Benson Henderson (right) stepped on Nate Diaz’s title hopes. | Ezra Shaw/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
This time, Benson Henderson left no room for debate. After two contentious decision triumphs over Frankie Edgar earlier this year, “Smooth” was thoroughly dominant in taking a unanimous verdict against Nate Diaz in the UFC on Fox 5 main event on Saturday night at the Key Arena in Seattle.
The MMA Lab product utilized leg kicks, clinches, takedowns and ground-and-pound to impose his will on Diaz, who carried an impressive three-fight winning streak at lightweight into the title tilt. While Henderson re-asserted himself at 155 pounds, two rising talents – Alexander Gustafsson and Rory MacDonald – made themselves known with emphatic victories over legendary figures.
Gustafsson mixed takedowns and striking effectively to defeat onetime 205-pound titlist Mauricio Rua, while MacDonald overwhelmed former multi-divisional champion B.J. Penn for three rounds in a welterweight clash. Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC on Fox 5, with statistics courtesy of FightMetric.com.
124: Significant strikes landed by Henderson, more than he has landed in any other bout in the UFC and WEC – five round contests included. His previous best of 87 came in a five-round triumph over Frankie Edgar at UFC 144.
49: Leg strikes landed by Henderson, who limited Diaz’s vaunted volume boxing by consistently attacking his lead leg. Diaz, meanwhile, landed 15 leg kicks.
100: Total ground strikes landed by Henderson. “Smooth” scored takedowns in each round and was able to consistently punish Diaz with ground-and-pound throughout the contest.
30: Significant strikes landed by Diaz -- 208 less than the promotional record he set against Donald Cerrone in a three-round affair at UFC 141.
8: Takedowns executed, in 12 attempts, by Henderson, equaling the fighter’s Zuffa best, originally set against Donald Cerrone at WEC 43. “Smooth” took down his foe at least once in each frame, including a 3-for-3 effort in round four. Joe Stevenson also took Diaz down eight times at the “TUF 9” finale in 2009.
22: Submissions attempted by Diaz in his UFC career, tying him with Georges St. Pierre for No. 5 on the promotion’s all-time list. The Cesar Gracie student attempted two submissions against Henderson, with both tries coming in the third frame.
6: Takedowns landed in 12 attempts by Gustafsson, his most in eight UFC bouts. The Swede’s previous high of two culminated in a second-round submission victory over Cyrille Diabate at UFC 120.
0-3: Record for Rua in UFC bouts that go the distance. Prior to losing a decision to Gustafsson, the Brazilian dropped five-round verdicts to both Dan Henderson at UFC 139 and Lyoto Machida at UFC 104. “Shogun” is 5-2 in UFC bouts ending by knockout or submission.
41: Significant strikes landed by Rua, the fewest the former Pride Fighting Championships star has landed in a bout that has gone at least three full rounds. By comparison, Gustafsson landed 72 signficant strikes in victory.
92: Significant strikes by which MacDonald outlanded Penn in their featured welterweight scrap. The Canadian was especially dominant in round two, when he repeatedly punished Penn with body shots against the fence en route to a 57-to-6 edge in significant strikes.
5:03:51: Total Octagon time for Penn, the most of anyone in UFC history. By going the distance with MacDonald, “The Prodigy” surpassed Tito Ortiz for the top spot on that list.
.190: Percentage of significant strikes landed by Mike Easton in his loss to Raphael Assuncao. “The Hulk” landed just 30 of 155 significant strikes attempted in the bantamweight bout, well off his career rate of 34 percent. By comparison, Assuncao landed 57 of his 156 significant strikes, a 37 percent clip.
1: Knockout loss in 29 professional appearances for Jeremy Stephens, who was finished by a counter right hook from Yves Edwards in their UFC on Fox 5 encounter on Saturday night.
4: Submission attempts by Joe Proctor in his unanimous decision loss to Ramsey Nijem. The Joe Lauzon protégé was taken down five times and outlanded 117 to 36 in total strikes in his second UFC appearance.
48: Significant strikes by which UFC debutante Abel Trujillo outlanded Marcus LeVesseur in their lightweight clash. The Blackzilians representative connected on 57 of his 75 significant strikes, a 76 percent clip. He also successfully defended eight of his opponent’s 10 takedown tries.
222: Total strikes landed by Dennis Siver in his lopsided unanimous decision victory over Nam Phan. The Russian-born German landed a whopping 63 significant strikes in round one, and outlanded his opponent by 198 strikes overall, including a 94-to-1 total strike edge in the final stanza.
.818: Percentage of John Albert fights that have ended inside of a single round. “The Ultimate Fighter 14” competitor was submitted by a Scott Jorgensen rear-naked choke at the 4:59 mark of the opening frame, his third straight opening-round submission defeat in the UFC.