The Prodigy Makes His Return to the Cage

By: Brandon JM Kaplan

BJ Penn is the iconic former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight champion. He is slated by many as the greatest lightweight to have ever lived; he dominated the likes of a prime Diego Sanchez and Takanori Gomi, as well as receiving his black belt in just over a year. BJ’s moniker of the prodigy truly suited him, he brought a new age of a fighter to mixed martial arts who could not only box well offensively, but defend and attack of the ground as well. He claimed the welterweight title in 2004 over the legend Matt Hughes, he rocked the durable former champion and submitted him lightning quick: by far his biggest win in an era that Hughes ruled. BJ also fought the greatest welterweight, and arguably the greatest fighter of all time in George St. Pierre. Their first bout was a very close affair with BJ landing hard and fast shots early in the fight, and GSP using his immaculate wrestling to tire out the Hawaiin in later rounds…. Baby Jay is an absolute legend, and his recent losses have been very tough to watch. The bout between him and ‘Pantera’ Rodriguez was an atrocity! Beyond BJ’s heart and will, we really only saw how much the new UFC matchmaker has to learn about mixed martial arts (and what an evenly matched fight is). Now the legend has a formidable, yet beatable opponent, and he has one more opportunity to show the fans if he can hang at this level of the game.

Dennis Siver is the brazen kickboxer born in Russia representing Germany. He is a a talented striker on the feet with a patented spinning back kick to the body that has frozen many an opponent. Siver has portrayed his role as gatekeeper (through the years) quite well, keeping young talented kids like Charles Rosa a bit back due to experience and striking prowess. He enjoys a dogfight, and in retrospect, Siver has really only lost to (and been finished by) much bigger opponents. Dennis has had his rough patches…as being a gatekeeper to contenders means you had to have been beaten by contenders. Donald Cerrone, Conor McGregor, Gray Maynard, all massive men taking on the valiant, yet under sized German. The upcoming bout will pit Dennis against an opponent closer to his age in terms of fight years and damage, this is a very evenly matched bout and will progress the victor into at least one or two more good fights to a career. This may be Siver or his opponent’s last fight, so we may want to expect fireworks on this sleeper matchup!

Breakdown and Prediction:

Two older fighters way out of their prime, that is the bottom line of this bout. We have seen the durability of both men, and both can take one hell of a shot. I see the judges being needed for the end of this bout, and I can definitely see this bout going either way, in fact a split decision will most likely be the scenario. The one intangible here is the fact that BJ is a true finisher, and he will be able to finish the fight anywhere whereas Siver really only has a few weapons on the feet. BJ looked somewhat fast and aware in the cage against Yair, the youth and power simply took over. Siver has not fought in a good while, and BJ (even with the semi-retirement) still had a fight this year. I expect both men having something to prove, more so BJ and his head coach Jason Parillo. I like BJ to take over the pace of this fight with both men possibly getting hurt and having to fight back, I see an emotional back and forth war with a hungry BJ Penn emerging victorious…

BJ Penn by Unanimous Decision

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