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Big UFC Matches Ahead For BJ Penn and Frank Mir

Frank MirThe UFC rebounded after several disappointing shows with a great closeout to 2009. UFC 107 lived up the hype with decisive finishes, great fights, lots of blood, and dominant performances. BJ Penn and Frank Mir both looked tremendous in their wins at UFC 107. Unlike recent UFC shows, there were no questionable decisions…just questionable futures.

BJ Penn continued to look better and better as he put on a clinic against Diego Sanchez. I thought the fight would be closer, but BJ dominated the fight from the start to the finish. BJ almost finished the fight early in the first round after a vicious upper cut. Diego survived and kept coming for four more rounds. In the fifth round, BJ landed a great high kick to the Sanchez’s head which opened up a nasty cut. Penn opened the cut up more with punches until the fight was stopped due to the severity of the cut. Regardless, Sanchez would have lost as Penn dominated all five rounds.

Frank Mir talked a lot of trash on Cheick Kongo before the fight. I don’t know if there is anyone other than Tito Ortiz in the UFC that is better at selling a fight than Mir. Kongo felt disrespected going into the fight, refusing to do the traditional stand-off at the weigh in. Mir predicted he would put Kongo to sleep, and that he did. The new bulked up Mir landed a great left and followed up with a guillotine to put Kongo out cold in a little over one minute in Round 1. It was one of the most impressive performances in a high profile match I have seen in a long time in the UFC.

It is only right to start talking about the futures of both Penn and Mir following UFC 107. Let’s start with Penn. There is nobody left in the lightweight division that looks remotely exciting against Penn on paper. Tyson Griffin is a name thrown around a lot lately, but I don’t think anyone is excited about a Penn-Griffin match. Penn made Kenny Florian look like such a joke, that a rematch would be less appealing than their first bout.

BJ Penn has made it known that he wants a rematch with Georges St. Pierre. GSP won’t be fighting again until March. Penn will have to have at least one more fight before the GSP rematch becomes a reality. Until then, I don’t know who you match Penn up with to give the fans an exciting fight.

Frank Mir’s future is also a big question and it all comes down to Brock Lesnar. There are still conflicting reports as to Lesnar’s health. Lesnar’s camp says he is coming around, while Dana White said that he has seen no evidence to confirm that. White has stated said that if Lesnar is still in doubt after the next 30-45 days that the division would move on without him. Regardless, Lesnar already has a match scheduled with Shane Carwin if he comes back in the next few months. Should Lesnar not come back, Cain Velasquez and Carwin would fight for an interim title with the winner likely fighting against Lesnar. Either way, Frank Mir looks like the odd man out.

After Mir’s dominant performance over Kongo, I am starting to think that the UFC’s inability to sign Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As huge as that fight would be, Mir vs. Lesnar III will shatter MMA records. These two already have the best rivalry in combat sports, and Mir’s decisive win only adds fuel to that fire. Mir has never stopped talking about Lesnar and has been marketing the trilogy since the UFC 100 post-show press conference. Ironically, Lesnar’s controversial post-fight confrontation with Mir may wind up producing the biggest gate in MMA history. My advice should Lesnar be ready to fight again is to make this fight Lesnar’s next fight.

I know that Dana has already promised Shane Carwin the fight, but Dana White has broken fight agreements in the past. Is it fair to Carwin? No, but he did something very similar to Dan Henderson after Vitor Belfort beat Rich Franklin. There are rumblings of a July UFC event at Comiskey Park in Boston, MA. Sit Mir until the fight, because this fight falls apart the second Mir loses. Make Carwin vs. Velasquez and give them the winner of the Mir-Lesnar fight. There is too much money on the table to risk doing anything else but making Mi vs. Lesnar each other’s next fight. Like Mir, the fight would mean a hell of a lot less if Lesnar loses his next fight. Mir-Lesnar III won’t reach Pacquiao-Mayweather numbers, but they will be a lot more respectable than anything else on the UFC horizon.

Either way, the UFC has two huge money matches on the table for 2010. Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn and Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar in addition to Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort, Rampage Jackson vs. Rashad Evans, and Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua II puts the UFC in a great position to turn around their recent slump of disappointing events. Unfortunately when it comes to the MMA game, these fights could slip through their hands as soon as they get them if Mir, Penn, Lesnar, or St. Pierre are upset before the matches are made. It would take a lot of luck to keep these guys undefeated throughout the year before making these matches. You already get the feeling that by the end of UFC 107 that UFC 2010 is a volcano ready to explode.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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