B.J. Penn throws a jab at Joe Stevenson during their championship bout at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In a night of quick fights and surprising stoppages, one thing remains the same: B.J. Penn is still that damn good.
Penn submitted former Ultimate Fighter contestant Joe Stevenson with a rear naked choke in the second round to claim the vacant UFC lightweight title and become the second fighter in history along with current heavyweight champ Randy Couture to win championship gold in two different weight classes.
The lively 8,412 inside the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England saw Penn surprise Stevenson with an uppercut that sent the California native down to the mat in the opening seconds. Penn pounced on his opponent but Stevenson was able to maintain his composure and survive Penn’s initial assault.
The former welterweight champion controlled Stevenson on the ground for the remainder of the first round, opening up a vicious cut in the middle of Stevenson’s forehead with just over a minute left in the round. Stevenson would end up donning a crimson mask for the rest of the fight.
The two had an even exchange on the feet to start the second stanza but that ended once Penn started to pick Stevenson apart with looping lefts and uppercuts. The bout was stopped at one point to have the doctor check Stevenson’s cut but the stream of blood avoiding Stevenson’s eyes already gave those watching the doctor’s answer.
Stevenson fell victim to another Penn (12-4-1) uppercut once the bout was restarted, signaling the beginning of the end for “Daddy.” Penn used punches and elbows to force Stevenson (28-8) out of position enough to be able to give up his back, which Penn quickly took without a second thought.
Penn was able to sink in a rear naked choke and Stevenson was forced to tap out without putting up much of a fight. The win finally gave Penn the UFC lightweight title in what was his third career attempt at the belt.
After the fight Penn acknowledged that he was trying to make his third try a successful one.
“Joe is a great guy,” said Penn. “I knew he was going to be tough, but I put everything into this. I wanted to make sure it was three times the charm and not three strikes you’re out.”
Penn also went out of his way to send former champion Sean Sherk a message now that Sherk will be challenging Penn in his first title defense later this year.
“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.
“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”
We will be going live at 1:00 PM EST with live results of UFC 80: Rapid Fire, which will take place live from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
UFC 80 features a lightweight championship bout between former welterweight title holder B.J. Penn and top contender and Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Joe Stevenson. Also on the card is a rematch between Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum and a welterweight clash between Marcus Davis and Jess Liaudin.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the afternoon and night.
Live results are shown after the jump.
Joe Stevenson weighs-in for UFC 74: Respect. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow afternoon’s UFC 80: Rapid Fire are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
MMA on Tap will start live coverage of the event starting at 1:00 PM EST tomorrow.
BJ Penn (154 lbs) vs Joe Stevenson (154 lbs)
Fabricio Werdum (247 lbs) vs Gabriel Gonzaga (255 lbs)
Jess Liaudin (170 lbs) vs Marcus Davis (169 lbs)
Wilson Gouveia (205 lbs) vs Jason Lambert (204 lbs)
Jorge Rivera (185 lbs) vs Kendall Grove (186 lbs)
Antoni Hardonk (244 lbs) vs Colin Robinson (238 lbs)
Paul Kelly (170 lbs) vs Paul Taylor (170 lbs)
James Lee (206 lbs) vs Alessio Sakara (206 lbs)
Per Eklund (155 lbs) vs Sam Stout (155 lbs)
MMA on Tap has learned that the father of former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin passed away yesterday due to a heart attack. All of us here would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Rich’s family and friends during this difficult time.
Diabate to Train with Team Quest
Cyrille “Snake” Diabate has announced that he will be spending some time in the United States to train with Dan Henderson and the rest of Team Quest’s Temecula, California franchise in preparation for his first fight on American soil.
Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling skills and takedown defense during his stay:
“This is exactly the kind of opportunity I need,” says Diabate. “America is where everything is happening right now, both fighting and training-wise. In the past I haven’t had to worry
about top level wrestlers trying to take me down. But now [with upcoming fights in American promotions], things will change.”
If Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling ten-fold, he certainly picked the right place…
Grove Fought High for First Six Fights
In a recent interview with Cage Potato, Kendall Grove admitted that he fought in his first six professional bouts high off of marijuana:
See, marijuana is a touchy subject. I’m a rock star — I’ve been smoking weed since I was in the 6th grade, I can openly say that. But I’m also clean when I fight. I cut that shit out — I’m a professional. Don’t get me wrong, my first six fights, I fought high, I fought stoned. But when you get to this level, you have to take responsibility. It’s your job. I stop doing that stuff three months out.
Thompson-Rogers, “Krazy Horse” Added to EliteXC Feb Card
ProElite’s Sam Caplan is reporting that a heavyweight bout between James Thompson and Brett Rogers has been added to the undercard of EliteXC’s next event on February 16th at the United Bank Arena in Miami, Florida.
Thompson will be making his EliteXC debut at the event. He was knocked out by Neil Grove in just 10 seconds at Cage Rage 22 in July. Rogers is coming off of a submission win over Ralph Kelly at EliteXC: Renegade.
Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett will also apparently compete on the undercard as well. Bennett has not fought since submitting Donnie Martinez with a rear naked choke at a KOTC event in October.
Eric Bradley of Team Takedown fame is expected to sign with EliteXC according to Sam Caplan. Rick Roufus has not been cleared by the California State Athletic Commission and will not fight Mark Kerr at WCO: The Return. Roufus has been replaced by Kauai Kupihea.
Joe “Daddy” Stevenson discusses his upcoming UFC lightweight title fight against B.J. Penn at UFC 80: Rapid Fire, his childhood growing up, and how he renovated Marc Laimon’s house along with Kalib Starnes and Kendall Grove with RawVegas.
Brian Knapp of The Fight Network is reporting that representatives from Xtreme Couture have confirmed that TUF alumni Kendall Grove and Jorge Rivera will face off in a middleweight bout at UFC 80 in January.
Contracts have not yet been signed but everything is expected to be taken care of and an announcement made next week.
Grove will be looking to rebound from his recent loss to Patrick Cote at UFC 74 where Grove was knocked down by a punch and then finished off with strikes with only seconds left in the first round. Before his first loss inside the Octagon, Grove was victorious over Ed Herman, Chris Price, and Alan Belcher in consecutive UFC fights.
Rivera has not fought since UFC 67 in February where he was knocked out by Terry Martin in just 15 seconds. Rivera is a UFC veteran who made his debut at UFC 44 in 2003 where he earned an unanimous decision over David Loiseau. He has only pieced together wins over Dennis Hallman and Edwin Dewees while falling to Lee Murray, Rich Franklin, and Lee Murray inside the Octagon.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has announced that all ten fighters tested for performance enhancing drugs after UFC 74 passed with flying colors. The results of the tests for drugs of abuse will be released in the coming weeks.
The ten fighters that were tested: Patrick Cote, Randy Couture, Alberto Crane, Gabriel Gonzaga, Kendall Grove, Antoni Hardonk, Roger Huerta, Josh Koscheck, Frank Mir, and Georges St. Pierre.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released the list of medical suspensions stemming from UFC 74.
Randy Couture’s broken arm is not on there due to the fact that the injury was found a day after the post-fight examination. Couture told NSAC doctors that his arm was only bruised but found out through x-rays on Sunday that he had suffered a broken arm at the expense of a blocked Gabriel Gonzaga high kick. Couture is expected to be on the sidelines for at least 4-6 weeks and most likely will not fight again in 2007.
Speaking of Gonzaga, he will be out of action for at least two months after suffering a broken nose in his bout with Couture. Gonzaga must be cleared by a nose specialist before he will be permitted to fight again.
Alberto Crane has been medically suspended for two months after suffering a fractured orbital bone during his fight with Roger Huerta. Crane must be cleared by an ophthalmologist before he is allowed to return to active competition.
Joe Stevenson will miss at least two months after learning that he suffered a broken nose. NSAC doctors originally ruled that Stevenson had a broken jaw but additional examinations found that Stevenson in fact had broken his nose and not his jaw.
Antoni Hardonk will be required to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder and must be given clearance by a doctor before he will be permitted to begin physical contact once again.
Both Kendall Grove and David Heath were each suspended for one month by the NSAC.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has announced the official fighter salaries from UFC 74.
Half of Renato Sobral’s total purse has withheld by the NSAC pending an investigation and review of his extended submission held on opponent David Heath after Heath had already tapped out and referee Steve Mazzagatti ended the fight.
Randy Couture: $250,000
Georges St. Pierre: $140,000
Frank Mir: $66,000
Renato Sobral: $50,000
Gabriel Gonzaga: $45,000
Roger Huerta: $34,000
Joe Stevenson: $32,000
Marcus Aurelio: $30,000
Patrick Cote: $24,000
Thales Leites: $18,000
Clay Guida: $14,000
Kendall Grove: $12,000
Josh Koscheck: $10,000
Antoni Hardonk: $8,000
Kurt Pellegrino: $8,000
David Heath: $6,000
Ryan Jensen: $4,000
Alberto Crane: $4,000
Total Payroll: $755,000
Randy Couture did it again.
For the second time in as many fights, Couture shocked the world and defeated a challenger that was supposed to run him over. This is nothing new to Couture. He’s been an underdog for the majority of his career. However after two huge wins over two dominate heavyweights, can Couture be an underdog any longer?
Couture dominated challenger Gabriel Gonzaga over two rounds and an assault of strikes on the ground two minutes into the third forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight, allowing Couture to retain his UFC Heavyweight Title. Gonzaga laid in the Octagon, bloodied and exhausted, in front of the 11,118 in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. It was a sight that many did not expect to see.
Gonzaga put himself on the map with a vicious knockout of Mirko Cro Cop this past April at UFC 70. A single headkick from Gonzaga left the supposed best striker in MMA unconscious on the mat. Couture said that he had developed the perfect strategy to beat Gonzaga during training. Gonzaga (8-2) stated that he found that Couture (16-8) had a fatal flaw in his game. It was Couture that ultimately won the chess match.