Will MMA lose Matt Hughes, BJ Penn AND Randy Couture in the same year? Could be.
Nick Diaz punched BJ Penn straight out of mixed martial arts competition and followed it up minutes later by talking his way into a immediate fight for the welterweight championship.
Diaz won a unanimous decision against Penn by keeping the fight standing to batter him with punches for the last two rounds of the main event of UFC 137 in Las Vegas. After the fight, Penn announced that it would be his last MMA bout.
“I have a daughter and another on the way,” said Penn, whose left-eye area was bloody was swelled shut. “I don’t want her to see me like this.”
Immediately following the fight, Diaz renewed his call for a showdown with 170-pound titlist Georges St. Pierre. This time, UFC President Dana White granted his wish.
Diaz will face St. Pierre on Feb. 4 in Las Vegas, White said early Sunday.
They were supposed to fight for the belt at UFC 137, but UFC removed him for his failure to appear for press conferences to promote the fight. Carlos Condit, originally slated to face Penn, slid into the title bout.
St. Pierre injured his knee during training, forcing him off Saturday’s card. Following his victory over Penn, Diaz used his post-fight injury to accuse St. Pierre of faking the injury, which infuriated the champion.
“Now I can have a fight with him and settle it with him, because he was very disrespectful, him and his and coach, to me,” St. Pierre said Sunday. “It’s been a lot. He’s been saying that I’ve been ducking him. I’ve never ducked anybody. I’m not a coward.”
Condit agreed to forego his title shot so Diaz-St. Pierre can happen first, White said. Condit will fight another opponent on the Feb. 4 card.
Compustrike counted 239 blows landed for Diaz on Saturday, compared to 76 for Penn. The last two rounds saw Diaz especially effective, as he seemed to hit Penn at will while stalking him around the ring. But first he had to survive early danger.
As he has in past fights, Penn started strong. He took down Diaz in the first round, climbed his back and landed several right hands to the head. But Diaz, an excellent MMA grappler in his own right, avoided Penn’s choke attempt, recovered to guard and regained his feet.
Despite the victory, Diaz criticized his own work.
“I thought I put on a poor performance,” he said. “I didn’t fight a smart fight.”
He found flaws in his timing and defense, particularly his willingness to absorb punches. An inability to find quality sparring partners hurt his boxing preparation for the bout, Diaz said.
But St. Pierre praised Diaz’s victory and described Penn as a worthy opponent to defeat to earn a title shot.
Saturday was Diaz’s first UFC fight in five years. Between his first UFC tenure and this one, he won 10 in a row and captured Strikeforce’s 170-pound title. He’s the No. 5 welterweight in the USA TODAY/MMA Nation consensus rankings.
Critics have pointed to a lack of elite competition for him in EliteXC and Strikeforce, but Penn is the consensus No. 8 at 170 pounds. His last two fights were a draw with No. 2 Jon Fitch and a knockout of former champion Matt Hughes.
If Penn sticks to his word, it will end one of mixed martial arts’ storied careers. One of only two men to win UFC titles in two weight classes, Penn has been one of the most talented all-around fighters in MMA for a decade, going back to the early successes that earned him his “Prodigy” nickname.
READ MORE HERE
Cro Cop Retired By Big Country
A flurry of strikes put Roy “Big Country” Nelson back in the win column while ending the storied career of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
Nelson recorded a third-round technical knockout of Filipovic on Saturday at UFC 137 in Las Vegas. The 37-year-old Filipovic announced afterward that going into the bout, he had already decided it would be his farewell fight regardless of the outcome.
After two close rounds, Nelson landed his powerful right punch in the middle of Filipovic’s face in the third round. Filipovic wobbled backward and Nelson chased him down with one punch after another. A short left hook sent Filipovic down as he desperately dove for a takedown to buy time to clear his head, but Nelson, a far superior wrestler and grappler, simply slid onto his opponent’s back and started battering him with punches until the fight was halted.
In the first 10 minutes, Filipovic appeared to find some of the killer instinct that made him a legend of Pride Fighting Championships, but appeared only sporadically in the last five years during his UFC fights. Filipovic landed his dreaded left kick to Nelson’s torso twice in the first round, and connected with one to Nelson’s neck in the second.
Love the fight game? Become a Q101.com Blogga at http://bloggas.Q101.com