Yair Rodriguez-B.J. Penn fight preview

By Sevak Sarkisian

This upcoming Sunday January 15th, MMA fans all over the world

will be clamoring and looking forward to the return of former two division UFC

champion and MMA legend BJ Penn (16-10- 2). It will be his first time stepping back

into the octagon since losing to Frankie Edgar by TKO in a tedious performance back in

July of 2014. In his return to the octagon, he will be facing young featherweight (145lbs)

contender from Mexico Yair Rodriguez (9-1- 0). The bout will take place at the Talking

Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix Arizona and will be televised live 10pm/7pm ETPT.

Yair Rodriguez is 24 years of age and made his professional MMA debut back in October

of 2011 for Mexican Fighter Promotions 8 in Mexico City, Mexico. Yair holds a black

belt in Taekwondo and is mainly a stand up fighter, always looking to do damage with

his kicks. His boxing skills are not as advanced but good enough for him to use his feints

and punches to help set up his kicks. Also, regardless of what the popular opinion is, in

my opinion his submission game is underrated and he’s capable of fighting of his back

well if taken down. Rodriguez is also athletic, explosive and creative when it comes to

his offense. It is not uncommon for him to attempt and even pull things off that we only

usually see in video games, especially when it comes to his kicks. Out of his 10

professional MMA fights he has 3 KO’s on his resume and two of them have come from

a flying head kick and a flying knee to the face. Expect to see him spontaneously attempt

to catch BJ Penn with one of those in there fight this Sunday. Rodriguez stands at 5’11 in

height and possesses a 71inch reach. He is currently training in Chicago Illinois for this

fight with Valle Flow Striking. His training arrangements are more like the typical

boxers training camp in the sense that it’s an individualized camp specifically geared for

only him. He is mainly working on his stand up and looking to elevate his wrestling for

this fight which was one of the biggest reasons why he and his team decided to train in


BJ Penn on the other hand is a legend in the sport with nothing to prove. He holds wins

over legends and hall of fame fighters such as Matt Serra, Jens Pulver, Matt Hughes

(twice), Renzo Gracie, Kenny Florian and Sean Sherk among others. Penn is a

submission specialist with arguably the best jiu-jitsu ever seen in MMA. He is the first

non Brazilian to win the world Jiu-Jitsu championship in the black belt division. He is

also proficient in Boxing and always had good boxing skills even when it was uncommon

in the UFC years back. However, the last time we saw him in the octagon (back in July

of 2014) he looked terrible and it seemed as though retirement was a logical option. Here

we are few years later and I’m typing a preview article on his upcoming fight this

Sunday. Penn decided to switch things up in preparation for this fight and is now

currently training with the great Greg Jackson at the Jackson Wink Academy in New

Mexico. Many fans and insiders are saying Greg Jackson will deliver the best possible

BJ Penn we can get at this stage of his career. However, we don’t know what kind of Bj

will show up this Sunday and that is the most intriguing and interesting factor with this

fight. We know what to expect from Rodriguez but we simply don’t know what to

expect from Penn especially at this stage of his career. With that said, I’m looking

forward to a return of a legend and I’m certainly looking forward to what the outcome of

this fight would be!


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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle