BJ Penn will be defending his Lightweight title this Saturday against Diego Sanchez. Diego is no slouch and he always comes in with great intensity. Diego’s career as a welterweight was more than impressive, and now that he’s down to the 155lbs division he has earned his shot at the title. Penn is arguably one of the best MMA fighters in the sport, but the lack of consistency of his fights makes it difficult to place him among other great fighters such as Fedor, Anderson Silva, and GSP which they all have dominated their division. As for Penn this would be his only second title defense.
Penn’s last fight with Kenny Florian showed how versatile and how great of a fighter he actually is. Penn was seen to have poor condition and only relied on his skills and experience to win fights. It took a devastating loss to GSP to make him realize his woes and his win against Florian showed what he learned from it.
Since dropping down to the lightweight division Diego’s ability to finish fights haven’t been prevalent. But with his outstanding cardio and ability to keep the fight at a frantic pace makes him so dangerous. Many think that Diego’s pace will wear Penn out in the later rounds and is the X factor that may give him the win.
There’s something about BJ Penn that makes his opponents change their fight game completely. Kenny Florian is a tactical fighter with devastating striking and good BJJ, but when he fought Penn he looked so timid. In fact, he look liked a TUF fighter trying to survive his first UFC fight. Diego always pushes the fight, but will he do the same when fighting Penn? It’s something that we have to wait and find out. If we look at Diego’s record his only losses came from the welterweight division against two fighters who are the top 5, and they were decision losses.
For Diego to win he will need to take the fight to Penn. He needs to back Penn up and use his flurries of punch to keep Penn moving back. Diego will also need to take Penn down whenever possible. Penn’s BJJ is world-class and he can be dangerous on his back, but as long as Diego is able to avoid Penn’s rubber guard and dish out some damage he will earn points in the eyes of the judges. Diego should use his proven cardio to keep Penn on defense as much as possible. A countering strategy against Penn is a losing one.
Penn can win the fight easily if he’s able to control and dictate the fight. It’s his stand up that sets up his finishes. Penn’s heavy hands makes his opponents shy and it’s where Penn is able to take them to the ground where he is most dangerous. It is the top position is where Penn will end the fight.
If the same BJ Penn that fought Kenny Florian is back again, then Diego will have his hands full. If Penn comes in better than he did against Florian then Diego is in huge trouble. This fight is a great test for both fighters. A win for Penn places him closer to greatness and questions about his cardio is a thing of the past. A win for Diego Sanchez would prove that the lightweight division is where he belongs and would give him the opportunity to dominate the division and be placed among fighters like GSP and Anderson Silva.
BJ Penn beats Diego Sanchez
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