The co-main event of the UFC on Fox 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz" event tonight (Sat., Dec. 8, 2012) at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, featured former Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua assuming the role of the old lion looking to quell the uprising of the younger, hungrier Alexander Gustafsson.
On the line? A shot at the 205-pound title currently held by Jon Jones.
They didn't waste any time getting going, as "The Mauler" blasted "Shogun" with a hard shot that put him on his ass and had the world wondering if yet another legend would fall to a champion in waiting. It didn't happen, though, because the Brazilian's chin is made of granite.
Then Rua grabbed a leg and locked in a submission. He didn't complete it but the swing of momentum had started. It continued once they went back to their feet, with "Shogun" landing a straight right into a takedown.
The action evened out to end the first.
Hard shots from both fighters early in the second barely seemed to slow either of them. Rua scored with overhand rights, Gustafsson used his length to pepper and his strength to push the Brazilian against the fence. He also scored points on a few takedowns, though he did nothing with them once he got Mauricio to the floor.
After two, it looked like Gustafsson had the edge but Rua was still game for the scrap.
Alexander pushed forward early in the third, finding some success but eating a couple of hard right hands for his trouble. He survived them just fine but his defense was sorely lacking this deep into the fight.
Still, this was a showcase for the Swede and he used the final frame to make his move. No, he didn't try anything too flashy but he imposed his will on the Pride legend in the cage with him and made clear he's a true contender at light heavyweight.
When the scores came in, they read 30-27, 30-27, and 30-26 for Gustafsson.
Is he ready for Jones? You decide, Maniacs.
For complete UFC on Fox 5 results and coverage of the entire event click here.