UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz – Preview & Event Coverage
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 October 2011 12:03
Written by PunchDrunkGamer
Thursday, 27 October 2011 01:34
UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz – Preview & Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
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 he and Condit are expected to finalize things as soon as February.
Originally Condit was scheduled to face Penn, and Diaz was set to challenge St. Pierre, however after Diaz missed two press conferences and proceeded to ignore calls from his management and the UFC, was pulled from the main event. Condit was offered a title shot, then Diaz was offered to still fight on the card.
A pair of heavyweight bouts will air on the main card, including Cheick Kongo against Matt Mitrione and PRIDE‘s 2006 grand prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic against former IFL champion and The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson. Also on the main card bout, airing on pay-per-view, features the UFC debut of international star Hatsu Hioki against George Roop. Additionally, with the loss of the original main event the preliminary bantamweight contest between top-ten ranked Scott Jorgensen and highly-regarded Jeff Curran has been bumped to the main card.
There is also two bouts scheduled to air on Spike TV. The first is a featherweight bout between the always exciting Tyson Griffin and IFL and WEC veteran Bart Palaszewski. The second pairing features lightweight contenders Dennis Siver and Donald Cerrone.
Five additional bouts fill out the preliminary portion of the card. Middleweights Chris Camozzi and Francis Carmont are set to kick off the night, followed by The Ultimate Fighter 13 finalist Ramsey Nijem against Danny Downes. In the only light heavyweight bout of the evening Brandon Vera meets Eliot Marshall. Finally in a middleweight contest late notice replacement Clifford Starks meets Dustin Jacoby.
* After Nick Diaz (25-7, 1 NC) was pulled from his title shot against St. Pierre, fan outcry prompted the UFC to match him up with former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn (16-7-2). Diaz enters the bout after three successful defenses of his Strikeforce welterweight title. Penn returned to the welterweight division after his dethroning at lightweight and enters the bout winning only three of his last six bouts.
Diaz rejoins the UFC already owning a 6-4 record with the promotion. Currently on a ten-fight win streak, Diaz earned the Strikeforce welterweight title and has fought successfully in Japan. After stopping Marius Zaromskis to earn the Strikeforce title, Diaz stopped Hayato “Mach” Sakurai in Dream before avenging a previous loss due to a cut against K.J. Noons. Diaz then stopped Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos before winning a wildly dramatic and exciting one-round bout against Paul Daley.
Diaz’s prior UFC run saw him start at 4-1 with wins over Jeremy Jackson, Robbie Lawler, Drew Fickett, and Koji Oishi. He then hit a three-fight skid against TUF 1 winner Diego Sanchez, former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk, and Joe Riggs before exiting the promotion. He returned two more times with wins over Gleison Tibau and Josh Neer.
BJ Penn, who owns a 12-6-2 UFC record, revitalized his career at lightweight by submitting Jens Pulver and Joe Stevenson before stopping Sean Sherk with strikes to earn the UFC title. He returned to welterweight to rematch Georges St. Pierre, but called it quits between the fourth and fifth rounds. Returning to lightweight, Penn submitted Kenny Florian and stopped Diego Sanchez with a cut before.
Penn has struggled since then, losing his lightweight title and dropping back-to-back decisions to Frankie Edgar. A return to welterweight saw him end a trilogy with former UFC champion Matt Hughes by knockout, but most recently Penn fought to a draw against Jon Fitch.
PDG’s Match-Up of the Night
*In PDG’s Match-Up of the Night international star Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2) makes his long-awaited UFC debut against George Roop (12-7-1). Hioki enters the UFC as a Sengoku tournament finalist, former Shooto champion, former Sengoku champion, and former TKO champion. Roop enters the Octagon for his sixth UFC appearance.
Hioki is currently riding a four-fight win streak. After a highly-controversial decision loss to Michihiro Omigawa, Hioki won Shooto’s 143-pound title by out-pointing “Lion” Takeshi Inoue. He then stopped Jeff Lawson before out-pointing Marlon Sandro to earn Sengoku’s featherweight title. Most recently Hioki submitted Donald Sanchez in Shooto.
Hioki has won twelve of his last fourteen, only losing the controversial decision and drawing with Hiroshi Nakamura. Hioki owns impressive victories over Mark Hominick (2), Jeff Curran, Ronnie Mann, Rumina Sato, Hideki Kadowaki, and Joe Pearson.
Roop has been on life-support while signed with Zuffa since his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 8. Roop lost at the show’s finale in a split decision to cast mate Shane Nelson before edging out David Kaplan. A submission loss to George Sotiropolous saw Roop exit the UFC.
After a win in a smaller show Roop, who owns a 2-3 UFC record, signed with the WEC. Roop lost his promotional debut to Eddie Wineland before fighting to a draw with Leonard Garcia. Roop then scored a major knockout win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung before Zuffa merged the WEC into the UFC. Roop lost his return to the promotion by TKO to Mark Hominick before scoring the biggest win of his career in his most recent appearance by stopping highly-regarded Josh Grispi.
* The UFC isn’t pulling any punches with some excellent mid-card heavyweight bouts. French striker slash wrestler Cheick Kongo (16-6-2) takes on fan favorite TUF 10 alum Matt Mitrione (5-0). Kongo enters the bout after a dramatic comeback knockout over Pat Barry in his most recent appearance. Owning a 9-4-1 mark in the UFC, Kongo owns notable career wins over PRIDE’s 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Assuerio Silva, Antoni Hardonk, and Paul Buentello. Mitrione joined The Ultimate Fighter 10 without a pro record, and despite being eliminated from the show has shown growth in each of his subsequent fights, racking up a perfect 5-0 record in the UFC. After knocking out TUF 10 cast mate Marcus Jones, Mitrione scored a TKO win over “Kimbo Slice” Kevin Ferguson. Mitrione then won a unanimous decision over the always tough Joey Beltran before scoring a TKO over Tim Hague. Most recently Mitrione knocked out Christian Morecraft at UFC Live 4.
*The second heavyweight pairing PRIDE’s 2006 tournament winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (27-9-2, 1 NC) takes on former IFL champion and TUF 10 winner Roy Nelson (15-6). “Cro Cop” enters the bout on a two-fight losing streak after knockouts to Frank Mir and Brendan Schaub. Filipovic has struggled since impressively winning PRIDE’s tournament, only achieving a 4-5 record in the UFC. The Croatian owns notable career victories over former PRIDE champion Wanderlei Silva, Josh Barnett (3), Aleksander Emelianenko, Igor Vovchanchyn, Hidehiko Yoshida, Heath Herring, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Ibragim Magomedov. Nelson is also on a two-fight losing streak in decisions to Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir. Nelson is 2-2 in the UFC, winning The Ultimate Fighter 10 over Brendan Schaub before knocking out Stefan Struve. The former IFL champion owns notable career wins over Brad Imes, Mario Rinaldi and Antoine Jaoude.
UFC 137 Fight Card
B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz (Main Event)
Cheick Kongo vs. Matt Mitrione
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Roy Nelson
Hatsu Hioki vs. George Roop (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Scott Jorgensen vs. Jeff Curran
Preliminary Card (Spike TV):
Dennis Siver vs. Donald Cerrone
Tyson Griffin vs. Bart Palaszewski
Brad Tavares vs. Dustin Jacoby
Brandon Vera vs. Eliot Marshall
Ramsey Nijem vs. Danny Downes
Chris Camozzi vs. Francis Carmont