BJ “The Prodigy” Penn (16-8-2) vs. Rory “Ares” MacDonald (13-1-0)
BJ Penn has proven that he has deserved all the hype and praise that he has gotten throughout out his career. While he may have not lived up to his potential, what other natural lightweight could move all the way up to 205 and take on future UFC champion Lyoto Machida to a decision? It doesn’t matter that he lost, but that he was able to do it. That’s why I am not sure of the hype surrounding Rory MacDonald.
Yes, Macdonald has an impressive 13-1 record, but who have those wins come over. In the UFC alone he has taken out Michael Guymon, Mike Pyle, Nate Diaz, and Che Mills. So if you break it down, he beat a fighter that was barely UFC caliber and has since dropped to 155, a lightweight number one contender he could not finish, and Mills, a fighter who was fighting his second fight in the octagon while he was on his fifth and who has a very minimal ground game. Pyle is his only decent win, but Pyle has never been a champion, let alone even challenged for one.
Fans point to his near win over Carlos Condit, but the fact of the matter is that he was finished. When Erick Silva took on Jon Fitch he came closer to finishing that bout, and he was not finished despite being extremely fatigued in the third. Tell me where that says future champion? I will give you that Penn has only ever defeated Matt Hughes at welterweight, but he did beat him when it really mattered. He beat Hughes when he was a wrecking machine, walking through fighters
In this bout, MacDonald will have size, reach, and height advantage, but that is nothing BJ has ever dealt with before. Rory will need to use his ground and pound to win this fight, because his stand-up is nowhere near the level of GSP or Nick Diaz, where he can beat BJ standing – unless he stays at a distance the whole time. This fight comes down tot he ground game, and I doubt that MacDonald has dealt with the level of grappling Penn brings to the table, especially if he brings the improved wrestling he had in the Fitch bout.
The Bottom Line:
MacDonald will have his moments to make it interesting, but it will not matter as Penn closes it out with a submission in the third.