B.J. Penn has another chance to redeem himself against Frankie Edgar. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
B.J. Penn likely has but a few pages left to pen in his mixed martial arts odyssey.
The former two-division Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder will make a third run at one of two men to have beaten him twice when he battles Frankie Edgar in “The Ultimate Fighter 19” Finale main event on Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. It will serve as the first appearance at 145 pounds for Penn, who once reigned over the UFC’s lightweight and welterweight divisions.
Penn was at the height of his power as a lightweight when he first encountered Edgar, a controversial decision loss at UFC 112 costing him his 155-pound championship in April 2010. The Hawaiian has not been the same since. He put together a 1-3-1 record in his ensuing five appearances, including a more decisive defeat to Edgar in their rematch and two lopsided setbacks against Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald. Still, Penn remains one of MMA’s most complete and respected competitors.
Edgar, meanwhile, went on to complete a memorable trilogy with Gray Maynard before relinquishing the lightweight crown in a two-fight series with Benson Henderson. A subsequent drop to 145 pounds was greeted by a loss to champion Jose Aldo and a unanimous decision victory over Charles Oliveira. Edgar has not posted back-to-back wins since rattling off five straight between July 19, 2008 and Aug. 28, 2010.
With the final chapter in the Edgar-Penn trilogy as the lure, here are 10 facts surrounding “The Ultimate Fighter 19” Finale:
FACT 1: Only former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (5:28:12) has spent more time competing inside the Octagon than Penn’s five hours, three minutes and 51 seconds, according to FightMetric data.
FACT 2: Edgar ranks fourth on the UFC’s all-time list in significant strikes landed with 908, trailing only St. Pierre (1,254), Michael Bisping (987) and Sam Stout (970).
FACT 3: “The Ultimate Fighter 19” Finale features two of the five youngest fighters on the UFC roster in former Total Warrior Combat champion Kevin Lee, 21, and American Top Team’s Justin Scoggins, 22.
FACT 4: All three of Roufusport flyweight Dustin Ortiz’s losses have come by decision, including two of the split variety.
FACT 5: When Blackzilians representative Carlos Augusto Filho climbs into the cage to confront onetime Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Derrick Lewis, two years, one month and 17 days will have passed since his most recent appearance.
FACT 6: A longtime friend and training partner of UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Serra-Longo Fight Team’s Eddie Gordon was a double major at Fordham University, where he also captained the football team as a defensive tackle.
FACT 7: Former Jungle Fight champion Adriano Martins achieved the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Cristiano Carioca.
FACT 8: Undefeated Team Quest prospect Alexis Dufresne has put away each of her past four opponents in 94 seconds or less.
FACT 9: When Jumabieke Tuerxun returns to his home base in Xi’an, China, following his bantamweight duel with Leandro Issa, he will have traveled nearly 12,000 miles.
FACT 10: Robert Drysdale was an open weight gold medalist at the 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships in Trenton, N.J.