BJ Penn’s long awaited return to the UFC happened tonight at UFC Fight Night Phoenix, and like another recent highly touted comeback, it didn’t go well for him. Unlike Ronda Rousey, BJ Penn wasn’t the favorite coming into his fight against Yair Rodriguez. The bookies knew that Yair was simply faster and more dynamic than Penn, whose career peaked a decade ago. And Yair proved them right, hitting Penn with every kick in the book before knocking Penn senseless with a front kick at the start of the second round. BJ fought valiantly on the ground to avoid a stoppage but with Yair throwing endless hammerfists down on him, the referee had to stop it.
Yair Rodriguez defeats BJ Penn via TKO (strikes) at 0:24 of round 2
The co-main between wily veteral Joe Lauzon and BJJ sniper Marcin Held was booked as an entertaining lead-in to BJ’s return and did not disappoint. Lauzon clearly came out to hurt his opponent, dropping a bevvy of elbows on Held’s temple every time the jiu jitsu expert shot in and left his head exposed. Meanwhile, Held kept his composure through Joe’s violent offense and kept things dangerous whenever the fight touched the mat. In the end, Lauzon spent just a bit too much time on his back but still managed to win a split decision — a decision he actively disagreed with in his post-fight victory speech.
Joe Lauzon defeats Marcin Held via split decision (30-27 Held, 29-28 Lauzon, 29-28 Lauzon)
Past that, most of the action on the card came during the UFC Fight Night prelims, with the first four fights ending with finishes including some pretty violent KOs. Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the post to see them!
Ben Saunders defeats Court McGee by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Sergio Pettis defeats John Moraga via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Drakkar Klose defeats Devin Powell by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Augusto Mendes defeats Frankie Saenz via unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Oleksiy Oliynyk defeats Viktor Pesta via submission (Ezekiel choke) at 2:57 of round 1
Tony Martindefeats Alex White via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Nina Ansaroff defeats Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:39 of round 3
Walt Harris defeats Chase Sherman via TKO (strikes) at 2:41 of round 2
Joachim Christensen defeats Bojan Mihajlovic via TKO (punches) at 2:05 of round 3
Cyril Asker defeats Dmitri Smoliakov via TKO (punches and elbows) at 2:41 of round 1