UFC Fight Night 103 Preview

ufc-fn103The UFC returns after a holiday break and resets for a new year full of fights with plenty of potential for some big things to come.

A new year will also bring some new rules as the majority of the commissions around the world decided to adopt an adjusted set of rules.

The scoring system has been adjusted to emphasise effective grappling and striking above all else, if they are completely even among the fighters the judges should only then move on to aggression and octagon control.

The adjusted system also takes into account duration, dominance and damage, which will be listed as impact, with a direction that if any two of those exist in a round it immediately becomes a 10-8 round.

New rules also change the definition of a grounded fighter as someone with both hands and feet or knee on the ground rather than having fingers or just one hand.

Extended fingers are also now illegal even before they end up in someone’s eye while women will no longer be able to wear loose fitting clothing with the rules now stating that a sports bra or tight fitting rash guard.

These new rules will go into effect in a number of places but they also won’t be passed in every place that the UFC will travel to this year.

It will be an interesting year with adjusting rules based on where the UFC will be in any given week.

The new rules that were passed by some are just a continued evolution of a fairly young sport as it goes along with the recent rules passed to improve weight cutting.

All of these rules are changes that MMA fighters need to adjust to as they continue on through their careers.

For older fighters, it might be tougher but nothing will be tougher than what BJ Penn is about to face as he enters the octagon again.

Penn last fought in 2014 and it was the end of a rough patch for one of the building blocks of the promotion.

He had just lost three fights in a row stalling his attempt at another title in any division and it seemed like the writing was on the wall for his career.

In 2016 the rumours began to rise about Penn making a return to the UFC and the promotion scheduled his return.

Then the pitfalls of the new rules began to surface as Penn was given a USADA suspension after he used an IV to rehydrate.

IVs were banned last year due to the dangers that come when having the ability to dehydrate yourself only to use an IV to rehydrate.mma-sidebar.fw

To try to make people more aware of their weight cut and trying to force them to be healthier about it this rule was put in place and in preparation for his return Penn broke the rule.

It was a minor bump in the road as the UFC rescheduled his return and despite a number of injuries that delayed his return he finally got a date.

This weekend he will look to make his return amid the multiple changes that have come since his initial retirement.

Penn will need to navigate these changes as he cuts weight and as he steps into the octagon for the first UFC fight in 2017.

Not only does he need to navigate this but the fact that he has been off for over two years and that he is approaching 40-years-old trying to make a comeback won’t make things easy.

Penn always had the skills to be one of the best fighters in the world and he showed it early.

At only 22-years-old in 2001, Penn made his UFC debut and he quickly became a top fighter taking only three years to find his way to the welterweight championship.

He then went on to join the exclusive club of dual-title winners when he took the lightweight title in 2008.

There was little left for Penn to prove as he wound down his career and for many his three straight losses, albeit to some great fighters, were signs that he needed to step away.

He did just that but clearly, the retired life didn’t suit him and so he is back looking to make another run.

He will start against a rising star in Yair Rodriguez who won The Ultimate Fighter Latin America and took that title to five straight wins in the UFC.

For Penn, it is a tough test against a new breed of fighter but he believes that he can beat this rising star and launch himself into the conversation.

Although the idea of ring rust is debatable the fact is that his time off and this new era of the UFC might affect him more than many might think.

He will put it to the test in Phoenix as he attempts to make his comeback and show that even with his time off he is still one of the best fighters in the world.


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