Posted on: April 10, 2010 2:30 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2010 3:12 pm
It's time for the lightweight title bout pitting champion BJ Penn vs. challenger Frankie Edgar.
Penn is one of the top fighters in the world at any weight class. Let's see if Edgar can crack the code.
Round 1: Edgar with a leg kick, moving in and out very quickly to try and avoid the accuracy of Penn's strikes. Edgar whiffs on a few feeler jabs, then gets out again to avoid a counterstrike. Left jab by Penn connects. Both guys throwing strikes conservatively. Leg kick by Edgar. Edgar uses a punch to set up a single leg, but Penn stuffed the attempt and landed a few good punches in the process.
Edgar moves in quickly and still eats a fist combo before getting back out of range. Edgar with a combo of body punches into a quickly aborted takedown attempt. Edgar with another punch into a body lock, but Penn throws him off. End of the round, and I'd give it to Penn 10-9, but he's already got a mouse under his left eye.
Round 2: Edgar with another takedown attempt off a jab, but Penn stuffs it. Edgar moves in and immediately gets hit with three punches before retreating. Edgar's constant movement is a good thing, and an acknowledgement of Penn's precision striking. Punch in the gut by Penn.
Edgar with a body punch and he gets caught by two counterstrikes. Kick to the ribs by Edgar. Penn with a left, and Edgar lands a nice countering right-left combo. Leg kick by Edgar. Edgar takes down Penn with a single leg but doesn't go down with him, so Penn gets right back up and lands two uppercuts. That's another 10-9 round for Penn.
Round 3: Edgar with an uppercut. A jab by Edgar misses the mark. Edgar misses a looping right and Penn connects with a series of counters, including an uppercut. Penn with a left, as Edgar connects with a pair of body punches. Edgar with a nice left hook off a fake. Penn with a left hook. Edgar sets up a takedown attempt with a Superman punch, which grazes Penn, but he gets stuffed. Whenever Edgar gets stuffed on a takedown, he gets right out of dodge, which is smart. He doesn't hang around and eat fists the way Mark Munoz did against Kendall Grove.
Edgar ducks an overhand right and tries another takedown, but fails. Leg kick by Edgar at the end of the round. 10-9 Penn.
Round 4: Edgar still sticking and moving, but nothing much lands aside from Penn's counters. Penn throws an inside leg kick and Edgar connects with a countering fist to the ribs. Penn with a nice left hook. Edgar throws a head kick and Penn blocks it. Edgar lands a right hand and Penn connects with a counter. Edgar with a body punch. Edgar with a body shot, but the a left hook misses.
Penn with a solid jab. And another. Penn checks a leg kick. Edgar pushes forward and Penn throws him off, then tags him with another jab. Edgar ends the round with a nice left hook. 10-9 Penn.
Round 5: Edgar lands a combo and completes a takedown. Penn escapes relatively quickly to his feet. Leg kick by Penn. Jab by Penn. Penn tags Edgar with a right that takes him off balance for a split second. Both fighters trading jabs now. Nice right hook by Edgar connects. Penn misses a head kick.
Edgar tries for a single leg takedown and Penn shucks him off. Another takedown attempt it stuffed by Penn. Left hook by Edgar. Edgar with a left hook and leg kick combo, connecting on both and dodging Penn's counter. Nice. Penn dodges a straight right and connects with a counterpunch. Jab by Penn. Leg kick to the body by Edgar.Edgar with a body punch, Penn counters with an uppercut. Penn looks tired, but Edgar is in good shape.
Penn with a right hand and a knee to the body at the end of the round. 10-9 Edgar, so I would judge the fight for Penn, 49-46. We'll see what the real judges think.
Winner: Frankie Edgar defeats BJ Penn via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 49-46) after five rounds to win the UFC lightweight title.
Wow. That was something else. It was a very difficult fight to score -- depending almost entirely on whether you value accurate counterstriking more than frequently pushing the pace and pursuing offense -- but even though it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility to give the fight to Edgar, 50-45 seems looney.
On another note, that's probably the farthest my scoring has ever been off from the official fight result.
Posted on: January 12, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2010 4:16 pm
By beating Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night 20, Gray Maynard was supposed to control his own destiny. While the fight wasn't explicitly for the No. 1 contendership to BJ Penn's lightweight title (there certainly was no pre-fight indication that Nate Diaz would have entered the title picture, even with a win), the consensus was that Gray Maynard could convince the UFC brass to give him the next crack at the 155-pound title with a strong victory.
The good news, for Maynard, is that he won the fight. The bad news is that by most early indications, the UFC is now leaning toward Frank Edgar for a lightweight title bout vs. Penn.
Maynard hasn't lost an MMA fight yet. He even beat Edgar via unanimous decision way back at UFC Fight Night 13 in 2008, which remains Edgar's only professional loss. UFC president Dana White has said in the past that while the promotion encourages exciting fights (and rewards fighters financially for them, via an assortment of fight night and "locker room" bonuses), the single most important statistic in deciding who gets a title shot is victories.
Edgar's got six UFC wins. Maynard has seven. If they were tied, as they were prior to this fight, Maynard might earn the title shot due to beating Edgar in 2008. But while Maynard's win over Edgar matters, there are a number of other issues at play when considering Edgar for the title shot.
Lightweight parity. While there are a number of skilled, hard-working fighters at 155, they have all struggled to separate themselves from the pack as a true championship-caliber fighter. Nobody will dispute the ability of Maynard, Edgar, Diaz, Clay Guida, Diego Sanchez, Joe Stevenson, Kenny Florian, or about a half dozen other UFC lightweights that could, on their best day, probably score a victory over the rest of the contenders. Some have more victories than others, of course. But for the most part, there isn't a lightweight in the UFC right now that has been smashing opponents with so much authority that they're on a clear collision course with Penn. The closest we've come to that in the past two years is probably Kenny Florian, who already gave Penn his best shot in 2009.
Penn's dominance. In the lightweight division, there is simply nobody close to the level of BJ Penn in terms of overall ability. The UFC lines them up, and Penn knocks them down with ease. Past challengers like Stevenson, Florian and Sanchez have looked impressive in earning their title shots, but when they fought Penn, he made them look like comparative amateurs. And these guys all had a legit claim to being the top contender when they fought Penn. Part of the problem with choosing the best challenger for BJ Penn is that right now, nobody looks like a challenge at all, let alone a serious threat to "The Prodigy."
Marketability. It's the elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention. Especially since in the pure sporting sense, a fighter's Q rating should have nothing to do with whether he deserves a title shot. But fight promotion is a business. If nobody wants to watch a certain fighter, the promoter is basically conceding to a poor gate, a subpar PPV buyrate or a weak TV rating by putting that fighter in a main event.
Here is where Edgar begins to look like a better choice than Maynard, despite his loss to Maynard two years ago. Despite being unbeaten in the Octagon, Maynard is a relatively bland interview and not a particularly exciting guy to watch. Edgar is a little more exciting and a little more "sellable" in terms of putting him on a countdown show or sending him on media junkets. Edgar is likable. Maynard isn't exceptionally likeable, nor is he overtly easy to hate (which arguably sells more PPVs than likeability does -- think Tito Ortiz or Brock Lesnar). In terms of connecting with viewers, in comparison to Edgar, Maynard is just sort of... there.
There are also considerations for things like fighter availability (Penn will fight when he's ready and if a middling title contender can't go at the time, that contender is probably out of luck), fight location (not an issue for this particular situation), contract status (one fight left on your deal = no title shot until you renew) or a bigger-money fight trumping a title shot (think Rampage vs. Rashad).
Does Maynard deserve a title shot? In comparison to the rest of the 155-pound field, yes. He's as worthy as the rest of them, and moreso in most cases.
But as Fight Night 20 showed, sometimes gutting out a win via decision just doesn't cut it when there are so many other factors casting a shadow over the matchmaking process.
Posted on: December 13, 2009 12:04 am
Edited on: December 14, 2009 10:09 am
The lightweight title is on the line as champ BJ Penn defends against Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez.
Fellow UFC 155-pounder Nate Diaz just Twittered: "Diego Sanches (sic) is a f***in' weirdo..."
Round 1: Crowd is chanting for BJ. Sanchez moves in quickly with punches and Penn rocks him with a right hand that puts him on the canvas. Penn pounces on him with fists. Sanchez was out briefly but regained his senses, and is now on the bottom in the north-south position. Somehow, Sanchez scrambles back to his feet. They square off and Penn is being very patient. Sanchez rushes in with a knee that misses, while Penn counters with an uppercut that appears to stun Sanchez. Sanchez grapples Penn against the fence for a few seconds before they separate. Sanchez throws a head kick that gets blocked. Punch-kick combo by Sanchez misses. Sanchez throws hands, Penn dodges them and lands a countering jab. Sanchez shoots in for a takedown and can't complete it. Knee attempt by Sanchez misses. Penn staggers Sanchez with another countering right hand before the round ends. I'd call that a 10-8 round for Penn. Sanchez is in big trouble.
Round 2: Sanchez looks worried now. Sanchez comes forward and eats a jab. Sanchez misses an overhand right and shoots for a single leg takedown. They end up against the fence as Penn fights off the attempt. Sanchez with a quick left that Penn dodges and counters. Penn is so far ahead of Sanchez in terms of technical boxing ability and quickness of his hands. Body kick by Sanchez. Penn with a right. Sanchez throws a four-punch combo and only ends up landing a body shot. Sanchez misses on a left head kick and Penn tenderizes him with a fast sequence of fists. Penn with a straight right and a left. Sanchez lands a left-right combo. Sanchez shoots for a takedown. Penn throws body punches while defending the shot. The round ends, and it's 10-9 Penn.
Round 3: Sanchez misses a boxing combo and a head kick attempt is blocked by Penn. Sanchez shoots for a takedown and Penn stuffs it. Sanchez is getting a lot more tentative, and since Penn knows he'll catch him on a counter, he's just biding his time. Sanchez shoots for another takedown. Penn takes a plomb and throws a knee and a short elbow. Sanchez with a combo, but he only lands a leg kick at the end of it. Sanchez fights for a takedown but Penn just won't have it. End of the round. 10-9 Penn.
Round 4: Sanchez missed a head kick. Penn misses an uppercut. Sanchez uses a leg kick to set up a takedown attempt, but gets stuffed again. Penn with a nice straight right hand, followed by a left. Sanchez grapples Penn to the fence and they both land clean punches on the break. Penn with a pair of rights, which Sanchez dodges. Sanchez shoots in for a single leg. Penn hammers at him with punches while stuffing the shot. Sanchez throws a lunging right hand that misses, and eats a counterpunch. Single leg attempt by Sanchez. That Sanchez feels his best chance is to take a jiu-jitsu wizard like Penn to the mat is a testament to how well-rounded Penn really is. Penn lands a knee and a short right. Sanchez misses another lunging right and eats a soft counterpunch as the round ends. 10-9 Penn.
Round 5: Penn is very fired up for the final round, while Sanchez has a badly busted lip and a corner that keeps telling him to take Penn down. Head kick by Sanchez is blocked. Sanchez with a single leg attempt and the crowd jeers him loudly. Penn is reaching in for a switch reversal. Sanchez avoids that, but still can't finish the takedown. Penn connects with a head kick and a series of hard uppercuts. Sanchez ties him up with a takedown attempt, and gets stuffed. Sanchez's face is pouring blood after another couple of fists from Penn. Referee Herb Dean calls for the doctor to check the cut, and it's all over. That, my friends, is a dominating win by a truly elite fighter.
Winner: BJ Penn defeats Diego Sanchez via TKO due to a cut stoppage at 2:37 of Round 5 to retain his lightweight title.
Sanchez looks like he got hit by a bus.
Posted on: December 11, 2009 5:04 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2009 5:25 pm
I'll be doing a round-by-round live blog of Saturday's UFC 107, headlined by a UFC lightweight title defense pitting champ BJ Penn vs. Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez. The blog will begin shortly before 10 p.m. ET for Saturday's event, which emanates from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.
Everyone made weight for the show. There are some very interesting fights on the main card:
BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez (UFC lightweight title bout)
Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo (265)
Jon Fitch vs. Mike Pierce (170)
Kenny Florian vs. Clay Guida (155)
Paul Buentello vs. Stefan Struve (265)
Alan Belcher vs. Wilson Gouveia (195 catchweight bout)
Matt Wiman vs. Shane Nelson (155)
Johny Hendricks vs. Ricardo Funch (170)
Rousimar Palhares vs. Lucio Linhares (185)
DaMarques Johnson vs. Edgar Garcia (170)
Kevin Burns vs. T.J. Grant (170)
Be sure to check back on Saturday at roughly 9:45 p.m. ET for the start of our UFC 107 live blog.
Posted on: November 25, 2008 7:25 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2008 7:28 pm
In speaking with former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk on Monday for a feature on the Round 5 MMA action figure line, Sherk also touched on a few fight-related issues.
Sherk has not heard anything yet about his next opponent, following his win over Tyson Griffin at UFC 90 on Oct. 25. After Kenny Florian defeated Joe Stevenson at UFC 91 on Nov. 15 -- earning a title shot at BJ Penn in the process -- speculation was that Stevenson may fight Sherk, in a battle of the last two fighters to lose to Penn in lightweight title bouts. If Sherk gets his way, a fight with Stevenson isn't happening.
"You know, he just got beat," Sherk said. "If he would have won that fight with Kenny, then yeah, I would have loved to fight Joe. I was asking for that fight too. But being that he got beat by Kenny, I don't want to fight a guy that's coming off a loss. That doesn't help me or benefit my career at all. I need to fight guys that have been winning fights. By him getting beat by Kenny, who I beat, it wouldn't be a very good business move, I don't think."
Sherk is only interested in fighting the absolute best, he said -- no newcomers, no gatekeepers, and certainly nobody on a losing streak.
"I want to fight another guy that's got a resume like mine," Sherk said. "I want to fight a top contender, a guy that's got a big resume who I'm gonna benefit from fighting. I'm not interested in fighting up-and-comers. I'm not interested in fighting guys that don't have the resumes, that haven't fought in main events, that haven't fought and beaten world-class fighters. That doesn't interest me."
"I've been in this industry for nine years," Sherk continued. "I've won world titles. I've been ranked top in the world for for many, many, many years and I've got 41 professional fights. For me, it's about creating a legacy. And I just want to fight guys that are going to help me step forward in this industry. That's the reason why I asked for the Tyson Griffin fight, you know. I actually asked for that fight. I looked at the division and I thought Tyson Griffin was the top guy at that time. I looked at him as the number one contender. So that's the guy I wanted to fight. Now I look at the division and there's only a couple guys out there right now that have the resume that I have, and those are the guys that I want to beat."
In a separate interview with Sherk published today by CBSSports.com contributor Sam Caplan on his website FiveOuncesOfPain.com, Sherk said he'd welcome a rematch with Florian, but doesn't think it will be offered.
Sherk defeated Florian to win the vacant lightweight title in October 2006. He defended the belt successfully one time -- a unanimous decision win over Hermes Franca in July 2007, in a bout that saw both Franca and Sherk test positive for banned substances. Franca admitted his usage and apologized for it, but Sherk maintained his innocence and sought to prove his case with the California State Athletic Commission.
The chain of events that followed have been widely reported and heavily scrutinized, with Sherk feeling he didn't get a fair shake from the commission, and the CSAC seemingly prolonging the process while admitting to not even handling Sherk's paperwork in a timely manner. Sherk was stripped of his title, which wound up in the hands of Penn in January.
Recently, CSAC head Armando Garcia resigned from his position amid mounting criticism and accusations of everything from mishandling funds to inter-office harrassment. While Sherk feels Garcia was a large part of the problem with the CSAC, he said the commission has a long way to go in winning back his trust. In the aftermath of his suspension hearings, Sherk said he never wanted to fight in California again for the way he felt they mistreated him. Despite Garcia's departure from the CSAC, Sherk would still prefer to steer clear of California.
"To be honest with you, I'm still not interested," Sherk said. "There's more problems there than just one. Armando was the big problem obviously, and there's other people there that are a problem too. They've got a lot of housecleaning to do. There's a reason why nobody wants to fight there. It's not just me, a lot of fighters don't want to fight there. The UFC has not been there since July of '07, and there's a reason for that. So that being said, I'm still just not interested in going back to California. Time will tell. I think there's a lot of cleaning house to do, and there's some things that need to be corrected."
Posted on: January 19, 2008 4:57 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2008 5:24 pm
The main event is up: BJ Penn vs. Joe Stevenson for the vacant UFC lightweight title.
Round 1: Penn overwhelmed Stevenson right out of the gate with a flurry of punches. Stevenson rocked back into a sitting position and ate more punches on the ground. Penn slowed down a bit and Stevenson took half guard. Penn moved Stevenson back against the cage and took full mount with a pair of grapevines. Stevenson escaped the mount but ate some hard strikes in trying to get back to his feet. Penn took full mount again. Stevenson put together some nice strikes to Penn's face from the bottom, which Penn answered from the top. Penn landed a grazing right elbow and busted Stevenson wide open. There was a ridiculous amount of blood spilling from Stevenson's head as the round came to a close. The fight will continue, but the corner never did get the cut to stop bleeding.
Round 2: Stevenson and Penn stand and trade for a while. Other than the blood, Stevenson looks to be of sound mind and not all that shaken. The blood is going down the middle of his face, so his vision isn't in too much jeopardy. Penn dropped Stevenson and took full mount again, and punished Stevenson with strikes. Penn gets Stevenson's back and finishes it with a rear naked choke for the tap.
Winner: BJ Penn defeated Joe Stevenson via submission to a rear naked choke at 4:02 of Round 2 to become the new UFC lightweight champion.