The Official Scorecard - UFC 127 - Penn vs. Fitch

Originally appeared on TheGarv.com.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia with a dozen fights headlined by a welterweight battle between BJ Penn and Jon Fitch that was thought to crown the next challenger for the UFC Welterweight Championship. The co main event pitted Michael Bisping versus Jorge Rivera in a middleweight contest that became intensely personal as Rivera relentlessly mocked Bisping in a series of videos across the Internet.  

The cuts have been stitched up and the judge has made his decision, so let’s go to the scorecard!

Main Event
Welterweight Fight
BJ Penn (16-7-1) vs. Jon Fitch (23-3)
The second chapter in BJ Penn’s return to the welterweight division saw him squaring off against top-ranked Jon Fitch. The winner of this fight was tentatively penciled in to be the next challenger for the UFC Welterweight title following Georges St. Pierre’s upcoming defense versus Jake Shields at UFC 129. Penn started the fight by immediately closing the distance and clinching with Fitch to work on winning the takedown battle. It was a game plan that caught Fitch off guard, put him on the defensive, and was successful for two rounds. In the final round, Fitch turned the fight around completely and beat up Penn for the entire round, earning himself a 10-8 score that negated Penn taking the first two rounds. Like the Franklin vs. Griffin fight at UFC 126, this is a fight where another two rounds would’ve been nice in order to get a clear winner. While the decision is a disappointment to the fighters and the fans, the fight itself was an exciting fight between two of MMA’s very best.
BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch ends in a Majority Draw
Fight Score: 8

Middleweight Fight
Michael Bisping (20-3) vs. Jorge Rivera (19-7)
Thanks to some grade-a trash talk from Rivera, this fight between an aging veteran and a well-rounded fighter in his prime assumed more relevancy that perhaps it deserved. From the opening bell, Bisping was a step ahead of Rivera, who was able to land a few right hands early on. Unfortunately, the illegal knee strike that Bisping ploughed into Rivera midway into the first round will mar what was already shaping up to be a decisive win for the Brit. Rivera didn’t look the same after taking the blow as Bisping swarmed and finished off Rivera in the second round.
Michael Bisping wins via TKO – Round 2, 1:54
Fight Score: 6

Lightweight Fight
George Sotiropoulos (14-2) vs. Denis Siver (17-7)
After seven straight wins in the UFC with the last three over Joe Stevenson, Kurt Pellegrino, and Joe Lauzon, respectively, there was some talk that a bout with Denis Siver was a step down in competition for Aussie standout George Sotiropoulos. It looks like someone forgot to let Siver in on the pre-fight analysis. For fifteen minutes, Siver turned in his best UFC performance to date as he forced Sotiropoulos to fight a kickboxing bout by denying every attempt Sotiropoulos made to take the German kickboxer off his feet. Siver battered Sotiropoulos for the entirety of the opening round and while Sotiropoulos looked better in the final ten minutes, it wasn’t enough to make Siver his eighth straight UFC victim.
Denis Siver wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 7.5

Welterweight Fight
Chris Lytle (30-17-5) vs. Brian Ebersole (46-14-1, 1NC)
Ebersole took this fight against the surging Lytle on short notice, filling in for an injured Carlos Condit. Since 2007, Ebersole has racked up an impressive 11-2 record entering the bout while Lytle was looking for his fifth straight UFC win. Ebersole opened the fight with a cartwheel, and while it didn’t look as fluid as Harold Howard’s at UFC 3, Ebersole at least made contact with his opponent. Lytle fought the same kind of fight that’s endeared to him to fans over the last few years: slinging bombs and constantly grabbing for submissions. In the end, Ebersole proved to be just as durable and just as game as Lytle and survived everything Lytle tossed his way.
Brian Ebersole wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 7.5

Middleweight Fight
Kyle Noke (18-4-1) vs. Chris Camozzi (14-3)
A pair of contestants from Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter dispatched of any feeling out process and went right at each other which ended with Noke getting a takedown and landing in a full mount. From there, the native Australian locked up a choke without breaking a sweat.
Kyle Noke wins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1, 1:35
Fight Score: 6

Lightweight Fight
Spencer Fisher (24-6) vs. Ross Pearson (11-4)
This fight played out the way many thought it would as Fisher and Pearson were more than happy to throw leather at the other for the majority of the fight. Both men landed, both men controlled the action, and both men found some success on the ground. In the end though it was Pearson who did a little more and while it was close, the judges made the correct call.
Ross Pearson wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 7

Light Heavyweight Fight
Alexander Gustafsson (10-1) vs. James Te Huna (12-4)
Te Huna looked great early against the taller Gustafsson, landing a throw and implementing a tight top game attack. Gustafsson weathered the early barrage and ended up back to his feet and then quickly got on top of Te Huna where he flattened him out and took home the first round win.
Alexander Gustafsson wins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1, 4:27
Fight Score: 6.5

Middleweight Fight
Nick Ring (10-0) vs. Riki Fukuda (17-4)
For arguably all three rounds of their fight, Riki Fukuda out-grappled, out-struck, and out-worked Nick Ring en route somehow to a unanimous decision loss. Robbery aside, this was a solid UFC debut for the Deep Middleweight Champion. 
Nick Ring wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 5.5

Light Heavyweight Fight
Anthony Perosh (10-6)vs. Tom Blackledge (10-6)
Australian Anthony Perosh returned to the cage after absorbing a world class beating from Mirko Cro Cop just over a year ago at UFC 110, when he filled in for an injured Ben Rothwell in a heavyweight bout. As a light heavyweight, Perosh looked much better against Blackledge where he needed a half round and some change to lock up a fight-ending choke.
Anthony Perosh wins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1, 2:45
Fight Score: 5.5

Featherweight Fight
Jason Reinhardt (20-1) vs. Tiequan Zhang (12-1)
Reinhardt charged out at Zhang immediately and the Chinese import landed some clean counter punches before snatching a tight guillotine in under a minute that left Reinhardt out cold.
Tiequan Zhang wins via Submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 1, 0:48 
Fight Score: 5

Heavyweight Fight
Mark Hunt (5-7) vs. Chris Tuchscherer (21-3)
It was several years ago, but there was a time when Mark Hunt was being touted as the next great heavyweight in MMA after transitioning from K-1. A look at Hunt’s subsequent record since 2006 tells another story, but Hunt will always be one of those guys that can win a fight with one punch. The plan for Tuchscherer was to get Hunt to the ground which he did, but Hunt defended well and before the first round was done Tuchscherer’s left eye looked like it jumped on a grenade. A second round short uppercut from Hunt relieved Tuchscherer from his senses. Bonus points for Hunt’s Mr. Cool nonchalant walk away post-KO before the ref officially stopped the bout.
Mark Hunt wins via KO – Round 2, 1:41
Fight Score: 6.5

Lightweight Fight
Curt Warburton (6-2) vs. Maciej Jewtuszko (8-0)
The night’s opening bout pitted two lightweights looking for their first UFC win. Warburton fell short in his first go in the UFC versus Spencer Fisher, while Jewtuszko had earned a win under the Zuffa banner in the WEC against Anthony Njokuani at WEC 50. While both fighters were active throughout, neither man really seemed to find their groove until the third round. The fight was largely decided by Warburton maintaining top position for most of the scrap.
Curt Warburton wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 4.5

Total for UFC 127 – Penn vs. Fitch: 75.5 out of 120
Average Fight Score: 6.29

One fight doesn’t really stick out as the best fight of the night, but the main event along with several of the main card and undercard fights including the Siver vs. Sotiropoulos, Lytle vs. Ebersole, and Fisher vs. Pearson were entertaining and competitive. UFC 127 didn’t score as high as UFC 125 (6.95) or UFC 126 (6.54), but I think the lack of a title fight in the main event and a co main event that wasn’t as competitive as the hype made it out to be hurt the overall score on what was otherwise a very solid fight card.

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