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UFC On Fox 5 Predictions From Staff

The UFC has put together quite the card for Fox, as a championship, two legends and a pair of rising prospects all take to the Octagon at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz Saturday night.

FightLine main writer Dana Becker and staff writer Joseph Lisnow offer up their predictions for the main card.

UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz

Dana Becker: A win over Nate Diaz would put a perfect cap on an incredible 2012 for Benson Henderson, as “Smooth” topped Frankie Edgar twice. Despite both fights going to a decision, Henderson has nothing more than a finish on his mind vs. Diaz. These are two lightweights that want to go full-speed ahead at all times, and will likely do so with the spotlight shining down on them. Henderson has the cardio to match Diaz, and I feel as though his two victories over Edgar will give him the mental edge to claim this one. Benson Henderson via unanimous decision

Joseph Lisnow: Nate Diaz looks to be the first fighter out of Cesar Gracie’s camp to bring back a UFC title. Standing in his way is Benson Henderson. For Henderson, he must avoid the submission ability that Diaz possesses. If Diaz catches Henderson in some kind of submission, especially on the ground, this one will see a new champion crowned. And of course, Henderson can’t let his emotions get the best of him when Diaz starts the trash talking in the middle of the bout. I look at Henderson and see him as a potential top five best pound-for-pound fighters in world if he can defeat Diaz. Henderson knows to be on the lookout for the submission, making this a boxing match. Benson Henderson via split decision

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson

Dana: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was called the gatekeeper to the UFC light heavyweight title by UFC president Dana White recently, and that is a perfect title for him to hold. Rua is a legend in this sport, and has proven time and time again that he can defeat anybody out there. However, Alexander Gustafsson represents that “Jon Jones” era of fighter. Gustafsson continues to evolve, and Jones showed that Rua can’t match what he can’t prepare for. The Swede has had ample time to add weapons to his arsenal, and looked to be ready to bounce over the past few days. Alexander Gustafsson via second round TKO

Joseph: With the addition that the winner becomes the No. 1 contender, this fight got a lot more interesting within the last day or so. Maurício Rua is a warrior who is familiar and comfortable inside the Octagon. Alexander Gustafsson is a young prospect who someday might be champion. The veteran Rua looked strong in his last outing, though he did appear to start gassing out towards the end. That was a five round fight and this one is only three. It’ll be interesting to see whoever wins, if they actually get a title shot next. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via third round submission

BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald

Dana: The opportunity to see BJ Penn perform on free TV is one that nobody should miss. Penn is a living legend, and despite his previous decision to retire, he looks to still have what it takes. Rory MacDonald is in that same mold as Alexander Gustafsson, as he wants nothing more than to add Penn’s name to his resume. MacDonald appears unfazed by the prospects of facing Penn, likely because he’s rolled with Georges St-Pierre. Penn won’t go out and embarrass himself, and MacDonald will have to watch for “The Prodigy” to grab hold of a ligament early and often. BJ Penn via third round submission

Joseph: I think BJ Penn returning was the wrong decision on his part. This isn’t the same fighter from a few years back. Penn just seems out of shape lately. Then there is Rory MacDonald who is so well-rounded for someone that is only 23-years-old. When Penn last fought, over a year ago, it wasn’t the same fighter that held two different weight class titles. With the layoff, it may help MacDonald. If this fight stays standing, look for MacDonald to add another stoppage to his name. Rory MacDonald via second round TKO