A couple of new fights were added to UFC 232, and I’ll give my thoughts on them in today’s MMA odds and ends.
BJ Penn vs. Ryan Hall, UFC 232
An intriguing lightweight matchup between the legend BJ Penn and former Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Hall will take place at UFC 232, which goes down Saturday, December 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC officially announced the bout, which will mark Penn’s return to the lightweight division after failed stints at both featherweight and welterweight. Penn (16-12-2) is 39 now and is on a nasty five-fight losing skid at the moment which included a disappointing decision loss to Dennis Siver in his last fight. Penn is one of the greatest fighters of all time but he hasn’t won a fight since a KO win over Matt Hughes in 2010 and he hasn’t shown any reason to think he’s going to snap out of his funk. Perhaps a return to 155lbs, which is his natural weight class, will help him. Hall (6-1) won TUF 22 with a decision over Artem Lobov and then followed it up with a decision over Gray Maynard his next fight. The Maynard fight was awful to watch as both men cut an enormous amount of weight to get to 145lbs and Hall decided to move back up to to lightweight now where he should be stronger. Having said that, he hasn’t fought in over a year. This is an interesting matchup as both Penn and Hall are terrific grapplers. I want to say Penn wins, but I can’t trust him.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Arnold Allen, UFC 232
An exciting featherweight bout between Gilbert Melendez and Arnold Allen was also added to UFC 232. This fight announcement was broken by Nolan King of FloCombat. Melendez (22-7) is the former Strikeforce lightweight champion and was a scorecard away from beating Benson Henderson for the UFC title but has really fallen on hard times as of late. He’s lost four straight fights and was beaten down to a pulp by Jeremy Stephens in his last fight. Allen (13-1) is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC and has won six straight fights overall. Allen has only been fighting once a year but has looked good when he’s fought. Even though Melendez is a legend, Allen has looked way better in the Octagon lately. I’d have to favor Allen to get the win here even though I think he’s a flawed fighter.