St. Pierre vs. Penn: Randomly Ranting about UFC 94

Las Vegas – If I view thing’s from strictly a fan’s perspective, I have to admit that B.J. Penn is one of my favorite fighters of all-time. I am in complete awe of his ability to master both the standup element of MMA as well as jiu-jitsu.

I also have a great deal of respect for his brother, J.D. Penn, as well as his entire family. However, I’ve got to call it like I see it and Penn simply did not bring his A-game last night.

To be completely candid, I was kind of disappointed by what I saw from him. I don’t know what it was but Penn looked like he was sleep walking at times. I don’t think he fought poorly, but he simply was no match for St. Pierre. To put it plainly, Penn is a much better fighter than what he showed and I am perplexed as to why he wasn’t able to fight up to his ability during the biggest fight of his life. St. Pierre clearly had no problems delivering when it mattered the most.

From my vantage point, Penn did not look like he was suffering from any conditioning issues. But at the same time, St. Pierre appeared as though he was fighting with much more gas in the tank. He applied a great amount of pressure on Penn and used his takedowns to prevent the native Hawaiian from getting into any kind of rhythm with his standup game.

Once he was on his back, Penn’s renowned guard did very little from preventing St. Pierre from landing strikes to his head and body. As Penn took more and more damage, he became more and more discouraged. Yes, the latter statement is speculation on my part but it was an observation that was also noted by UFC color commentator Joe Rogan during the night’s telecast.

Coming into the fight, I expected a lot more from Penn, as I think many of his fans did as well. While most of them hung in there, I saw a fair amount of spectators wearing Penn shirts head for the aisle after the fourth round before referee Herb Dean had waved off the fight.

Perhaps his supporters were going to get some refreshments, but I think the more likely scenario was that they elected to leave early. The scene reminded me of a football game where the home team is down by 21 points with five minutes left and people begin to leave in order to beat traffic.

On the way out, the mighty legion of St. Pierre fans that made the trek from Canada were eager to bask in the glory of their hero’s big victory. I could hear multiple GSP fans angrily mock Penn by reciting lines that he uttered during UFC Primetime.

“Who’s the quitter now!?” one fan asked rhetorically at the top of his lungs while within earshot of an exiting fan that was wearing a Penn shirt. Minutes later, another GSP supporter could be heard screaming, “Who’s the one who got killed tonight?”

From a live perspective, UFC 94 was a tremendous event. It felt epic in nature and the energy from the crowd was tremendous. Usually there is a strong local flavor when you attend a UFC event in Vegas but on Saturday night it felt as if every fan was either from Hawaii or Canada. Fans were not only wearing shirts in order to declare their allegiance but there were a great deal of Canadian flags as well as Hawaiian state flags on display.

Some of the fights on the show weren’t the most exciting and the lack of finishes took away from my enjoyment but I still really enjoyed the Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar, John Howard vs. Chris Wilson, Clay Guida vs. Nate Diaz, and St. Pierre vs. Penn fights.

A total of eight of ten fights went to decision with the show running long as a result. I couldn’t help but notice that as a result of all the decisions, only Guida and St. Pierre from main card were interviewed and I don’t recall anyone from the undercard being handed an open mic. Post-fight interviews generally add very little but for some reason I really missed not hearing from the winners last night.

The UFC also deserves props for its use of “Fight Link,” which is a short-wave radio device available during major events in Las Vegas. For $10 I was able to buy a disposable radio that allowed me to listen to Rogan and Mike Goldberg’s commentary of the event. “Fight Link” is another example of how the UFC has mastered the art of live event production. While Affliction makes its live crowd secondary during weigh-ins to accommodate an HDNet telecast and fails miserably in trying to emulate PRIDE with a pre-fight parade of fighters, the UFC is taking its game to a whole new level.

In addition to my general thoughts, I also wanted to present my fight-by-fight impressions:

– Dan Cramer defeats Matt Arroyo via split decision – Arroyo has a lot of potential but could be on the endangered species list. He now has back-to-back losses at a time when the UFC is planning on bringing multiple welterweights over from the WEC. Losing to Matt Brown this past June was one thing but losing to a guy making his pro debut is another. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed by Cramer and was extremely disappointed that he didn’t do more to try and pass Arroyo’s guard. Arroyo is dangerous off his back but if you’re going to repeatedly take someone down, I believe you should try to advance your position. Rogan eschewed the same sentiments during the fight and brought up how Tito Ortiz could be the best ever when inflicting damage inside of someone’s guard. However, Cramer has got a long way to go until that point and his fighting style made for a pretty boring contest. I was also surprised to hear that Rogan felt Arroyo won round one even though he spent most of it on his back. Apparently he wasn’t alone in that position, as one of the judges scored the fight in Arroyo’s favor.

– Jake O’Brien defeats Christian Wellisch by unanimous decision – O’Brien looked like a completely different fighter. His physique has been completely re-made and he showed a willingness to box during the early duration of the fight. However, both fighters were cutting to light heavyweight for the first time and ran out of gas mid-way through the second. O’Brien appeared to be the more tired of the two and went back to his wrestling in order to eat up clock. While in top position, O’Brien did not inflict much damage and this fight became a very boring one to watch. Wellisch is a part of the AKA and Zinkin faction that drew the ire of White last year and like Jon Fitch, he was fired for a day. He was brought back but could be let go again because it’s unclear if there’s a place for him in the UFC’s stacked light heavyweight division.

– John Howard defeats Chris Wilson by split decision – Kind of strange to see the first three fights be decided by a split decision. This was an entertaining fight but I don’t really understand how it earned “Fight of the Night” honors. I consider the outcome to be a considerable upset because while Howard is a strong prospect, this fight was set up for Wilson to win. Wilson is an impressive striker and someone that the promotion likely thinks highly of. However, Howard provided additional ammunition in my never-ending argument that the East Coast is the most overlooked fighting region in the country. Howard showed tremendous poise for a guy fighting inside of the Octagon for the first time and he looked extremely explosive. It will be interesting to see how he fares against a step up in competition.

Thiago Tavares defeats Manny Gamburyan via unanimous decision – Tavares was just too much for Gamburyan, as he not only had a reach advantage but had an advantage both with his boxing and his jiu-jitsu. Not a particularly exciting fight and I was surprised that Tavares wasn’t able to finish Gamburyan. But a win is a win after coming into the fight with consecutiveve losses, I don’t think Tavares could have survived a third straight loss. As for Gamburyan, I believe he’s listed as 5’6’’ but that could be his basketball height. I think he’s probably more like 5’4’’. I also think a drop down to the WEC’s featherweight division would be a wise move for him.

– Jon Fitch defeats Akihiro Gono by unanimous decision – I had mixed emotions about Gono’s incredible entrance. He made his walk down to the cage in a shiny silver dress while wearing a wig. He was accompanied by two corner men wearing the same outfit and the three took multiple pauses during their entrance to go through what appeared to be a choreographed dance routine. I found the entrance to quite possibly be the greatest in the history of MMA but it was also disturbing… no, not because Gono was cross dressing but because it appeared as though he put a lot of time into the routine. Any time you see a fighter put so much time into something as trivial as a cage walk it makes you wonder where his priorities are? It was quite a contrast to a guy like Fitch, who is no-nonsense and one of the hardest working fighters you will see.

The highlight of the fight was the entrance. Gono hit a few nice jump knees but the fight as well Fitch. As big of a Fitch supporter as I am and as much as I whined that he had been relegated to the non-televised undercard, Joe Silva deserves all the credit in the world for making the call because this was an incredibly dull fight. Despite having trained in Thailand for a month late last year, Fitch didn’t use his striking much and relied heavily on his superb ground game. But when Fitch takes his opponents down, he’s not always the most active and that again was the case here.

It should also be noted that Fitch got a strong reaction during weigh-ins and again during the pre-fight intros. I think the masses are finally starting to recognize him as a star.

– Clay Guida defeats Nate Diaz via split decision – This was the most I’ve seen of Diaz’s standup in a fight and he was a spitting image of his brother. Diaz does not throw very many power shots and instead was peppering Guida with jabs and short crosses. For the most part, Guida showed a good chin, as he absorbed a lot of punches because he just doesn’t have very good head movement. At one point in the third, I really thought Diaz was on the verge of finishing him but Guida is almost impossible to finish. This was a good win for Guida and not a bad loss for Diaz. It was excellent match making and definitely deserve co-“Fight of the Night” honors.

– Karo Parisyan defeats Dong Hyun Kim via split decision – A lot of fans booed the decision but I had to give it to Karo, which says a lot considering I had action on Kim. Kim really hurt himself because he didn’t really do anything in the third round and was content just to stand there and survive. Karo didn’t do much either in the final round but at least he tried to work hard. Aside from a couple of Judo throws this was not an exciting fight and neither fighter looked impressive to me.

– Jon Jones defeats Stephan Bonnar via unanimous decision – Can someone please explain to me how Howard vs. Wilson got a $65,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus instead of Jones vs. Bonnar? I mean, I thought this was an awesome fight. Jones is so exciting to watch and is now 8-0 despite the fact that he hasn’t even been fighting for a year. Joe Silva deserves major credit for adding Jones to the UFC’s roster because he’s going to be a star. The crowd had no idea who he was but by the end of the fight, they were solidly behind him.

Bonnar is such an underachiever. He is a former golden gloves boxer, has good kicks, solid submissions, and possesses great size for the division. However, injuries and a steroid suspension have really set him back. Hopefully he will fight every three months and get into a groove. But his reputation as a strong fighter makes this a meaningful win for Jones, who recorded a strong win during his UFC debut in August against Andre Gusmao. Being just 21-years old and taking out solid vets such as Bonnar and Gusmao during your rookie year speaks volumes in my mind.

Jones is just an amazing athlete with dynamic striking ability and incredible wrestling takedowns and Judo throws. At one point he hit a German suplex on Bonnar. He can just pick guys up and throw them within seconds. I just can’t get over how explosive this kid is. I can’t wait to watch him fight next.

– Lyoto Machida defeats Thiago Silva via first round KO – Both fighters received a strong reaction and the UFC did a good job from a live aspect of presenting these two as stars. Both had an elaborate lighting scheme during their entrances and there was a dramatic pre-fight package that played up the fact that both fighters were undefeated coming into the bout.

I don’t think I could have been more impressed with Machida. Once one of his biggest critics, I am quickly becoming a fan. He was anything but boring last night and the work he’s put into becoming a more aggressiveve fighter is really starting to show. His defensive prowess is just amazing, as it’s almost impossible to hurt the guy. He’s also extremely poised and focused. Silva tried to get into his head during weigh-ins and during the pre-fight staredown and Machida acted completely indifferent towards his presence.

I also have a new found respect for Machida’s deceptive punching power. I’ve seen him floor both Sokoudjou and Silva in person now. He closes the distance and rushes in with a quick combination that doesn’t appear to be overly powerful. But he ends up dropping guys. I think that a big part of Machida’s ability to knock opponents down with his punches stems from the fact that he’s so accurate. It seems to me that his fists make impact with the worst possible places to get hit.

I’m not only on the Machida bandwagon, but I am on it in a big way. If Machida gets his title shot then you are looking at the new UFC light heavyweight champion. I don’t care who the opponent is; Machida will beat them. Furthermore, I think a year from now we might be talking about him as the pound-for-pound best in the world.

– Georges St. Pierre defeats B.J. Penn via fourth round TKO – I enjoyed this fight from a live perspective because the energy in the crowd was amazing. There were dueling “GSP” and “B.J. Penn” chants throughout the night and their respective fans really got into the fight. Little sequences that normally would not get a reaction in most fights were reacted to as if they were a dramatic knockout.

But on TV, I’m not sure if this fight came off well because it was pretty much all GSP. I was really looking forward to a back and forth war between the two and I feel like we were deprived of that. As I stated earlier, Penn just didn’t have his A-game. He also was able to get in almost no offense as St. Pierre kept his jab in check by using frequent takedowns. In hindsight, Sean Sherk’s strategy against Penn was completely wrong. St. Pierre is a better wrestler than Sherk at this point but Sherk’s best attribute is his wrestling and grounding Penn would have made more sense instead of allowing himself to get smashed by his jab all night long.

I also don’t get all of the anti-B.J. sentiment by GSP’s fans. I don’t see why so many people take B.J.’s comments so literal. The guy is a tremendous fighter but also knows how to sell a fight. You’ve got to take a lot of what he says when he’s promoting a fight with a grain of salt because he’s just trying to add to the drama.

38 COMMENTS
  • Lee Gerowitz says:

    Hey Sam…I watched this on DVR at a friend’s house in Kentucky because I am out of town. On television, once GSP established that it was going to be a long night for Penn, the energy came off as quite flat.

    On another sidenote, the cable system that I watched the fight on (Insight) said it was issuing refunds to those who ordered the fight due to system errors. The feed was terrible.

    I have to say, from a television perspective, had I been writing a Post Card From The Couch, this would have come off as the most boring telecast I have seen since the column began. Which is ironic, seeing how big the main event was.

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  • Tomg says:

    I understand your sentiment, Sam, but have you considered the fact that maybe Penn did bring his A game, but St. Pierre’s A game was just that much better?

    I’m all for hyping a fight, but there are ways to do it without constantly and personally insulting your opponent and his camp. I think BJ is a tremendously gifted fighter, and is still in the top four P4P with GSP, Anderson Silva, and Fedor, but honestly, I’m glad that St. Pierre humbled him last night.

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  • CubanLinx69 says:

    awesome event

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  • Grappo says:

    Overall I thought the show was very good. It did have an epic feel to it, but maybe that was because I was soooo anticipating Penn/GSP and Machida/Silva. I enjoyed most of the fights, though I didn’t agree with a couple of the decisions. Machida made my night.

    I agree that BJ looked like a zombie halfway through the fight. I do think he was gassed midway through the 2nd though. He stopped defending takedowns as well as in the first. Once he could see how the fight was going to go , he did seem to get really discouraged. It was a really disappointing showing. Win or lose, you know he was capable of so much more. Good first round, and absolutely nothing after that.

    Welcome to the Machida bandwagon. I’ve saved plenty of room for all you new converts! Just been waiting for you to get here…

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  • john t says:

    Man I thought Guida lost that fight, he had two big elbows in the first round, but did nothing after that. I know Guida was smothering him, but Nate was peppering him with those jabs and had some really nice judo throws and through up a few nice sub attempts from his back. Guida had one nice take down, 2 elbows and the least desirable stand up i’ve ever seen. For all the dudes that talk crap about Nates striking, it was 1000 times better then Clays. I’m so tired of Clay leg humping people to decision after decision and only using one dimension of MMA. Everyone knew if Clay won it would be by decision because his stand up is horrible because he can’t see through his ratty ass hair. Guida is like a rabid dog on PCP without teeth.

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  • keenan says:

    is there room on the bandwagon i cant tell from the drivers seat?
    but seriously, i said the exact same thing during the sean sherk fight and i also said it last night, THIS is what sean sherk should be doing, and dont be surprised if they rematch this year.
    the jones/bonner fight was really entertaining and im thinking jones might be my new machida for me, the guy i win everyones money with because nobody knows just how sick he really is.

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  • Robert says:

    I saw the fight live as well. I thought the same things. I really enjoy watching both fighters, and have been a fan of both for a LONG time. That said, I was really surprised last night when BJ couldn’t hold his high guard. His legs just kept slipping down around GSPs waist- repeatedly. I didnt give it a second thought, and just figured the same as everyone else did- BJ just got wrecked by a guy who was better that night.

    Then I heard about the Vaseline. After rolling my eyes and thinking to myself that BJ is really above this, I watched the fight again.

    Clear as day, you can see GSPs trainer put vaseline on his face, then rub his traps, then his delts, and then his upper back. You dont see the head of the NSAC running onto the octagon as has been reported, but you can definitely see that- and give credence to the argument in my mind. GSP really crushed BJ in the next 2 rounds, as BJ struggled to establish his high guard.

    If you have used vaseline before for any sports, you know that just because there isnt a glob on your hand doesnt mean the Vaseline is gone. Its not like that.

    If this did happen, the UFC needs to hold Jackson, the corner AND GSP responsible. I hope they thoroughly investigate.

    This sport is too good to have the spectre of cheating (whether steroids, refereeing, Vaseline, or anything) rear its ugly head.

    Before flaming my response, watch the fight again…

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  • Jeff L says:

    Machida got interviewed too, Sam, and I thought he came off great. Good for him.

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  • platypus says:

    POST DELETED.

    Editor’s Note: Just as we discourage fighter bashing in these comment threads, we also discourage writer bashing. To try and rip Cory Brady is a downright disgrace. The guy is responsible for a great deal of content that appears on this site. Cory works his ass off for no pay. I’m not going to allow readers of this site to act in an ungrateful manner and disrespect content contributors on this site who help 5 Oz. of Pain and get nothing in return. That’s right — all of our writing positions are on a volunteer basis and that includes me (actually, with all the expenses I am incurring, I am now back in the red when it comes to running 5 Oz.). This is a thankless job and we do it because we love it. The myth that everyone involved with MMA is getting rich needs to stop. And so does the nitpicking and the analyzing of writing quality on this site. It’s lame and makes you look foolish. Comment on the views and news expressed in an article or don’t comment at all.

    This is a free site. Nobody here is a customer. If you truly give a crap about this site, you will either put your vitriol aside and give us some feedback that is constructive and can help make us better or just keep quiet and read what you like and ignore what you don’t like. And if you think writing when you have to worry about a regular job that actually pays your bills is easy, why not step up and becoming a contributor to the site?

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  • Rich B says:

    I think the best part about UFC PPV weekends, other than the actual PPVs themselves, is being able to read Caplan’s write-ups.

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  • joseph says:

    Except for the fact that Affliction DOR was the best event of the month by far.

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  • Vic says:

    I knew BJ would make some excuse. They could have rubbed vaseline on BJ’s whole body and he still would have been spanked. GSP is just a superior fighter and all the whining that I expect from BJ in the next little while will just make me dislike him more.

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  • SB says:

    I too understand your sentiment about Penn. However, GSP fans have anti-BJ sentiment because instead of hyping the fight like ortiz or shamrock BJ acts like an arrogant prick. Calling your oponent’s character question and insulting his trainers are just cheap moves.

    On a side note, I thought GSP’s A game is just better than BJ’s A game (at welterweight. Or as GSP would say it “BJ can’t keep up with his riddum” :)

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  • Caleb Mock says:

    POST DELETED.

    Editor’s Note: No writer bashing allowed.

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  • BigDave says:

    im gonna say this in the nicest possable way i can.

    On BJ Penns best day he may be good enough to fetch GSP’s lunch on GSP’s worst day.

    Penn has no heart and even less respect there for not only does it make him a quitter as we saw last night but it also makes him an all around piece of crap as a human being.

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  • MWins says:

    Nice takes, Sam. Really glad to see you appreciated Machida’s performance. This was clearly the most aggressive and dominating performance and I honestly feel that he will wear a belt as soon as he has a chance to take it. Jon Jones will also be a tremendous light heavyweight as he hones his skills and deepens his tank. Though the main event fell shorty of what I had hoped to see, the remaining fights delivered to give us one great event.

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  • neijia says:

    Also glad to hear you’re joining the Machida bandwagon, Sam. He is a highly, highly technical fighter. What is the point of standing and trading or clinching and trading if you can dart in, hit hard, get a knockdown, and dart out, all while your opponent can do nothing to you? That pretty much defines martial arts mastery. He exemplifies Sun Tzu’s phrase “if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles”. Silva landed nothing. Machida is just brilliant. His last spiral throw looked like a judo master toying with a kid. Could not believe the gnp KO. You’re right, he’ll be at the top of the p4p lists.

    Jon Jones looks like a new star as well!

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  • truth says:

    Machida’s Karate sweeps have been a big problem for people.

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  • Hank says:

    Great article Caplan. I’m not a BJ apologist but I think the size differential was really stunning and a huge difference maker. I knew of course from the get go that GSP was the bigger man but when they squared off for the first time last night in the octagon I was actually taken aback by GSP’s frame compared to BJ’s. While BJ was able to pretty much neutralize GSP in the first round I knew it was only a matter of time before he’d be worn down. Further, BJ didn’t seem to pull much of anything from his bag of tricks. Putting aside GSP’s size-advantage and overall excellence, I still would have expected BJ to show us SOMETHING. But he didn’t. Very disappointing. Lastly — does anyone know what BJ was saying before his corner threw in the towel? Did he want to continue or did BJ actually say “No Mas”? Props to GSP. A great champ and if he’s smart he won’t make the same mistake BJ made and try to move up a weight class to fight Anderson.

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  • MacBatty says:

    BJ lost the fight before he even got in the Octagon…I honestly think he watched that UFC Primetime and he watched GSP train and it got in his head….

    You could just tell during the last episode….During the weigh ins…..During the fight that BJ was already defeated.

    It doesn’t help that he has that silver spoon mentality where if its not going exactly his way he just gives up.

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  • Makes says:

    Watched the fight last night here in Hilo at my home. During the fight one of the guests received a call from someone (a known fighter) part of BJ’s camp that he had the flu.

    Regardless of any health claims, GSP was tremendous and solidified his stature as the top guy in his weight division.

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  • Imbecile says:

    A lot of your thoughts sound like sour grapes because you wanted BJ Penn to win, Sam. And perhaps BJ did bring his A-game and GSP is just that much better. At the very least, GSP’s skills plus strategy completely outdid BJ’s skills and poor strategy. I also think that BJ’s newfound work ethic is still pretty marginal compared to the work ethic of true top tier athletes. He still skates by on natural talent, and I doubt BJ has ever worked a day in his life nearly as hard as every average training day for someone like GSP, Sherk, Fitch, and plent of others. His inability to work harder is an insult to the fans, and he should be called on it.

    Also, how can you on the one hand say BJ really knows how to sell a fight by saying things to get GSP fans fired up, and then get upset at GSP fans for being fired up by what BJ says? Just because you have a man-crush on BJ doesn’t mean that GSP fans have to feel the same way. I personally can’t stand BJ’s attitude, and I never have liked the guy. I’m just being honest. I think he is talented, but unfortunately is a terrible waste of talent. Can you imagine if a guy with the work ethic of Fitch had BJ’s talent? He would be incredible. Unfortunately all we get is a halfassed effort from a very talented spoiled brat. I would rather have athletes that I admire get the breaks in this sport, instead of handing out title shots to ungrateful peope who refuse to give their all. GSP deserved that win, and rather than spending all your time lamenting Penn, maybe you could spend a little more time lauding the guy who actually did work to his potential.

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  • dressshoes says:

    I don’t think B J Penn had to bad mouth to sell this fight. I think we’d've watched it anyway.

    Leave bad mouthing to Tito and Boxing.

    MMA is better than that.

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  • JJ Docker says:

    “I also think that BJ’s newfound work ethic is still pretty marginal compared to the work ethic of true top tier athletes.”

    I more than agree with that. To be honest, I still think his cardio is comparatively very poor. Yes, it was abysmal in the Hughes fight (cracked rib or not) and it has improved slightly since then, but not by much. The reason he looked like a “new BJ” in his fights with Stevenson and Sherk is because they were largely stand-up battles which take much less out of you than grappling battles. The Stevenson bout had bits on the floor, but BJ was on top, and it was over in the 2nd; hardly enough time for any fighter to prove they have good cardio. I’m pretty sure that if Sherk has at least tried to take BJ down, forced him to grapple to some extent, he would have been gassed by the end of the 3rd, at least. I remember reading an article by you Sam where you predicted BJ by decision and in doing so said to ignore the Primetime shows, implying BJ in fact would have sufficient cardio.
    He needs a new camp as Dana White is right: he’s currently surrounded by a group of yes-men that clearly don’t push or motivate him enough.

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  • Grappo says:

    Guida should get a Belch of the Night bonus.

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  • WarCry says:

    Greg Jackson is the MMA guru. He is where you go to take your game to another level. The camp and work ethic is where BJ is deficient. BJ is surrounding by scrubs building his ego while GsP is sparring with the Light Heavyweight Champ and Top 5 Middleweights. I’ll take Rashad Evans and Nate Marquardt over Troy Malendoniz anyday.

    The Work Ethic deal it is hard to suddenly change a habit of not working as hard to being a dedicated focused fighter . Some have it some don’t . I guess BJ obviously didn’t have it

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  • mike wolfe says:

    The difference between BJ’s camp and GSP’s camp was apparent from the comments from the corners. Jackson gave GSP real advice, but Penn got nothing but cliches. Maybe there was no stopping GSP’s takedowns, but you’d think BJ would be better prepared to fight them off. The takedowns and GSP’s GNP cost BJ the fight last time, so surely he and his camp could have seen them coming this time, too. BJ needs to rethink his training and preparation and work with somebody like Jackson.

    Jon Jones was a revelation to me. That guy has the build of Anderson Silva, great striking, and some of the explosive athletecism of Urijah Faber. He cracked Bonnar with a spinning elbow, didn’t he? And those throws were amazing. If he continues to improve, he will be a force in the very near future.

    Machida’s ko was impressive to say the least. Technique beat brawling, at least in that fight.

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  • Screenplaya says:

    I have no doubt that we saw BJ’s A-game. He got dominated in the same way that Koscheck, Fitch, Hughes, and Serra did. And Penn would probably beat all of those guys at 170. Penn should move back down and hand out beatings to Florian and the other wee fellas to cement his legacy as one of the best ever.

    I get that Penn is selling the fight, but I also get that he is actually pretty disrespectful. I am GSP fan, and didn’t like the way Penn was yapping. He got a well-deserved spanking in my opinion.

    Machida looked great, but don’t get too enthused. He is a counter-puncher, and thus is dependent on the aggression of his opponent to make his fights impressive. Thiago was tailor-made for him. Fortunately for Machida, the big dogs in this division are that same aggressive sort, so I have to admit that predictions that Machida might soon hold the title are not unreasonable. Let’s have Machida take on Forrest Griffin. I’d love that. Winner fights Rampage (after he knocks the arms and legs off Jardine) and that winner gets a shot at Rashad.

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  • Patrickk says:

    I honestly think penn brought his a-game, and gsp just completely and utterly demolished him, point blank period. Not many go into the BIGGEST FIGHT OF THEIR LIVES and not giving it their all…i wanted penn to win, and i did want a little more back and forth action, but gsp is just a super beast and he wasn’t allowing it to happen. he had the best gameplan and he executed it virtually perfect!

    and yeah, machida is the truth! i have no doubt he will be the next light heavyweight champ, and a top pound-for-pound candidate. and i also am not a bandwagonner. i believed in machida when everyone was hating. he’s so patient and he’s doing the right thing and now it’s almost his time to shine! all the people that were hating on his evasive skills and that he’s boring, i tell you to get in the ring with him and watch yourself get destroyed. he’s a genius and he knows how to play on the emotions of the other fighters and he is very unpredictable. remember; 10% physical, 90% mental.

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  • JJ Docker says:

    “Not many go into the BIGGEST FIGHT OF THEIR LIVES and not giving it their all…”

    While that is true to a certain extent, the magnitude of a fight like that alone can easily stop a fighter from bringing his “a-game”. Whilst watching the introductions I noticed that BJ had clear, visible bags under his eyes – and this struck me as odd. Maybe its not and maybe I just happened to notice it. But combined with his mannerisms both in the walk to the cage and during the fight BJ looked tired and almost despondent. Obviously this is pure speculation but perhaps BJ was slightly overcome by the occasion and this stopped him from performing as well as he might have done. In between rounds his corner were telling him to let his hands go; and thats exactly what he wasn’t doing, which is unlike Penn. I think he was there to “give it all” in terms of fighting to the end regardless of the beating he was taking, but I would question whether he was able to give it all mentally. He looked like a beaten man about halfway through the 1st. Let’s take nothing away from GSP though – superb work ethic, superb discipline and superb athleticism. He is unstoppable at welterweight. And, to his credit, I would have to think long and hard before eventually picking Anderson Silva to win a hypothetical fight between the two. Which says a lot, as he would be outweighed a good 20+ pounds. But lets pray for that fight. UFC 100?

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  • M B says:

    “You’ve got to take a lot of what he says when he’s promoting a fight with a grain of salt because he’s just trying to add to the drama.”

    Sam you’re dead wrong and dead right at the same time. BJ’s trying to have it both ways. Take this quote for example:

    “Talk is cheap… (shows fist) this is real.” How could BJ say ‘talk is cheap’ when he was doing all the trash talking… And how can he say ‘this is real’ when he did nothing but make his record 13-5, quit a fight, and get destroyed?

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  • Austin says:

    Is no one going to talk about the awesome Guida burp between round 1 and 2? That shit was hilarious.

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  • Cathedron says:

    Sam, I agree with your assesment of Machida. I think he’s genuinely turning into a star. He showed some real killer instinct… for once, and I think he enjoyed it. Silva looked like he didn’t know what was going on. Machida was in and out of the pocket throwing some incredible combos the whole round. I loved it. I’m still laughing that almost every other fight on the card went the distance, but Machida didn’t. Wild stuff.

    BJ’s best just isn’t good enough for GSP. Period. BJ’s a great, great fighter, but GSP is a whole step up. Obviously, GSP had a great gameplan going in and executed it perfectly. As Randy Couture has shown, a great gameplan will make your opponent look bad.

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  • Mike Olson says:

    While I understand why people like Guida, I am just not on board. I think he should talk to Gieco and see if he can get in on some sponsorship dollars. Then he could change his name to Clay “The Caveman” Guida.

    My girlfirend and I always laugh when he fights. Between the hair and the brow I can’t believe I hadn’t read about it before. I don’t see how he won that fight. He did have some impressive burps between round 1 and 2 and then again after the second, but I think that the wet blanket offense needs to be ousted. He did no damage. He controlled the fight, but didn’t fight. Very confusing. All in all one of the worst cards I have ever seen. Machida was the most exciting fight on the card. Never thought i would say that… Just goes to show where the card stands versus others.

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  • skelet0r says:

    Got to give props to Machida on his English, looks to be coming along well.

    Also, and I noticed this on another website, but you have to give props to Machida for shifting the dynamic of what works for MMA. I completely agree with that article that we have been believing that its wrestling, jujitsu, muay thai, and boxing that are the keys to victory.

    Machida is bringing in a new element with his Karate, so is GSP. I hope this ushers in a new age where the different martial arts have a chance to showcase themselves against one another; albeit in the new dynamic of how mma has evolved. This is really groundbreaking stuff for MMA right before our eyes.

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  • darkmetal says:

    Sam, great writeup as usual. Never forget that your efforts, as well as the other writers are not often mentioned, but they are appreciated.

    I think that BJ Penn did put in effort for this fight, but that his idea of effort is pretty minimal versus that of GSP. Quite a bit of the time, when I have watched BJ’s training sequences, you see him sitting on the edge of the cage with his other fighters/trainers. Perhaps this is just bad editing, or a chance to get commentary, much of which turned out to be pretty negative, or he really takes time to relax–I don’t know. However, the best way to be seen on camera and interviewed is standing with your gear on, and speaking about your training for the fight–not sitting relaxing.

    I am glad to hear that you are now getting used to Machida. I think Machida’s style is really that of an “outside” fighter (a boxing term) which often lends itself to seeming to be boring. But if you watch closely, you soon realize that Machida is moving and striking constantly. His cage awareness is awesome, he rarely gets pushed against the fence. And now we finally see what happens when he finds a chink in his opponent’s armor and capitalizes. I agree, Machida is quite simply awesome. I guess it must be the ex-boxer in Dana White that made him say it from day one. Little did we know that boxing would play such a powerful part of MMA at this current point in time.

    Keep up the good work!

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  • dan says:

    machida was awesome, now he has that ko power, he could be unstoppable for a while.

    bj should stay at lightweight. another fight with florian would be great.

    jon jones looked great

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  • Orecets says:

    I agree 100% on BJ not showing up fully, but I gotta say I hated the Clay v Diaz fight. Clay had little to no real offense, just a lot of hugging and humping. His last 2 victories have been some of the most frustrating MMA ive ever had to endure.

    He systematically made lame 2 very dynamic and exciting light weight fighters by using them as tackling dummies for 3 rounds every time he was in any kind of trouble.

    I dont get why people think he is so exciting, hes like Matt Hughes without the irritating personalities or ability to finish.

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