I don’t normally do round-ups of the events as there are plenty of other sites on t’interweb that do a better job of that. But I can’t not comment on BJ Penn. The guy has now proved he is pretty much untouchable at 155lbs. Diego was supposed to be his biggest test and although I fully expected BJ to win, I thought it would be harder than he made it look. Fightmetric.com had BJ landing 150 strikes, Sanchez landed 8. That tells you everything you need to know about this fight…well that and this picture:
It was a revelation to discover that BJ got kicks! In my predictions post I said Penn mainly boxes (which he does REALLY well!), then he comes in to fight on Saturday night and gives Sanchez a shin-induced head vagina!! If BJ is getting better and better then I don’t think anyone will be able to touch him and he will retire to universal acclaim as one of the greatest p4p MMA fighters ever.
But he could still ruin his legacy: I have no doubt that BJ will start chasing another fight with GSP and it is a potentially needless loss on his record. Maybe his new training regime will make him more competitive in a 3rd installment of their fight, but GSP is still a very different proposition to anyone else in the Lightweight division. I can’t see Dana White making Penn a straight challenger for GSP’s title anytime soon (assuming GSP still has it after his fight with Dan Hardy in march). It’s more likely that BJ would have to match up against another WW contender and get in line for a shot this time.
I hope that doesn’t happen and he concentrates on smashing every LW put in front of him. But who matches up with BJ next at 155? Maynard possibly? Tyson Griffin maybe (although he is out of his next fight at UFC108 with an injury). Looking at the fightmatrix.com rankings for the lightweight division there isn’t any obvious massive threat coming from within the UFC. Takanori Gomi could come in, but BJ has already fought him, Aoki would be a great match but I doubt whether he could stand with Penn and if a massive LW like Diego couldn’t take him down in 27 attempts over 23minutes of action I’m not sure Aoki could!! I think Dana is going to have to go shopping for some new challengers for BJ next year because Penn will almost certainly find himself in the same position as Anderson Silva and GSP and clean out the division. I would love for Dana to raid the Dream LW division and get in some talent like Alvarez, Aoki or Hansen to face him. They would be some quality fights!
One LW fight that I can definitely see happening off the back of the 107 matchups is a rematch between Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez. They have not competed at 155, instead facing off at middleweight in the original TUF series (I think!). Since Diego dropped down from Welterweight were he was campaigning I think a Ken Flo fight has been inevitable, and would be another really good match up for the lightweight division.
Moving away from the main event I have to briefly touch on Frank Mir’s performance. Or rather Kongo’s lack of performance. I can’t decide whether Frank Mir really is better than I would like to give him credit for or whether his last 2 winning performances (Nog and Kongo) have only looked good because his opponents didnt really show up! Nog was certainly not the same fighter that gave Randy a hiding, and Kongo clearly thought holding his guard round his waist is a smart move!!
Should I give Frank credit for capitalising on the mistake so well….yeah probably. But I just can’t get on board with the Mir War wagon. I HATE that guy!
Given the situation at HW though with Lesnars protracted illness and the very real possibility that he will never fight again and with Nogs perennial Staph infection. Mir is already back in the title mix. Depending on Lesnar’s recovery or otherwise we could see another HW interim title created. There some big fights to be had for Mir but I don’t think he will get his hands on the gold again. I think Nog would beat him in a rematch, especially on the form of the Randy fight. Carwin is also a damn hard fight for Mir. I just can’t wait to see someone put a hurting on him! Oh and his new ink is ridiculous. It is NEVER acceptable to get your own name tattoo’d on yourself unless you are like that dude in memento.
What of Struve? Where does he figure in the HW picture? I have to say he looked HORRIBLE against Buentello. His standup and footwork is non existant. He did some nice work with the legkicks in the last round but that weird hopping thing he does was shocking and he’s lucky that people have to punch so high up in the air to hit his chin or he would have been eating canvas in that fight. Someone with the skills he has on the ground should have found a way to finish that in the first round as well. Even if he’d just pounded Buentello out with the body triangle secured instead of going after that RNC for so long. He is only 21 and if he rounds out his skill set to include some MUCH better striking he poses a very difficult problem for some of the guys in the division, although you’d have to fancy someone like Brock to just snap him half like an oversized toothpick.
This post has turned into a bit of a rant rather than some postfight philospophising so let’s sign off with a link to BJ Penn creating the grand canyon on the head of Sanchez: