The main event to me has fight of the year written all over it. "The Prodigy" BJ Penn who is a legend in the sport of mixed martial arts will be taking on Joe "Daddy" Stevenson.
Most casual observers feel BJ Penn will make quick work of Stevenson, a guy probably not deserving a title shot. Due to Sean Sherk testing positive for steroids, this battle in the lightweight division is for the championship.
Mismatch? An easy night for BJ Penn? A cakewalk to have a title again? I have heard all of these phrases thrown around for this fight. To people who haven't seen Joe Stevenson fight, maybe.
I believe BJ Penn is one of the most talented fighters in the world pound for pound. His all around game is phenomenal. Excellent submissions, good striking, a great chin, and flexibility like I've never seen. He is clearly the favorite to win the fight. He has defeated a who's who of mma. Hughes, Pulver, Serra, and Uno just to name a few. To be champion, he has to add Stevenson to that list.
A lot of young fighters with impressive records come and go in the UFC when they face top of the food chain talent. Joe Stevenson is one guy who will be around for many years to come. He started fighting as a pro at age 18 and hasn't looked backed. He's now 25 and holds a record of 33-7 and a rock solid 5-1 in the octagon for the UFC.
I see this match as a battle of will. Both guys are going to come into the fight in great condition. BJ is rumored to have trained like never before. The same was said about Stevenson as he battled a great camp out in Big Bear, California.
The fighter that gets the better of the standup game is going to have a big advantage here. They both love to be on the ground. Penn is a master of submissions and Stevenson loves the ground and pound and reminds me of a young Tito Ortiz.
I am a huge "Joe Daddy" fan but have to go with Penn here on experience alone. Mixed martial arts is a crazy sport and very hard to predict. That's what makes it the best sport in the world.
The undercard will see a few potential champions fighting.
Gabriel Gonzaga is coming off of a loss to legend Randy Couture and he will look to regain his number one contender status with a win over Fabirico Werdum. Gonzaga is a slight favorite in what should be a slugfest. Werdum is 0-1 in the UFC with a loss to former champion Andre Arlovski. I look for a first round KO in this one and possibly an upset.
Jason Lambert is a pretty solid light heavyweight contender in my book. I got the chance to see him live at UFC 68 when he knocked out Babalu Sobral. He'll step in with Wilson Gouveia who is 3-1 in the UFC. Look for another Lambert win here and keep his winning streak alive.
Sam Stout is also on the card and is an up and comer. With a 1-2 record in the octagon people might look past him. Two of those three fights were classics with Spencer Fisher and the other was with top contender Kenny Florian. I love Stout's style, he'll bang and trade bombs with anyone. He'll knockout out Per Eklund and give him a rude awakening into the UFC.
Full Fight Card:
B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson (for vacant lightweight title)
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Fabricio Werdum
Marcus Davis vs. Jess Liaudin
Jason Lambert vs. Wilson Gouveia
Kendall Grove vs. Jorge Rivera
Antoni Hardonk vs. Colin Robinson
Paul Kelly vs. Paul Taylor
James Lee vs. Alessio Sakara
Per Eklund vs. Sam Stout
In all honesty, maybe not the best drawing power on a card we have seen, but there is a ton of talent on display today.
BJ Penn alone to me is worth the price of admission. He is going to have his hands full in what should be a blockbuster main event. He is one fighter I would not miss fight and you shouldn't either.
Enjoy the fights, I know I will.