by MMAWeekly.com Staff
feature three blockbuster fights
On Saturday night, UFC 84: Ill Will
takes place in Las Vegas, and will feature three blockbuster fights. In those
fights, you have a top contender match in the light heavyweight division
between "The Dean of Mean" Keith Jardine and "The Axe
Murderer" Wanderlei Silva. In another high-profile fight, undefeated Lyoto
Machida will take on former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, which,
according to Ortiz, will be his final bout in the Octagon. The main event will
be a fight that is sure to excite many fans as Sean "The Muscle
Shark" Sherk returns to the Octagon for the first time since his
suspension for Nandrolone to take on the man who now holds the lightweight
title that he wants to regain, B.J. Penn.
MMAWeekly fight analyst Kenny
Florian joined MMAWeekly Radio recently to give his thoughts and predictions on
the fights at hand.
Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes:
I know Thiago Silva is a tough,
tough fighter. He’s obviously proved he has some ground skills. I don’t know
too much about Mendes. We’ll see what happens. It’s always interesting seeing
how the newcomers come in and do.
When you’re in the UFC, there are
no easy fights. There really aren’t. You’ve seen it before and I’m sure you’ll
see it many times over, that new guy coming in can be the big time spoiler.
Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljik
From what I hear from Gouveia,
he’s a monster in the gym and it looks like he should be able to take this one
for sure. He’s got a lot of potential and I think he can make waves in that
division. He’s one of those guys who needs to live up to the expectations that
people have for him.
Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva
I think the key for Jardine is
being able to keep him on the outside. You don’t want to trade on the inside
with Wanderlei Silva. I think that’s where Silva has most of his power. That’s
where Jardine got caught against Houston Alexander. I think he needs to keep
that distance and utilize those leg kicks. At the same time, from what I hear,
Wanderlei Silva is working with a very good Thai coach. It looks like he’s
picking up his Thai training and it has the makings of an absolute war. This is
a huge fight for both of these guys.
Usually when he has been coming
forward, in his most recent fights, Wanderlei has been using punches. With that
said, Jardine needs to take him out with leg kicks. Now, if this is the old
Wanderlei that comes in with punches, Thai clinch, flying knees, it could
definitely cause a lot of problems for Jardine. I wouldn’t be surprised if
Jardine does a takedown. I’d be surprised if Wanderlei Silva initiated one. But
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jardine utilized that reach at the long range level
and then coming in and shooting in at the end of those rounds, stealing those
rounds to keep Wanderlei off-balanced like Chuck Liddell did.
Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida
I hear that Tito Ortiz, for the
first time in a long time, is 100 percent healthy. He’s been training. He’s in
the best shape of his life, very focused for this fight with everything that is
going on. Will it be a distraction though? Is it something that is going to put
too much pressure on him and get him over-emotional and take him away from his
game plan because he wants to prove Dana wrong? Who knows how that’s going to
From a stylistic vantage point,
you have to agree that Tito Ortiz matches up very well with him. However, from
what I hear, Lyoto Machida has been smashing everybody in his training camp
with some big name fighters. Without mentioning any people, he’s taking care of
business in there in training. I think there’s no reason why he won’t do it on
I think Tito needs to go back to
the old Tito. Press him up against the cage, take him down and keep pressure on
him with those elbows flying down. Use ground and pound and consistently keep
him on his back.
With Machida, he’s very savvy,
very strategic, and just really good at what he does. He’s so good about
getting people to play his game. He is very, very good off his back, great at
sweeping. However, against a good wrestler like Tito, it may be difficult to
One thing that could be a factor
would be him up against the fence on his back. We haven’t seen him there. With
the type of pressure that Tito Ortiz has put on in the past, he could pose a
problem for sure. This is an interesting fight. I think I’ll definitely give
the edge to Machida, but I’m not going to bet on this fight. That’s for sure.
He has to trade with Machida, and him also being a southpaw, it’s awkward. It’s
hard to fight with Lyoto Machida on his terms. It’s definitely an interesting
BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk
Sean Sherk has been in the game
for a long time now. I think he’s been able to deal with (the distractions).
There were a couple questions in the press conference that would’ve angered
anyone in that situation. Sherk seemed to keep his composure and I’m sure he’s
dealt with it now for a while. He’s a true veteran. He comes to fight and
obviously very motivated by what B.J.’s been saying.
B.J. is very motivated by the
issue. He feels that Sean Sherk has cheated his way through the UFC, and he
wants to make him pay. B.J. is very motivated. He’s been training very hard. He
looks great. He sounds like he’s very focused. He seems very intense.
It’s not one of those fights
where someone is going to clearly blow someone out of the water. It seems that
way. They are both top-notch fighters. I believe they are definitely top three
in the world.
B.J. is looking great and I’ll
tell you what: He’s got heavy hands, fast hands. He’s going to come at Sherk
from the beginning. It’ll be interesting to see how Sean Sherk deals with that
in the first few rounds. For better or worse, we haven’t seen B.J. really past
the third round for a while. What we did see, we saw that he gassed. I think
this is a different B.J. Penn. I think it looks like he’s really been training
hard. He’s taking it serious. He’s really turned over a new leaf in his
training and I think he could still pull this off in the third, fourth or maybe
even fifth round.
It’s a real close fight. I think,
early on, for Sherk to go in and try to attack the legs, B.J. has got a great
sprawl. Great flexibility. I think Sherk, if he wants to take him down early, would
be better off probably in the clinch, and trying to get in on him like Georges
St. Pierre did, because the dexterity in the legs, the flexibility, the balance
that B.J. possesses is unbelievable. Early on you know that it’s going to be
strong. As the fight goes on, his balance, his quickness won’t be as good. If
Sherk can keep that pace he usually keeps, he’s better off shooting on the legs
a little bit later in the fight.
Who knows? Sherk has a great
ability to transition from the striking to the takedown game. He’s fast as
hell. He’s strong as hell. It could come down to that. I’m just looking forward
to seeing this fight as a fan. I think B.J. has that ability to finish you in
many different ways. He’s definitely coming in with more weapons. That’s not to
say that Sean Sherk can’t win the fight. If he’s going to win the fight, I
believe it’ll be by decision.
For pre-fight video interviews,