Two of MMA's biggest talents went a long way toward redeeming themselves from some recent missteps at UFC 101.
Lightweight champion B.J. "the Prodigy" Penn had seemed more like "the Prodigal" in recent months as he moved up to welterweight in a quixotic attempt to take Georges St Pierre's belt. Then after being beaten down in that fight, he compounded the damage by accusing GSP of cheating and taking it to court -- even bringing his mother.
Tonight Penn reminded fans why we care about him. Waiting out a game Kenny Florian, who was ranked #2 in the world in the USA TODAY/SB Nation MMA rankings going into the fight, Penn pounced in the fourth round and finished Florian.
Florian had been futiley working for takedowns throughout the fight, only to be taken down by B.J. Penn's first attempt of the fight. Former world jiu jitsu champ Penn finished it quickly on the ground.
Diego Sanchez will have his work cut out for him against a resurgent, better conditioned Penn.
The other troubled champ, Anderson Silva dismissed two disappointing performances by utterly out-classing Forrest Griffin. Silva brought back memories of Muhammad Ali as he fought with his hands down around his waist, bobbing and weaving and forcing the former UFC light heavyweight champ Griffin to miss. And when Silva did throw, it battered Griffin.
He dropped Griffin three times in the first round, finishing with a backing up jab reminiscent of Seth Petruzelli's infamous shot that finished Kimbo Slice. A distraught Griffin ran from the Octagon.
Dan Henderson vs Anderson Silva will now be a very marketable fight with Henderson coming off one of the most entertaining KO wins in UFC history and Silva looking more dominant than ever.
The rest of the card was disappointing, marred by a controversial early stoppage of the Johny Hendricks/Amir Sadollah bout. Hendricks tagged Sadollah with uppercuts and was firing away against a grounded Amir when referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight. Hendricks could be a very big factor in a stacked UFC welterweight division as his wrestling will match anyone's -- Koscheck, Fitch, Hughes, Trigg, you're all on notice.
Submission of the night – BJ Penn
KO of the night – Anderson Silva
Fight of the night – Forrest Griffin vs. Anderson Silva
UFC 101 draws 17,411 attendance for Pennsylvania state record $3.55 million live gate