Northern California gets shut out in Pacific Northwest

Northern California gets shut out in Pacific Northwest
December 8, 2012, 9:00 pm
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Nate Diaz challenged Benson Henderson for Henderson’s UFC lightweight championship in Seattle.(AP Images)

Nitesh Dutt

Nitesh Dutt
CSNBayArea.com

In what was being called the biggest card in the UFC this year, each and every fight truly delivered and gave fans what they wanted. For Northern California fans, the night was not as memorable.

Things didn’t start off well for Northern California on the main card, San Jose’s Mike “Quick” Swick became victim to his own nickname. In a battle of two welterweights hoping to throw their names into title contention, Matt Brown came out looking like the better fighter.

The first-round started off slow as both fighters spent the first few minutes feeling each other out with solid jabs. Brown was able to score a takedown two minutes into the bout and used his jiu-jitsu to gain a quick upper-hand. He had Swick in some early trouble in the round, but AKA’s Swick was able to get out of a guillotine and triangle choke. It was clear, even after five minutes, that Swick was slightly outmatched and sluggish.

It was much of the same in the second round for Brown, who was able to make “quick” work of Swick. Brown landed left then right to drop Swick 2:31 into round two. The bout lived up to the expectations and did finish in quick fashion, but it was in a way that Nor Cal fans were not hoping for.

The hopes and dreams of Nor Cal MMA fans on this night were now in the hands of Stockton’s Nate Diaz.

Diaz, the younger brother of UFC Welterweight Nick, challenged Benson Henderson for Henderson’s UFC lightweight championship in Seattle. This bout was hyped as a match-up of the top two lightweights in the world, not just the UFC. When the lights hit and the action took place, one lightweight simply outclassed and out-fought the other.

Right from the first bell Henderson was in-control. He used his wrestling, kicks and every skill that he has to show he was the better fighter. And to prove, that there is not one fighter near his level.

Fighting in front of his hometown crowd of Seattle, the one they call “Smooth” delivered his best performance since joining the UFC. Even though the bout went the distance, it was not as close as one would imagine. Benson ended up winning via unanimous decision, outscoring Diaz 50-43, 50-45 and 50-45.

As for Diaz, who was fighting in his first title fight, was staying true to form. At a certain point in the fifth round, while he was already thoroughly beaten, Diaz began to antagonize Henderson by tapping himself on the chin asking to be hit. It was a classic Diaz moment and left the Gracie Fight Team with zero UFC titles.

Once the final second passed, Henderson stared down Diaz and sent a message to him and the rest of the lightweight division. He’s growing in each fight and will let his actions inside the octagon do the talking.

Nitesh Dutt is a Productions Assistant at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt