There's been a distinct lack of animosity in the build-up between B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz.
Friends Fighting Friends
Diaz seems almost to idolize Penn, and respects him for his aggressive fighting style and technical skills. More than that, Penn trained with Ralph Gracie, and so Diaz identifies Penn as being from the same training lineage as himself.
Having trained with Penn before, Diaz wishes that he didn't have to fight him.
Penn shares the feeling, but unlike Diaz, is far more open to fighting former training partners, putting aside that friendship for the sake of a fight that the fans want to see.
Enter Cesar Gracie
Thankfully, Diaz's trainer and surrogate father, Cesar Gracie, is here to provide some much-needed tension to the fight.
Penn and Diaz were both initially hesitant to take the fight, but Gracie pushed for it. On the one side, Gracie's influence convinced Diaz to take a fight that he never really wanted. On the other side, when Gracie denied pushing for the fight, he started a dispute between Penn and UFC president Dana White.
Since then, Gracie has been pushing for the fight to be extended to five rounds, which would favor Diaz, who is famous for his cardio. Penn didn't like that very much, and has since said that he's willing to fight Gracie for five rounds any time he wants.
Although Diaz might not read the news, it'll be interesting to see how he handles the idea that Penn would fight his trainer. Diaz's fierce loyalty to his trainer might finally get him to see Penn as a threat, rather than as a kindred spirit.
Why This Fight Will Be a Bloody War
Despite any feelings of brotherhood, this fight is literally going to be a bloody war, and I'll tell you why.
We know that both Penn and Diaz fight with an aggressive style, but more than that, they're both involved in a lot of bloody battles.
On one side of the Octagon, we have Diaz, whose skin is extremely prone to getting cut. He was once stopped as a result, losing his first encounter with K.J. Noons due to a bloody gash that could have obstructed his vision.
On the other side of the cage, we have Penn, who is notoriously good at cutting up his opponents. Penn's fights with Joe Stephenson, Sean Sherk, Diego Sanchez and Georges St-Pierre (the first fight) were all bloody messes.
It doesn't matter if it's a with a fist, elbow or kick (or thumbnail)—Penn's entire body is a sharp object.
I know that Diaz has had surgery to help alleviate his propensity for getting cut, but that didn't stop Daley from cutting him open in their fight, and Penn hits with far more volume than Daley.
Expect a high-paced and competitive battle ultimately ending with a third-round TKO victory for Penn due to cuts.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!