Penn vs. Edgar

The co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 112: Invincible pay per-view is a battle for the UFC Lightweight Championship as champion B.J. Penn faces challenger Frankie Edgar.

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Penn enters the fight as the clear favorite with a betting line of -800 with Edgar given a line of +550 according to online sports book BroburySports.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this bout, which will take place from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. at 1PM ET on Pay Per-View.
B.J. Penn (15-5-1):
Strengths
: Penn is largely considered as the top lightweight in the world and perhaps all-time. Penn has extremely fast hands and a lot of power behind those hands. His jiu-jitsu is on par with any fighter in the world as he is a former world champion in the discipline. One of Penn’s strongest assets is also his flexibility. His ability to use his legs like another pair of arms makes him very tough to take down and also tough on the ground as he can trap arms with his legs.
Weaknesses: Penn has really only struggled with conditioning and bigger fighters in his career, but he has dedicated himself to improving his conditioning, and it has appeared to work in dominant wins over Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez. Penn still has had trouble keeping himself off the ground against bigger fighters like Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes, but Edgar is nowhere near their size.
Last Five Fights:
Fifth round TKO win over Diego Sanchez at UFC 107 on Dec. 12, 2009

Fourth round submission win over Kenny Florian at UFC 101 on Aug. 8, 2009

Fourth round TKO loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 on Jan. 31, 2009

Third round TKO win over Sean Sherk at UFC 84 at May 24, 2008

Second round submission win over Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 on Jan. 19, 2008
 
Frankie Edgar (11-1):
Strengths: Edgar is a quick and aggressive lightweight that works good boxing and fast takedowns. His wrestling ability is what has led him to an 11-1 record, but over the past few years, he has greatly improved his striking, which allowed him to defeat Sean Sherk. Edgar is a guy that will apply pressure throughout the fight and not be afraid to attack Penn, which many of Penn’s opponents become scared to do.
Weaknesses: While Edgar has quick hands, he is likely not as fast as Penn is with his jab, so he will need to get this fight to the ground, which he may not do. Penn is very difficult to get to the ground. It takes a lot of effort and fatigue from Penn for that to happen, and Edgar may not be able to make that happen until the later rounds, if it gets to that point. Edgar has surprised people with his recent climb, so he will certainly be game, but he doesn’t seem to have the skill set to beat B.J. Penn.
Last Five Fights:
Second round submission win over Matt Veach at Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale on Dec. 5, 2009

Unanimous decision win over Sean Sherk at UFC 98 on May 23, 2009

Unanimous decision win over Hermes Franca at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19, 2008

Unanimous decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC Fight Night 13 on April 2, 2008

Unanimous decision win over Spencer Fisher at UFC 78 on Nov. 17, 2007


Who will win: Edgar is the type of fighter that has a game that can give Penn trouble, but he simply doesn’t have the physical attributes to carry out a win. Penn needs to have someone pressure him and fatigue him, but Edgar doesn’t have the size to really make Penn work or worry about getting taken down. Edgar could be able to match speed with Penn, but his power is not close to equal. Look for Edgar to be game and make it an exciting fight, but ultimately for Penn to land another rear-naked choke for a win in round two or three.
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Posted: 4/8/10 5:58PM ET

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