The UFC 112 co-main and main events have something in common beyond the fact that they are MMA title fights that are taking place in the hallowed Octagon: they feature champions that are about as close to cleaning out their divisions as is possible. B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva have both defended their titles multiple times, and are about to run out of viable challengers (some would say Silva already has). Still, Frankie Edgar only has one loss on his record (a decision loss to Gray Maynard), and presents what will likely be a tough challenge for Baby Jay.
“The Prodigy” B.J. Penn (15-5-1) vs. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (11-1): Much has been made of Penn waking up on his 27th birthday a few years ago and realizing that he was wasting his incredible talent by not taking it seriously enough to train effectively. Since that time, gone are the days of an unfocused yet gifted fighter in possession of a very suspect gas tank. In his place is the new “Prodigy,” a fight-finisher with a mean streak. Penn has simply run through the division. His only blemish in the last three and a half years has been a loss at welterweight to Georges St-Pierre. A world class jiu-jitsu player, the Hawaii native has added a very strong striking game. It’s difficult to find a hole in his game. Will Edgar be the one to locate one?
A strong wrestler with a crisp striking game, Edgar is a top lightweight, no question. The New Jersey native is no slouch on the ground, either, as he holds a purple belt in jiu-jitsu. In short, he’s a threat everywhere. And with only the one loss to his name, he has a chance in this fight. There’s always the possibility of catching an unsuspecting Penn with a strike (he won’t be able to submit him). But outside of that, there doesn’t appear to be much of a chance for “The Answer.”
Frankie Edgar is a well-rounded fighter deserving of a title shot. Unfortunately for him, he’s getting that shot against a man who is better than him in every area of the fight game. “The Answer” will be unable to find just that against Penn. I see Penn picking apart Edgar on the feet before slapping on a fight-ending submission to coax the tapout – Prediction: Penn via submission
Here’s the full card for UFC 112:
• Champion Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia (for UFC Middleweight title)
• Champion B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar (for UFC Lightweight title)
• Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie
• Terry Etim vs. Rafael dos Anjos
• Kendall Grove vs. Mark Munoz
• Phil Davis vs. Alexander Gustafsson
• John Gunderson vs. Paul Taylor
• Nick Osipczak vs. Rick Story
• Brad Blackburn vs. DaMarques Johnson
• Paul Kelly vs. Matt Veach
• Mostapha Al Turk vs. Jon Madsen