A trilogy fight between BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar will headline the Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale on July 6th in Las Vegas.
Penn and Edgar serve as team coaches on TUF 19 before the fight, and interestingly the vent will air on a Sunday night, just a day after UFC 175 airs on pay-per-view from the same location.
Of course, these two have fought twice before with Edgar emerging victorious by decision on both occasions. Those were both contested at lightweight however, and for their third encounter they’ll battle it out at featherweight instead – the first time Penn has competed in the weight class.
Edgar moved to 145lbs early last year after suffering back-to-back losses to Ben Henderson and immediately found himself in a featherweight title shot against Jose Aldo.
That didn’t pan out though, with a decision loss leaving him on a three-fight losing streak. However, he has since picked up a win over Charles Oliveira and will surely be confident that having previous experience at this weight class and two prior wins over Penn will stand him in good stead for their upcoming bout.
On the other hand, this could be the last chance saloon for former lightweight and welterweight champion Penn who’s recent record of 1-4-1 would have seemed unthinkable a few years ago.
Part of ‘The Prodigy’s’ problem has been his natural competitive instinct that’s seen him rise as high as light-heavyweight to take on Lyoto Machida much earlier in his career. He seems to thrive on difficult challenges, but it often leaves him at a big size disadvantage, such as his recent stint at 170lbs where he came undone against the likes of Rory MacDonald and Nick Diaz.
Apparently that’s not discouraged him though as he’s now facing another major challenge, not only in facing a fighter who’s already proven to be something of an achilles heel for him, but doing so after an 18 month layoff in a division he’s never competed in before.
It’s somewhat surprising that this trilogy fight is going to appear on free TV via FOX Sports 1 rather than on pay-per-view – particularly since UFC 175 is literally just a day earlier.
The fact that Edgar’s already won twice against Penn suggests this isn’t a fight that could headline such a show, but given that the promotion isn’t exactly brimming over with big stars at this moment in time it still seems like it’s a match-up that could have performed well as either the co-main event or third fight on a PPV offering, particularly coming off a season of TUF.