(And his tailor’s better, too. Photo courtesy of GSPFightClub.com.)
Hello, and welcome to another installment of "Ben vs. Ben." With the OMFG GREATEST FIGHT IN HISTORY just two days away, we decided to sling some bullshit about the deciding factors in St. Pierre vs. Penn, the likely bonus-earners at UFC 94, and the legitimacy of Machida vs. Silva as a #1 contender match. And now we offer our humble thoughts…to you. Enjoy, and holla back in the comments section, ‘kay?
How and when will the B.J. Penn-Georges St. Pierre fight end?
BF: Whether you think Penn has been slacking during his training or not, the fact is that he doesn’t have the kind of talent around him that GSP does. Guys like Nate Marquardt, Donald Cerrone, Keith Jardine, etc. Name one training partner Penn has who is as good as any one of those guys. Like his brother said, Penn is the president of his own camp. That’s not a good place for a fighter in training, especially if the fighter in question has had some conditioning and motivation issues. He ought to be more like a Congressional aide, getting bossed around and possibly sexually harassed every single day.
This being a welterweight fight only hurts Penn more. Not because of the strength and size he’ll be giving up – he’s talented enough to compensate for that – but because it doesn’t absolutely force him to be in excellent shape like he was against Sean Sherk, and so he won’t be. He may be in very good shape, but that’s not enough to go five rounds with GSP.
Penn will start off winning this fight with his striking and takedown defense. But by the third round he’ll begin to slow down. St. Pierre will stay right on top of him, wearing him down mentally and physically, and by the fifth round he’ll be looking for a way out. GSP will grant it to him by holding him down and punching him in the face until the ref stops it at around the three-minute mark. Penn has never gone five rounds in a winning effort. He won’t start against St. Pierre.
BG: In a perfect world, BJ Penn would have a tune-up fight at welterweight before taking on Georges St. Pierre. After all, Penn hasn’t won a match as a 170-pounder since May 2004, and it would be helpful to test out the new weight at least once before putting his legacy on the line. I think your observation that the welterweight division doesn’t force BJ to show up in optimal shape is a good one. I also think GSP is two days away from the greatest performance of his life.
St. Pierre’s game-plan is a closely guarded secret, but you have to assume that he knows Penn is great with his hands, and he’ll be looking to avoid them early. I don’t think Penn wins the first round, or the next two. The fight will end late in the fourth — around the 4:24 mark, let’s say — with Penn fading and GSP turning on his reserve boosters. Yes, it’ll be a TKO due to strikes. St. Pierre has done the work in the gym and the hype hasn’t affected his emotions. There’s only one way this can end.
How worthy of a title shot is the winner of Machida/Silva?