There is a lot to talk with the recent unfortunate news that Georges St-Pierre has pulled out from his UFC 137 bout with Carlos Condit due to a knee injury. Dana White has announced that the co-main event between B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz will now move into the headlining position, but frankly, that alone isn't enough to salvage the card.
B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz Should Be Five Rounds
When the UFC made the move to change non-title main events from three rounds to five rounds, the announcement was met with almost universal approval from hardcore MMA fans.
Great fights deserve five rounds, and sometimes when two great fighters meet, it takes five rounds to really turn a decent fight into a truly great one.
The Edgar vs. Maynard trilogy wouldn't have been great without those two extra rounds, and fights like Jackson vs. Machida, Penn vs. Fitch and Jackson vs. Evans might have actually had a chance at greatness had they been contested over five rounds instead of three.
Penn vs. Diaz is one of those great fights that deserves the dignity of five rounds, and really, those extra two rounds really add far more intrigue.
In this writer's opinion, Penn is a superior boxer, wrestler and BJJ player, and Nick Diaz's only really big advantage over Penn is his renowned conditioning.
I greatly favor Penn in a three round fight and think that he'll easily win the first two rounds before conditioning becomes a big issue. But because Diaz is a highly durable fighter, contesting the fight over five rounds makes the fight far more interesting, and a Diaz victory far more possible.
The only real negative is for bettors who have put money on Penn, counting on Penn to be the better fighter over three rounds.
UFC 137 Needs a New Co-Main Event
While B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz is a serviceable main event, the loss of GSP and Condit seriously damages the overall value of the pay-per-view card to the point where simply moving up a fight from the undercard isn't satisfactory.
If the UFC wants to salvage the card and make it worthy of hard-earned fan dollars, they should seriously consider adding a new co-main event.
Josh Koscheck has stepped up by offering to fight Condit, but that fight can't really happen.
The UFC needs St-Pierre to fight as frequently as possible, and while putting a potential title challenger on the sidelines might seem wasteful, it's better than waiting another two months for a new challenger to emerge if St-Pierre can return to action in that time line.
Still, White should consider inserting Koscheck or another high-level fighter in there somewhere, because UFC 137 needs help.