The Prodigy is back.
Last night, live from the Palms in Las Vegas, we saw the BJ Penn of old in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Season Five Finale. He simply looked unbeatable. Penn destroyed Jens Pulver and finished him off with a rear naked choke in the 2nd round. BJ had everything working for him tonight. His standup looked sharp. The ground game that Penn has is the best in the business. Pulver had no answer for anything that he did and got caught at 3:12 of the 2nd round.
Coming into the fight as the coaches on the reality show, there was nothing but thrash talk and bad blood. Ever since their first meeting in 2002, both guys have said that they don't have any respect for each other. That all went out the window after the fight was over. The two warriors embraced as soon as the fight was stopped and it was a great thing to see. Penn and Pulver are two of the pioneers of the 155 pound weight class and their names will be tied together for many years.
After the fight, Jens Pulver said he is going to drop down to the 145 pound weight class. The UFC does not have that division and there have been rumors that we will take on current World Extreme Cagefighting (a company owned by the UFC) champion Urijah Faber. There was also talk that Penn would help Pulver work on his ground game as that is clearly his biggest weakness.
What does the future hold for BJ Penn? That remains to be seen. I would love to see him stay at 155 and rule the division but BJ Penn doesn't usually do things by the book. The rumblings have him going back up to 170 pounds and look to avenge losses against both Georges St Pieere and Matt Hughes. I don't care where he fights, I know I'll be watching wherever he goes because BJ Penn is awesome and extremely fun to watch.
The other feature bout of the evening was a fight for a six figure UFC contract. Nate Diaz stepped in with Manny Gamburyan, the two finalists from the Ultimate Fighter reality show. This match ended in very disappointing fashion. Diaz got the victory and the contract as Gamburyan was unable to continue when his shoulder popped out of the socket forcing him to tap out early into the second round. Manny cleary won the first round with great wrestling and a solid ground and pound attack. It's a shame it ended the way it did. We will be seeing a lot of both fighters in the UFC for years to come.
On the undercard I saw something I have never seen before in mixed martial arts. Gray Maynard was taking on Rob Emerson and the way the fight ended was crazy. Maynard was dominating the fight in every aspect. Emerson was cleary hurt by body shots and was holding his ribs as the first round ended. The second round started and eventually Gray went for the take down and secured Emerson's legs. Maynard then picked him up and went for a huge slam. As soon as both guys landed and hit the mat, Emerson tapped out and his ribs were broken. Gray Maynard however, knocked himself out as his head slammed into the octagon floor. He rolled over right away but was clearly out cold. The fight was ruled a no contest due to both fighters not being able to continue.
B.J. Penn def. Jens Pulver via submission (rear naked choke) -- Round 2, 3:12Nate Diaz def. Manny Gamburyan via submission (injury) -- Round 2, 0:20Thales Leites def. Floyd Sword via submission (triangle choke) -- Round 1, 3:50Roger Huerta def. Doug Evans via TKO (strikes) -- Round 2, 3:30Joe Lauzon def. Brandon Melendez via submission (triangle choke) -- Round 2, 2:09Cole Miller def. Andy Wang via TKO (strikes) -- Round 1, 1:10Gray Maynard vs. Rob Emerson ruled a no-contest (injuries)Leonard Garcia def. Allen Berubie via submission (rear naked choke) -- Round 1, 4:22Matt Wiman def. Brian Geraghty via TKO (strikes) -- Round 1, 2:09
Another great night of fights from the UFC highlighted by a true superstar in BJ Penn. We also got to see a few young fighters that will be in the UFC for a long time to come. Overall, I was impressed and once again not let down by the greatest sport in the world today. UFC 73 is only two weeks away and I can't wait for more action from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.