Company President Dana White announced the winner of the bout would become the number one contender to the welterweight crown. There's just one problem with that.
There was no winner.
The fight would end controversially with a majority draw that displeased many fans and pundits whose scorecards varied just as much as the ringside judges.
Who really got the upper hand in the "Land Down Under?"
Check it out:Penn opened up the first round uncharacteristically pushing for the takedown. Eventually, BJ was able to get the takedown on the Purdue wrestler and would utilize his tremendous leg dexterity to sink the hooks in after attaining back control. Fitch was momentarily in Penn's choke, but managed to work out of it and end up in top position.
The second round saw Fitch take Penn down off a failed flying knee, but Penn would eventually fight Fitch off and get back to the feet. Both men would keep pushing for the takedown, but it was "The Prodigy" that would prevail, once again improving position to take his much bigger opponent's back. It was only momentary however, as Fitch was again able to reverse and end up on top in full guard, raining down blows.
Round three was all Jon Fitch. He opened the frame with a powerful right hand and would take Penn down again. And although the Hawaiian was able to get back to his feet, it wasn't long before he was dragged right back to the floor and absolutely pummeled for the remainder of the fight. In fact, he took 149 punches altogether in the round, made evident by his beaten and broken demeanor after the final horn.
The judges ruled the contest a majority draw (28-28, 28-28, 29-28 Fitch).
After the bout, Fitch acknowledged that he had to adapt on the spot and that Penn surprised him with his wrestling.
"I didn't train B.J. shooting takedowns," Fitch said. "I did zero defensive wrestling this whole camp, and it showed tonight."
Fitch seemed surprised by the decision and truly believed that he defeated Penn with that dominant third round, and a solid showing in the latter half of the second round. However, he says he can live with the decision and is confident he'll one day get a title shot.
"I thought so," Fitch said. I gave him (Penn) positioning in the first and second round, but I came back and finished out on top, did some damage of my own. I think I did enough to win at least a split decision.
"I want the title more than anything," he continued. "At the end of the day, we don't make the decisions, the guys in the suits do and the fans do. If my 13 wins in the UFC aren't enough to already put me in the spot for a title shot, whatever, I'm willing to prove myself more."
According to Penn, he was using this fight to test where he is at in his career and perhaps even considered bringing an end to his legendary run. Penn felt he didn't do well enough to get the victory but if a rematch is in the works, he supposes he'll oblige.
"I think I got some dominant positions in the first and second, but he kicked my butt in the third," Penn stated. "I guess, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with my career if I lost this fight, but since God is so nice to me, and gave me a draw, if he wants to do it again, I'll do it again."
Should they do it again?