Penn, Sanchez headline sizzling card

Published 8:35 pm Saturday, December 5, 2009

UFC 107 this coming Saturday night is going to be the UFC’s rendition of the WEC. It’s going to feature four fast-paced, lightweight fighters who are known for non-stop action.

The event will be headlined by three-time defending UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn as he takes on Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez. Diego is as mean as BJ is cocky, which are two elements that should lead to a spirited bout.

After cutting his teeth in the UFC welterweight division for four years, Sanchez has risen through the lightweight ranks since moving down this year. Although he won The Ultimate Fighter 1 reality show as a middleweight, he has never won a UFC championship belt. UFC 107 will be his first shot at a title.

He’s got a daunting task against “The Prodigy” BJ Penn. Both fighters’ strengths are in Jiu-Jitsu, but an edge can be given to Penn with his uncanny dexterity and big fight experience.

One word can describe both fighters in the Kenny Florian vs. Clay Guida showcase

— relentless. Styles make fights and this one’s going to be a dandy.

It’s safe to say Clay Guida is knockout-proof. It’s a virtual certainty after looking at his 25-10 record and viewing this UFC fights. Guida’s only losses have come from decisions or submissions.

In his most recent bout, a June 2009 slugfest with Diego Sanchez, Guida took several point blank uppercut shots to

start off the bout. The ferocity of Sanchez’s opening barrage was astonishing yet Guida didn’t go down.

With that in mind, the cerebral Florian’s game plan should be to go for a submission, most likely a rear-naked choke which he’s adept at. It’s the obvious choice for Florian, who’s already slight in build and will not have the power to knockout Guida.

Another weapon Florian will probably employ are elbow strikes to the head. History has shown he’s quite proficient at landing them to create cuts that lead to wins by doctor stoppage.

The Zuffa owned UFC and WEC have only one weight class in common — lightweight. Since they’re under the same ownership one may wonder if they should cross-promote fights with each other.

The WEC has announced its intentions to start offering pay-per-view events. Perhaps to spark more interest in such an event, Zuffa could have one UFC fighter jump in the WEC cage to see what happens.

People would take much interest in watching WEC lightweight champion, Jamie Varner fight a UFC fighter like Tyson Griffin or Cowboy Cerrone fight Kenny Florian. Fans would love to see Ben “Smooth” Henderson fight UFC staples like Sean Sherk, Frankie Edgar, or even Clay Guida. The list of intriguing match-ups goes on and on.

These are bouts fans never get to see. If Zuffa did decide to cross-promote their two organizations, it could be like Major League Baseball’s interleague play. The novelty of presenting match-ups that never occur creates interest in itself.

There is some danger in this though. If the UFC were to defeat the WEC consistently, it could frame the WEC as an inferior organization. To maintain autonomy between the two organizations these bouts shouldn’t be for titles.

Zuffa has plenty of time to consider cross-promotion between the UFC and WEC. As baseball has shown, they’ve probably got decades before purists complain about interleague competition.

David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at

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