Business as usual. Props: MMAFighting.com
Let’s get the obvious out of the way as soon as possible: Last night’s UFC 137 was nothing that it was supposed to be. The odds of things playing out as they were supposed to with this card were slim from the beginning, with Nick Diaz compromising the initial main event with his decision to no-show press week and GSP having to withdraw from his match with Carlos Condit. But at least we could rest assured that BJ Penn would deliver some karma to Nick Diaz in the form of a quick beating, right?
Throughout the first round of last night’s main event, it looked that way. BJ Penn’s counter striking proved too much for Diaz early on, as Penn outworked the Strikeforce champion, managing a takedown as well. But by the second round, Nick Diaz came back to take complete control of the fight. His better conditioning allowed him to keep Penn against the cage and unleash strikes at will. By the third round, BJ Penn’s defense was completely ineffective, as Nick Diaz continued to batter Penn. With his eleventh straight victory, Nick Diaz looks as ready for Georges St. Pierre as anyone has in a while. The bout also earned both men the 75k Fight of the Night honors.
Perhaps BJ Penn was just pulling a Jamie Varner last night, and announcing his retirement out of frustration. But if he wasn’t, it’s hard to argue against his decision. BJ Penn is 1-3-1 in his last five fights, with his sole victory coming over the recently retired Matt Hughes. If it wasn’t clear from his draw against Jon Fitch that he would never be a champion in the UFC again, it became pretty obvious after watching him gas out and get picked apart last night. Penn’s legacy can’t improve at this point, but it can certainly diminish with more losses to contenders in the UFC. He’s making the right move by retiring; let’s just see if he actually sticks to it.
It’s never fun when a fight that is supposed to deliver fireworks comes up short. What else is there to really say about Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo? The fight that was supposed to deliver a quick, exciting finish was decided by Cheick’s efforts to secure takedowns in the third round after two rounds of lackluster action. Excuse us if we sound cynical, but where exactly does Cheick Kongo go from here? He hasn’t lost since his first round submission to Frank Mir at UFC 107, but to imply that he should be given a contender at heavyweight seems a bit ridiculous. Likewise, Matt Mitrione is now 5-1, and returns to the lower end of the middle of the pack at heavyweight.
Roy Nelson’s physique may not have improved as drastically as some expected, but he seemed to be taking his career much more seriously in his fight with Mirko Filipovic. In a sentence we never thought we’d type, Nelson used his conditioning (?!) to outlast the PRIDE legend en route to a third round TKO. It’s a welcome change of pace from the Roy Nelson we were accustomed to seeing. It’s hard to imagine that Cro Cop isn’t retiring for real this time after watching him lose last night. We would write more about this, but Cro Cop has been talking about retirement for so long that it’s hard to say more than “Thanks for the memories” at this point.
In other action, Scott Jorgensen earned a unanimous decision over Jeff Curran, while Hatsu Hioki picked up a controversial split decision over George Roop. Perhaps it was Octagon jitters, perhaps it was jet lag, perhaps it was Japanese fighters being overrated to begin with or perhaps it was a combination of the three, but Hatsu Hioki’s UFC debut left a lot to be desired from him. Also of note, Submission of the Night honors went to Donald Cerrone for his first round rear naked choke over Dennis Siver. Regardless of what you think of Cerrone outside of the cage, the guy is on an absolute tear in the lightweight division, easily handling Siver on his way to the early stoppage. Also, Bart Palaszewski picked up Knockout of the Night honors with his KO over Tyson Griffin. Griffin entered the fight losing three of his last four, showed up three pounds overweight, and got knocked out in the first round. Excuse us for pointing out the obvious, but his walking papers are more than likely on the way.
Full results, courtesy of MMAFighting.com:
Nick Diaz def. BJ Penn via unanimous decision
Cheick Kongo def. Matt Mitrione via unanimous decision
Roy Nelson def. Mirko Cro Cop via third-round TKO
Scott Jorgensen def. Jeff Curran via unanimous decision
Hatsu Hioki def. George Roop via split decision
Donald Cerrone def. Dennis Siver via submission (rear-naked choke)
Bart Palaszewski def. Tyson Griffin via first-round KO
Brandon Vera def. Eliot Marshall via unanimous decision
Ramsey Nijem def. Danny Downes via unanimous decision
Francis Carmont def. Chris Camozzi via unanimous decision
Clifford Starks def. Dustin Jacoby via unanimous decision