UFC 137: Penn vs Diaz Preview and Predictions

UFC 137: Penn vs Diaz
October 29, 2011, Pay for View
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nevada

This has been a jinxed event from the start although Zuffa has done everything in it’s power to salvage it and to it’s credit, offers a pretty damn good card. The original main event was Nick Diaz vs Georges St Pierre until Diaz went inexplicably awol for a couple of important pressers. He was replaced by Carlos Conduit who was in the co-feature with BJ Penn. Last week GSP strained a knee training and Penn/Diaz was moved into the feature. Diaz stirred things up at the weigh-in by getting in Penn’s face and the two almost came to blows so here we are on fight night.

BJ Penn (-150) vs Nick Diaz (+120) Welterweights

This could be a great fight, particularly after the fireworks at the weigh-in. Both are excellent BBJ practioners and both are very good stand up fighters. Penn’s positives are his big fight experience and gameplaning. His negative is questionable cardio and he’ll be at a significant height and reach disadvantage here. Diaz runs triathalons for fun between fights so cardio won’t be in question here. His downside is that he hasn’t faced the same type of competition as Penn and his wreckless fighting style. He won’t survive a mistake against Penn, especially early on. In a virtual toss up, SB#3 is calling for Nick Diaz in a unanimous decision. Diaz is a non-stop worker that is good on his feet or on the mat and a rare MMAer that does excellent body work. Penn just 3-3-1 in his L7 and just 6-5-1 in his L12. Diaz wear’s down the Hawaiian to grind out the 15-minute decision.

Cheick Kongo (+110) vs Matt Mitrione (-140) Heavyweights: Kongo by Decision

Matt “Meathead” Mitrione is an ex-Purdue football player who played briefly with the Giants and Vikings. He’s 5-0 in his MMA career but takes a huge step up in class here vs veteran Cheick Kongo. Mitrione is a big tough guy with a granite chin but his ground game is not much and he faces a beast in Kongo. French Congolese by birth, Kongo packs a big punch and is the onlt fighter to go the distance with Cain Velasquez. The best thing about the big guys is the big boom and both these guys have dynamite in their hands. Mitrione is a tough guy but this might be a touch much too early. The more experienced Kongo pounds out a unanimous decsion.

Roy Nelson (-250) vs Mirko Flipovic (+175) Heavyweights

Cro Cop is well past his time and currently on his goodbye tour picking up check after check. The big left foot and leg whips are a thing of the past and he’ll have to rely on his savvy to last all three rounds here. Roy “Big Country” Nelson has all kinds of talent and could be a force in the division if he would only train. In a virtual loser leaves town match, Nelson came in at a soft looking 256 rather than the lean and mean 245 predicted by his camp. Still, he is facing a spent shell and might not need much to get a win here. That said, it would be in his best interest to take care of his business here and look impressive in front of a room of doubters and haters. Nelson by second-round TKO.

The rest of the card

Scott Jorgenson (-550) vs Jeff Curran (+375) Bantamweights: Jorgenson by KO

Hatsu Hioki (-140) vs George Roop (Even) Featherweights: Hioki by KO

Donald Cerrone (-240) vs Dennis Siver (+190) Lightweights: Siver by Decision

Tyson Griffin (-450) vs Bart Palazewski (+375) Catchweight 148, Griffin failed to make weight: Griffin by Decision

Brandon Vera (-600) vs Eliot Marshall (+450) Light Heavyweights: Vera by decision