BJ Penn, Nick Diaz Headline UFC 137 Betting
By: Matty Simo
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
One of the fighters in the UFC 137 main event was supposed to be there originally, but he reportedly could not handle the pressure. Ready or not, welterweight Nick Diaz will make his UFC debut, although not in a championship bout for the belt owned by Georges St. Pierre.
Instead, Diaz (26-7-1) will fight B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn (16-7-2) in what was a co-main event matchup until it was announced last Tuesday that St. Pierre had to bow out of his title bout against Carlos Condit with a knee injury. Condit replaced Diaz, who missed two press conferences to promote his fight against St. Pierre. Ironically, Condit was originally scheduled to fight Penn before he was selected to take the place of Diaz.
UFC president Dana White said Diaz, “didn’t like all the things that go along with fighting in the main event,” yet that is exactly where he will find himself on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Diaz-Penn will highlight five bouts on the main card, which will be broadcast live on Pay-Per-View starting at 9:00 p.m. (ET).
Four more preliminary card fights will be streamed live on Facebook and two will be shown live on Spike TV starting at 5:00 p.m.
Diaz has won 10 straight fights, including three title defenses of his Strikeforce belt before joining the UFC. He is a small 105 underdog against Penn, who is listed as the 125 favorite.
Penn is coming off a disappointing draw with Jon Fitch at UFC 127 on February 27, which followed his first-round knockout of Hall of Famer Matt Hughes at UFC 123 last November. The former lightweight title holder moved back to welterweight after suffering consecutive losses to current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. He was also unsuccessful against St. Pierre when he got a title shot at welterweight ay UFC 94.
Both Penn and Diaz are hoping to face the winner of St. Pierre-Condit after that bout gets rescheduled. Meanwhile, two heavyweights who competed in Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter and hope to earn a shot at the championship down the road will get the opportunity to take the next step earlier on the main card.
TUF winner Roy Nelson (16-6) will take on veteran Mirko Cro Cop (27-9-2, 1 no-contest) in one of the other three main card bouts, and Matt Mitrione (5-0) will face Cheick Kongo (26-6-2) in another.
Mitrione lost in the quarterfinals of TUF but won in his UFC debut against former NFL player Marcus Jones via second-round KO. He is a 135 favorite against Kongo (+105) despite a huge difference in experience.
The remaining fight on the main card will pit George Roop (12-8-1) against Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2) in a featherweight matchup.