August 08, 2009

This weekend fight fans will be treated to a double whammy of action-packed MMA fight cards.

On Saturday, it's UFC 101 live from the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. In the main event, two of the sport's greatest lightweights will battle for the gold as lightweight champion B.J "The Prodigy" Penn takes on focused challenger Kenny "Ken Flo" Florian.

The co-main event of that card will feature a light-heavyweight war between the UFC's most dominant fighter taking on their most beloved underdog. UFC middleweight champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva will be moving back up in weight to take on former UFC light-heavyweight champion and the inaugural Ultimate Fighter winner, Forrest Griffin.

An event such as this should leave fans pumped up and itching for more. On Sunday, just 24 hours following UFC 101, they will get just that and they won't even have to open up their wallets. WEC 42 will be taking place live and free on the VS channel from The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Bantamweight champion Miguel "Angel" Torres will put his belt on the line against his biggest threat to date, undefeated prospect Brian Bowles. This weekend is going to provide fight fans with a ton of excitement, but it will also produce answers to questions that have been circulated for quite some time. Let's take a look some of the questions that fans can expect to be answered.

After suffering a four-round brutal beat-down at the hands of welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 and then claiming St. Pierre had an unfair advantage afterwards, fans everywhere have been quick to criticize Penn.

They claim he is a sore loser that relies too heavily on his natural talents and doesn't train hard enough for his fights. These same people have been questioning the lightweight champion's heart and focus heading into his upcoming bout with Florian.

Whether or not they are correct remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: if people are expecting Penn not to show up ready to fight on Saturday night they are horribly misled. One has to consider the fact when Penn moves up in weight, he rarely performs to the level he fights at in his natural weight class of 155 pounds.

Fans should expect Penn to be lean, in shape, and ready to fight. Remember the "Neuralyzer" from the Men in Black films -- the little tool that was used to erase witnesses memories of what they had just seen for example seeing an alien trying to take over the world?

Come fight night, Penn will be looking to Neuralyze fans with a dominant performance over Florian, completely erasing the St. Pierre bout from their memories.

Moments after squeezing the life out of his opponent Joe Stevenson with a tight rear naked choke, Florian called out Penn in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. "B.J Penn is a great fighter, he's a master" Florian said, "It's time to kill that master."

Now should we expect Florian to go out there and kill Penn in the Octagon in Ivan Drago-Apollo Creed fashion? Absolutely not, it's a figure of speech that signifies Florian is ready to claim the championship. The skinny kid from Boston that was tossed around like a rag doll by Sean Sherk at UFC 64 is ready for another crack at the title.

Evolution has certainly been in Florian's favor -- he has improved the fastest of any fighter in recent history. The proof is in the pudding as he has managed to rack up six straight victories since the loss to Sherk. The UFC isn't exactly matching him up with Steve Urkel either. He's been beating and finishing some of the toughest fighters in the division.

With that being said, can Florian defeat The Prodigy to claim the championship and fulfill his destiny? Anything is possible in this sport, but this fight should remind you of the UFC 87 bout between Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch.

Fitch is a good fighter and continued to push forward on St. Pierre showing the true heart of a warrior, but it just wasn't enough to defeat a great fighter like St. Pierre. Florian is a good fighter and will put up a fight, but in the end it won't be enough to defeat a great fighter like Penn.

Griffin is the most beloved UFC fighter for a reason. He is the definition of a true fighter because whether he wins or loses he always comes to fight. Even if he is getting his face pummeled in, he is flashing his opponents his trademark smile and begging for more. He loves every minute of it.

He isn't the greatest fighter in the world, but his work ethic and heart are comparable to a mentally challenged pit-bull. Not to say Forrest is mentally challenged-crazy would probably have been a better way to describe him.

His never-say-die mentality has led him to victories over opponents he was never supposed to defeat. Everyone expected Mauricio "Shogun" Rua to decimate Griffin in the Octagon, but Griffin overcame that obstacle and submitted Rua.

Then he earned the title shot against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Once again fans were seated cage-side for a chance to catch Griffin's head when Jackson knocked it off his shoulders, but that didn't happen either. Griffin chopped down the champion with massive leg kicks and outpointed him to earn the light heavyweight title.

You can never count Griffin out and it seems many people are doing just that heading into this bout with Silva. Sure, Silva has the advantage on paper, but fans shouldn't rule out the idea that Griffin may pull off the biggest upset in recent history by defeating the middleweight champion.

When Silva first came on to the UFC scene he was knocking his opponents out left from right as if it were a real-life game of "Whack-A-Mole". This Brazilian wrecking machine was finishing world class middleweights almost effortlessly, so it should come to no surprise that fans feel a bit cheated from his last two performances.

Against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites, Silva appeared to lack the killer instinct. It seemed he had several opportunities to finish his opponents. Yet instead of doing so he proceeded to toy with his opponents, irritating everyone watching at home and in the arena.

The reality is that Silva is still the same ruthless assassin he always was, but people also forget he's mostly a counter striker. The reason he's scored so many vicious knockouts in his UFC career is because his opponents allowed themselves to be countered and Silva dropped them.

When a fighter like Cote or Leites refuses to exchange with Silva of course you're going to see a lackluster fight. Make no mistake, Silva is still the UFC's most dominant fighter and fans can expect to be reminded of this come August 8.

WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres looks like a skinny human being but when he steps into the cage it becomes evident that he really isn't a mortal man but more of a mythological creature. He is super talented at all areas of the game, possessing the technique of a Greek God.

Torres could fight for hours and never tire, in fact when most fighters weaken in the later rounds he just gets stronger. Every fight Torres competes in he seems more and more like an unstoppable machine as he continues to plow through the bantamweight division.

Bowles is next in Torres' path, and with this fight we will find out just how unstoppable the bantamweight champ really is. Bowles is no walk-in-the-park-he's a huge threat to Torres and should not be underestimated.

The challenger is very well-rounded and will have an advantage in size and wrestling ability. If Torres is able to dominate an opponent like Bowles it will send a huge message to everyone in the bantamweight class.

That message being, Torres simply can't be beat!

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