By billy hull
Was quite hectic trying to follow the B.J. Penn fight at the same time UH pulled out a dramatic 15-inning victory over No. 6 Texas tonight, but was able to get home and catch the replay. It was a little different knowing the result of the fight before watching it, but I have no problem with the fight being scored 28-28. I thought Penn definitely won the first round and Fitch easily won the third, doing enough to earn a 10-8 round. Round 2 is probably the toughest one of the three to score, but the takedown by Penn was better than a reversal on the ground by Fitch, plus Penn busted up Fitch’s nose with an elbow, so that in my mind was enough to score the bout a draw.
I applaud Penn’s gameplan to come out and do to Fitch what Fitch usually likes to do to everyone else. He was able to explode in and get the first takedown and nearly was able to secure the choke. It was a strategy I would have loved to see Penn employ against Frankie Edgar. Fitch did a great job getting out of trouble and reversing position on the ground, which was kind of surprising. Overall, I know some people thought Fitch was a bad matchup for Penn, but it turned out to be a pretty close fight until Penn got tired in the third round.
The big question obviously moving forward is whether the two will have a rematch and if Penn is even willing to get in the cage again. He didn’t sound like a guy that had fought his last fight in the post-fight press conference, but his comments in the ring following the draw were a little telling. As long as Penn wants to continue to fight, a rematch is clearly the right move. With the possibility that Georges St-Pierre will move up in weight if he beats Jake Shields in his next fight, then it could be a fight for the vacant title. Three different reigns as world champion would be a remarkable achievement, and if Penn has the chance, I can’t see him balking at it.