UFC’s Australia outing was a little heavy on the filler bouts, but the B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch headliner was relevant to the welterweight big picture and presented a very interesting stylistic match-up. Here’s how it all went down:
Zhang Tiequan def. Jason Reinhardt via submission (guillotine choke), round one
Anthony Perosh def. Tom Blackledge via submission (rear naked choke), round one
Nick Ring def. Riki Fukuda via unanimous decision
Alexander Gustafsson def. James Te-Huna via submission (rear naked choke), round one
Ross Pearson def. Spencer Fisher via unanimous decision
Kyle Noke def. Chris Camozzi via submission (rear naked choke), round one
Brain Ebersole def. Chris Lytle via unanimous decision
Dennis Siver def. George Sotiropoulos via unanimous decision
Michael Bisping def. Jorge Rivera via TKO (punches), round two
B.J. Penn draws Jon Fitch (majority draw – third judge scored it for Fitch)
- Really easy win for Zhang Tiequan. I can see the UFC feeding him a can just to get him off on the right foot because Dana White has been vocal about his desire to enter the Chinese market–Tiequan is key for that. But let’s hope they don’t keep matching him up with marks just to bloat his record. No offense to Jason Reinhardt, but he does not belong in the Octagon.
- Even though he squeezed through with a gift decision, Nick Ring really seemed to be showing some ring rust after his knee surgery layoff. Either that or big show jitters. I’ll look forward to the Canadian’s next fight, hopefully we’ll see him back in form.
- Ross Pearson is a really good technical striker. Tight combinations, doesn’t telegraph or wind up, and varies his strikes, hitting upstairs and downstairs and back again.
- Just when you thought George Sotiropoulos was on his way to a title shot, Dennis Siver shows up with some great takedown defense. Sotiropoulos is still a major player–you can see how he smartly adjusted his technique on his feet and made this a competitive striking match after his takedowns failed–but he maybe needs to work on his wrestling and make his shot more explosive and dynamic.
- Despite B.J. Penn hinting that he may be approaching retirement, this fight shows that old dogs can still learn new tricks. Did ANYONE ever expect Penn to be working his takedowns and clinch work so hard? Jon Fitch certainly didn’t. I hope Penn sees this as a victory of sorts, even if he didn’t walk away with the W.
- Fitch did look a bit smaller thanks to his vegan diet, but he seemed as energetic as ever. He also still dwarfed and overpowered Penn on the ground once he got him down in the third.
- If GSP beats Jake Shields and bounces out of the welterweight division, is Fitch vs. Penn II a viable championship fight? What do you think happens to Penn and Fitch after this draw?