UFC 118 Preview – BJ Penn Vs Frankie Edgar
This is an oddly balanced show, but one that should be very successful. There are fights that should appease the appetites of the hardcore UFC fanbase such as the actual main event between BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar. There are also fights like Gray Maynard vs. Kenny Florian and Nate Diaz vs. Marcus Davis that should be a great match-ups style-wise.
And then there’s the fight that’s drawing the casual audience. As you will see below, James Toney vs. Randy Couture is a polarizing battle. Some absolutely hate it. Some, like myself, are fine with it. But it is what it is. Let’s get to it.
The FGB crew (with new writer Don), along with Stevie J from Angry Marks, friend of FGB JP, and Ryan Frederick, ryanjfrederick on Twitter and member of the F4W Board~!, are here with predictions for the top two fights on the card.
James Toney vs. Randy Couture
Duan: Couture by 1st round submission
Alan: Couture by 1st round submission
Don: Couture by 1st round submission
Stevie J: Couture by 1st round TKO
JP: Couture by 1st round TKO
Ryan: Couture by 1st round TKO
Jim: Couture by 1st round submission
GG: Couture by 1st round TKO
I have stayed very quiet on this one, and this preview contains all the words I’m prepared to waste on this fiasco. I don’t care how news worthy the fight turns out to be, Toney can win by overhead bicycle kick for all I care, I will still have nothing further to add. I’m sick of hearing about this being an interesting match up of styles. Is it 2001 again? I thought we had moved on from this sort of nonsense.
Let’s get something straight, Randy Couture is not a top mixed martial artists any more. He’s prolonged his career with some clever match making, but at this point he’s at best a mid level guy. James Toney is a decade, several weight classes, and an entirely different sport past his best. The combined age of the combatants in this fight falls just one year short of ninety. It’s beyond a joke; if you are buying this PPV for this fight, please save your money instead.
If Toney does connect clean with the old man in 4oz gloves, it’s not going to be a pretty sight, but he has all of about 5 seconds to do that. Let’s just dispel this right now, there is no way in hell Toney shrugs off even a single take down attempt. This is an Olympic calibre wrestler against a complete novice. Forget about it. His best chance in this fight is to create distance and try pick Couture off on the way in. The problem is Toney doesn’t actually move. He fights in range, and that means he’s close enough to be taken down. He has to knock Couture out with the first punch thrown or else he’s on the mat, and will either submit to strikes or a submission within the first minute. And I can’t imagine someone as strategically smart as Couture will be foolish enough to get caught.
This is a joke of a fight. If you’re going to give me a boxer vs. MMA carnival sideshow then at least do it with two guys who aren’t washed up has beens. I have absolutely zero interest in this fight. It’s the most pathetic fight UFC have promoted since Sean Gannon vs. Brandon Lee Hinkle. I get why they’re doing it and it probably will make money but quite frankly that’s of no interest to me, I’m not getting a share of the PPV revenue. Randy takes him down and chokes him out. End of.
If Toney had more of an age advantage, I’d say he’d win with a surprise knockout punch. But Couture will choke him out, welcoming him.
Stevie J says:
I respect Toney’s accomplishments in boxing but he hasn’t learned wrestling or jiu-jitsu in just four months time and quite frankly (and sadly) I don’t think he has enough brain cells to rub together to try to if he wanted to. He’s a funny promo and he’ll come out swinging for the fences but Couture is savvy enough to avoid a one punch knockout.
James Toney will get taken down within 20 seconds and will probably be done with his MMA career in under a minute. Toney has exactly one punch to win this fight, and that is an uppercut as Couture shoots in for a takedown. Judging by the UFC 118 Countdown show, Toney is being trained by people who think a takedown is a hug that “Lights Out” can just shrug off. Randy is going to dive right at Toney’s lead leg, take him to the ground and either show him what an arm-triangle choke is, or simply beat on his face until the ref feels bad for the boxer.
I firmly believe Randy is going to spend the first 30 seconds feeling Toney out and looking for a way to shoot for a takedown, and get it in about 45 seconds, and Toney won’t know what to do and Randy will ground and pound his way to Toney ultimately quitting. I see Toney’s only chance to win being catching Couture with a hard shot in the opening minute.
I’m in agreement with just about everyone on this fight, both in how asinine it is and what the outcome will be. Two legends of their respective sports with no real relevance today headlining a PPV event in what really boils down to a freak show match. Jesus, what’s next, Hulk Hogan versus Ric Flair? Oh, wait a minute. Anyway, Toney has a chance if he can hit Couture on the way in. Randy just needs to get under the top heavy Toney, put him on the ground and lock in a basic choke or joint lock and the fight is over. If it hits the one minute mark I will be surprised. At the end of it all, Dana White will end up using the match as an excuse to trash talk boxing, MMA’s superiority, blah, blah, blah. In truth, they are two totally different sports and this match proves nothing except a guy with a name can continue to live off that name well past his prime.
I think Toney’s natural defense of a punch is his downfall. Couture will either throw a leg kick to get him thinking about it or faint a punch. All it takes is for Toney to either worry about the kick, or to do his regular shoulder roll and that will be enough time for Couture to shoot in and take him down and ground and pound him out. You’ll be able to tell by Toney’s reaction to the loss whether or else he wants to do it again. If he’s upset, he might want to do it again. If he’s smiling, he’s done.
Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn
Duan: Edgar by decision
Alan: Edgar by decision
Don: Edgar by decision
Stevie J: Penn by 2nd round submission
JP: Penn by 3rd round submission
Ryan: Penn by 3rd round TKO
Jim: Penn by 4th round submission
GG: Penn by 3rd round TKO
I think we see a repeat. Edgar has developed a style which just plays havoc with Penn. I expect the fight to be very similar to the first one; close, cagey, and cautious. But ultimately I see Edgar grinding out another decision.
BJ underestimated Frankie in the first fight, and ironically enough by “taking this one serious” I think he’s underestimating the man AGAIN. See BJ seems to think that now because he’s actual “trying” this time that he’s going to walk right through Edgar. So he’s falling into the trap he was in for the first fight. I think Edgar is going to be even better this time around, he’ll have more confidence and he’ll have more experience. Plus there’s the little thing about not having a staph infection (which hats off to Edgar he tried to downplay and hide).
Don’t get me wrong, if BJ wins this I won’t be surprised at all. Heck I’d have no problem with anyone calling him the favourite. However I see Frankie being able to frustrate Penn once again with similar “in and out” tactics that he utilised in the first fight. The frustration for BJ will probably be even worse because again this time “he’s trying”.
Stevie J says:
A motivated BJ Penn is a dangerous and scary BJ Penn. I remember what he did to Sean Sherk. I expect the same kind of dominance here, only quicker. I’m still not convinced Edgar won the first fight and no way in hell does he win the second unless it goes all five rounds and he gets another bullshit decision from the judges.
The frustrating thing about Penn has always been the mental side of his game. With all the talent a fighter could ask for, he doesn’t always maximize his potential and it costs him fights; it cost him the fight against Edgar. So who really knows what Penn will show up Saturday? If it is a lackadaisical Penn then Edgar could steal the rematch again. But if the best Penn shows up, then this will be a blow out. As it is, I think Penn saw Edgar the same way everyone else saw him the first time around: unworthy and over his head. Penn won’t make the mistake this time, and will finish a game Edgar in the third with his trademark arm-trap rear naked choke.
Penn always seems to come back stronger after losses, and I think this fight will be no exception. I see Edgar trying to take the fight to the ground but Penn will find a way to keep it standing. It’ll be a close fight, but I think Penn will find a way to outstrike Edgar before puting him away in the third.
I’m not sure why I’m picking BJ. BJ has a lot working against him. He lost decisively the first time they fought, Edgar is the younger and better conditioned fighter, and a win over a washed up Jens Pulver was the only one of his 4 rematches that BJ has ever won. Somewhere deep down though, I just have a feeling that BJ is going to find a way to pull this one off. I don’t think it will look pretty and I think he’ll take a beating in the process, but just as Anderson Silva pulled one out of thin air recently, I look to Penn to do the same. That said, I wouldn’t put my money on it. Enjoy the fights.
We’ll know one of two things on Saturday night. Either, Frankie Edgar is just a bad match-up for BJ Penn and has his number. Or, BJ was strategically off in the first fight. I’m going to choose the second. I think Edgar is the real deal. When your wrestling and boxing work together, you give yourself a great chance to win. I just think Penn is more talented and for whatever reason, needs that kick in the ass to fight at the highest level. It’s been the story of his career. I think he’s in and out a lot more and will keep Edgar on the defensive But round three, he’ll have him set up and knock him down and finish him on the ground.
There you have our picks. No one thinks Toney has more than the slightest of chances and Edgar vs. Penn is pretty much a toss up collectively.
We’ll be back Saturday with play by play of the event.