The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to Phoenix, Az., on Sunday night for the first time in more than two years for the return of a retired UFC Hall of Famer.
BJ Penn‘s return bout was a big enough draw to attract 11,589 fans to the Talking Stick Resort Arena, producing a live gate of $913,372.75. Those figures paled in comparison to the promotion’s last trip to Phoenix, which was UFC on FOX 13: dos Santos vs. Miocic in December of 2014. UFC on FOX 23 drew a crowd of 15,350 for a live gate of $1.5 million.
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The UFC Fight Night 103 main event featured Penn trying to make another go of it in the Octagon opposite Yair Rodriguez.
Penn’s return may prove short-lived if Sunday’s fight was any indicator. Rodriguez dismantled Penn with an assortment of kicks coming from every angle, which left the Hawaiian on wobbly legs by the end of the first frame.
Just 24 seconds into round two and Rodriguez had dropped Penn with a front kick-right hand combination and finished him with a blur of hammerfists and punches.
Things certainly look bleak for Penn’s future in the Octagon, but Rodriguez’s future couldn’t be any brighter.
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