Penn to fight Hughes today with new head trainer, corner-men
BJ Penn is significantly switching things up.
Coming off a two-fight skid to Frankie Edgar, who stole his UFC Light-weight championship by split decision in April and then put a stamp on it with a dominating decision win in August, the Hilo native decided he needed a fresh start for his welter-weight rubber-match against Matt Hughes today at UFC 123 “Rampage vs. Machida” at the Palace of Auburn Hill in Detroit.
Longtime trainers and corner-men Rudy Valentino and Jason Perillo have been replaced by Troy Mandaloniz and Justin McCulley. Both men have fought in the UFC and have ties to UFC middleweight Kendall Grove & I & I Training Center in Maui.
It’s unclear whether the change is permanent, but appears amicable. According to reports, Perillo and Valentino—legendary MMA masterminds—still participated in his training for the bout.
“We’re just trying to get a different look, just going with some different ideas. We all still train together,” Penn told MMAFighting.com. “I’ve actually trained with both [Rudy Valentino and Jason Parillo] while preparing for this fight, but up here – as far as the corner goes – we got different ideas.
“We got a different gameplan. Our last two fights didn’t go the way we wanted and we’re all in agreement that we wanna put something together and get a victory.”