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December 8, 2012

MMA: Henderson dominates Diaz for UFC lightweight title

(Continued)

SEATTLE —

The two fights before the main event saw youth get the better of experienced former champions.

Penn (16-9-2) could not break down the faster, younger, longer MacDonald (14-1) despite having huge fan support. Instead it was the Canadians who made the short drive across the border who were left cheering the unanimous decision in favor of the rising star.

MacDonald's jabs and combination punches, combined with snapping kicks left Penn's face bloodied and swollen and his ribs aching, especially in the second round. MacDonald caught Penn with a left-kick midway through the round that nearly doubled Penn over in pain. Penn was left protecting his ribs the rest of the fight, while MacDonald showed off for parts of the third round dancing and failing his arms, mocking the former champion.

MacDonald won 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27, then immediately asked for a rematch against Carlos Condit following the victory. Condit is the only fighter to beat MacDonald back in June 2010.

Penn, a former champion in both lightweight and welterweight classes, was fighting for the first time in 13 months. Despite some barbs tossed before the fight, MacDonald was respectful of Penn in victory.

"With all the things we said to each other hyping the fight I just want to say that it has been a huge honor fighting B.J.," MacDonald said. "I'm happy with my performance and the new techniques I used successfully out there."

Both Gustafsson (15-1) and Rua (21-7) did not expect the fight to go the distance. Yet it did despite the pair exchanging huge lefts and rights throughout. The difference was Gustafsson's ability with his legs, which staggered Rua at times with kicks and knees. The second round was especially fruitful for the 6-foot-5 Gustafsson, including a knee to the face followed by a right-hand midway through the round that staggered Rua.

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