UFC 137 Fight Card: Who is the Better Grappler, BJ Penn or Nick Diaz?

Will AndersonCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2011

UFC 137 has turned into a card filled with more dramatic twists and turns than the autobahn.

First, you have Nick Diaz being his usual unpredictable self and skipping out on pivotal promotional press conferences which forced UFC president Dana White's hand and initially dropping the Stockton product from both the title fight and the card all together. 

Next, after some resourceful thinking, you have a quick switcheroo of fighters with in the main and co-main events to produce an even better presentation than was initially imagined. 

Now, in the most dramatic and probably devastating impacts to the UFC 137 card, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has bowed out of his upcoming fight with Carlos Condit due to an MCL tear suffered during training. 

With Condit shelved till GSP heals up, the bout between B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz has now been elevated to main-event status. (Does this mean that Kongo vs. Mitrione will serve as a co-main event? Yikes.)

While the GSP vs. Condit matchup was serving as the main event up until today, many hardcore MMA fans really touted the Penn vs. Diaz fight as the true main event, and I have to agree. In this fight, you have two formidable and scrappy fighters who aren't afraid to go to work on their opponents. 

Diaz's punches-in-bunches style of standup could serve to irritate Penn enough that this fight could take to the mat pretty early, and this is where the debate begins as to who would have the advantage.

Both fighters have solid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, but it is arguable that surprisingly, Diaz might be the one with a slightly higher advantage. Diaz's style of BJJ has a certain level of aggression to it. He attacks from all angles trying to go for the submission.

Meanwhile, B.J.'s skill, while legendary, has mainly been focused on taking an opponent's back for the rear naked choke. 

In addition, as the taller and bigger fighter, Diaz should have a significant advantage should he be able to gain top control. At UFC 94, GSP was able to use his size advantage to smother and frustrate Penn, so a more aggressive fighter like Diaz should be able to capitalize. 

Another great item to take note of is that Diaz is a cardio machine. Outside of MMA, he participates in triathlons for fun, making him someone who can go at a pace that Penn who's conditioning often comes into question might not be ready for. 

While both Penn and Diaz disciples may choose their sides, the one thing for sure is that they will be in for a great treat this coming Halloween weekend.