One of the most anticipated UFC events of the year will take place on Saturday night in Seattle, Washington, at the UFC on FOX 5 event. The UFC lightweight title will be on the line when champion Ben Henderson defending against TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz.
Also, former champions Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and BJ Penn will looking to overcome gatekeeper status against hungry up and comers Alexander Gustafsson and Rory MacDonald. Let’s take a look at three huge questions that will hopefully get answers on Saturday night:
Will the UFC on FOX 5 event reach three million viewers or more?
The card will feature a title fight in the main event. The event will feature two fighters with name brand recognition in Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and BJ Penn. The event is being advertised/promoted during NFL football games that have massive ratings in regards to TV viewership. You would think this show would be able to break the three million viewership mark. The last two UFC on FOX shows averaged around 2.3 and 2.4 million viewers respectively. The first two UFC on FOX shows did over four million, so maybe this one will be somewhere in between.
What’s the likelyhood that both Shogun Rua and BJ Penn win their fights and avoid keeping the dreaded gatekeeper tag?
It’s no secret that Rory MacDonald and Alexander Gustafsson have shown great promise in their early MMA careers. However, both will face their most battle tested opponent ever when they step into the cage on Saturday night against Rua and Penn. I’m not sure what the odds are on either fight, but I’ll have that information for you when I post each fight preview/breakdown. Personally, I would consider both Rua and Penn slight underdogs going into this fight. Penn hasn’t fought in over a year and this fight is at welterweight where he has always seemed more mortal. Rua has taken an obscene amount of punishment in his last four fights, and I’m not sold on that punishment coupled with past knee surgeries can help him turn back the clock. Both are in this position for a reason in that they have name recognition, and would lend instant credibility to the young up and comers should they get the win.
Will Nate Diaz pose a real threat to Ben Henderson in the UFC lightweight title fight?
Prior to this year, I’d say the blueprint on how to beat both Nick and Nate Diaz was already out there cut and dry. Put them both against a good wrestler with submission defense and it’s game over, and pretty much guaranteed that they would lose a judges decision. I’m not so sure that’s the case with Nate Diaz anymore. The improvement we’ve seen from him over the past year or so is astounding, and it showed when he absolutely demolished a wrestler with good submission defense (Jim Miller) in his last outing. I haven’t been excited for a fight like this one a long time, granted I’m always excited when a Diaz brother fights because they are never in boring fights(except Nate Diaz at UFC 94 against Clay Guida). I think Nate poses a real threat, but it’ll depend on what gameplan Henderson chooses to go with to negate the reach of Diaz, etc. Be sure to tune in on Friday when I post my breakdown of the fight.
Also, be sure to stay tuned to ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) for all of y0ur UFC on FOX 5 news and coverage.