Nate Diaz focused on finishing Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox 5

UFC Lightweight Nate Diaz is on a hot streak to be sure, impressively besting opponents Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone, and Jim Miller in succession. Since losing to Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald at Welterweight, the younger Diaz decided it was time for a change and made the switch down to 155 lbs. with great results. Still, Diaz knows that his hot streak will mean nothing in the eyes of the judges when he steps into the Octagon to face Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox 5 this Saturday. Henderson himself is undefeated within the UFC Lightweight division, having beaten Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, Clay Guida, and then Frankie Edgar twice for the UFC Lightweight championship.

 

While all of these wins were great for Henderson, they were all by way of decision. Diaz has stated that he does not believe he can win any kind of decision over Henderson, so he must finish the fight in order to win. True, Henderson most recently defeated Frankie Edgar in two decisions, one that was close but appeared to go ‘Smooth’s’ way, and another that many thought Edgar had actually won at UFC 150 in Denver last August. Henderson’s goal is always to dominate his opponent and look for the finish, but that finish has alluded him thus far in his otherwise extremely successful UFC campaign.

 

Is Diaz insinuating that Henderson has the judges firmly on his side? I don’t think so, at least not fully, but Henderson’s strength and size advantages he enjoys as a Lightweight definitely do come into play. He can use his greater power to land what appear to be more powerful strikes, an this obviously helped him greatly with the judges both times against Edgar. Henderson’s Taekwondo background also help him keep smaller fighters who may be looking for takedowns at bay. Not to beat a dead horse, but I thought Edgar did enough to win over Henderson and get his belt back this summer. He did more volume and was the better wrestler of the two, and overall I just thought that Edgar appeared like he was the fighter who wanted it more. I guess that’s why Dana White always stresses the importance of never leaving the fight in the hands of the judges.

 

So does Nate Diaz need to finish to win at UFC on Fox 5′s main event? I would say most likely. His patented ‘Stockton Slap’ boxing may score some points on Henderson in the standup game, but Henderson is tough to knock out and will be difficult to move in on with his diverse array of kicks. If the fight does go the full five rounds, I expect Henderson to be using his wrestling pedigree to control Diaz on the ground. Diaz may look for the submission with his excellent jiujitsu background, but Henderson is a man known to take pride in never tapping out.

 

All in all, Nate Diaz has an extremely tough test ahead of him this Saturday. Unless he can stay on the outside and avoid Henderson’s takedown while peppering him with jabs, it could be a long night for Diaz. He may have to finish Bendo because a long, drawn-out battle will favor Henderson in many ways. Diaz is on a roll, but he has had trouble with larger, powerful wrestlers in the past. Diaz will look to finish a man who is incredibly tough to put away in Seattle, and it may be his only out.

 



12 Comments

  1. Profile photo of grapplure

    grapplure

    December 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    for some weird reason i thought winning a decision is more prestigious than finishing your opponent……

  2. Profile photo of thexperience1

    thexperience1

    December 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Dream on Diaz… he's not finishing Bendo PERIOD!! Just not gonna happen… sorry!

  3. Profile photo of itaiarbel

    itaiarbel

    December 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Test

  4. Profile photo of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    December 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Diaz can DEFINITELY finish Bendo. Ben Henderson has great submission defense but he has been submitted multiple times, recently in grappling competitions – he is not submittable.

    Cerrone has a sick ground game, he infact locked up on Benson multiple times, but he wanted nothing to do with Nate on the ground.

    Ben defends a lot of submissions but at the same time he defends a lot because he allows himself to be locked up in a submission hold frequently. Do that with Diaz and your going to sleep or tapping.
    Ben has a tendency to leave his neck out and offer up a guillotine but he is really good at defending it… really good at defending but no where near as good as Nate is at applying it.
    If Nate gets Ben's neck trapped… it's goodnight Irene.

  5. Profile photo of ChuteBoxeHero

    ChuteBoxeHero

    December 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Diaz bring the title home,homie.Just pass your drug screening when you do please.

  6. Profile photo of hondata79

    hondata79

    December 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I dont think Ben is bigger then nate, more muscle mass yes…But bigger no, Diaz is much taller with a way longer reach.

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