Penn vs. Pulver: Keys to victory

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

LAS VEGAS – B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver don't like each other one bit. They'll meet in a rematch of a 2002 fight that was won by Pulver. Here is what each man must do to win:

Penn's keys
Pulver's keys
1. Take fight to the ground. Penn is one of the game's most versatile fighters, but he's a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with lethal submissions. 1. Go toe-to-toe. Pulver's power gives him the edge if it's a boxing match.

2. Avoid exchanging punches. Penn must approach the standup game tactically. Pulver's best shot is to catch Penn with a left hook, so Penn has to neutralize that. 2. Be active. Pulver is noted for his cardiovascular conditioning; Penn is not.

3. Slow the pace. A fast pace can't help Penn, who faded in the second half of their first fight. 3. Avoid Penn's guard. Pulver doesn't want to fall into Penn's trap and allow him a chance at a fight-ending submission.

4. Punish Pulver on the ground. If Penn gets in Pulver's guard, he should dish out as much punishment as he can to try to wear Pulver down. 4. Shoot and slam. If Pulver can shoot in and take Penn down with a slam, he'll score points and wear the Hawaiian down.

Rating the fighters

Comparison of B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:

Punching power 9 9 Pulver's left is dangerous.
Wrestling 8 10 This is Pulver's biggest advantage.
Kicks 8 8 Kicks don't figure to play much of a role.
Ground and pound 9 9 Both are brutal finishers.
Takedown defense 8 9 Pulver loves to stand and trade.
Chin 9 8 Pulver is coming off a knockout loss to Joe Lauzon.
Submissions 10 6 Penn is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
Stamina 7 9 Penn insists his conditioning has improved.
Strength 8 8 Penn is deceptively strong.
Intangibles 10 9 Pulver already has one win over Penn.

Total 86 85 Penn has too many tools and will find a way to even the score.