B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch will meet in the main event at UFC 127, which takes place on Saturday, Feb. 26 at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia.
This welterweight bout will headline the pay-per-view card, which begins at 10 p.m. ET.
There is a great deal at stake in this bout, as UFC president Dana White has said that the winner of this fight will be the number one contender for the UFC welterweight title, currently held by Georges St. Pierre.
The build up to this fight has been fairly uneventful, as both fighters have made it clear that they respect the other, but that respect will not stop them from trying to finish the fight come Saturday night.
Penn (16-7-1), a two-time UFC champion is coming off a big win, knocking out Matt Hughes at UFC 123 in a mere 21 seconds.
Penn feels he is at a different point in his career than Fitch and that he holds the advantage in this fight. “Well me and Jon Fitch are in two different places in our lives. All these fighters are really, really, really concerned about one thing, winning, and it’s not that I’m not concerned about that, but I’ve been in their shoes for a long time that’s all I was concerned about too, but more concerned then winning I want to show everybody my fighting spirit, what happens when I step into the ring, it’s either going to be the best win, best loss or best draw you every f#^?ing saw,” Penn told mmasports.com.au. “I’ve stepped into that ring. It’s just that everybody’s in different places in their lives, he’s looking for title shot, George is looking for a title shot, all these people are looking to come up, some people looking to win to keep their job and this and that, I’m just looking to show my fighting spirit.”
Penn came to this new attitude right before the Hughes fight and it served him well in that bout.
To prepare for the grinding/wrestling style of Fitch, Penn brought Hughes into his training camp in Hawaii. "Me and Matt had great workouts, him trying to push me on the fence, him trying to take me down. I definitely think that was the best training partner I could've had for the fight," Penn told MMAWeekly.
"I know he isn't exactly like Fitch as far as height and boxing and kickboxing goes, but on the one area where Fitch definitely pushes all his opponents, his grinding them out and pushing them on the fence and taking them down, Matt really pushed me in those areas," Penn continued. "So I gained a lot of confidence working out with Matt."
Fitch (23-3-1) has only one loss in his 14 UFC bouts, a 2008 unanimous decision loss to welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
Fitch told UFC.com, “After the loss to St-Pierre in the title fight, I had to take a couple steps back and restructure what I was doing and who I am as a fighter. And that comes with growing pains because getting it done in training isn’t the same as getting it done in the fight. We’ve progressively seen moments of greatness in my past fights in the last two years, but they haven’t been right where they need to be yet. I think all the work and everything I’ve been working for is going to come together in this fight with BJ Penn.”
Fitch has often been criticized for his grinding style, and he is aware that some see him as a “boring fighter.” Fitch will look to change those opinions when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday night.
Fitch offered the following on what the fans can expect to see at UFC 127. “It’s more of what I’ve been doing, more refined, more pressure,” he said. “It’s tying everything together, having it flow more smoothly, and it will be more appealing to fans without me having to step out and be somebody other than myself.”
Fitch sees this fight as a chance to put his name alongside the all-time greats, “You’ve got to beat a legend to become a legend and I think it’s one of those wins that’s gonna elevate my career and my status in this sport as one of those names that’s not to be forgotten.”