USA TODAY Sports
Benson Henderson retained his UFC Lightweight Championship with an all-around beat down of Nate Diaz. Also on the main card rising starts Alexander Gustafsson and Rory MacDonald defeated UFC legends to enter into title contention.
Benson Henderson took Nate Diaz behind the woodshed in that Lightweight title match. Henderson showed why he is the UFC Lightweight Champion as he beat Diaz, a very skilled fighter, in every aspect of MMA. Henderson made heavy use of leg kicks to wear down Diaz's lead leg and take away his ability to move. Henderson then unleashed a grappling attack, taking Diaz down and landing heavy strikes and deftly defending the submission attack of Diaz. It was a solid win for Henderson and firmly establishes him as the best Lightweight in the UFC.
An MMA legend took on an rising contender in the co-main event. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua up quite a fight against Alexander Gustafsson. The first round was very competitive as Shogun established offense early, both landing big punches on the feet and threatening submissions on the ground. Gustafsson responded with strong punches of his own and takedowns, but stood up quickly one he realized the level of Rua's ground grappling.
The second round started out in similar fashion, with Rua landing heavy strikes, but as the round wore on the larger Gustafsson slowly took control with punches, takedowns and knee strikes. Rua began to tire and by the third round this fight was solidly in the Swedish fighter's hands.
In another match up of a young lion versus aging legend that was far less competitive when young welterweight Rory MacDonald put a brutal beating on former UFC Welterweight and Lightweight champion B.J. Penn. The Hawaiian born Penn just had no business being in there with a fighter the caliber of MacDonald, he was not fight shape and it showed. MacDonald let up later in the fight and it is unclear if it was because of respect for Penn or a lack killer instinct. Either way MacDonald looked excellent and will likely be entering the title picture with his next fight.
Ohioan Matt Brown got the card off to a fast start with a knockout win over Mike Swick. Both fighters were products of different seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Brown is a gritty Muay Thai brawler who has an aggressive ground game also, and it was all on display against Swick. The first round was full of stand up exchanges and in the second Brown landed a heavy punch that dropped Swick for a knockout win.