UFC Fight Night: Phoenix Weigh-Ins
All fighters competing on tomorrow night’s UFC Fight Night card at the Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, weighed in earlier today. You can watch the ceremonial weigh-in below.
The main event of this bout features the long-awaited return of UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn. One of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, and arguably the best lightweight combatant, Penn was scheduled to return a number of times in 2016, all of which did not come to fruition.
After 18 months without a fight, Penn stated in January 2016 that he was looking to return to the Octagon. He was pulled from UFC 197 after a criminal investigation was launched against him, and then he was pulled from UFC 199 for a potential anti-doping violation. A main event bout against Ricardo Lamas was scheduled for an October UFC Fight Night in the Philippines, but Penn pulled out 11 days before the event due to injury — resulting in the entire event being scrapped.
Penn last competed on July 6, 2014, at the finale of The Ultimate Fighter season 19, where he competed in the coaches’ bout against Frankie Edgar — Penn’s first-ever fight at featherweight. Edgar won by TKO late in the third round, giving Penn his third straight defeat. Penn’s last victory came at UFC 123 in November 2010, where he knocked out Matt Hughes in 21 seconds in a welterweight bout.
His opponent, Yair Rodriguez, will be competing in just his 11th professional MMA bout. Rodriguez last competed in August at a UFC Fight Night in Salt Lake City, where he earned a split-decision victory over Alex Caceres in a bout that earned Fight of the Night honors. With that win, Rodriguez has won his last seven bouts, and he is a perfect 5-0 in the UFC since debuting at UFC 180.