Jon Fitch: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Looks like B.J. Penn will be making an extended stay in the welterweight division.
Penn will meet American Kickboxing Academy standout Jon Fitch at UFC 127 on Feb. 27 at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. UFC President Dana White revealed the high-profile matchup after Penn dismantled hall of famer Matt Hughes in 21 seconds at UFC 123 on Saturday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
In addition to a pair of wins over Hughes, Penn holds other notable victories against former Pride Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder Takanori Gomi, one-time UFC lightweight kings Jens Pulver and Sean Sherk, two-time UFC lightweight title contender Kenny Florian and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with polished boxing skills, he has secured 13 of his 16 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Penn turns 32 on Dec. 13.
Fitch has posted 21 wins in his last 22 fights. The 32-year-old Fort Wayne, Ind., native wrestled collegiately at Purdue University and figures to test Penn’s conditioning and acclaimed takedown defense. Widely regarded as the world’s No. 2 welterweight behind UFC champion Georges St. Pierre, Fitch has not been finished in nearly eight years. He appeared at UFC 117 in August, when he dominated American Top Team’s Thiago Alves en route to a unanimous decision at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Fitch’s last eight fights have reached the judges.
Meanwhile, surging Australian contender George Sotiropoulos will fight before a partisan home crowd at UFC 127, as he locks horns with Dennis Siver.
Sotiropoulos, a perfect 7-0 inside the Octagon, submitted Joe Lauzon with a second-round kimura in a featured lightweight matchup at UFC 123. A semi-finalist on Season 6 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the 33-year-old will carry an eight-fight winning streak into the matchup, as he presses towards a potential crack at the lightweight championship. Sotiropoulos, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, has delivered more than half (eight) of his 14 career victories by submission.
Siver has rattled off six wins in seven fights. The 31-year-old Russian-born German submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 finalist Andre Winner with a rear-naked choke at UFC 122 on Nov. 13.