A key featherweight matchup will headline UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix
A featherweight contest between UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn and Mexican striking specialist Yair Rodriguez will headline UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix. UFC officials announced the news on Monday afternoon.
Penn’s (16-10-2), who is one of only two fighters to win UFC titles in two different weight classes, has not competed since suffering third round TKO to Frankie Edgar at The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale in 2014.
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This marked Penn’s first foray into the UFC’s featherweight after spending most of his career competing as a member of the lightweight and welterweight division. Penn announced his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts immediately after the loss.
The Hawaiian was almost immediately inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2015 during the UFC’s International Fight Week. Penn will enter this bout with 13 career stoppage wins, including finishes over Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, Matt Serra and fellow Hall of Famer Matt Hughes (2x).
He was expected come out of retirement at UFC 199 in June before being pulled from the card after he disclosed his usage of a prohibited IV to the United State Anti-Doping Agency. He was then scheduled to face Ricardo Lamas at UFC Fight Night 97 before being withdrawing after suffering broken ribs in camp.
Rodriguez (8-1), winner of inaugural season The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, is coming off a thrilling decision win over Alex Caceres in the main event of UFC Fight Night 92 in August. This extended his win streak to six straight, while keeping his UFC record perfect.
Prior to his win over Caceres, ‘Pantera’ scored a thrilling second round headkick knockout over Andre Fili at UFC 197 in April, earning his his first ‘Peformance of the Night’ bonus.
Here is how the entire card is shaping up:
BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez
Juessier Formiga vs. Sergio Pettis
Ben Saunders vs. Court McGee
Erik Koch vs. Tony Martin
Devin Powell vs Jordan Rinaldi
Cyril Asker vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov
Damian Grabowski vs. Viktor Pesta
Joachim Christensen vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
The entire event will go down at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona on January 15. The main card will air on FOX Sports 1.