For the fifth time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be broadcast across network television on Fox. The first time that the network put the UFC on its airwaves, it was the heavyweight championship that was on the line. This time around the main event features another title fight, as the lightweight championship will be on the line.

As far as talent-heavy divisions go, the lightweights are near, if not at the top of the mountain. With the WEC merging its lightweight division with that of the UFC’s, the division became that much stronger. Currently, one of the fighters from the former promotion’s banner wears the championship around his waist. That man is Benson Henderson, and he has been at the top of his game since that merger, going on to defeat former champion Frankie Edgar twice in title fights. Now, The Ultimate Fighter season-five winner Nate Diaz will look to do what Edgar couldn’t: defeat “Smooth.”

But unlike the last time we saw a title fight on Fox, this time we get to see three other fights on the broadcast. Mike “Quick” Swick returns to the cage following his two-year absence from the sport to take on Matt Brown, who is riding a three-fight winning streak. Former two-division champion B.J. Penn will take on up-and-comer Rory MacDonald in a welterweight clash that has a changing of the guards feel to it. All of this, and a fight between two of the top light heavyweights in the sport in Alexander Gustafsson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

UFC on Fox 5 will take place this Saturday with the main card airing live on Fox at 8 p.m. ET. Prelims will precede the main card with a lone fight on Facebook (at 4:30 p.m. ET) and a six-fight lineup on FX (at 5 p.m. ET). The MMA Corner’s Sal DeRose, Corey Adams and Brian McKenna will break down the event in this edition of The MMA Corner’s Round Table.

WW: Matt Brown (15-11) vs. Mike Swick (15-4)

Adams: Many people are overlooking this match-up between Matt Brown and Mike Swick, but in my opinion, it’s a great fight to kick off the Fox broadcast.

Swick (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

I’ve been a Brown supporter for a long time. He’s had his bumps in the road, but he has won his last three fights and is making his case for being a possible contender if he beats Swick on Saturday. “Immortal” is a warrior with a great chin and has the tools to take that next step in his career.

Seeing Swick come back from a two-year absence to knock out DaMarques Johnson at the last Fox card was spectacular. Sure, Johnson isn’t the most consistent fighter, but Swick looked great regardless. “Quick” is in the same position as Brown. Another win will move him up the ladder, close to the top 15.

These two usually don’t go the distance in their fights, but with both men being tough as nails, I see it going the full fifteen minutes. This is a bit of a toss-up, but I’ll go with Swick to edge out Brown by unanimous decision.

McKenna: By far, one of the best stories of 2012 is the return of Swick. For those who may be unaware, The Ultimate Fighter season-one cast member spent two years on the sidelines prior to his fight against Johnson due to stomach issues and a knee injury. There were many who thought that the 33-year-old would never return, but he fought through all of it and not only returned, but made everyone remember just how good he can be with the sound knockout.

Matt Brown (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

The career of Brown has definitely had its ups and downs. Sure, he is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, but not too long ago he was in a tailspin after dropping three straight. It was nice to see him steer out of it and get back to form, but those three fights will always caution me to throw up a red flag when thinking about him in upcoming fights.

Ultimately, it is why I am going to avoid picking “The Immortal” in this one too. Yes, he does have a solid chin, evidenced by having never been knocked out, but I have a feeling that Swick will soften up Brown with his striking, which will leave an opening for the fight-winning submission sometime in the second round.

DeRose: Swick may be one of the top feel good stories of the year, but he is facing a tough opponent in Brown.

Brown’s chin is solid and although Swick has great striking skills, he doesn’t have enough to crack that chin. I will say this though: I agree with Brian that Swick will wear down Brown over the course of the fight.

Swick did look good in his return, and I’m sure he has only gotten better since then and is probably closer to true form now then he was before.

I like the prospect of this fight, two warriors going at it with neither wanting to give an edge to the other. I think Swick takes this fight by split decision. It’s a pretty close call to me.

WW: Rory MacDonald (13-1) vs. B.J. Penn (16-8-2)

McKenna: The Octagon will be graced with the legendary B.J. Penn once again this Saturday. The former lightweight and welterweight champion hit a bump in his career once he was put up against Frankie Edgar. Prior to that fight, he was 15-5-1. Since the first Edgar fight, he is 1-3-1. The 33-year-old has clearly seen better days, but no matter how old or young he is, “The Prodigy” should always be both feared and respected based on his abilities. But the biggest criticism of Penn as of late is that his cardio has been off. The Hawai’ian faded in both of his last two fights, which leads me to believe that it is likely to end up happening again.

Penn (Sherdog)

While one side of the cage will be occupied by a legend of the sport, the other competitor could very well be the next big thing. A teammate of welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald has been highly touted for quite some time now. The only loss he has suffered in his career came at the hands of former interim champion Carlos Condit, and despite the loss, the general consensus is that MacDonald would have won the decision if he held on for just a couple more seconds. Like his opponent, MacDonald has proven that he is capable of doing it all inside the cage.

The outlying theme in this fight is that you have a fighter that is past his prime taking on a fighter who has not quite hit his prime yet. On paper, a lot of their abilities match up well, which will forecast a great fight. However, I see the gas tank being an issue for Penn once again. Because of that, MacDonald will shift his engine into a higher gear and dominate the later rounds. MacDonald will take home the decision victory in this one.

DeRose: Penn is one tough fighter to finish and will almost assuredly survive anything MacDonald can throw at him.

While I think Penn will be good anywhere this fight goes and can definitely control the action, MacDonald’s youth, size and strength give him a key advantage in this fight. Penn seems to be more motivated for this fight, but I think MacDonald is ready to seize the torch and join the top fighters in the welterweight division.

MacDonald (top) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Penn simply looked lost against Nick Diaz, whereas MacDonald has looked really good in every fight in his UFC career. That includes the loss to Condit. I can’t pick against MacDonald in this one. MacDonald by decision.

Adams: I agree with my fellow writers that this fight will belong to the Canadian MacDonald.

I’ve enjoyed watching “The Prodigy” fight for many years, but his days are numbered. I’m actually surprised he is fighting again after the loss to Diaz, and this isn’t a good fight for him.

MacDonald is the future of the welterweight division, unless St-Pierre is still the champion years from now. The Canadian is very well-rounded and has only gone to one decision in his career. It’s a big fight for MacDonald in front of fans on Fox, but he should not be concerned about the spotlight.

Saying the fight will go the distance is a smart bet, but my gut says that MacDonald may be able to finish Penn. Regardless, “Ares” wins the bout.

LHW: Alexander Gustafsson (14-1) vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-6)

DeRose: Alexander Gustafsson versus Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is a great fight. Here we have two guys who are known for their hands.

"Shogun" (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Gustafsson has only had two of his 14 career wins come by decision. Everything else has come by either knockout or submission. Gustafsson has looked good in his previous fights dating back to his first loss to Phil Davis.

Unfortunately for Rua, he doesn’t have the wrestling game that Davis has and is going against another fighter of size. Last time he faced someone with Gustafsson’s size, he was dominated by Jon Jones.

However, Rua does have the striking to stand and trade, and I can’t count him out on his feet. Rua definitely has the Muay Thai skills to effectively outstrike Gustafsson, but has to be wary of letting Gustafsson dictate the range.

This is another fight where, again, size and strength play a factor. Gustafsson takes a third-round knockout victory.

Adams: Everyone is on the Gustafsson bandwagon, comparing him to Jon Jones, but let’s not go there just yet.

Certainly, “The Mauler” has showed his potential in his six UFC wins, but this a huge step up for him. Gustafsson will go from fighting Thiago Silva to a former champion in Shogun. That’s a big step up. As Brian stated, Gustafsson has the tools to defeat the champion, but I’m going in the other direction.

Many are doubting Rua in this fight, but I don’t see why. Even though he’s 2-2 in his last four fights, he still is capable of knocking out anyone. When looking at the betting odds, I don’t see how he comes in as the underdog. If I was a gambler, I’d definitely bet on that dog.

Gustafsson (Sherdog)

Gustafsson has all the potential and hype right now, but I’m going with Shogun to win by TKO.

McKenna: To answer Corey’s question as to why people are doubting Rua, it may be because he has had cardio issues lately. In his previous two fights, both of which went past the third round, he clearly slowed down in those later rounds. Brandon Vera may have possibly been at his best entering that fight, but an in-shape Rua would have ended the fight inside of three rounds, not at the end of the fourth. I personally look at it as a blip on the radar of the former champion, and feel that when the going gets tough, he is capable of digging deep and find that extra bit of cardio in his system, like in the fifth round of his fight against Dan Henderson.

Clearly, Rua has the experience edge in this fight. Sure, “The Mauler” has 15 career fights and this will be his eighth inside the Octagon, but currently the Swede is 25 years old. The thing is, when Shogun was 25, he had already won the Pride middleweight grand prix and defeated the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Alistair Overeem along the way. Not one of Gustafsson’s opponents have been as high-profile as the listed fighters, let alone having to battle Overeem and then turn around and fight Ricardo Arona just hours later.

I don’t want to make it sound as if I don’t have anything good to say about Gustafsson, because he has done everything to earn the high-profile fight against Shogun. However, I don’t think that the Swede will be able to get it done in this particular fight. These two guys will likely come out swinging for the fences early, and it will be the former champion getting the better of it, delivering the first-round knockout.

LW Championship: Benson Henderson (17-2) vs. Nate Diaz (16-7)

McKenna: Just like the first installment of the UFC on Fox, the main event this time around will be for a championship.

Henderson (R) connects with a kick (James Law/Heavy MMA)

This time, it is the lightweight title that will be on the line as Ben Henderson defends the strap against Nate Diaz. This will be the first time that Diaz has fought for a title in the UFC, but not the first time he has been near the top of the rankings. After Diaz won the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter, he went on to win four more straight fights, giving him five in a row, and was in title contention until he ran into a tough string of fights. That prompted his move up to welterweight, where he had mixed results.

Now back at lightweight, the Californian has been crushing everything in his path. The victory over Donald Cerrone earned Diaz a spotlight fight against Jim Miller. Stockton’s own not only dominated Miller in that fight, he did it in his opponent’s backyard. If Diaz is able to display the same ground game and aggression that he has of late, he may be able to exit the Octagon with the belt around his waist.

But it will be no easy task. The current champion has been on a tear of his own as of late. “Smooth” has been nearly untouchable in the UFC, as he has gone 5-0 within the promotion. Not only that, but he went 5-1 inside the WEC, held the lightweight title there, and took down Jamie Varner, Shane Roller and Donald Cerrone (twice). The only blip on the radar lately was his loss to Anthony Pettis on the final WEC card, and even though he will be on the wrong end of the highlight reel for the rest of his life as a result of that fight, he still performed great during it. Like a true champion, Henderson came back working even harder than before, which is how he eventually was able to earn another title shot and, in doing so, he defeated Frankie Edgar twice, which brings us to this match.

Both fighters have great ground games and it should be fun to see two of the top lightweights in the world square off with one another. But the champion has a couple of advantages that will favor him in this fight, the first of which is his size. Henderson has said recently that he may have to move up to welterweight in the future because it is getting hard for him to cut to 155 pounds at this point in his career. Anyone who has seen him fight will gawk at the pure size of the tree trunks that he calls his legs. Not only that, but “Smooth” has fought in five-round affairs four times in his career, whereas Diaz has never gone more than three rounds in his career. Knowing what it is like to be able to fight into the championship rounds is a major advantage for Henderson and may be the deciding factor in this fight. I’m not trying to say that Diaz is incapable or will crack under the pressure of the five-round fight, but I feel like it will be main reason that Henderson will successfully defend his title by decision in what will be the “Fight of the Night.”

Adams: Brian has laid out the history of both lightweights, as Henderson and Diaz are at the top of their game coming into Saturday. The UFC has done another great job by putting together a great card on Fox, headlined by this much-anticipated title fight.

Honestly, I could see this fight going either way. Diaz looked incredible against Cerrone, as he showed off his jab, one of the best in the sport. The Stockton native also has great jiu-jitsu, which is overlooked sometimes due to his crisp striking that everyone knows about. Diaz may arguably be the toughest test the champion will face. He’s well-rounded and will make the bout a close one.

As good as Henderson has looked, it’s hard to pick against him. “Smooth” may not have the best boxing in the division, but he makes up for it with impressive Muay Thai plus wrestling that is top notch. As Brian mentioned, the champion is athletic and strong. Henderson’s wrestling will be the key to him winning the fight. He can’t stand with Diaz and eat jabs all night. Henderson will have to control the fight in all areas to earn the win.

Nate Diaz (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

I also like what Brian said about Henderson’s experience in five-round fights. Diaz’s cardio is incredible, but Henderson has been in many five-round wars and knows how to handle title fights. It’s a close call and many will go with the challenger, but I like Henderson to defend his belt by a close unanimous decision.

DeRose: This really isn’t a close fight in my eyes. What gives Diaz a little chance here is his jiu-jitsu, quality striking and cardio, but I think he’ll fare as well as his brother did against Carlos Condit. Henderson will utilize leg kicks to keep Diaz at bay and pick away at him. And, unlike the Condit/Diaz fight, Henderson will shoot for takedowns to seal rounds.

Diaz has great submissions off his back, but Henderson is crafty enough to break out of them and doesn’t make mistakes when it comes down to it. Plus, Rory MacDonald was able to ragdoll Diaz in the cage when they fought. Henderson is an extremely strong lightweight and could be able to do the same thing.

Diaz has a little ways to go before he can legitimately threaten Henderson. I’ll take Henderson for the decision win based off title-fight experience, better striking and better control.

Preliminary Card
LW: Tim Means (18-3-1) vs. Abel Trujillo (9-4)

Adams: Abel Trujillo is a member of the Blackzilian camp and has won his last four fights. But this is his UFC debut, going up against a talented fighter in Tim Means. “The Dirty Bird” hasn’t lost since 2010 and will add another TKO victory to his record.

DeRose: I think Means has looked great in his two UFC fights and certainly has the chops to take this fight. As Corey mentioned, Trujillo is making his UFC debut, and I’m always hesitant to pick the newcomer. Means by TKO.

McKenna: I’m in agreement with Corey and Sal here. Means has held his own and looked good in two fights inside the Octagon. That will be the biggest factor over the newcomer in this fight.

BW: John Albert (7-3) vs. Scott Jorgensen (13-6)

DeRose: Wow, how the mighty have fallen. Scott Jorgensen was once a top-five bantamweight, but now he has dropped his last two fights in the UFC, albeit to good competition. John Albert definitely gets a step up here, and I definitely can’t pick him due to his 1-3 record in his past four fights. Jorgensen by decision.

McKenna: Both fighters are walking into this fight riding a two-fight losing streak. The difference between the two, however, is that Jorgensen has lost two to top-ten competition, whereas Albert hasn’t. That right there is telling, and combine it with the fact that Jorgensen is an elite wrestler and you have a dominant decision victory for “Young Guns.”

Adams: Gotta go with Jorgensen as well. Albert brings a tough game, but “Young Guns” is just on another level from the TUF alum. I’ll make it a clean sweep—Jorgensen by decision.

LW: Daron Cruickshank (11-2) vs. Henry Martinez (9-2)

Adams: Interesting fight here. Daron Cruickshank is a Ultimate Fighter: Live alum, and he showed his solid striking game while on the show. But I’m going with the Jackson-Winklejohn fighter, Henry Martinez. If he can avoid the punches of Cruickshank, I think he’ll grind out a decision win.

McKenna: The last fight that has been moved from what would have taken place at UFC 151 is finally here. Normally, I would go with Corey and take the fighter who trains in Albuquerque, but instead I’m going to go with Cruickshank here. In his last two fights, Martinez hasn’t shown much killer instinct, which is why I’m going with the Michigan native.

DeRose: I’m going to agree with Corey and pick Martinez for the same reason. Sure, Martinez might lack the killer instinct, but he has good enough instinct to grind out Cruickshank on the ground. I just don’t think Cruickshank will be able to avoid getting dragged to the mat. Martinez wins by unanimous decision.

LW: Yves Edwards (41-18-1) vs. Jeremy Stephens (20-8)

McKenna: I, for one, am happy that this fight was eventually able to materialize. The circumstances of what happened at UFC on FX 5 kept these two from fighting, but thankfully they will now get to square off. Jeremy Stephens has dropped two straight fights, but don’t sleep on his knockout ability or his jiu-jitsu black belt. But even with all of that, I see Yves Edwards grinding out a hard-earned victory, earning the submission in the third round.

DeRose: I’m also happy this fight materialized. Edwards and Stephens are an excellent match-up, as both are pretty even all around. Edwards has the edge, though, in experience and is definitely someone I won’t sleep on. Edwards by submission in the second.

Adams: Stephens has gone through so much lately, and I’m happy to see him back in the Octagon. But Edwards isn’t the best match-up for “Lil Heathen” in his return fight. I think it goes the distance, with Edwards earning a split decision.

LW: Ramsey Nijem (6-2) vs. Joe Proctor (8-1)

DeRose: Here we go—we get Ramsey Nijem, the wrestler, versus Joe Proctor, the jiu-jitsu specialist. Both guys are former TUF contestants and are tough fighters. I think Nijem has the wrestling to surely grind out a decision, but I think Proctor will be able to stifle a takedown with a guillotine choke.

Adams: This is a tough fight to call. As Sal said, it’s wrestler vs. grappler. I tend to go with the wrestler in these types of fights, but I’m going with the Boston native, Proctor, by submission as well. His submissions are excellent and, as displayed in his UFC debut, his striking is improving.

McKenna: It is going to be nice to pick Joe Proctor here and not be called a ‘homer’ after both Sal and Corey picked him, but I am also going with Proctor in this fight. Nijem is a solid fighter, but I feel like the only thing he is great at is wrestling. Look for the Team Aggression fighter to keep the fight standing and deliver the knockout versus Nijem.

FW: Nam Phan (18-10) vs. Dennis Siver (20-8)

McKenna: At one time, Dennis Siver was near the top of the lightweight division. That all changed once Donald Cerrone nearly knocked his block off with a swift kick to the head, following it up with a fight-winning choke. That bout caused Siver to shed the additional ten pounds to now fight at featherweight, a division in which he is very big in terms of physical size. The size advantage will be one of many edges that the German will possess in this fight, and he will defeat Nam Phan by first-round knockout.

Adams: I’ve never been fully sold on Phan. He has a lot of experience, but his record indicates that he’s an inconsistent fighter. I will also go with Siver in this fight, but Phan has never been submitted, so I’ll say the German gets the nod on the scorecards.

DeRose: This is a really easy fight for me to pick. I’m not sold on Phan either, and Siver’s striking will definitely be a problem for him in this fight. With the size advantage, striking advantage and just the overall advantage in being better-rounded, I think Siver wins by unanimous decision.

BW: Raphael Assuncao (18-4) vs. Mike Easton (13-1)

Adams: This is a no-brainer for me. Mike Easton is a freak athlete and may be the next future top contender in the bantamweight division. I’ll go with “The Hulk” over Raphael Assuncao by decision.

DeRose: This card is just stacked with fights I’m excited for, and I definitely am stoked for an Easton battle. Much like Corey, I see this as a definite no-brainer. Easton has insane strength and power, as well as great all-around ability. Easton is the future of the bantamweight division. He’ll take this fight by decision.

McKenna: Assuncao has been good lately, but Easton has been great. The rise of Easton is one of the surprise stories of 2012, and a victory in this fight is one that would put him on the fringe of being a top-ten fighter. That is where he is going to rank after his third-round TKO victory.

Top Photo: Benson Henderson (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.