The fight was one of the most exciting lightweight fights at the time and many hope for a rematch today, whether at welterweight or lightweight.
The first round began, with Serra going for the takedown, defended by Penn. They clinched against the cage. The crowd chanted 'Serra' briefly. Penn shoved Serra down and the fight resumed with the fighters standing. Serra grabbed a leg but Penn defended and landed some knees in the clinch and they went to the cage. Three minutes remained. Penn landed a good knee. Serra broke the clinch. Serra grabbed a leg after an exchange but Penn defended once more and they clinched against the cage. Penn landed a good shot as they broke. Penn was winning the standup fight. Serra went for the takedown, grabbed a leg and Penn defended yet again. They circled. Fifty seconds remained. Penn landed a leg kick. The crowd chanted 'BJ'. Serra went for the takedown, lost it, lay on his back. He delivered a good upkick and they stood. They clinched with ten seconds remaining and the first round ended. The corner told Serra that he had given up the first round and that he had to 'fight his balls off now'.
The second round began. Penn landed a leg kick. Serra knocked Penn down but stood up. Serra sank in a guillotine but Penn got out of it. They clinched against the cage. Serra got the takedown into Penn's closed guard. They stood, with Serra retaining a hold of the leg. He let go and they clinched yet again. The fighters exchanged knees. Serra broke and landed a good elbow to the left side of Penn's face. Serra broke the clinch and landed a few shots and took a few. Three minutes remained. Serra went for a takedown, again defended by Penn and they clinched against the cage. The crowd chanted 'BJ'. Penn got the takedown but they stood. Serra landed a good right hand and then another, beckoned to Penn and said 'bring it on' before he shot for the takedown, grabbed a leg, landed a bomb, and they clinched against the cage. A brief chant of 'Serra' went up. The second round ended. Penn's corner told him to 'not hold back' and to 'turn it up on the striking'.
The third round began. Both fighters had won a round at this point. Penn landed a good shot. Serra went for the takedown, defended by Penn and took a shot on the way back up. Serra went for the takedown and grabbed a leg, landing some good shots. They clinched briefly, Serra broke it and landed a good shot. They clinched, Penn landed some good knees, and they broke with Penn landing a good right hand to Serra's eye as they did. Serra stumbled, Penn came in, Serra took Penn down but Penn got up quickly. Penn landed a jab. Serra grabbed a leg and they stood there like that and Penn landed some elbows. Serra stood. One minute remained. Serra landed a leg kick. Serra tried for a head kick. Penn landed a leg kick. Ten seconds remained. They exchanged strikes. Serra tried for a leg kick. The fight ended. BJ Penn won the fight by unanimous decision.