The first UFC event of 2017 will feature B.J. Penn in the main event, as he takes on featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez. Before that happens at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, let’s go back to August 8th, 2009. UFC 101 was the promotion’s first event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, back when they had titles like “Declaration” to promote their cards. In the main event, Penn defended his 155 lbs strap against Kenny Florian, who famously yelled “I want BJ’s belt!” after choking Joe Stevenson out at UFC 91. Penn had just lost to Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight belt, thus denying him the ability to call himself a simultaneous two-division champion. Florian had won 6 in a row to earn himself a 2nd shot at becoming lightweight champion.
This fight wasn’t even close. Penn was at his prodigious best and used Florian’s favored submission, the rear-naked choke, to put him away late in round 4.
You can watch the video at the top of the page. Here’s Brent Brookhouse’s play-by-play of the final round:
Round 4-Penn catches Kenny early again. Big takedown by Penn and he is landing elbows to Florian's head. Penn is just grinding away and landing shots from half guard. Penn gets to full mount and Kenny is just covering up as he eats shots. He takes the back but goes back to mount. Now Kenny gives up the back again. Choke is sunk in and Kenny is forced to tap out. I didn't have Penn losing a second of that fight. BJ Penn wins by submission (rear naked choke), round 4.
And here’s the BE community’s reaction:
UFC Fight Night: Penn vs. Rodriguez airs live on Fox Sports 1 at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT on Sunday, January 15th.