PHILADELPHIA -- B.J. Penn held
on to his UFC lightweight title, as he stopped Kenny
Florian by fourth-round rear-naked choke at UFC 101
“Declaration” on Saturday at the Wachovia Center.
Penn -- who lost out on being the first reigning two-division
champion in UFC history when he lost to welterweight king Georges
St. Pierre in January -- was adamant he would retain his
155-pound belt, and he did not disappoint.
Penn dominated the match from the opening bell, when he charged out
and took the center of the Octagon. Penn moved forward most of the
fight but made sure to stay out of the dangerous middle ground. He
either remained outside and neutralized Florian’s ability to use
his kicks or got in tight where he used uppercuts to batter the
challenger. Florian seemed to back off a bit after being buckled by
a right hook in the first frame. He threw a wild left hand that
Penn easily ducked before retaliating with a right hook that
staggered the Boston native. Penn followed up with a flying knee
and a flurry of punches as the opening round came to a close.
From there, Florian seemed reluctant to open up his striking game.
He was content to use movement to stay out of danger, as he tried
to score while clinching with Penn along the cage. He never did get
Penn into trouble, and his failure to secure one takedown sealed
his fate when he could not do any damage on the feet.
Penn changed it up in the fourth round. He pelted Florian with a
pair of right hands as they broke from the clinch along the cage.
He then picked up Florian and slammed him to the canvas, moving the
battle to the ground for the first time.
Penn landed in half-guard, where he battered Florian with short
elbows and softened him up for his eventual pass to mount. The
champion moved from mount to Florian’s back twice before securing
the fight-ending rear-naked choke at 3:54 of the fourth frame.
Florian tried to defend the submission, as he attempted to peel
Penn’s arm off the back of his head twice before finally tapping.
This marked his second chance at the lightweight title; he also
lost to Sean Sherk in
B.J. Penn submitted Kenny
For Penn, the win provided some redemption after his loss to St.
Pierre and the greasing controversy that followed it.
“When I woke up this morning, I thought, ‘I’ve been at this thing
for nine years. What the hell am I doing with myself?’” Penn said.
“And then I realized this is my dream since I was a kid to come
here and perform for the fans. I love you guys.”
UFC middleweight champion Anderson
Silva reinforced his standing as one of the greatest fighters
in the sport of mixed martial arts with a knockout win over former
UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest
Griffin just 3:23 into the first round. Silva made the feat
more impressive by moving up to 205 pounds to challenge
The crowd was squarely behind Griffin as the bout got underway, but
it soon became apparent that Silva was in a different class. He
dropped Griffin with a clubbing left hook only to let him back up
before staggering him with the same punch.
Silva then planted Griffin again with a straight left hand that
sent him careening to the canvas. This time the Brazilian held out
his hand in a gesture that looked as if he was looking to help him
up off the floor.
Silva, now in complete control, toyed with his foe, dropping his
hands, using only head movement to avoid punches. A wobbly Griffin
stepped into a jab that crumbled him to the mat for the final time.
Referee Kevin Mulhall stopped the onslaught before Silva could do
any more damage.
Silva, dogged after a pair of sluggish performances against
Cote and Thales
Leites, answered any and all questions about his ability.
“I want to fight against the best,” Silva said when asked after the
fight if he’d continue competing as a middleweight or light
heavyweight. “Whoever the best is at the time, that’s who I want to
Hendricks made short work of “Ultimate Fighter” winner Amir
Sadollah. Fighting for the first time in more than a year,
Sadollah rushed into a left hook that stunned him. Hendricks then
grabbed the back of Sadollah’s neck and battered him with
uppercuts. Sadollah fell to his knees, and Hendricks, who was
debuting in the UFC, continued punching until referee Dan
Miragliotta stopped the bout. Fans booed the intervention, which
may have been premature at 29 seconds.
Almeida showed improved takedown ability in his three-round
middleweight bout with former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Kendall
Grove. The jiu-jitsu specialist continuously took Grove to the
mat and passed to superior positions on his way to a dominating
shutout decision, 30-27 on all three cards.
Gracie disciple was in complete control throughout the bout
aside from a slick armbar attempt from his Hawaiian counterpart.
Grove latched onto Almeida’s arm from the bottom and nearly locked
up a submission early in the second round. The highly decorated
Almeida remained clam and wormed his way out of the hold, however,
then finished off the final round in dominating fashion.
Pellegrino used a swarming top game to stymie Josh Neer over
15 minutes and win a unanimous decision in their lightweight bout.
Neer tried to push forward in the early moments of each round but
repeatedly found himself fighting from his back, a position he
could not extricate himself from until the final 30 seconds of the
Pellegrino fought off numerous submission attempts, most notably an
armbar in the first round that he escaped by slamming Neer on his
head. He also bloodied Neer’s nose but otherwise didn’t mount much
offense from the top. However, the only damage Neer did came as the
fight drew to a close, when he swept Pellegrino and drew blood with
a series of elbows to the side of his head.
The judges’ cards all read 30-27 for Pellegrino, giving him his
third win in a row.
Riley defeated Shane
Nelson by unanimous decision, using effective, if not flashy,
striking to keep the Hawaiian off balance throughout the 15-minute
Riley was baffled after his March fight with Nelson was
controversially stopped in just 44 seconds. UFC matchmaker Joe
Silva felt strongly enough about the poor stoppage to rebook the
In the rematch Nelson could not muster much offense. He found
himself on the receiving end of Riley’s punches and a number of
high kicks that did not look to have caused much damage other than
on the judges’ scorecards, which all read 30-27 for Riley.
Riley’s finest moment came in the opening seconds of the second
period when he landed a left high kick that sprayed a sheen of
perspiration from Nelson’s brow.