In what was turning out to be a night of upsets the combatants for the UFC 63 main-event made their way to the octagon.
Both guys were accompanied by flashy introductions. B.J. Penn was the first to make his way out of the back and down to the octagon walking to Crazy by Gnarles Barkley all while he was looking very confident and ready.
The champion Matt Hughes was next to come out accompanied by his signature entrance song “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams Jr. On his was out Hughes looked very calm and composed.
The fight started and looked like a scene that was all too familiar. Penn came out strong early working his strikes and defending a Matt Hughes takedown attempt. Penn was able to land numerous strikes which were really affecting Hughes before Hughes finally was able to take the fight to the canvas.
When the fight returned to the feet Hughes fired off a few shots and while Penn moved to avoid them he stuck out his left hand and accidentally caught Hughes in the eye with a thumb. “Big” John McCarthy quickly stepped in between the two and stoppage the fight so Hughes could regain his vision.
When the fight started back up Hughes immediately attacked and went for the takedown but he was unsuccessful as the first round came to an end.
Hughes started the second round with a takedown but the very flexible B.J. Penn showed what he was all about when he trapped both of Matt’s arms and went for an omaplata.
Penn was eventually able to transition to Hughes’s back where he worked for a rear naked choke which failed. From there he was able to move up on Matt’s back and sink in a triangle which eventually became a triangle armbar. The submission was in very deep and it looked as though Hughes may be finished.
Late in the round Hughes showed true champion heart as he exploded out of the submission and showed a country boy can survive.
A new Matt Hughes came out of the red corner for the third round looking fresh and ready while a gassed B.J. Penn walked out of the blue corner.
Hughes looked great right from the get go working some excellent strikes on his helplessly gassed opponent. Hughes rocked Penn with a shot which allowed him to take Penn down to the canvas. Hughes was eventually able to transition to side-mount where he trapped both of Penn’s arms and started raining down punches and elbows to Penn’s head.
“Big” John McCarthy did everything in his power to let Penn try to get free but eventually enough was enough and “Big” John pounced in and called a halt to the fight a 3:58 of the third round for the winner by TKO Matt Hughes.
Hughes showed what a true champion he is overcoming a submission and punches that would have ended any normal fighter’s night. B.J. Penn showed that he is one hell of a fighter but with no cardio you aren’t going anywhere in this sport.
Next on the table will be a rematch between Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes. St. Pierre got things heated after the fight as he entered the octagon and took the microphone from Joe Rogan and said “Congratulations but you did not impress me in this fight. I will see you soon.” The comments really hit a nerve with Matt Hughes but as Rogan said St. Pierre is a nice kid and he was just trying to get the crowd going to up the pay-per-view buys for their battle.