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Posted on October 28, 2011 by John Petit

Breaking Down UFC 137 Main Event: BJ Penn Vs. Nick Diaz
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Welterweights
B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz

BJ Penn
64% Fights Won
52% Striking Accuracy
59% Takedown Accuracy
Odds: -125
Reach: 70 in
Record: 16-7-2
UFC Record: 12-6-2
Last 5: 2-2-1
Streak: draw

Nick Diaz
74% Fights Won
42% Striking Accuracy
33% Takedown Accuracy
Odds: -115
Reach: 74 in
Record: 25-7-1
UFC Record: 6-4
Last 5: +5
Streak: +10

There are a million ways to break this fight down, and to see the odds are pretty much dead even reflects how interesting this fight is. I am willing to argue this fight was destined to be the main event, As reported here on UFCbetting.com, Nick Diaz was originally in the main event to fight for the title against Georges St. Pierre, but when Nick failed to appear for some media obligations he was removed form the fight and Carlos Condit was tapped to fight GSP. Nick agreed to fight Penn in the co-main event, but GSP was injured and the title fight was pulled off the card.  I don’t have a problem with this fight as a main event because its as exciting as a main event we have had all year.

BJ Penn needs to fight a smart and strategic fight. Nick has an ability to suck people into stand up brawls because they are to nervous about his ground game. That won’t be the case with BJ Penn, who is easily the most naturally gifted Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter to ever step in the Octagon. We have seen how hard it is to finish Nick Diaz, and when he is hurt in a fight he recovers almost instantly.  If you ask Nick Diaz who has the best boxing in MMA he will tell you Penn, and that is coming from one of the best boxers in the sport. BJ needs to win rounds this fights, and I think the best strategy would be to score some points standing up and take Nick down and work some ground and pound. He should take a sub if he could get it, but I don’t think that is likely when you consider Diaz’s abilities on the floor.

Nick Diaz is the type of fighter who likes to hate his opponents, but being friends and occasional training partners with Penn will make that difficult. He needs to turn this into a stand up brawl, and he needs to get that going fast. If Penn gets him to the floor, DIaz needs to use his BJJ either to submit Penn or scramble to get up. Nick has an uncanny ability to get up and escape from bad positions, and if he ends up on the floor he is likely to end up in at least one with Penn. Nick has some of the best conditioning in the sport, and that means he is not going to slow down or quit fighting late in the bout. Nick is very confident and comfortable off of his back, and he needs to be active if he is put there.

Both fighters have proven to be very hard to put away, and both have exceptional ground games. This fight could turn into one of the most exciting ground fights we have ever seen, but likely we will get a decent mixture of both. I think Nick is going to come and just try to put away BJ, and I think Penn will fight more strategically. If he falls into Nick’s trap and starts boxing with him it will be Nick’s fight to lose. BJ Has competent enough wrestling to get Nick to the floor, and if he fights a smart fight and mixes up the striking and the takedowns he can win this fight. I think BJ takes this one in a close decision, but either way I think we are in for a real treat.

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