Preview – UFC 101: B.J. Penn Vs. Kenny Florian
UFC 101 is a two fight show. In one match, you have B.J. Penn defending his lightweight championship against Kenny Florian. And in the other, Anderson Silva takes on Forrest Griffin at light heavyweight.
Those two matches alone should make UFC 101 very watchable, and the FGB crew has predictions for those two matches. Big D, Alan, Duan, Cactus Jim, myself are back with our thoughts, and Stevie J from AngryMarks.com drops by with his thoughts as well.
Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin
Big D: Silva by 2nd round TKO
Alan: Griffin by 2nd round submission
Duan: Silva by 1st round TKO
Cactus Jim: Silva by decision
GG: Silva by 3rd round TKO
Stevie J: Griffin
Big D says:
Griffin might have an almost cast-iron jaw and Silva may have looked bad in his last couple of fights due to lazyness and an unwillingness to engage, but I’m really confident in a Silva win here. Forrest will bring the fight, but Silva’s accuracy and power combined with his unbelievable fighting mind will overwhelm Forrest. That said, I can totally see a scenario where Forrest takes it in the later rounds, but I’m not sure Silva will get it that far. We’ll see the old Anderson Silva back here.
I have no confidence in this pick, but I’d have less confidence picking Silva.
This fight is there for Anderson to look good. You have this guy who UFC are billing as the best fighter in the world, and yet he’s at risk of becoming a complete non draw. He needs to impress, and stylistically this is a perfect match for him to do that. Silva excels against guys who pressure him, and Forrest doesn’t know any other way to fight. Anderson is technically sharper, he moves better, and has a tighter defence. Griffin will be far too easy to hit. Silva obliterates him in the first round.
Cactus Jim says:
This is a tough one to call. Silva’s last fight at 205 was a decimation of James Irvin, but Forrest is no “Sandman”. Silva will be outsized in this one, but my take on this one is that he fights from the outside and uses a lot of kicks to keep Forrest off and take the decision.
Forrest will bring out the best in Silva. But that will be his undoing. Silva is just too accurate a striker and Griffin’s going to eat some heavy blows late in the fight. He’s going to fall in a really exciting fight.
Stevie J says:
A lot of people have described this fight to me as a win/win situation for UFC, and even though moving up a weight class has made some guys look bad of late (oddly including the main eventer of THIS PPV) Anderson Silva looked impressive at 205 against James Irvin. Then again, that was James Irvin, the very definition of a middle of the road fighter going nowhere. Forrest Griffin always pretends he’s a dumbass who just got lucky to be where he is, then gets in the ring and shows some of the best skills in the game. Every time he’s lost, he’s learned from it and come out better, and considering he’s a former light heavyweight champion who took everything Rampage could dish out and walked away with his belt, you’ve got to give him his props. This is the “put up or shut up” fight for Silva. If he’s really the P4P best in the world people think he is, then fighting at his “natural weight” should prove to be a cakewalk. If he only dominates the middleweight division because he’s a guy who can cut a full weight class, he’ll get badly exposed by Griffin. Whatever Griffin claims to not be good at, he’s probably spent more time in the gym training than any of us can comprehend. His submissions are underrated, his striking can be devestating, and I don’t think he’s going to walk into Silva’s famed muay thai plum and eat knees. Silva might be faster, he might even be more well-rounded, but if he gets into a slugfest he’d better hope he can ring Griffin’s bell early. A slugfest is just what’s called for though given Silva has had two boring fights as the champion of his weight class, and Griffin is just unconventional enough to say “screw it” and try to bang with him – yet that’s cost him in the past against guys like Keith Jardine. In the end I think the stature of both guys is raised by this fight, win or lose. Silva can’t afford to be boring, Forrest is NEVER boring, and to bring this long-winded analysis to a close I think Silva will meet his match at 205 and realize middleweight is where he belongs. It happened to Penn when he went up to face GSP too.
B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian
Big D: Penn by 3rd round submission
Alan: Florian by 4th round TKO
Duan: Penn by 2nd round TKO
Cactus Jim: Penn by 3rd round submission
GG: Penn by 3rd round TKO
Stevie J: Penn
Big D says:
BJ lost to one of the top 3 fighters in the entire Universe back in January, and he is STILL top 10 pound for pound in the world, maybe even top 5 or 6. Ken-Flo will have his hands full, but so will BJ. BJ can’t slack here. Ken-Flo will give him one hell of a fight but I think in the process, he will take a hell of a beating. BJ’s power and speed are uncanny and if it goes to the ground, the prodigy is in control. Ken is a great fighter and definitely top 3 in lightweights, but I don’t see him beating BJ despite it probably being better for business.
This will be my favourite fight this year. Kenny will focus on BJ’s midsection and legs with kicks to wear him down, and then in the 4th the BJ gas tank will be empty and Kenny will get on top and elbow the shit out of him until the ref steps in.
If the real BJ Penn shows up he will outclass Florian. He is simply better at every aspect of the game. The question is what did the GSP loss take out of him? This was the first time in his entire career that Penn was overwhelmed and beaten down. All his previous losses were in fights he was winning, and just faded late. This time he was simply dominated by a bigger stronger fighter. There have always been questions over BJ’s mental toughness and I do wonder how that loss has affected him. This is still a fight that a guy of Penn’s talent really should win. If he doesn’t, I think it’s probably time for him to walk away.
Cactus Jim says:
Christ, man, BJ can jump out of a pool with only his legs. How can you bet against that? Seriously, I think this will be a great fight. Kenny has improved substantially over the last few years and has a great striking game. That said, I think he just won’t have answers for BJ on the ground. BJ will stand early, then take this one down and finish it with a choke.
I think B.J. has lost some of his aura after losing badly to GSP. Thus, for one of the few times in his career, he has something to prove. If B.J.’s at his best, he’s simply better than Florian. So hopefully, he took this fight seriously. I think the power in the hands is actually going to be the difference in this one. I think B.J. catches him in the third round.
Stevie J says:
My favorite fat cheeseburger eating Hawaiian is back at his natural weight class, facing one of the most natural fighters to come along at 155 in the last three years. Ever since losing to Sean Sherk, Florian has been on a tear, and I can’t imagine any MMA analyst thinking the Florian of 2009 would lose to the Sherk of 2009 if they had that fight today. He’s the very definition of “on a roll,” reeling off six straight wins, and against quality competition from Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson to Roger Huerta to Joe Lauzon – guys who have at times looked like contenders for the lightweight title in their own right. Florian is one of those rare guys who seems to get better with every single win, and one would tend to favor him against a Penn reeling from a humiliating drubbing by GSP. If you put that fight aside though, Penn has looked just as dominant as Florian in every single way, picking apart both Sean Sherk and Joe Daddy with ease. Everyone knows Penn is one of the most gifted BJJ artists in the business today, but people who hope to stall Penn in guard forget they have to survive long enough to get there. If Nick Diaz’ jab is the death of a thousand cuts, Penn’s is the death of 10. His striking leaves people black, blue and bloody. He may not have the natural look of a “cut” boxer, but those hand skills are real, and don’t discount the elbows and kicks. Florian says he wants to kill the master to become one himself, and if that’s not “to be the man you gotta BEAT the man” for 2009 I don’t know what is. BJ Penn is “the man” and despite the full head of steam Florian comes into this fight with, I still expect Penn to remain so after Saturday night. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – as long as Penn wins every fight at 155 the way he’s done since dropping down, that fat Hawaiian can eat all the damn cheeseburgers he wants.
There you have it. We’ll have live play by play for UFC 101 on Saturday night.
4 thoughts on “Preview – UFC 101: B.J. Penn Vs. Kenny Florian”
Stevie J’s “War & Peace” style preview always brings a smile to my face.
Diego Sanchez gets the winner of the Penn-Florian fight and I’ve decided to start hyping him as the next 155 Champion.
Say, this Cactus Jim fellow seems to knwo what he’s talking about. 😉
He very much does. That’s we let him continue to send us his thoughts. Why do we let Big D send in his? Let me get back to you.