BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch ended in controversy with a majority draw. Dana White originally didn’t seem interested in a rematch but the boss has changed his mind. BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch II will take place at UFC 132 in hopes of finally determining a true #1 contender at welterweight.
I am excited about this one. Jon Fitch is one of the most unpopular fighters in MMA due to his slow, grinding style. A lot of fans crapped all over his efforts in the first B.J. Penn vs. Fitch fight but I think those criticisms were unwarranted. I loved their first fight, I thought Fitch fought an exciting fight, and I can’t wait to see the rematch.
[adinserter block=”2″]A lot of fans and MMA media felt that Fitch was robbed by the draw at UFC 127. I completely disagreed at the time and feel the same way now. Here is what I wrote about the fight and the draw.
“The judges scored the fight 29-28 Fitch, 28-28 28-28 which is a draw in the UFC. I have read a lot of reports claiming Fitch was robbed but I disagree. If anything, BJ Penn was robbed here. He clearly won Round 1 and I think had Round 2 in the bag in a close, but yet decisive round. Although a further review of UFC 127 CompuStrike numbers would make a clear argument for Fitch in round two. Fitch was the clear winner of Round 3 but I don’t see a Fitch robbery here.”
The CompuStrike numbers certainly favored Fitch and by the numbers alone, he was certainly the winner of the fight. However, one round does not make a fight and while Fitch was clearly dominant for Round 3, he clearly lost Round 1. Round 2 was a tossup for sure but I kind of leaned towards BJ Penn in that one. The same people who based their argument on the CompuStrike numbers seemed to forget about Penn opening Fitch up in Round 2 with an elbow. Penn drew first blood and I thought won the second round by a very slim margin.
At this point it doesn’t matter because the decision is in the books and the two will fight again. Penn shocked Fitch by going with a game plan of takedowns and ground and pound. Fitch said after the fight that he didn’t prepare for that kind of fight from Penn and was thrown off of his game early on. It will be up to Penn to come up with a few new tricks for UFC 132. After hearing Fitch’s post fight comments after their first bout, he certainly will be prepared for Penn’s takedowns and ground attack.
The idea of the first fight was to create a number one contender for UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. With all of the talk about GSP possibly moving up to middleweight (if he beats Jake Shields) and the uncertainty of the welterweight division, the Penn-Fitch rematch buys the UFC a lot more time to come up with a plan for the division with or without the current champion Georges St. Pierre.
[adinserter block=”1″]This is the kind of non-title fight that deserves five rounds. I think MMA is long overdue in moving select non-title main-events to five rounds. Clearly Fitch was destroying Penn in the final round of their first fight and would have likely continued to wear out Penn. At the same time, Penn trained for three rounds so it really isn’t fair or logical to predict a five round fight between Penn and Fitch based off of a three round fight.
The questions surrounding BJ Penn’s MMA career will continue if Penn is unable to escape UFC 132 with a win. That is a tall order after watching the last fight and knowing that Penn will have to come up with something new to surprise Fitch. Of course with Zuffa buying Strikeforce, Penn could always move over to Strikeforce to give the brand an immediate superstar and boost the lightweight division. Yet at the end of the day I think the size of BJ Penn’s UFC contract would preclude that from happening until Strikeforce makes a permanent jump to pay per view.
Evan Dunham vs. George Sotiropoulos in a potential number one contender’s fight in the UFC lightweight division is also confirmed for UFC 132. Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller is also rumored for the event.
UFC 132 takes place July 2, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV.
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