Former LW champion B.J. Penn returns to face #10 ranked FW Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night

Former lightweight champion B.J. Penn faces #10 ranked featherweight Yair Rodriguez in the main event of UFC Fight Night 103.  The event also known as UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Penn takes place January 15th at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ with four prelims webcast at UFC Fight Pass, four prelims and the four-fight main card broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

16-10-2 B.J. Penn was on top of the world in 2008-09 when he was the lightweight champion through three title defenses and tried to take the welterweight belt.  Penn’s fall started in 2010 when he lost the belt and a rematch to Frankie Edgar.  Penn followed up with a win over Matt Hughes and a draw to Jon Fitch but three consecutive losses to Nick Diaz, Rory MacDonald, and again to Edgar caused his retirement in July 2014.  Now at age 38 with two-and-a-half years since his last fight Penn faces #10 ranked Yair Rodriguez, not exactly a compelling fight.  8-1 Rodriguez started fighting in October 2011, the same month Penn’s three-loss final skid started.  Rodriguez won the TUF Latin America tournament in November 2014 and has since gone 5-0 in the UFC with a win over Charles Rosa earning “Fight of the Night”, Andre Fili winning “Performance of the Night”, and Alex Caceres earning “Fight of the Night” bonuses.  At 24 years old Rodriguez is twelve years younger than Penn, the downside is Fili is the only ranked fighter Rodriguez has fought to date.

Marcin Held
Marcin Held

The co-main event features Joe Lauzon vs. Marcin Held, again a battle of longtime vet vs. up-and-comer.  26-12 Lauzon  has been fighting in the UFC since September 2006 and has gone 13-9 in the UFC notching a win over Diego Sanchez and a loss to Jim Miller in 2016.  the Sanchez fight won “Performance of the Night”, the Miller fight won “Fight of the Night”.  22-5 Held was a terror in Bellator where Will Brooks was the only fighter to defeat the Polish phenom in eight fights or three years and that was for the lightweight title.  Held however lost his UFC debut to Diego Sanchez in November by unanimous decision.  In Bellator it was very difficult to stop Held’s leg attacks but at this higher level everybody knows what is coming and Lauzon being a brown belt in BJJ will likely be prepared, the question being has Held developed his arsenal enough to overcome such a craft and experienced fighter.

Prelims at UFC Fight Pass

  • HW: Dmitri Smoliakov vs. Cyril Asker
  • LHW: Joachim Christensen vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
  • LW: Devin Powell vs. Drakkar Klose
  • W Strawweight: Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger vs. Nina Ansaroff

Prelims on Fox Sports 1

  • HW: Walt Harris vs. Chase Sherman
  • LW: Alex White vs. Tony Martin
  • HW: Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Viktor Pesta
  • Flyweight: John Moraga vs. Sergio Pettis

Main card on Fox Sports 1

  • BW: Frankie Saenz vs. Augusto Mendes
  • WW: Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders
  • LW: Joe Lauzon vs. Marcin Held
  • FW: Yair Rodriguez vs. B.J. Penn