McGuire: Rodriguez Steamrolls Penn
The main event of UFC Fight Night 103 from the Talking Stick Resort Arena was truly an example of old school against new school MMA—and it ended exactly as you might have guessed. “The Prodigy” B.J. Penn is a legend and UFC Hall of Fame member but he should be considered “The Prodigy” no longer.
Coming off of a two and a half year retirement that the now 38-year-old former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion entered following a 0-3-1 stretch, Penn said heading into this bout that he “just wasn’t made to sit on the couch.” While both he and the UFC have yet to release a statement as to if he will fight again, 24-year-old Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez used Penn as a stepping stone. Still, Rodriguez isn’t the main story of this main event but is secondary to the depressing nature of the contest.
Rodriguez strikes first with a kick to the torso and straight southpaw blast (possible foreshadowing.) Rodriguez avoids Penn’s countering effort like a cat circling a dying mouse. They tangle when Penn gets inside during a Rodriguez spinning back kick but separate. Next, comes a front kick and knee to the body for the practically untouchable Rodriguez. Penn looks to push his man back but appears to just be surviving the frame as he’s then stunned by a partially blocked left high kick and a spin kick.
Near two minutes to go, Rodriguez connects with another flashy spin to the torso. An inside leg kick forces that Hawaiian icon to stumble before the spinning back kick connects with the side of his head. Rodriguez surrenders an uppercut but is otherwise doing whatever he wants heading into the break.
Round two lasts just 24 seconds as Penn walks into a front kick-right hand and curls up while Rodriguez lets loose. Mercifully, “Big John” McCarthy brings this display to a close.
“This was an amazing fight for me,” Rodriguez said. “I fought a legend tonight, and he deserves all the respect, more than I can give him.”
Yair Rodriguez def. BJ Penn via TKO at 0:24 of Round 2
Rodriguez improves to 10-1, 6-0 in the UFC.