Archive for August, 2010

The real B.J. Penn

August 29th, 2010
By



Photos courtesy of the Associated Press

Leading up to the fight, B.J. Penn said that we’d see the real B.J. Penn on Saturday night.

Sad to say, he may be right.

The B.J. Penn we saw against Frankie Edgar was unmotivated and uninterested, and that seems to be where he is in his career now.

Training with the Marinovich crew in California is what got Penn to the level he was at in fights against Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian. Since then, he decided he didn’t need to train with them. He’s gone back to training in Hilo, hanging around his same guys and the same camp.

If this really meant anything to him, he would have taken from his last loss that what he was doing wasn’t enough to stay the champion. Instead, we saw more of the same on Saturday, except that the results got a lot worse. Even on the ground, where he is leaps and bounds ahead of Edgar, Penn couldn’t do a thing.

He looked average, he looked old, he looked not to be in the same shape he was for the Florian and Sanchez fights. But the worst part about it all is he looked like he didn’t even care.

We’re used to seeing that raving mad lunatic, licking his lips like a predator on the prowl when he walked to the ring. Last night looked like a stroll down Death Row. The real B.J. Penn I saw is the one who has mentally checked out of fighting. If that’s the case, then forget any talk of comebacks or working your way back up. Instead, ponder the idea that maybe this is it for B.J. Penn, and we never see him fight again.

UFC 118: IT’S TIME!!!!

August 28th, 2010
By



Sitting underneath the Boston Celtics championship banners. Pretty cool stuff. Got all settled in just in time as the first bout of the evening is about to get underway.

***********

Well that was fun. Blog was down for a good while. You haven’t missed much. Nate Diaz beat Marcus Davis with a submission in the final round to win the best fight of the night. Otherwise, we’ve been treated to a lackluster Gray Maynard decision win over Kenny Florian and are a minute away from another lackluster decision win, this time by Demian Maia over Mario Miranda.

Yup, it’s official. 30 consecutive minutes of watching paint dry in a cage. It;s up to James Toney and B.J. Penn to save us.

HW: James Toney (0-0) vs. Randy Couture (18-10)

Toney doesn’t even throw a punch as Couture takes him down. Into mount already. Toney just hugging up trying not to get hit. Couture works Toney to the cage. Arm triangle choke and it’s over. What a waste of my time. Couture celebrating like he won a world title. He beat probably the worse fighter ever to step into the Octagon. Well done!!

155: B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar

Interesting body language from Penn. Not the crazed, blood-licking psycho we are used to. Walked to the champions corner instead of the challengers. It’s been awhile since he’s been the contender.

A fourth fight in the crowd has broken out. Those have probably been more exciting.

Here we go….

R1-Edgar comes in and gets a quick takedown. Penn tries to sweep and almost gets an armbar. Edgar in Penn’s guard. Edgar can’t do anything and Penn gets back up. Edgar dancing around now as we fall into the same pattern as the first fight. Edgar lands a left. Penn gets taken down hard and is up against the cage. Penn gets up but Edgar lands a knee. Some action, but the two takedowns are enough. I got 10-9 Edgar in round 1.

R2-Penn lands a solid 1-2 and a straight right. Edgar comes back with a knee that connects to Penn’s chin. Edgar shoots for a takedown and Penn backs him up with a left. Hard to tell what punches are landing as we got two cameramen right in front of us. Penn finding a home with his left jab now and Edgar shoots in and down goes Penn again. Second round is pretty even standing, Edgar’s a little busier, Penn may have landed a little better, but I think the takedown makes it 2-0 Edgar.

R3-Eight rounds and Penn hasn’t tried to take down Edgar once? Penn’s getting tired and Edgar’s just getting warmed up. Crowd is now in Edgar’s corner. More standup for the entire round with Edgar landing more frequent punches. BJ needs to come up with something because he isn’t going to win a decision. Edgar is up 3 rounds to none most likely.

R4-Penn scores a takedown to open the round and Edgar trying to power out. Edgar now has half guard on Penn and Edgar gets up. Straight right by Edgar snaps Penn’s head. Leg kick takes out Penn’s leg and Edgar falls on top. Edgar doing some work now. He seems to be just too strong for Penn. Edgar lands a huge shot over top. Elbow from Edgar. He isn’t leaving any doubt now. Penn gets back to his feet but Edgar lands a couple of left hooks to the head. Uppercut by Penn connects. Right-left by Penn connects to end the round but this is all Frankie Edgar now.

R5-Penn goes in for a takedown and gets it. He’s got 4:30 to submit Edgar. Penn tries to get his back but Edgar reverses. Edgar outworking Penn on the ground. Who would have guessed? All Edgar has to do is hold on now. Edgar doing some damage. Penn will try to hold on and at least survive five rounds. Edgar is simply the better fighter if Penn’s going to train the way he did for the last two fights. Penn is able to get to his feet, but is tired. Edgar moving and jabing. Penn can’t even hold his hands up. Just like the first fight. A minute is left. This baby is over. Frankie Edgar is going to retain his belt, and do it convincingly.

Frankie Edgar def. B.J. Penn to retain the UFC lightweight title by unanimous decision

*****************

PPV IS ABOUT TO BEGIN! Thank you Joe Lauzon for giving us something to watch in the first five fights!!!

155: Joe Lauzon (17-5) vs. Gabe Ruediger (17-5)

Lauzon is the local boy and was on B.J. Penn’s team during the Ultimate Fighter show. Lauzon took Penn around town to show him the sights earlier in the week.

Lauzon put on a show for the hometown crowd. Beat Ruediger down, took him down, landed some elbows, took his back, landed some more shots, then submitted him with an armbar. Very impressive performance from Lauzon.

155: Andre Winner (12-3-1) vs. Nick Lentz (20-3-2)

Tom Brady and Shaq in the house. Interesting to note that Buffer didn’t announce the Garden as sold out in his introduction.

Chorus of boos to end a pretty horrible fight to start the televised portion of the event. Anybody in Boston tuning in to the UFC for the first time to see if the PPV is worth watching just called it a night.

30-27, 29-28, 3o-27 Nick Lentz wins a unanimous decision

185: Dan Miller (11-4, 1 NC) vs. John Salter (5-1)

Miller’s last three fights? Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping.

Sitting next to a boxing guy from Ring Magazine, experiencing his first MMA fight. “These guys are so ******* dumb breathing through their mouths. That’s a good way to get your jaw broken.”

Miller gets the win early in the second round with an anaconda choke.

170: Nick Osipczak (5-2) vs. Greg Soto (7-1)

Soto has a bad cut over his left eye, but the doctor allows the fight to continue to the second round. Soto looks much better in second round, doing some damage from Osipczak’s guard.

Soto pulls out the next two rounds, dropping some heavy elbows in the third round to pull out the decision win. All three judges scored the bout 29-28 for Soto

170 pounds: Amilcar Alves vs. Mike Pearce

Crowd is restless as Pearce has turned this into a wrestling match. That changes when new Boston Celtic Shaquille O’Neal walks into the arena. I’m not sure anybody is watching the fight.

Pierce controls the entire fight and wins at 3:11 of R3 via submission with a “cross body armbar” according to Bruce Buffer.

Posted in Fights | 1 Comment »

Friday 8/27: Weigh-ins

August 27th, 2010
By



**************

Both Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn weighed in at 154 pounds for their UFC title fight Saturday night at the TD Garden. Despite some comments about his training regimen that I had been skeptical of, Penn looked in good shape.

When the two came together for the posedown, Penn didn’t bother putting his hands up, instead giving Edgar a bit of a cocky smile. He has said all the right things, but his body mechanics all week have been that of a man supremely confident in getting the win on Saturday night.

*************

Here is my story in today’s paper on the UFC not coming to Hawaii any time soon.

Lots of interesting comments in there, including the idea that Hawaii isn’t big enough to support a UFC. If that’s the case, then I’m not sure why they were so excited and intent on coming to the islands two years ago.

The response to the Penn/St-Pierre press conference was unbelievable. I thought that in itself would sell Dana on the idea that Hawaii could work. Obviously, it would help having people from the mainland and Japan come over, which I think would still happen, especially if you added names like Takanori Gomi and Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Dana rolled his eyes a bit when I mentioned that K-1 did 12,000 at the Stadium in 2005. “They had to do what they had to do,” he said. My point was simple. If K-1 could do 12,000 then, what could the UFC do now?

I could see the UFC possibly slowing down its expansion plans, especially considering the TD Garden had not been sold out (capacity is somewhere in the 15,000 range) as of Wednesday. I think it’s a big wake up call if they can’t sell out the Garden, but knowing Dana, that’s not going to change his approach.

I doubt it has anything to do with it, but White’s relationship with B.J. Penn doesn’t make things any easier. One of the things I’ll touch on in tomorrow’s paper is that Dana said he wouldn’t be surprised if Penn retires after Saturday’s fight if he can’t beat Frankie Edgar. Penn obviously wasn’t in any mood to talk about what-if scenarios, but it’s a thought that is shared by at least a couple of media people I’ve talked to during the week.

Posted in Fights | 4 Comments »

Thursday 8/26: Penn live on ESPN

August 26th, 2010
By



***********

Just caught B.J. Penn doing an interview for ESPN.

“A lot of people talk about training hard. I rested hard.”

Is that something you want to hear from Penn, who has had conditioning issues in the past, 48 hours before the fight?

**************

HERE is my story today on Penn talking about his motivation to fight. He doesn’t want labels or legacies. All he wants to do is beat the guy that beat him first. Convincingly, I might add.

Look for a UFC in Hawaii update in tomorrow’s paper. Actually, don’t look, unless you want to be disappointed.

Posted in Fights | 3 Comments »

Wednesday 8/25: Media day

August 25th, 2010
By



***********

Two biggest things coming out of the press conference. 1) Don’t count on the UFC anytime soon. Dana White said in an interview after the presser that Hawaii isn’t on his radar during the economy. “Two years ago, if it wasn’t for that ridiculous tax (the DCCA) had, we would have been there in 5 seconds.” Now he says the economy is too weak and the cost of flying out all the production stuff to Hawaii is too much.

2) Dana White and BJ Penn are not on speaking terms. White is upset over some comments made in Penn’s recent book, but it didn’t keep him from giving Penn a rematch for the belt.

***************

Quick tip for anyone vacationing to Boston. Don’t take back-to-back 5+ hour flights to Boston just to arrive at 6:30 in the morning and then have to wait another 7 hours before checking in to your hotel.

Very long day yesterday, plus the weather here isn’t good. I tried to make it to Fenway for the Red Sox/Mariners game, but it got rained out. Heading over there now to talk to Saint Louis alum Brandon League of the Seattle Mariners.

Then it’s off to the UFC 118 press conference, which will be shown LIVE in the video player above at 9 a.m. Hawaii time.

********

Got word that StrikeForce fighter Miesha Tate is in town vacationing following her tournament win a couple of weeks ago. Also, women’s welterweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Santos will be in Hawaii for a couple of upcoming appearances.

*********

In a TV interview with ESPN, UFC President Dana White said the company is leaning toward a rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. Vitor Belfort is also waiting in the wings for a title shot. Also, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is on track for a mid-spring, early-summer return to defend his light heavyweight title against Rashad Evans.

***********

Looking for stuff to read, here’s Sherdog’s story breaking down the main card of UFC 118.

The Vancouver Sun also has a story on Penn.

Posted in Fights | 1 Comment »