Penn retired after losing to Frankie Edgar in July of 2014. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015, but then decided he wasn’t done yet, returning to the Octagon earlier this year in a losing battle against rising talent Yair Rodriguez.
Siver ended his own two-fight skid, but kept Penn sliding down the wrong path in their fight in Oklahoma City.
Penn started strong, quickly taking the center of the Octagon and establishing his jab in the first half of round one. The only problem was that once he established his jab, he didn’t do much to build on it. Siver instead created his own momentum by using his jab to set up his patented spinning back kick.
Penn appeared to get back in his rhythm by the end of the first frame, but was still doing little more than picking at Siver with his jab.
Siver stepped up the pace in round two, mixing an ever-increasing array of techniques into his attacks. While he continued to land his spinning back kick, Siver began to target Penn’s lead leg with low kicks. Just when Siver appeared to be taking control, however, Penn landed several stiff jabs, one of which he followed with an uppercut that put Siver on his backside.
Penn stood over Siver, but had to fend off the German’s armbar attempt, eventually dropping to the canvas in side control. Though he had a strong position, Penn did little with it as the round wound down.
Siver opened the flood gates in the final round, attacking Penn’s lead leg with a barrage of kicks. Penn began to limp on the leg and then drag it around the Octagon, as Siver continued attacking at a furious pace, rocking the Hall of Famer with punch combinations and several left kicks to the head. He couldn’t put Penn away, but it was the dominant effort that Siver needed to put a stamp on the fight in the final minutes.
Although one judge scored the fight a 28-28 draw, the two others saw the fight for Siver, awarding him scores of 29-28 and 29-27, which amounted to a majority decision in the German’s favor.
“It was a huge, huge honor for me to fight against BJ,” Siver said after his hand was raised. “He is a legend in the sport. And of course it feels great to win against BJ, against a hero of the sport.”