On Aug. 8 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Penn., the Ultimate Fighting Championship visits the "City of Brotherly Love" with UFC 101: Declaration.
Today's topic of discussion is the two main events of the card, so let's get to it.
The BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian fight is one of the most anticipated fights in the lightweight division of the UFC to date.
Florian has not lost a fight since his title loss to Sean Sherk three years ago, and the kid keeps on getting better with every match.
The Boston native is on a six-fight winning streak since the Sherk loss, and he has finished five of his last six matches either by submission or knockout. The other win was a dominating performance over lightweight contender Roger Huerta.
But it was his next match against former No. 1 contender in the lightweight division, Joe Stevenson, in which Florian opened up a lot of eyes, when he choked out the TUF 2 winner in the first round.
The Stevenson victory showed the MMA world just how much "K-Flo" has grown as a fighter since coming off of season one of The Ultimate Fighter. His striking game has gone to another level since he went under the training of fellow Bostonian Mark Dellagrotte, and it is the perfect setup for his always solid ground game.
But is Florian confident enough to put away a fighter like BJ Penn on the ground?
There is a reason why Penn is the lightweight champion. Everybody knows that Penn's ground game is second to none, but it was his striking that won him the undisputed UFC Lightweight Title when he TKO'd Sean Sherk at the end of the third round at UFC 84. That victory showed the world that Penn has knockout power not only in his hands, but in his legs as well.
After suffering a devestating yet controversial loss to Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, Penn is now refocused and rededicated to becoming a legend in his division. The Lightweight Division is where Penn belongs, and he has all the tools to become the most dominant 155-pounder in UFC history.
But the road to becoming a legend starts with Florian. True, Penn has knockout power in his stand-up game, but if Penn wants to beat Florian, he will have to utilize his sick ground game to take him out. Florian is no joke on the ground, but Penn has that unbelievable flexability that basically transforms his legs into another set of arms.
Florian's Muy Thai is very good, and his razor sharp elbows can cut a fighter, making the referee stop the fight. Penn does not want to lose his title because of a nasty cut, which Florian is known to hand out.
Florian has to make sure he does not give his back to Penn, because it will be only a matter of time until Penn will snake out a submission.
It is very hard to pick a winner out of these two fighters. If the fight goes to the ground, Penn will win. If the fight stays on the feet, Florian will have the edge and could very well leave the octagon with the "W."
Anderson is jumping up to the Light Heavyweight Division once again to take on literally his biggest challenge in Former Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin.
Silva is one of those fighters that shows a dominance that is rarely seen, not only in the UFC, but in the entire MMA world as well. The Middle Weight Champion has beaten the best of the best in his division, and now he wants to test his dominance in another weight class, where fighters are naturally bigger than him.
It has been about a year since Silva fought at 205. He made quick work of James Irvin one minute into the first round, and the scary thing is that he made it look too easy. Irvin is a very tough fighter, and Silva walked right through him.
Silva is not going to that to Griffin.
The former Light Heavyweight Champion wants to be the first person to hand Silva his first loss in the octagon, and Griffin has all the tools necessary to do just that. The guy is a huge 205-pounder, he has great overall skills, and he does not know the meaning of the word "quit." He will naturally be stronger than Silva, which means he will be able to take the "Spider" to the ground.
But will he be able to maintain a dominant position?
The only round that Silva ever lost in the octagon was the first round against Dan Henderson. Henderson was able to take Silva down and stay on top landing descent shots, but Silva just got mad and choked out the former Olympian later on in the fight.
Forrest is bigger and stronger than Henderson, and he seems to perform better when he is the underdog in the fight. Nobody expected him to choke out Shogan Rua in UFC 76. And nobody expected him to take out Rampage Jackson in a five-round war, in which he won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
But will Griffin be the underdog in this fight? It will be very interesting to see if he will utilize his size and strength to his advantage.
How awesome would it be if Griffin knocked out Silva? That could be possible on Aug. 8.
Silva is a man that really has no weaknesses. His striking is sick, and his ground game is just as good.
He really is looking forward to this fight, since he had to go five full rounds in his last match against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace, Thales Leites. That match was literally Silva waiting for Leites to stand back up so he can kick his head off, but it never happened. Silva won the match unaminously, but it was a lackluster performance for the Middleweight Champion.
Rest assured, this fight will be anything but lackluster. Both fighters know how to put on a show and please the fans. Both fighters are at the top of their game and will be entering that fight with the intention to win on their own terms, not the judges.
Well, those are my thoughts for the main events for UFC 101. Now, it is time to hear your thoughts.
Do you think Penn will be able defend his title successfully? Or will we see a new champion in Kenny Florian? Will Silva continue his dominance in the octagon? Or will Griffin finally be the one to hand the Middleweight Champion his first ever loss in the UFC?
Until then, this is Balistik signing out.
"MMA ALL THE WAY!!"