One key question Caplan attempts to answer was whether the night’s main event between UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre vs. UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn lived up to the hype.
“On paper, St. Pierre vs. Penn II is one of the biggest fights in MMA history, but if you were to rank the top 15 UFC bouts from a quality standpoint, it simply wouldn’t rate,” he writes. “St. Pierre was just too dominant and appeared to be a level above Penn. As the fight went on, I kept waiting for Penn to turn the tide and gain some momentum. It never happened. St. Pierre took Penn down at will and had little trouble passing his guard. It was total domination and not the epic war most had anticipated.”
Another topic Caplan addresses is Penn’s future. According to Caplan, a career at welterweight isn’t in the cards for the Hilo, Hawaii native.
“Penn has enough ability to be a good welterweight but he is never going to beat Georges St. Pierre,” Caplan surmises. “And after UFC 94, Penn is just 1-3 as a welterweight [in the UFC], and there are valid questions whether he’d be big enough to beat Thiago Alves or Jon Fitch if he decided to stay at 170.”
Rarely missing an opportunity to tout the quality of unsigned fighters in the Northeast region of the U.S., Caplan points out that two fighters for the region made their presence known at UFC 94.
“Everyone got to see New York native Jones’ brilliant performance against Bonnar,” Caplan begins. “But only the live audience was able to see Jersey-based John Howard pull off an upset against Chris Wilson in his UFC debut that was a part of the non-televised undercard. Only recently has the UFC done a good job of recruiting East Coast talent with Howard, Jones, Jim and Dan Miller, Mike Massenzio and Nick Catone recently added to the roster. But there are still plenty of talented Northeast-based fighters being overlooked, such as Zach Makovsky, Al Iaquinta, Jon Murphy, Ricardo Romero, Charlie Brenneman, Matt Makowski, Greg Soto, LeVon Maynard, Mike Easton, Anthony Morrison, Dwayne Shelton and many others who would be in the UFC or WEC right now if they were fighting out of the Midwest or California.”
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