Penn Is Ready To Walk Away With A Victory

UFC fighter

Monday, January 9, 2017 9:08 PM GMT

BJ Penn is emerging from semi-retirement to take on 24-year-old Yair Rodriguez on Sunday, January 15th. Let's analyze this fight and check the other co-main events and get to cashing in our UFC picks.

BJ Penn vs Yair Rodriguez

Yair Rodriguez (9-1, 3 KO's, 1 Sub) is a 24-year-old Mexican fighter who is undefeated in the UFC. BJ Penn (16-10, 7 KO's, 6 Subs) is a former champion who has been out of the knockout business since 2014. Penn has gone 1-5-1 over his last seven bouts and is now returning at age 38 to do what, exactly? Granted Penn lost to some very tough customers when you consider his last five defeats were to Frankie Edgar (three times), Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald.

At first blush we see a young, rising fighter looking to pad his record with a win over a former champ and legend in the industry. It's a formulaic strategy pioneered in boxing a long time ago with MMA matchmakers using the same blueprint. However, if you take a peek at the UFC odds on this event you will see that the young upstart is being dealt at about -450 with the comeback on Penn at +370.

Rodriguez has been good but his wins have not left viewers slack-jawed. The BJ Penn we will see will undoubtedly be in shape and ready to fight. Rodriguez may get better but at this moment does not carry the same heft as a Frankie Edgar, Nick Diaz or Rory MacDonald. Based on Penn's experience and the generous return on investment I am getting from the oddsmakers, I will make BJ Penn a solid value bet here.

Free UFC Pick: BJ Penn +375

Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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Marcin Held vs Joe Lauzon

Joe Lauzon (26-12, 7 KO's, 18 Subs) is one tough hombre and has been around the block in the world of MMA. It's amazing Lauzon is still just 32-years-old but he will be facing Marcin Held (22-5, 4 KO's, 12 Subs) of Poland who is 24 and looking to make his mark in the UFC.

Lauzon is a magnificent submission artist as well as a guy who can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. However, he has been relegated to gatekeeper status in the UFC's lightweight division, unable to defeat the very best the sport has to offer at 155 pounds. Both fighters have recently lost to veteran Diego Sanchez with Lauzon losing by first-round TKO in July while Held dropped a unanimous decision in November to The Nightmare. Held's star is on the rise and he is equipped to battle Lauzon more than adequately on the mat which few fighters can say. Held is a world class submission artist, earning medals at the FILA Grappling European and World Championships as well as the IBJJF jiu-Jitsu European and World Championships.

If Held can avoid Lauzon's heavy strikes standing up, there's a good chance he will defeat the aging warrior on the mat. Of course, Lauzon's extensive experience will come into play but ultimately we will side with Held in our betting picks, who has the chops to make some serious noise in the lightweight division for years to come.

Free UFC Pick: Marcin Held +120

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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