On a weekend when declining heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko was knocked out in sickening fashion by Matt Mitrione in Bellator MMA, another legend of the noughties, BJ Penn, suffered his fifth consecutive defeat at UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City.
Penn really struggled to get off in the first of his three rounds with Dennis Siver, who was returning to action following a two-year layoff. This was partly because Siver’s varied kicking game allowed him to land frequently from a safe distance, but it also appeared that ‘The Prodigy’ had lost the timing and guile that once made him one of the better boxers in the sport. When Penn did make use of his jab, it was effective, but he used it all-too sparingly, making Siver’s job even easier. Siver sent Penn’s mouthpiece flying with a left hook later in the round and also landed a thudding right hand moments later.
Siver started strong in the second but Penn landed a couple of stiff jabs towards the midway point and with about two minutes remaining in the stanza the Hawaiian floored the thickly muscled German with a well-timed uppercut. Penn followed Siver to the floor and took side control but he was unable to do any damage before the buzzer brought an end to the session.
Penn was breathing heavily between rounds and it became obvious in the opening stages of the final stanza that the 38-year-old great had little left in the tank. He backtracked as Siver became increasingly aggressive, battering Penn’s legs with hurtful kicks that really began to take their toll in the dying minutes. A hard left hook from Siver with about a minute remaining wobbled Penn, who received an instruction to move from referee Kevin MacDonald during a follow-up barrage against the fence. In the closing seconds of the round, commentator Dominick Cruz informed viewers that Siver had out-landed Penn 48 strikes to 9 in the third. It looked like a 10-8 round.
But the judges didn’t all see it that way. In fact, only one of the three officials seemed to award Siver a 10-8 in the third. Still, he had done enough to take a majority decision win, by scores of 29-27, 29-28 and a baffling 28-28.
Penn’s loss may not have been as brutal as Emelianenko’s, or indeed his own loss to Yair Rodriguez earlier in the year, but it still saddened many in the MMA community to see the former two-weight titlist lose to a man that he would have undoubtedly finished in his prime.
— Jordan Rinaldi (@JordanRinaldi) June 26, 2017
I'm not ready for a world where BJ Penn is a punching bag.
— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) June 26, 2017
Really, really hope this is it for BJ Penn. Sadly, not the first time I've written that. #UFCOKC
— Brian Martin (@TheBMartin) June 26, 2017
Watching BJ Penn fight is sad now. Newer MMA fans, trust me: He was a lot better than that fight, and his 16-12-2 record, suggest.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) June 26, 2017
When you're 38 and can't beat a 38-year-old coming off a 2-year layoff, it's time to call it a career, man.
— Simon Samano (@SJSamano) June 26, 2017
— Truck Gordon (@TruckMMA_UFC) June 26, 2017
BJ continues to fight because he doesn't have other ways to financially provide for himself & family. It's the only explaination.
— Will Brooks (@ILLxWillBrooks) June 26, 2017
Easy 2 see BJ doesn't have the fight left…hard to see a legend continue as a shell of his former self #UFCOklahoma
— Chris Kelades (@keladesmma) June 26, 2017
Hard to see legendary fighters continue to fight past their prime & get beat up badly. Destroys the legacy they worked hard to build #UFCOKC
— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) June 26, 2017
— Alptekin Ozkilic (@alpozkilicmma) June 26, 2017
— Christian O'Connell (@OC) June 26, 2017
Fedor and BJ Penn both lost in depressing ways on the same weekend.
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) June 26, 2017
Imagine eight years ago someone telling you that one day B.J. Penn would limp across the finish line against Dennis Siver, happy to survive.
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) June 26, 2017