Fight breakdown: B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson

Kevin Iole

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE – B.J. Penn and Joe "Daddy" Stevenson will meet for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 80 on Saturday at Metro Radio Arena. Here is what each man must do to win:

Keys to victory
Pop the jab: Penn has an advantage in the stand-up and will benefit by keeping the fight on the feet. The best way to do that is to use his jab, which will score points and have Stevenson looking to counter. 1. High work rate: Penn's conditioning can be poor at times, so Stevenson needs to make him work.

2. Vary the pace: Stevenson will want a fast pace. Penn should slow it down when necessary to keep Stevenson guessing. 2. Hands high: Stevenson can't afford to get caught with a big right hand, so he needs to keep his hands up.

3. Patient on the ground: Penn has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and can use time on the ground to work toward a submission. 3. Be physical: Stevenson should use his strength to his advantage whenever he gets his hands on Penn.

Rating the fighters
Comparison of B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson.
on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:
Punching power 9 7 Penn has a clear edge in the stand-up.
Wrestling 8 9 Stevenson would love to make it a wrestling match.
Knees/kicks 8 8 Legs probably won't decide the outcome.
Ground and
9 10 Stevenson is a devastating finisher.
Takedown defense 10 9 Penn's takedown defense is superb.
Chin 10 8 Penn can shrug off clean shots.
Submissions 10 9 Penn was able to submit Matt Hughes.
Stamina 7 10 Stevenson can go hard for 25 minutes.
Strength 8 10 Stevenson is extremely powerful.
Intangibles 10 9 Penn is looking to silence his doubters.

Total 89 89 Penn is more versatile and has more ways to win. He's an expert at submissions, but has a better stand-up. Stevenson will have to push the pace to try to take advantage of Penn's occasional lapses in his conditioning. In a tight fight, that could go either way. Expect Penn to win a decision.