Stand-Up: Sean Tompkins recently referred to B.J Penn as one of the best boxers in mixed martial arts and with Penn’s last performance against Sherk, its hard to argue with him. Penn was able to establish the jab and follow it up with hard straights and hooks throughout the fight until finally pummeling Sherk to the finish in the 3rd round. The first round of the Stevenson fight was relatively similar. The major difference between Sherk, Stevenson and St. Pierre is the obvious height advantage that St. Pierre has. Sherk and Stevenson top in at 5 foot 6 inches head well St. Pierre is 5 foot 10 inches. This height advantage will have Penn throwing upwards and because of this, give him difficulty in establishing the job. Yes, Penn was able to land some shots in the first fight and injure Pierre on the feet. Could that happen again? Absolutely.
Although St. Pierre too is no joke on the feet, he has yet to prove his boxing to be as technical and powerful and that of B.J Penn’s. Pierre has many TKO victories on his resume but only the Jay Hieron defeat happened by punches on the feet. For St. Pierre to be successful on the feet, he will need to use his long legs to keep Penn at bay and chop him down. If it becomes a boxing brawl Penn has the advantage, but if Pierre can stay calm and just keep chopping away, he can hurt Penn.
Advantage: Penn because of superior boxing
Ground- Game: There is no denying the Brazilian jiu-jitsu processes of B.J Penn. Few people are as good at submissions as him. He was the first American born winner of the world jiu-jitsu championships and this accomplishment makes him a threat on the ground at all times. This of course does not discount the ground credentials of St. Pierre. He received his purple belt under Renzo Gracie before receiving his brown and then black belt under famed MMA trainer Fabio Holanda. If this is a straight up jiu-jitsu match, Penn wins 99/100 times, but unfortunately for Mr. Penn it is not. In this article I have tried not to refer to the first fight as much as possible as both fighters have evolved since then and both have matured, however I would be ill-advised not to mention the fact that Penn at no time during the first fight was able to take Pierre down, and it was in fact Pierre that landed all of the takedowns, however since this is the ground game category, advantage Penn.
Advantage: Penn because of jiu-jitsu prowess.
So, at this point you’re probably asking yourself “Ok, Mr. Winfield, if Penn has the advantage standing up and on the ground, then why do you believe that Pierre is going to win this fight?” Well loyal readers, I’ll tell you why.
Athleticism: Lets face it; GSP is more than likely the most athletically gifted competitor (other than Roy Nelson of course) to ever grace the sport of mixed martial arts. Every time we see Pierre enter the octagon he comes in near perfect shape decked out with a body that appears to be sculptured like that of a Greek god. On top of this, fans have never seen Pierre gas out or get tired during a bout. During his 5 round clash with Jon Fitch, Pierre was able to bring the same amount of pressure in the 5th round as he was in the 1st, and outworked Fitch to a unanimous decision.
B.J Penn on the other hand is a completely different story. Numerous times we have seen Penn enter the octagon clearly not in top physical form and have seen him pay for this on a few different occasions. At 155 pounds, Penn was forced to be in great shape to make the weight and this is where we have seen him at his best. Penn has been a let down at anything more than 155 in the past, can he change this on Saturday? Can he be the same relentless B.J Penn we saw against Joe Stevenson and Sean Sherk? My answer is no. Many people claimed that Penn proved he had stamina against Sherk because he lasted 3 rounds, however Sherk did not push the pace the same way that St. Pierre will be doing. Sherk never attempted much of a takedown and therefore Penn did not have to exhume much energy outside of the strikes he was throwing. Penn did not prove to me at 155 that he has a new found stamina, and I don’t think he will have any more stamina at 170.
Advantage: St. Pierre
Wrestling/Takedowns: I’ll keep this short since I already referred to this above. Pierre trains with the Canadian Olympic Wrestling Team which brought home numerous medals as the recent Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Penn does not train with that caliber of wrestlers. The first fight as I mentioned was won because of Pierre’s ability to attain numerous takedowns and stop Penn from getting back to his feet. What reason is there to believe that Pierre cannot do the same thing this time around if he wants?
Advantage: St. Pierre
Mental factor: Many people would say that Penn will have the mental advantage as he is older and more experienced and Pierre has proven to be mentally weak in the past. Penn has made numerous attempts to get inside of Pierre’s head with his references of “fighting to the death” in this showdown. Pierre is no longer a rookie in the sport and knows that Penn likes to run his mouth to create sales for the fight. Penn is a businessman as much as a fighter and Pierre no longer will be afraid of him. I argue that Pierre if anyone has the mental advantage for the simple fact that he defeated Penn before. Penn can deny it as much as he would like, the fact of the matter is that Pierre secured takedowns and controlled Penn for 2 rounds of that fight and was able to win.
Mental advantage: St. Pierre
Pierre will be able to out work Penn, not only in the beginning but throughout the whole fight and it is because of this that I have chosen Georges St. Pierre to defeat B.J Penn.
Tags: Mixed Martial Arts, ufc 94