The UFC returns to FOX with a four-fight main card highlighted by lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz.
Henderson will make his first defense against someone not named Frankie Edgar after granting the former champion an immediate rematch in his first defense.
Diaz will look to claim his first ever UFC championship. He's won three straight fights to earn his shot at the title after an unsuccessful run in the promotion's welterweight division.
Outside of the night's main event, there are plenty of fights for fans to get excited about as big names like B.J. Penn and Shogun Rua will be in action as well.
Where: Key Arena in Seattle, WA
When: Saturday, December 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Watch: Facebook undercard fights at 4:20 p.m. ET, preliminary fights on FX at 5 p.m. ET, main card fights on FOX at 8 p.m. ET
Main Card (FOX)
Lightweight Championship: Benson Henderson (c) vs. Nate Diaz
Light Heavyweight Bout: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Welterweight Bout: Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn
Welterweight Bout: Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick
Preliminary Card (FX)
Lightweight Bout: Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens
Bantamweight Bout: Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike Easton
Lightweight Bout: Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor
Lightweight Bout: Daron Cruikshank vs. Henry Martinez
Lightweight Bout: Tim Means vs. Abel Trujillo
Featherweight Bout: Nam Phan vs. Dennis Siver
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
Bantamweight Bout: John Albert vs. Scott Jorgensen
Henderson Keys to Victory
Henderson will need to utilize his size and wrestling against Diaz.
Bendo is an explosive striker that can do some damage standing, but his best bet is to turn this into a grappling match and establish dominance in the clinch and on the mat.
Henderson is a tremendous wrestler and has the submission defense to weather Diaz's elite jiu-jitsu on the ground.
If Henderson is able to consistently drag Diaz to the ground, it's his fight to lose.
Diaz Keys to Victory
Diaz will need to put his demons against larger opponents behind him—Henderson is a massive lightweight.
That means keeping Henderson at bay with his technical boxing. Nate isn't known for his boxing quite like older brother Nick, but he showed against Donald Cerrone that he's got the goods when it comes to striking.
Whether on the ground or standing, Diaz will need to remain aggressive. He'll need to be in the Henderson's face from bell to bell if he wants to keep the champion from using his size to grind out the smaller Diaz
Diaz will need to turn this into a brawl and win exchanges with his speed on the outside.
What They Are Saying
The Diaz bothers are no strangers to doing a little pre-fight talk and Nate hasn't avoided discussing Henderson leading up to this one. He told Inside MMA that he'll be looking to finish this fight because he won't win a decision.
I don't think I've got a chance of winning any type of decision. So I gotta go out there and do what I can do to try and finish my opponent, try to be the better fighter and win the fight... Either way, if it goes to a decision, I'm going to try to be the one outscoring, outpointing and outdoing him.
Henderson has remained relatively quiet leading up to this bout and acknowledged that he must keep his emotions in check when taking on Diaz (h/t Inside MMA).
Undercard Fight to Watch: Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn
Before Henderson and Diaz fight for the lightweight strap and Shogun and Gustafsson fight for position in the light heavyweight division, Rory MacDonald takes on B.J. Penn in a classic upstart vs. legend matchup.
MacDonald has been tagged as the next big thing in the welterweight division and rightfully so. The 23-year-old is 13-1 with his only loss coming to recent title challenger Carlos Condit. He even holds a unanimous decision victory over lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz.
Penn is coming out of retirement for this fight hungry to prove that he is still one of the sport's best. We've heard the whole "focused B.J. Penn" narrative before, but Penn has been documenting his preparation and appears to be in the best shape we've seen him in—especially at 170.
We'll either see a star emerge or a legend reborn, so this fight is sure to have fans buzzing.
Main Event Prediction
Diaz has been on a tear since returning to the lightweight division. He has earned his right to be in this fight with three straight impressive wins against the likes of Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone.
However, Henderson's excellent submission defense, strength and size will ultimately be too much for Diaz. This could be a war when the two exchange on the feet but Henderson should out-muscle Diaz in the clinch and on the ground to win a decision.
Henderson via Unanimous Decision
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