Will BJ Penn Get His Groove Back?

By Sam Offutt

This weekend will feature major UFC fights in the welterweight and lightweight divisions. Make sure to check these out:

BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch (Welterweight-170 lbs)

Jon Fitch (27 -3) holds the record for the second-longest winning streak in UFC history. Since 2003, he has only lost to George St. Pierre, the second ranked fighter on the planet. Fitch is well rounded and a man to be feared in the cage. Unfortunately for him, his opponent this Saturday is BJ Penn.

BJ “The Prodigy” Penn’s record (16-7) may be less impressive on paper but he is not to be taken lightly. Penn holds the current record for the fastest black belt ever earned in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and was the first non-Brazilian to win the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. At 24-years old, he was fighting for a belt in the UFC. Over his career he has fought in 11 title fights and held the lightweight title for over 2 years. Often accused of relying on talent and natural ability rather than hard work, Penn’s career is in need of a jump-start.  After being dethroned in April of 2010 and suffering to back-to-back losses at the hands of current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, last November Penn decided to move up a weight class and fight a long time rival and former champion Matt Hughes. Only 21 seconds into the first round, Penn floored Hughes with a huge right hand and sent him to the canvas unconscious. All eyes are on Penn to see if he can keep Fitch’s relentless wrestling attack at bay and win this “Number One Contender” fight to reclaim his former glory.

George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver (Lightweight-155 lbs)

George Sotiropoulos (G-Sot) was a successful investment banker for years before he decided to abandon his career and follow his dream of fighting.  In the last two years he has become a true force in the lightweight division.  G-Sot is one of the few Australians to make waves in the sport and part of the reason why, as a gift to Australian fight fans, UFC 127 is being held in his home country.

Currently on a seven-fight win-streak against top competition, the only man that stands between him and a title shot is Russo-German kick boxer Dennis Siver.  Siver, who looks like Daniel Craig’s even-more-ripped doppelganger, will have a distinct advantage on the feet while G-Sot will have a huge advantage on the mat.  The last time G-Sot fought in front of his hometown, he won a $50,000 bonus for having one of the most exciting fights of the year.  Expect fireworks on the feet and exciting transitioning on the ground.  Anyone who wants to watch an investment baker get punched in the face and/or punch someone else in the face should look forward to this match.



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