In what is possibly one of the most surprising fights to be announced in recent years, former lightweight champ BJ Penn will again face former welterweight champ Matt Hughes. The two split their previous meetings, but with Penn fighting at lightweight and both entering the tail end of their career, this fight wasn’t on anyone’s radar. The rubber match will be held at UFC 123 on November 20th at the palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Penn won the welterweight belt from Matt at UFC 46 in the very first round by rear naked choke. He was dominating Hughes the first two rounds of their re-match until he proclaims he sustained a rib injury somewhere in the second round. In the third round Hughes landed a nice takedown and passed into a wrestling crucifix position, gaining a TKO by strikes to retain the belt.
Matt Hughes is 45-7 in Mixed Martial arts and is riding a very impressive win streak over three Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts. BJ Penn is 15-7 and is coming off two unanimous decision losses over the same fighter, Frankie Edgar.
Keys to the fight:
Penn will need to change things up a bit, coming into his fight with Hughes without motivation could spell disaster. A lot of his fans are wanting a change of camps to possibly progress his great skill set to new wave of great MMA fighter’s styles. Team blackhouse has extended an invitation and that might be the best option for him.
During the fight he will need to keep the fight standing and hit Hughes fast and hard to keep him for scoring the takedown and wearing BJ down. Hughes is not the best striker and BJ can very well pick him apart for the length of this fight, but he will need to be in great shape this time, both mentally and physically.
Hughes will have the size advantage in this fight and has a very good game plan mapped out for him after the GSP-Penn 2 fight and the two Frankie Edgar fights. He will need to mix things up, work the body a lot and put BJ on his back. If Hughes does that he can grind Penn out of thinking he can win the fight, and then pour it on hard for the finish. Matt has all the tools in his bag to win this fight and has shown in his recent fight he’s far from done.
The UFC can easily sell this fight; it really sells itself with the history between the two. The winner will most likely still be far off from Georges St-Pierre’s belt with many other top-tier fighters in the welterweight division.
Should Penn secure a win over Hughes, look for him to permanently move to 170.
This is defiantly a great fight in the makings and settles the grudge between the two.