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Bet on the UFCIn Saturday night's UFC 127 showdown, BJ Penn will not just be fighting against Jon Fitch. He will also be fighting against his own possible irrelevancy if he loses the match. For Penn, winning UFC 127 is a must in order to remain important to the sport and an elite fighter after nearly a decade in the spotlight. But Fitch will not be an easy win by any means.

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Up to now, Penn's record, while not being perfect, is a perfectly respectable 16-7-1. This is even more remarkable considering that half of those matches were championship bouts. And most of the bouts were against fighters ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions. In fact, if Penn had spent his entire career in the lightweight division, he may have been considered one of the legends of the sport.

But moving up to welterweight gave Penn new challenges, some of which he was not able to rise above. He also has been a total disappointment at the higher weight class. He beat Matt Hughes for the welterweight championship, despite Hughes being considered one of the best fighters at the time.. He also game Georges St. Pierre one of the best fights we have seen with GSP in half a decade.

[For more UFC 127 previews, read this article.]

Fitch is considered the second-best fighter in the division, just after GSP. And we all know Fitch's fight strategy for UFC 127: he will be looking to control the fight from the top, just as he does in every match. And the funny thing is that no one has been able to stop this strategy except for St. Pierre. Penn will have his work cut out for him.

It is hard to favor Penn in the fight, due to Fitch's size, strength, and abilities on the ground. While Penn has some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills himself, he is not much of a threat in that category. Penn's one advantage over Fitch is his superior speed, but Fitch will also not go down from a single shot like Hughes did in Penn's last matchup.

 

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