B.J. Penn vs. Ricardo Lamas reportedly targeted for UFC Fight Night 97 headliner in Manila, Philippines

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

B.J. Penn (photo credit Stephen R. Sylvanie © USAToday Sports)

For the third time in 2016, UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn has a targeted return fight. According to a report from Ariel Helwani at MMAFighting.com, the UFC is targeting Penn for a fight against Ricardo Lamas in the main event of their return to Manila in the Philippines.

That Oct. 15 event serves as UFC Fight Night 97, and is just their second ever card in the Philippines.

Penn hasn’t fought since his brutal loss to Frankie Edgar in July of 2014, and is just 1-5-1 in his last seven appearances in the cage. His plans to return have been fraught with controversy this year, from his six month suspension from USADA for IV use prior to giving a sample to allegations of sexual assault that remain under investigation.

Now he’ll return against Lamas for his second featherweight fight. Lamas has gone 3-3 over his last six fights, losing to Jose Aldo in a title fight, two-time title challenger Chad Mendes, and top contender Max Holloway in that stretch.

Penick’s Analysis: It’s a much more dangerous fight for Penn than the proposed Dennis Siver and Cole Miller bouts, but it works as a five-round headliner for fans in the Philippines. It’s a sensible enough fight for the UFC to put together, and Penn’s got his opportunity to beat a top end fighter to prove he’s still got it.

[Photo (c) Stephen R. Sylvanie via USA Today Sports]

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