BJ Penn is back, and he looks amazing. Anyone who’s seen his videos recently or recent photos has seen an amazingly chiseled and focused Penn. In stark contrast there’s the new look Rory MacDonald who looks to be auditioning for a new part in The Big Bang Theory. I guess he took the whole, “The UFC is going Metro” thing literally. It’s like we’re all finally going to see AC Slater beat up Zach Morris…but I digress. This is a motivated BJ Penn, not just wanting to shut up MacDonald, but to slap us all upside the head and remind us of the fact he’s BJ Penn, and we need to respect that fact. It’s not going to be easy though for Penn.
The Records: BJ Penn: 16-8
Rory MacDonald: 13-1
Past Five Performances: BJ Penn: 1-3-1 Lost to Nick Diaz, Draw with Jon Fitch, Defeated Matt Hughes, Lost to Frankie Edgar, Lost to Frankie Edgar.
Rory MacDonald: 4-1 Defeated Che Mills, Defeated Mike Pyle, Defeated Nate Diaz, Lost to Carlos Condit, Defeated Michael Guymon.
Amazing Strengths: BJ Penn: He’s BJ Penn. Unearthly dexterity and balance. Great Jab and Cross. Superb submissions.
Rory MacDonald: Very, very strong. Well-Rounded/Balanced skillset. Tristar gym training. Underrated standup.
Glaring Weaknesses: BJ Penn: At times seems uninterested and unmotivated. Runs out of Gas. Takes a lot of damage standing.
Rory MacDonald: Sense of fashion/style. Not as experienced as BJ Penn.
How it should unfold: I more or less feel like youth will be served in this one. BJ Penn looks terrific and is in tremendous shape, but he’s facing an uphill battle in Rory MacDonald. Rory has the blueprint to beat Penn, and trains with GSP. Rory will need to mind his business early and not let his emotions rule his actions, if he does, he could get hurt. If he fights at all smart, he’ll be able to keep Penn outside and jab him until his face is round, swollen and bloody.
Rory MacDonald has an amazing six and a half in reach advantage here, and he’ll use it. He will also be able to take Penn down, which is something few in the world can say. Penn has other world takedown defense, but if you saw MacDonald manhandle and throw Nate Diaz around, you know he has takedowns and slams for days here.
It hurts me to think that this will be a one sided affair, but sadly I don’t see it going any other way. Expect Rory to keep the fight standing early and unload on BJ Penn with jabs, crosses and kicks, until Penn fades, and then expect slams, takedowns and heavy shots from the top.
I know its risky business to underestimate BJ Penn, but sadly I see him being dominated in this contest, by a faster, longer, younger and better mixed martial artist. Rory absolutely will come out of this fight looking every bit the number one contender, but he will not fight GSP. He could however find himself in line for a huge clash with Johnny Hendricks.
Bottom Line: Textbook performance here leads to Penn being dismantled and bloodied standing, and then taken down and punished on the ground until MacDonald gets a TKO or a corner stoppage in what could likely be BJ Penn’s swan song. By Dan Rose for hov-mma