UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz – Main Event Guest Panel Picks
This weekend the UFC wraps up October with a solid card, featuring former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn against former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz in the night’s main event. The main event was scheduled to feature UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre defending his title against former WEC champion Carlos Condit, while Penn and Diaz was to be the co-main event. However, injuries struck the Canadian and him and Condit are expected to finalize things as soon as February.
So here are the PunchDrunkGamer UFC 137: BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz Guest Panel Picks brought to you by J.R.’s amazing BBQ sauces, condiments and Beef Jerky!
Tito Ortiz (16-9-1, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion) – “I know that BJ is ready for this fight because I have been training with Jason Parillo for the last two weeks and he is expecting great things from BJ in this fight. He is in great shape and I know that he has been training his ass off for this fight and I am looking forward to BJ pulling off a win on Saturday night. That said Diaz is a great athlete, he runs triathlons and has great cardio. It is going to be a great fight.”
Jim Ross (WWE Hall of Famer) – “BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz is an intriguing contest featuring two highly skilled fighters. As in most great fights, there are more questions than answers going into this main event.
1. Will Penn be in top condition both physically and mentally? BJ has an amazing skill set and is a warrior but how hard was he pushed in his training camp where he is the alpha male and the ‘boss?’
2. Will BJ be in good enough physical condition to withstand what will likely be a torrid pace by Diaz?
3. Will BJ’s big match experience be the difference in this fight as the volatile and combustible Diaz is moving to a level/stage that he has yet to experience?
4. Diaz is an enigma and what Nick Diaz will fans see on Saturday night? The highly skilled, fiercely conditioned gladiator or the unpredictable ‘head case’ as many MMA pundits have described him?
5. Will Diaz be focused on fighting or will outside influences such as Nick’s payday, etc create a costly distraction?
Without question Penn vs. Diaz will be an exciting fight and if Diaz utilizes this fight as the opportunity that it is and Nick focuses strictly on what goes on inside the Octagon, Nick Diaz can win this fight. It’s obvious that the winner of this fight sets himself up for even bigger paydays in the future. Diaz fighting with a sense of urgency, desperation and desire to prove to the MMA world that he is what he says he is adds to the drama and anticipation of another great UFC main event. If this fight is controversy free, I will be shocked. Diaz wins because of his conditioning in a highly competitive, close decision.”
Pat Miletich (29-7-2, Former UFC Welterweight Champion, Miletich Fighting Systems) – “BJ Penn by decision because he will get the takedowns and grind on Diaz.”
Shayna Baszler (14-6, FCF Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix Champion) – “BJ Penn is close to unbeatable…….at 155. At 170 he breaks if the other guy sets the tone, and that’s what Diaz does. Diaz will dictate the pace and win this one.”
Ricky Lundell (Head Instructor University of Grappling in Utah) – “My bias opinion is BJ Penn is going to beat Diaz in all aspects of the game 🙂 No question Penn is the top of the food chain and is constantly working with the right people to get better.”
Jake Ellenberger (26-5, Currently on Five Fight UFC Win Streak) – “I have to say that BJ Penn will win by KO.”
Jesse Finney (6-1 MMA Record, Owner of Finney’s H.I.T. Squad Gym) – “I think this could turn out to be fight of the year. I see Diaz winning a 3 round decision with almost all boxing.”
George Roop (12-7-1, Ultimate Fighter Alum) – “I think that Diaz will finish Penn by TKO. I can’t tell you what round but Diaz is the bigger welterweight and he will use that to win this fight.”
Paul Bradley (18-3, Strikeforce & UFC Vet) – “This is a tough one to call. I’m going with Diaz by decision due to the height and weight advantage. This one is just to close to call.”
Elvis Sinosic (The King of Rock ‘n Rumble, 20+ Years in Martial Arts) – “This is a fight I’m excited to see. With GSP pulling out due to injury it is actually lucky that Diaz lost his title shot because he’d be without a fight right now if hadn’t blown the media conferences. I’m curious to see how Diaz does back in the UFC. He’s had a lot of success in Strikeforce and has looked dominant doing so. The question we have to ask is Diaz the big fish in the little pond? BJ is a great test for Diaz and an interesting clash of styles. BJ is a very talented fighter. He’s had varying success with his recent losses being to Frankie Edgar in two title fights (one defending and one challenging).
Diaz’s standup has grown in leaps and bounds. He has a very loose style which he has translated very well to MMA. He uses volume to overwhelm his opponents. He has a strong chin and great cardio so this strategy is custom built for him. He’s known for his great BJJ off his back. So he’s not concerned about being taken down as he is confident working off his back. Because of this his takedowns and takedown defense are not at the same level as his striking and grappling.
Penn is also known for his strong and technical boxing. He has great jiu-jitsu and is very comfortable off his back but much more successful when on top. BJ is also known for his great takedowns and takedown defense. Only GSP has been able to really overwhelm his wrestling in recent fights and GSP does that to everybody. In his last fight with Fitch he’s also shown that he can adapt his fight strategy (which it appeared he really didn’t do in some of his more recent fights) and go to where his strengths lay, his grappling. He also displayed in that fight high level wrestling in being able to take Fitch down.
If Penn comes in and tries to box with Diaz he will be in trouble. Though Penn has great technical boxing and fast hands, Diaz has the ability to make strong stand up fighters look less than stellar. Also doing this gives Diaz the opportunity to take the match into the later rounds where he will have an advantage due to his great gas tank and over whelming style. If Penn is smart he will come in and use his boxing to setup his takedowns on Diaz. His BJJ is strong enough that he won’t be submitted by Diaz (BJ’s strength is fighting from the top position). I don’t believe Diaz will have ability to submit or reverse BJ (unless BJ is hurt first with strikes). Diaz has shown in his earlier fights (and I do admit they were a while ago but he hasn’t faced any great wrestlers since leaving the UFC) that he can be stalemated by strong wrestlers with good BJJ defense. This strategy is custom made for BJ as he has great takedowns with even better BJJ.
I predict BJ will takedown Diaz, look to pass the guard, lay down some GNP and probably in the 2nd or 3rd round get the finish. I think it will either be a ref stoppage or possible submission when Diaz rolls over and BJ takes the back. BJ Penn for the victory.”
Tom Lawler (7-3-1) – “Got to go with Diaz.”
Scott Casber (Takedown Wrestling Radio) – “UFC 137 should provide fans with a good look forward and a fond look back as the aging greatness that is BJ Penn looks to return to success in the cage and Nick Diaz looks to continue his path of destruction. If attention is what Diaz craves well he’s got it by the barrel full with BJ. I’ll go against the betting man and go with Penn on this one. I see it going the distance though and it won’t be a cake walk for either competitor. Penn wins!”
Dr. John Fitzgerald (The Blood Doc) – “I am going with Diaz…. However, be careful on my advice, I probably have the worst record on the panel for picking these fights….lol.”
Aaron Rosa (16-4, UFC & Strikeforce Vet) – “I am rooting for Diaz to win.”
Anthony Njokuani (14-6-1, UFC & WEC Vet) – “Nick Diaz is going to win this fight.”
Joe Duarte (10-2, Top Strikeforce Prospect) – “Diaz by TKO or submission in the later rounds.”
Andy Main (5-1, Ultimate Fighter Alum) – “This is one of the most intriguing fights in a long time. Both guys are incredible fighters. I’m not usually a “favorite fighter” type of person but these two guys are legends in their own right. BJ has been my inspiration regarding pure skill and technique and Nick Diaz’s disregard for caution paired with his constantly evolving game is a real treat to watch.
I have to give Diaz the edge based on size, strength, and conditioning, however, Nick’s respect for BJ is also a different element that we haven’t seen in his recent fights. Going to be awesome to watch but I’ve got Diaz finishing in the last round.”