According to Sherdog.com, B.J. Penn and Diego Sanchez have both agreed to fight each other on the undercard of UFC 74 on August 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A UFC heavyweight title match between Randy Couture and Gabriel Gonzaga will serve as the card’s main event.
The report is surprising because UFC president Dana White said recently that Penn was in the mix for a UFC lightweight title shot following his dominating win over Jens Pulver during the live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 5. However, fighting Sanchez at 170 lbs. doesn’t mean he can’t drop back down again before the end of the year and fight the winner of this weekend’s UFC lightweight title bout between Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca.
A TV station in Albuquerque, NM had claimed in the past that Sanchez would be fighting Hayato Sakurai from Pride but it’s looking like that won’t be the case at this point.
I’m looking forward to this match between Sanchez and Penn. I think Penn will win the bout but I expect Sanchez to come back strong following a disappointing loss to Josh Koscheck several months back. Sanchez didn’t look like himself and it was later reported that he was sick. Sometimes injury excuses are bogus but in the case of Sanchez, I think it was legit because it was other people who revealed the information. He’ll be motivated for Penn and I expect a war.
A second consecutive loss for Sanchez would hurt him but he’s a favorite of the UFC so it won’t kill his career. Kudos to Sanchez and the UFC for putting together this match instead of trying to toss him a layup.
Read the report here.