UFC 84: Ill Will pre-fight analysis and predictions
In June of 2007, the UFC put on a a fight card title “UFC 73: Stacked”. That fight card failed to live up to the expectation of it’s moniker, but the event was entertaining never the less.
Fast forward almost a year later and UFC fans are gearing up for “UFC 84 : Ill Will” . If you want to talk about stacked cards, this one takes the cake.
Main Card Bouts:
-B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk
-Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz
-Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva (#8 Light Heavyweight in the World)*
-Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes
-Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic
-Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura
-Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Jon Koppenhaver
-Rousimar Palhares vs. Ivan Salaverry
-Shane Carwin vs. Christian Wellisch
-Dong-hyun Kim vs. Jason Tan
-Terry Etim vs. Rich Clementi
I am highly annoyed that the Sokoudjou/Nakamura fight is on the under card, but what are you going to do? Sokoudjou made around, or over, 200K in his loss to Machida, so I don’t understand why the UFC would put him on the under card. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I do. It’s called UFC on demand.
Here are my fight predictions for the main card.
– Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic
Since losing to Keith Jardine at the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 3, Gouveia has strung together 4 wins, all by knockout or submission. His most notable win was his last, when his fist connected with squarely on the jaw of rising light heavyweight star Jason Lambert.
Gouveia is facing undefeated croation fighter Goran Reljic. I’ve never seen Reljic fight, but I know that he is a Gracie fighter and holds a record of 7-0; five of those wins have come by way of submission. Still, this is Reljic’s UFC debut. He has never fought in the states and the pressure may be a lot for him to handle. Gouveia is no slouch on the ground, and now that he has proven that he has some heavy hands, I look for him to win this fight by TKO/KO.
Prediction: Gouveia – Round 2
– Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes
I look for Thiago Silva to be one of the rising light heavyweight stars in the years to come. Silva is an undefeated fighter with a vicious stand up game . He is 12-0 with 10 knockouts. I have heard that he has a great ground game , but we have yet to really see that side of his fight arsenal. Silva has a tough test in Antonio Mendes. Antonio “Samuray” Mendes is a well-rounded fighter who trains with Europe Top Team. He has a 14-2 record, winning 4 fights by TKO and 3 by submission. I think this fight will be a slug fest to start off, with Mendes looking for the take down in the middle of round 1. I am curious to see Silva’s ground game, but his knockouts are always entertaining. I believe Silva will come out on top, and further solidify his position as one of the up and coming stars of the light heavyweight division.
Prediction: Thiago Silva – KO/TKO Round 1
– Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva
Before running into the roadblock known as Houston Alexander, Keith Jardine was moving closer and closer to a light heavyweight title shot. Jardine took Alexander lightly, and found himself viciously knocked out for his efforts, or lack there of. Jardine rebounded nicely in his next fight when he won a split decision against Chuck Liddell, and now he finds himself fighting Liddell’s nemesis Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva.
Wanderlei Silva is coming off of three consecutive losses. He desperately needs a win and he needs a win in convincing fashion. I expect Jardine to be cautious, throwing his trademark leg kicks to keep Silva on the outside while using his reach to pepper Silva with punch combinations. Silva has already stated that his number one priority is putting on a good fight for the fans, win lose or draw, so you have to expect that Silva will be approaching this fight pretty fiercely. Wanderlei needs to get on the inside and do what he does best, deliver vicious knockouts via punches, kicks, and knees from the clinch. Liddell did a good job of keeping Silva in check and I would hope that Wanderlei has adjusted his training accordingly. Jardine has the height and reach advantage, so it is a must that Wanderlei gets inside position on Jardine. He has a tough task ahead of him and maybe I hold a slight bias because I am a Wanderlei Silva fan, but I believe that this fight will be the fight that Wanderlei gets himself back on the winning track.
Prediction: Wanderlei Silva – UD
– Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz
Right off the bat, I believe that Lyoto Machida will win this fight. I’d like to see Tito Ortiz win in a dominating fashion, but I just don’t think it will happen. Ortiz hasn’t put on the most impressive performances lately. Ortiz used to be a cardio machine, but now we see “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” starting to lose steam in the second round of fights. He hypes all of his fights and does a lot of talking, but he hasn’t been walking the walk when it comes time to step into the octagon. Ortiz has publicly stated that this is his last fight in the UFC, making him the hottest free agent in the market. The problem is that Ortiz knows that a lot of these new MMA start ups need Tito Ortiz more then Tito Ortiz needs a start up . No matter where he goes, he is going to make a ton of money, and that is not exactly a motivating factor to win this fight. That fact, coupled with his last few performances, may very well lead to a less then impressive exit from the UFC.
Lyoto Machida isn’t the most exciting fighter, but he has the conditioning and skill to go the distance with Ortiz, and I believe he will win this fight via unanimous decision.
Prediction: Lyoto Machida – UD
– B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk – UFC lightweight championship
This is going to be a hell of a fight. You have the superb wrestler versus the superb submission fighter. Both fighters have solid chins and pretty good boxing, although Penn’s boxing is better then Sherk’s. Sherk’s leg kicks are pretty solid; BJ rarely throws leg kicks, for some reason. Both Penn and Sherk have never lost via submission and have only been stopped once in each of their careers. If BJ Penn has the cardio to go 5 rounds, he will win this fight. His take down defense is top notch and he will get the better of the stand up exchange, should Sherk choose to stand with him. When Sherk fought Georges St. Pierre , St. Pierre stuffed Sherk’s takedowns over and over again and even secured a few take downs of his own. Sherk was forced to stand up with St.Pierre and lost every bit of that exchange. St. Pierre disposed of Sherk quickly in round 2 when he put Sherk on his back.
Should Sherk secure the takedown, BJ Penn is very comfortable on his back and has a good chance of submitting “The Muscle Shark”. BJ’s guard is amazing and his dexterity is of another world. As long as BJ comes ready to fight five rounds, he has every tool in his arsenal to win this fight.
Prediction – BJ Penn KO/TKO round 3