UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch Recap and Aftermath

BJ Penn entered the Octagon at Acer Arena, a man with a purpose. He looked to be hungry, he looked like a man possessed, he looked ready. As Jon Fitch stood face to face with BJ Penn while referee Herb Dean explained the rules of the fight, you could clearly see that BJ Penn was heavily undersized. All the drive and hunger in the world combined with having Matt Hughes as your wrestling coach just wasn’t enough. Not only was Fitch’s size the story of the whole fight, but also his “grind” style of Mixed Martial Arts wrestling was just too much for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt from Hilo, Hawaii.

Right out the gate in the first round, BJ shot at Fitch with a double leg. Very questionable tactic in my mind at the beginning, but BJ managed to take Fitch down to the ground numerous times. He had dominate position and even attempted a rear naked choke. It was looking very promising for Penn.

But in my opinion it was all Jon Fitch in rounds two and three. Fitch not only out-struck BJ for the whole fight, he grinded and controlled him the whole time. In the third round alone according to Computstrike, Fitch landed 128/152 strikes on the ground! BJ Penn was clearly being dominated by a much bigger and possibly stronger man for most of the fight.

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As my family and I patiently waited for the judges decision, I thought to myself how I scored the fight. 10/9 first round for Penn, 10/9 second and third round for Fitch. Most of my relatives felt the same way and when Bruce Buffer announced the majority draw I was shocked. I’m a big Penn fan boy, but in my eyes he was clearly defeated in that fight according to the Unified Rules. Fitch controlled him left and right in the Octagon, landed a lot more strikes. I didn’t think there was any possibility for this out come.

Questions I have after the BJ Penn / Jon Fitch:

-Is BJ still motivated to fight?

-Will Jon Fitch ever get his UFC Welterweight title shot again?

-Will we see a sequal?

-How do we properly educate judging in Mixed Martial Arts?

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Photos via USA Today, Yahoo! Sports

Other notes from UFC 127:

-Riki Fukuda got robbed plain and simple in his UFC debut. Nick Ring is a game fighter and he was good on his feet, but Riki was clearing controlling Nick Ring with his superior grappling on the ground. What were the judges looking for in that fight? Because it makes no sense to me at all.

Kyle Noke did a wonderful job submitting fellow TUF Alumni Chris Camozzi with a Rear Naked Choke in the first round. If he can get two more wins against some credible Middleweights, he could make a title run. I’d like to see him fight Michael Bisping.

-Chris Lytle was not prepared for Carlos Condit‘s replacement Brian Ebersole. Ebersole busted out some of the most random things I’ve ever seen in a fight. Everything from his arrow shaped chest hair to his attempts at Capoeira kicking. I kind of thought of Genki Sudo for a minute. Ebersole had awesome submission defense and is a very well-rounded yet unorthodox fighter. I look forward to seeing him fight in the future.

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-I completely underestimated Dennis Siver big time. I thought his style would be too one-dimension for the well-rounded George Sotiropoulos. I was dead wrong and Dennis Siver had amazing takedown defense. I believed that Sotiropoulos could have been a top contender for the belt, but it’s back to the drawing board for him. Maybe if Siver can win two more fights against some more game opponents, he could be thrown in the title mix too.

-Jorge Rivera did not back up an ounce of his smack talk. His Youtube videos were funny and all, but Michael Bisping wasn’t playing games. In my opinion Bisping clearly landed a nasty intentional knee and perhaps sent a message to his rival. Even before Rivera got rocked with that knee, he just didn’t look good against Michael Bisping. I don’t know what the future holds for Jorge, but he better take more time training instead of making Youtube videos. Bisping on the other hand, with a few more fights could contend for the Middleweight title.