UFC 137: Diaz beats Penn convincingly
Former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz put on a dominating performance at UFC 137 Saturday night.
He won a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-28) over former UFC champion BJ "The Prodigy" Penn (16-8-2, 12-7-2UFC). Diaz (26-7, 7-4 UFC) pressured Penn throughout the fight with an arsenal of combinations in the main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.Diaz entered the cage looking all business, even skipping the customary hugging of your cornerman. Referee Josh Rosenthal had to hold both fighters back while giving instructions before the opening bell.
The fighters stood toe-to-toe with Diaz pressing the action and using his 6-inch reach advantage. Both fighters had good exchanges in the opening round. Penn was able to take Diaz down and briefly take Diaz's back, but he scrambled back to his feet. After the first round ended, Diaz shoved his shoulder into Penn’s face while heading back to his corner.
In the second round Diaz started to test Penn's cardio by applying pressure throughout the round. He used the “Stockton Slap,” a half jab that is used to keep a fist in your opponent's face. Diaz also mixed in body shots and combinations that started to swell the left eye of Penn.
In the third round, Diaz and Penn turned the fight into an old-fashioned brawl. Both fighters landed punches throughout the round. But at the end of the third round Diaz raised his hands and Penn walked to his corner looking rejected.
When ring announcer Bruce Buffer announced Diaz the winner, the Stockton, Calif., native raised his hands in victory. He stared into the camera and screamed at the top of his lungs, “Where you at George, where you at (expletive)?”Calling out the champion has now become the customary victory speech and a way of pressuring the UFC for a title shot. We saw Chael Sonnen calling out Anderson Silva at UFC 136 and earlier on this card, a half-joking heavyweight Roy Nelson called out the winner of the Heavyweight championship fight between the champion Cain Velaquez and Junior Dos Santos.
At the postfight press conference, Dana White announced that middleweight champion George St. Pierre has agreed to fight Diaz on the Super Bowl weekend fight card.
Diaz talked about getting the title shot at the postfight press conference. “I have to come off like that just to get a fight,” Diaz said. “You going to point the finger, make me the bad guy. I’m the bad guy now, I get to fight.”
The biggest surprise of the night had to be the announcement by Penn after the fight. Talking to UFC commentator Joe Rogan in the cage. "Hats off to Nick Diaz," he said to Joe Rogan. "He's the man. Joe, this is probably the last time you see me in here. I want to perform at the top level. That’s it Joe, I’ll shake your hand right now. I've got a daughter. I've got another daughter on the way. I don't want to go home looking like this."