I will try to keep this short and sweet. Here are The Nation’s predictions for the big combat sports night this coming Saturday, Dec. 8th.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 4: Okay, I’m biased here, but Pacquiao by KO. ‘Nuff said.

UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz: The Nation went 0-4 on his last set of predictions, and is in a huge slump. He is now 38 of 62 for the year.

Mike “Quick” Swick (15-4) vs. Matt Brown (17-11): Swick continues his comeback from a career threatening bout with esophageal spasm, and seems to be back on track. Brown is a cagey veteran who has never been KO’d, which is Swick’s main method of victory in his fights. But, 9 of Brown’s 11 losses have come by submission – and after Saturday, it’ll be 10 of his 12 losses. Prediction: Swick by submission

BJ Penn (16-8-2) vs. Rory MacDonald (13-1):  This is a tough one. BJ is one of the greatest of all time. But when his head is not in the game, he tends to show up out of shape and his amazing natural talent isn’t enough to carry the day. MacDonald is one of those “next generation” kids who grew up training specifically in MMA, as opposed to being from a specific discipline such as wrestling or muay thai and then adapting to MMA. BJ is in shape for this one, and he says his desire is there. My only problem is that he is small for 170, and he’s fighting a guy who is a big welterweight and will probably be moving to 185 in a few years. BJ will have the speed advantage, but I’m not sure if that’s enough. Prediction: MacDonald by decision

Shogun Rua (21-6) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (14-1): Gustafsson will have a sizeable height and reach advantage, but I still think Shogun’s power will be the difference. Prediction: Shogun by KO

For the UFC Lightweight Title – The Champion, Benson “Smooth” Henderson (16-2) vs. Nate Diaz (16-7): This should be an all out action affair. Both fighters are aggressive and love to move forward. Their standup style is a study in contrast: Nate likes to throw punches in volume, with the damage coming from the accumulation of punches. Henderson, meanwhile, has good power. Nate is very good on the ground off his back, but Henderson just does not get submitted. Prediction: Henderson by decision

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