Anton Gurevich: Every fight with Nate Diaz is an instant candidate to one of the Fight Night awards. In fact, Diaz has 5 Fight of the Night and 5 Submission of the Night Awards, making him one of the most decorated “top performers” in the UFC. This match-up is a perfect clash of styles and Mixed Martial Arts philosophies. Ben Henderson is extremely tough to beat – he’s strong mentally, and just nearly perfect in every aspect of the game. But at the same time, Nate Diaz was never knocked out and got submitted just once in his career, more than six years ago. I expect a lot of back and forth action in this one, and some tailor-made gameplanning from the champ. However, Diaz is a master of his craft, and has the perfect style to grind out a decision. I’ll go with Diaz via Decision.
Bryan Fontez: This is a super tough one for me. While I’m not a fan of Bendo, I respect his skills. Nate Diaz however is nothing but fun to watch every time he fights. In order to get an honest pick out of me I always have to pretend I’ve got a gun to my head and my life depends on choosing the right winner. With that said, my heart wants Diaz to bloody Bendo up real good and take the title, but my mind says the Diaz brothers are both too old school and lack the strategy/gameplans necessary to hang with the top guys and elite wrestlers. With that said, if my life depended on it, I’d have to go with Benson Henderson via Unanimous Decision.
Evan Holober: I had my doubts when this fight was first announced. Ben talked about being better than Nate in most places, and looked forward to scrapping with him. However, in the months that followed he spoke of the “blue print” out there to beat Diaz (probably alluding to Nate’s fights with Joe Stevenson, Rory MacDonald, and others where his take down defense showed serious holes). This leads me to believe he won’t be dumb enough to stand on the feet with Nate for too long. I also doubt he’ll get baited in to the “leg kicks can keep him on the outside” thought process too, as I believe he’s smart enough to realize he’s no Carlos Condit (or even a LW counterpart in Donald Cerrone). I think Ben uses take downs, his other worldly submission defense, and ground control to leave with a decision. Benson Henderson via Unanimous Decision.
Andreas Hale: As much as I enjoy Nate Diaz, I don’t think he has much of a chance to dethrone Benson Henderson on Saturday night. He baited Donald Cerrone into a shootout and certainly was into his head leading into this fight. Henderson is much more calculated and his wrestling ability with deft work inside of the clinch will be the difference maker here. Whatever hands Diaz throws, Henderson will counter with kicks. Once they get on the ground, Henderson’s top control and sub defense will allow him to ride out a unanimous decision victory.