwhile, Gustafsson  is coming off of a win over Thiago Silva. The young Swede is riding a five-fight winning streak and is 6-1 in the UFC.

Were those bouts not enough, the December 8 show will also feature the return of B.J. Penn (16-8-2) who will take on Rory MacDonald (13-1) in a fight that was originally supposed to take place at UFC 152. The match-up was scrapped when it was announced that MacDonald had suffered a severe cut in training and would not be healed in time for the fight. The tilt has also garnered a lot of attention because both Penn and MacDonald have agreed to be drug tested by VADA (Volunteer Anti-Doping Association) before meeting in the Octagon. This will be the first UFC meeting in history to have fighters tested outside of the testing sometimes required by the athletic commissions.

USA Today was first to report all of the match-ups.


  • Richard Stabone says:

    Now that is a helluva free card. And it’ll be right smack in the middle of football season, when FOX will be pulling in the typically huge viewership numbers for NFL games, making for easy & effective cross promotion.

    This has the makings of being an enormous event… please, please, please no injuries.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    Richard you took the words out of my mouth…
    now THATS a fucking card, free or not, thats a card

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Yep, this is the first FOX event that is really going to hit a home run, IMO.

    The inaugural event certainly had tons of hype, but with the decision to only air one fight its potential was already very limited. And then it ended up with both guys dealing with an injury, which may or may not have contributed to a quick finish. Given the lofty hype & expectations, it really fizzled out.

    The subsequent FOX cards have been hit & miss. The last one turned out to be fantastic in the fights it delivered, but didn’t have big name drawing power, and no belts on the line.

    But with UFC on FOX 5, the stars seem to be aligned. Multiple big name fights, a championship belt on the line, and during prime season to market the event to the TV masses during football season. This sumbitch should be huge, and also carry momentum into the year-end PPV event during New Year’s weekend.

    In other words, about a year into the FOX relationship I think this is the first time we’re going to see the UFC really flex its muscles and begin to more fully tap into the opportunity afforded by the network TV deal.

    And lastly, good for Nate Diaz. I’m not a fan of his, and will be rooting for Bendo, but I appreciate what he brings to the sport and love watching his fights. After seeing his older brother piss away opportunities, props to Nate for being able to avoid getting caught up in that sort of bullshit and now earning himself this golden opportunity… fighting for a belt, in the main event on a free FOX card that will be viewed by millions.

    And of course the same goes for Bendo. Went from this to a full blown MMA star in just a few short years. Nice to see these guys that have worked so hard reap the benefits.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Speaking of the last UFC on Fox card, and how sometimes they are hit and miss, does anyone know if it’s Fox that limits the time Rogan can spend on post fight interviews? He didn’t even interview Lauzon, and didn’t spend all that much time talking to Machida or shogun it seemed.

  • MCM says:

    Fantastic card. Gustaffson is gonna show the world why he’s the real #1 (behind Hendo) contender in the LHW division when he shuts Shogun down in the first round.

    Both Bendo and Diaz have been on Fox cards before and both came out winners. I’ll be rooting for Henderson, but Diaz has looked ultra impressive since returning to LW.

    I’ll always be a fan of Penns, but I’m not foolish enough to think he has anything for Rory.

    Can’t wait to see who else they stack on this card.


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