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UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs Penn - Jan 15


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Sunday Fight Night on January 15th as the UFC travels to Phoenix, Arizona with this.





Yair Rodriguez vs BJ Penn

Joe Lauzon vs Marcin Held

Court McGee vs Ben Saunders

John Moraga vs Sergio Pettis



Frankie Saenz vs Augusto Mendes

Oleksiy Oliynyk vs Viktor Pesta

Alex White vs Tony Martin

Walt Harris vs Chase Sherman



Nina Ansaroff vs Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger

Devin Powell vs Drakkar Klose

Bojan Mihajlovic vs Joachim Christensen

Dmitri Smoliakov vs Cyril Asker


Decent little card. That main event is going to be depressing viewing but there's some good stuff sprinkled throughout this one.




So Rodriguez vs Penn then. Fuck me this is going to be a weird fight. This is about as old school vs new school as you can get outside of a SEG era guy coming back. BJ Penn's a legend and has been around since the start of the Zuffa era. And Yair Rodriguez is part of that new generation of fighters who's got into MMA learning the sport of MMA and all its disciplines.




We've been through the BJ Penn story a bunch of times. I can't be arsed to do it again. Especially when the chances are this fight ends up not happening anyway. I did a big post on Penn and all the ups and downs of his career in the ill-fated Penn vs Lamas thread on here, only for that fight and the whole show to be cancelled. But yeah, this is where it should've stopped. He got inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame in 2015 after a few bad losses. Now he's back. Whether we like it or not.




And he's training with Greg Jackson. This whole thing is odd. To be honest I'm completely torn on this. On the one hand I'm kind of hoping this fight goes the way of the cancelled Lamas, Siver and Miller fights and just doesn't end up happening. But on the other hand I'm thinking, let's just get this latest comeback out the way so Penn can retire again for a year.


So yeah, I'm not expecting much from Penn. If he's anything like he was in his last fight in 2014 then I just can't see this ending well. Rodriguez isn't the finished article yet. He's wild and creative and incredible to watch but on paper this should be a real test for him against a legend and one of the greatest of all time. But Penn has looked shot for a while now and my confidence in him having anything left in the tank is none existent at this point. I'm expecting Rodriguez to make him look like he's moving in slow motion, and possibly finish him with some mad Tekken move.




Lauzon vs Held has all the makings of a bit of a classic. Especially if it becomes a grappling match. Lauzon's just one of them fighters who you can throw in with almost any fighter and you're probably getting something entertaining out of it. And this one is no different. Held lost a decision to Diego Sanchez in his UFC debut and they're not exactly doing him a favour here putting him in with Lauzon but the fight itself should be all kinds of fun.




McGee vs Saunders could be good. I really like Saunders. He's never going to trouble the contenders of the division but he's exciting to watch in all areas. He's got wicked Muay Thai and a brutal clinch game. And if it hits the ground he's got one of the most attacking guards in the game. McGee is a tough scrappy fighter as well. I could see this being a darkhorse contender for FOTN actually.




Rivera vs Caraway I'm not that bothered about. I hope Rivera wins though. Can't stand Caraway. Rivera is someone worth keeping an eye on though. 20-1 record and he's coming off the biggest win of his career beating Urijah Faber at UFC 203 in September.




Moraga vs Pettis is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** on this card. I'm expecting a non-stop all over the place type of fight here. Pettis has struggled to follow in his big brother's footsteps so far but he's a good little fighter. And I think Moraga is a tad underrated. He's lost to some of the top flyweights like Mighty Mouse, Dodson and Benavidez but I think he has skills. When I watch him fight I feel like he should be doing better than he is. I fancy him to win this too.


Elsewhere on the card...


• Looking forward to seeing Frankie Saenz again. He's lost his last two fights but he made a fan of me in his fight with Faber at UFC 194. That was an awesome fight that's been largely forgotten since and he showed serious heart in that one.


Nina Ansaroff is on the card. Who, if you believe her girlfriend Amanda Nunes, is the next UFC champion. Can't see it myself but let's see how she does here.


There you go. Not a fantastic lineup but there's bits and pieces there worth setting the Sky+ for.

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Great job with all these write ups, Wand, it always does the trick in getting me informed and hyped about upcoming events. At times with the UFC's busy schedule- really, a lot of the time- all the booked fights start to become a blur of Fighter X vs Fighter Y. On the other end of that, I was a little sad in organising my calendar for the start of the year, and realising that there's no UFC events on the horizon for a couple of weeks, and no major WWE events either. In normal life, not a big deal, but it's school holidays, so it looks like WWE Network and Fight Pass will be getting a workout, maybe with watching some past fights from fighters on the card.


I totally understand your skepticism about BJ Penn making his comeback. It's been delayed so long, and God knows he looked like a zombie last time out (and not the good Korean kind) vs. Edgar. I don't know though, I have to believe. He's one of my favourite fighters ever- Penn, Tito and Chuck were the first fighters to really capture my attention as a 12 year old, and Penn especially made an impression on me, this little dude that just ran through his opponent (Caol Uno) and ran out of the Octagon like a madman.


Besides blind fandom, one of the reasons I'm rooting for Penn and have a distant belief he can get it done is that he keeps pushing for it. You'd think the amount of delays would deter him, that he might see this as a sign, but the way he keeps pushing to return... If nothing else, we should get the elusive motivated BJ, right? I mean, he can't be hard up for cash, can he? He's a family man, been very successful in his career and hasn't lived a Ric Flair lifestyle to my knowledge. And through it all, he's 38, which is creeping up in age but he's not a fossil yet. Would love to see him turn back the clock and TKO the young lion- I like Yair a lot, but I've met BJ Penn and I've never had such a positive experience with a celebrity before- besides maybe Jessica Nigri and her glorious tits- but I digress.


So, Team Penn all the way. I know, setting myself up for bitter disappointment, but I'll definitely be invested in the fight. And if it does go all to shit for BJ, at least it would create a big star in Yair Rodriguez. So, there's positives to be found in the main event no matter the outcome.


That co-main should really deliver too. Even in defeat, I was really impressed with Marcin Held and I don't think Joe Lauzon is capable of a bad fight. McGee vs. Saunders, Rivera vs. Caraway and Moraga vs Pettis. Can't see any of those fights being a bore. And after the Faber fight, I became a big fan of Frankie Saenz.


Lots to look forward to.

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on first glance the card doesn't grab me but on closer inspection it's a solid little card with some exciting guys on the undercard.


I like everybody else fears the worst from the main event. I just can't see how BJ wins. BJ Penn is a fairly flat footed striker and has the terrible habit of going into his shell when people start to land on him...put that against Rodriguez who's one of the most explosive and fastest 145lber's in the game, i just see him teeing off on BJ at will. BJ might be best served to get his hands on Rodriguez, drag it to the mat and attempt to hold him down, i just can't see it happening.


Rodriguez was depression inducing TKO.

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I can't see any way that this doesn't end with Yair putting BJ's lights out fairly early. Which means Penn will win via cartwheel kick KO in the last 10 seconds of round 5.


If Rivera beats Caraway, which is my guess, I could see him being matched up with either Lineker or Cruz after that, depending on how quick of a turnaround Cruz wants.


Garbrandt v Dillashaw

Rivera (depending) v Cruz


Book that for April or May and if there is an injury then they could move the guys around. If Rivera loses then you could do it with Caraway and have Rivera fight Lineker, but it won't be as interesting because Caraway would be involved. Unless he brings Meisha along and then makes himself scarce.

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I can't see any way that this doesn't end with Yair putting BJ's lights out fairly early. Which means Penn will win via cartwheel kick KO in the last 10 seconds of round 5.


That's kinda the way I'm looking at things. Based on how they've both performed in recent years, there's no reason to believe BJ has a chance against Yair. But 2016 was such a mad year full of crazy upsets, I feel like Penn could get it done.


Rivera vs. Cruz would be a good fight. Truthfully, I wasn't impressed with Rivera his last fight. He beat Urijah Faber, which should be a massive win, but Faber did nothing that night, and Rivera did slightly more than nothing to get the UD. There's no way Cruz goes in the cage and just stands there, especially after his first loss in a decade. He would force the fight.


Caraway seems like an annoying little prick, and I'm not just saying that because he's banging Miesha- although it's definitely a contributing factor.

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Rivera is the sleeper at 135lb. I don't think a win over Caraway puts him in line for a title shot but he's the guy no one seems to be talking about.


I've read quotes from BJ that he believes Yair is an easy fight, that's not a good sign. BJ fought once at 145 and he looked awful.


Whats the odds?

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1/4 Yair

11/4 BJ


That's about the same as the odds ended up being for the Punk/Gall fight. That doesn't look too good for BJ. I hope the fight happens though because I'd rather that than another cancellation leading to another dragged out potential comeback fight two months later.

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Old school BJ Penn highlight set to 'Crazy' by Gnarls Barkley;




Takes me back to when he used that song for his entrance for the second Matt Hughes fight. That seems like an absolute age ago now. Ten years!


He's still talking about going for the featherweight title as well. The lunatic. I hope he's at least sacked off the old meerkat stance he tried against Edgar last time.

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Caraway is out, John Dodson has offered to step in.


Major upgrade. I don't know what the odds have been, but Caraway has seemed like a major underdog in his recent fights. It's still a bit hard for me to believe his current ranking, he just doesn't seem to be outstanding in any particular way. Dodson, however, seems like a significant threat.

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