The UFC’s Independence Day weekend spectacular comes to a close Sunday night with a rematch between two of the greatest lightweight champions the promotion has known. Frankie Edgar, the man who dethroned BJ Penn for the lightweight title, and then successfully defended it will face BJ Penn for a third time but this fight will take place at featherweight.
This fight will be Frankie Edgar’s third fight at featherweight and Penn’s first. The UFC odds makers aren’t giving BJ Penn much respect in this fight as they’re willing to pay out $350 for every $100 risked on Penn. If bettors want to take the favorite Edgar, they’ll need to risk $500 to win $100.
B.J. Penn +350
Frankie Edgar -500
At media day, there were a lot of questions directed towards Penn as to whether he requested this fight or if Dana White had coaxed him off the islands of his native Hawaii. Penn firmly insisted that the come back was purely his idea. We’re not so sure, Penn has been money in the bank for the UFC throughout his career and having him fight on cable television on a non-traditional fight day could be a ratings ploy.
In their first two fights, Edgar danced and boxed his way past Penn without much of a response from Penn. That was almost 4 years ago, since then Penn hasn’t done much, sure there was the 21 second KO of Matt Hughes but Hughes was one fight away from retirement. Then there was the majority draw against Jon Fitch should have by all accounts been a W for Fitch. Penn then fought and showed poorly against Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald.
Penn has just one win in his last six fights. Add to the fact that Penn’s last three appearances in the UFC were fought at welterweight as he enjoyed doing despite his lack of success. He’d fight at welterweight because he hated the weight cuts to get down to 155lbs so a cut to 145lbs should raise some eyebrows.
Frankie Edgar is always in top condition, he’s still young and he hungers for another title fight. He made Penn look human in their first fight, his strategy was executed perfectly, and in their second, Edgar looked even better. He has the blue print to beat Penn and with several title fights under his belt since their last meeting, he should be sublimely confident in this third fight.
As great as Penn was in his career, his fight against Frankie Edgar stinks of a fighter looking for one last big payday and a promotion squeezing the last bit of star power out of their former champion. Barring Penn finding a fountain of youth, look for Edgar to beat Penn and perhaps finish him before the final round.