UFC 137 Penn vs Diaz

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is hosting UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, October 29, 2011.  There will be no championship bouts on this fight card, but many of the fights will determine who may have the next opportunity to fight for a UFC Championship.  Georges St. Pierre was scheduled to defend his title at UFC 137, but had to withdraw due to a knee injury.  There are two heavyweight battles on the main fight card, with one featherweight and bantomweight fight.  The main event will be a welterweight fight between two of the most well-known fighters in the UFC.  Here is an analysis of the fights that Dana White and the UFC have scheduled for UFC 137.

The main event – Welterweight bout:  BJ “The Prodogy” Penn (16-7-2) vs Nick Diaz (26-7-1)

UFC Welterweight BJ PennBJ Penn is a two-time UFC Champion.  He is coming off a draw in his last fight, and is 3-3-1 in his last seven fights.  Penn has implemented a new cardiovascular program that should help with his stamina.  He has a good standup game with a respectable jab, but could be better at defending strikes.  He also has good kicks and knees when you try to get him in a clinch.  He is a very technical fighter, and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  If Penn gets you down, he has precise submission skills and can also ground and pound with the best of them.  He also has a very strong chin, and is incredibly flexible and agile.  Because of his flexibility, he is not easy to take down. Out of his 16 wins, he has seven by KO, and six by submission.  Out of his seven losses, five have been by decision. Look for Penn to try and out-box his opponent, look for a takedown, and finish the fight with a submission, although Diaz has never been submitted in his career.

UFC Welterweight Nick DiazNick Diaz was a troubled youth who discovered Jiu-Jitsu and MMA as a way to defend himself.  He began fighting MMA professionally at 18, and found early success. He always felt that he could win by training harder than anyone else.  He won the inaugural WEC Welterweight Championship, and the inaugural Strikeforce Welterweight Championship.  Diaz has won ten fights in a row, and this will be his UFC comeback fight.  He has not fought in the UFC since 2006, and feels that he has something to prove.  He is a very similar fighter to Penn, but is taller and thinner.  He has an unorthodox style and excellent cardio.  He is a scrappy fighter who goes to the body well.  Diaz is not as good of a striker as Penn, but he is better at avoiding strikes.  He is also not as successful with his takedowns, but just as good as Penn at defending takedowns.  In his 25 wins, Diaz has won 13 by KO, and eight by submission.  Of his seven losses, five have been by decision. Look for Diaz to try and out-box Penn, and eventually take Penn down.  If he can get a takedown on Penn, Diaz will look to ground and pound for a TKO, but that will be a very difficult task.

Heavyweight bout: Cheick Kongo (26-6-2)   vs   Matt Mitrione  (5-0-0)

UFC Heavyweight Cheick KongoCheick Kongo began training in martial arts at the age of 5.  He is currently a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is also skilled in Muay Thai, Savate, Kickboxing, and Wrestling.  Kongo has dangerous legs, and can punish his opponents with his fists.  He has won 11 of his last 16 fights, and his last win was one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history.  Kongo is very efficient with his striking, but could be better at defending strikes.  He is also decent at taking his opponents down.  He is not good at defending the takedown, but fortunately his opponent, Matt Mitrione, won’t be looking for a takedown.  Kongo has 10 knockouts out of his 16 wins, while four of his six losses have been by decision.  He can attack from different angles, and is dangerous with his kicks, knees, punches, and elbows. Kongo is very focused and dedicated, and feels this is his time to become champion. Kongo feels that he is in the best shape of his life, and will be looking to knock out Mitrione.

UFC Heavyweight Matt MitrioneMatt Mitrione was a professional football player, and didn’t have his first professional MMA fight until the age of 31.  He was a contestant on season 10 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’.  Mitrione is skilled in kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and wrestling, but mainly likes to throw down punches.  He is strong and athletic, with a good chin.  He currently has an undefeated record, with four of his five wins coming by knockout. He has not fought any of the upper echelon heavyweights in the UFC, and this will be his first real test.  He has had great success with his boxing, and is also good at defending strikes.  He has never even attempt to takedown his opponent, but could be a little better at defending the takedown.  Mitrione is an aggressive fighter, and wants to stand and throw punches against Kongo.  That may not be the best strategy given the power of Kongo.  If Mitrione can land some early blows, he may be able to end the fight in the first round.  If not, he may have the endurance to out score Kongo with his striking in a decision.

Heavyweight bout: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (27-9-2, 1NC) vs Roy “Big Country” Nelson (16-6-0)

UFC Heavyweight Mirko FilipovicMirko Filipovic is one of the most feared strikers in the UFC. He is famous for his head kicks, which are devastating.  He has a black belt in Taekwondo, and started training in kickboxing back in 1994.  He fought professionally in K-1 from 1996-2001, and then made the switch to MMA and the Pride Fighting Championship.  While at Pride, Filipovic became the Open-Weight Grand Prix Champion, and amassed an 18-4-2 record. He is only 4-5 in the UFC, and is 5-3-1 in his last 9 MMA fights. Filipovic has experience, but is getting up there in age, and you begin to wonder how strong his desire is.  Out of his 27 wins, 20 have been by KO.  Four of his nine losses have come by KO, and three by decision.  He is at his best standing and striking, and is just okay at avoiding strikes.  He is successful with takedowns, but does not attempt them too often, as he would rather be standing and fighting.  He is very good at avoiding being taken down by his opponent.  Filipovic has good conditioning and likes to sprawl and brawl.  Look for him to try and end the fight with either an overwhelming kick, or a destructive knock out punch.

UFC Heavyweight Roy 'Big Country' NelsonDo not let his appearance fool you.  Roy Nelson is an athlete. Nelson wrestled, played football, and baseball in high school.  He is also experienced in Shaolin Kung Fu, is a Black Belt in Roi Kan Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has trained with some of the world’s best MMA fighters.  Nelson is a grappler with an iron chin and the heart of a lion.  He started fighting to pay his bills.  Nelson was the former IFC Heavyweight Champion, and was the winner of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ series, season 10.  He is 2-4 in his last six fights, but won five in a row prior to that. Eight of his 15 wins have come by KO, and five by submission.  Out of his six losses, five have been by decision.  Nelson claims to have a harder punch than Cro Cop, and says his favorite technique is the face punch. He has been very effective with his boxing skills.  He doesn’t worry too much about his defense because he is usually on the attack.  Nelson has not attempted too many takedowns, but can be taken down himself.  Nelson is looking to get back on track after losing two fights in a row, and would love to make a statement by knocking out Cro Cop.

Below is the list of the remaining UFC fights on the card for UFC 137 Penn vs Diaz:

Main card

  • Bantomweight bout: Scott Jorgensen vs. Jeff Curran
  • Featherweight bout: Hatsu Hioki vs. George Roop

Preliminary card (Facebook)

  • Middleweight bout: Dustin Jacoby vs. Clifford Starks
  • Middleweight bout: Chris Camozzi vs. Francis Carmont
  • Lightweight bout: Ramsey Nijem vs. Danny Downes
  • Light Heavyweight bout: Brandon Vera vs. Eliot Marshall

Preliminary card (Spike TV)

  • Featherweight bout: Tyson Griffin vs. Bart Palaszewski
  • Lightweight bout: Dennis Siver vs. Donald Cerrone
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~ by Troy Erickson on October 29, 2011.

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