UFC on FOX 5: Did The Fight Card Live up to the Hype?

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz - MMAFighting
Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz - MMAFighting

While boxing's Manny Pacquiao slept the night away, MMA fans were treated to an early Christmas present in UFC on FOX 5.

It's rare that a "stacked" fight card ever lives up to the bill, but on Saturday night, UFC on FOX 5 exceeded its own hype by giving fans one of the best events in recent memory.

For starters, the event boasted one of the best undercards in UFC history.

The prelims are typically dismissed as throwaway fights for casual fans, but after Saturday night, people may think twice before spending a fortune on good seats and not arriving in time for the undercard.

Fighters like Yves Edwards, Dennis Siver and Daron Cruickshank stole the show with masterful performances. Outside of a few noticeable faces, there weren't any major marquee names competing in the prelims. It was all about quality matchups and great performances.

The main card had a tough act to follow, but incredibly, it sustained the action and drama initiated by the undercard.

Matt Brown opened up the event with a shocking highlight-reel knockout victory over Mike Swick. With FOX drawing a broader audience, it was the kind of opening that kept curious newcomers from changing the channel.

Despite the efforts of the prelims and main-card opener, the entire event hinged on the success of the last three fights.

It was a night that showcased the upper-echelon arrival of Rory MacDonald and Alexander Gustafsson, as they laid waste to beloved legends BJ Penn and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.

In the end, the show belonged to Benson Henderson, who dominated a much improved Nate Diaz to retain his lightweight title.

From top to bottom, UFC on FOX 5 was the most compelling and exciting UFC event of the year, and it didn't cost a single penny. There was drama, memorable finishes and a world title bout that lived up to the bill.

For MMA fans, it doesn't get any better.