Favorite Fight Write-Ups
UFC 63: Hughes vs. Penn
The upcoming rematch between Matt Hughes and BJ Penn should prove to be one of the most personal, exciting matches of the year.
Of course there are those who say it was a fluke the last time, or BJ just got lucky, or Matt just slipped and BJ took advantage of it. Either way, round two should settle the score, and possibly silence some of the critics.
Hughes fans and Penn fans alike can’t deny that this is a match made in Mixed Martial Arts heaven. Sure, Matt has dominated every opponent he’s faced since Penn. But it was Penn that beat him. If any pro-Hughes fan wants to argue that Penn has been out of the UFC, and can’t hang with the champ anymore, watch the GSP fight.
Naturally, both fighters have come a long way since they last threw leather at each other. BJ, content with his belt, left the UFC to fight in less green pastures. Although he wasn’t in the same organization, he was still the same dynamic fighter. He compiled numerous wins over bigger opponents in various circuits, and even won a few more titles. But after his last two fights, BJ’s in need of a win. Matt, however, became a new fighter. Not in terms of style or technique, but in dominance and perseverance. He left the Octagon with a bad taste in his mouth after losing his title. It made him hungrier, and his work ethic and determination caused his training regiment to sky-rocket. He’s successfully defended his title (won back by a first round arm bar to Georges St. Pierre) 3 times, as well as winning 2 non-title bouts. Not to mention the brutal stoppage of the legendary Royce Gracie; which brings me to my next point.
Styles make fights. We’ve all heard it before and for the most part, it’s true. Take Chuck and Babalu, for instance. Chuck being the most devastating knockout artist in the UFC, drastically contrasts the brilliant jiu-jitsu skills of Babalu Sobral. Therefore, in UFC 62 Chuck blasted Babalu in the first round. Chuck’s striking was so superior; Babalu didn’t even have a chance to work his ground game.
Things won’t be so similar in this fight, though. Actually, when comparing techniques and skills, Matt and BJ are fairly similar. That should prove to be an exciting factor in this fight. With Matt primarily focused on big slams followed up by ground and pound, and BJ being a master of jiu-jitsu, we can look forward to a ground war that even Patton would applaud. Don’t expect that to be the only scenario, though. This is an assault from all angles.
We’ve all seen Matt’s fights. Not one of them has ended by a stand up knockout. His opponent, however, has ended many a fight with violent, lightning fast barrages that could be missed in the flash of a camera. That ability, plus his exceptional jiu-jitsu skills, makes him extremely dangerous. Are those too many dimensions for Matt to defend? We’ll see. Matt’s strength is obviously a huge advantage. This is a guy who trained for just two weeks before fighting “The Muscle Shark” Sean Sherk, and dominated him. He says the best defense of technique is strength, and demonstrates that frequently. So it’s quite possible that he’ll foil any of BJ’s submission attempts by simply picking him up, and slamming him on his head. Ask Carlos Newton about that.
Despite both fighter’s advantages and disadvantages, it’s a dead heat. When one weakness is exploited, another strength or skill will be demonstrated to counter it. Once it goes to the ground, both fighters will have equal opportunity to end the fight. But until that happens, look for fast combos from BJ, and big takedown attempts from Matt. Who knows, Matt said in a recent interview that he’s an aspiring knockout artist. So he might come out swinging. If so, this fight has potential to be the most spectacular display of MMA action we’ve ever seen.
With both fighters being such high caliber competitors and mixed martial artists, there’s only one thing to say.
Let the best man win.
That's an article i wrote before 63. What's everyone's favorite MMA website and/or MMA journalist?