UFC 101... Silva-Griffin or Penn-Florian?
With all the hype around Fedor Emelianenko and UFC 100 fallout it’s easy to forget about this weekend’s UFC 101. That would be a mistake. I think this is a solid card. It’s not as stacked as 100, but it should be a very entertaining show.
Although just as with UFC 100, I think the main event isn’t the featured bout. Kenny Florian challenging B.J. Penn for the lightweight championship is the main event while Anderson Silva’s fight with Forrest Griffin will have to settle for the rung below.
Florian and Penn should be a great fight. It will be really interesting to see how Penn looks in this bout. I’ve waffled on this one more than a few times. I could definitely understand if Penn wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him in the past, as he’s coming off a disappointing and controversial loss. He’s also getting to the bottom part of his career and won’t be around forever.
Still, it’s B.J. Penn ... fighting at lightweight. It’s one thing when he moves up a weight class or two for a major fight, but he’s at his best at lightweight. He’s been overwhelmingly impressive at 155 and even though I think Florian is the best the weight class has to offer, it’s just so hard to go against Penn.
With Silva, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen him at the top of his game. He’s been efficient in handling two lesser opponents, but it’s been less than enthralling television. Forrest Griffin is an underrated fighter, which is insane because he’s a consensus top-five light heavyweight and is one fight removed from winning the championship. The man’s won two straight Fight of the Night honors and he’s going against one of the most feared strikers in the sport.
Griffin will not back down like Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. This could be a very interesting fight, even if it doesn’t stay standing. Silva, who some would contend is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, has a lot to prove in this bout. Which, again, is insane for someone who is undefeated in the Octagon and is a champion.
Still, knocking out James Irvin at 205 is different from facing someone of Griffin’s caliber. This is the type of fight Silva deserves as there’s no one in his division, save for a rematch with Dan Henderson, that can deliver a match of this caliber.
I’m excited to see how Penn looks at 155 again, but I have to think the Griffin-Silva fight is more intriguing and more meaningful overall.