Saturday night's UFC 84 begins what might be the best stretch of three straight weekends that American MMA fans have ever had. It's a great card in Vegas on Saturday night, and it comes just a week before EliteXC and World Extreme Cagefighting both have the biggest events in their histories, and two weeks before yet another major event, UFC 85. It's a good time to be an MMA fan.
Here are the details for Saturday night's action:
What: UFC 84: Ill Will
Who: In addition to the B.J. Penn-Sean Sherk main event for the UFC lightweight title, four light heavyweight fights are part of the televised undercard: Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida, Wanderlei Silva vs. Keith Jardine, Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes and Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic.
When: Saturday, 10 p.m. ET
Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
How: Pay-per-view, $44.95 ($54.95 in HD), or just follow along with Josh Alper's FanHouse live blog and my coverage live from Octagonside.
Predictions after the jump.
Sean Sherk vs. B.J. Penn
Penn owns the lightweight title belt that Sherk claims was wrongly stripped of him because of a false-positive drug test. I'm in the minority here, but I think Sherk is going to get his title back.
Predicted winner: Sherk
Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida
Ortiz is stepping into the Octagon for the last time, and UFC President Dana White is cheering hard for Machida to send him out a loser. I think the undefeated Machida will do just that.
Predicted winner: Machida
Wanderlei Silva vs. Keith Jardine
Silva has had a great MMA career, but that great career has been in the Pride ring, not the UFC Octagon. He's not the same fighter he was in Japan, while Jardine appears to be improving. I think he's going to win this one and perhaps establish himself as the top contender to fight the winner of Rampage Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin for the light heavyweight title.
Predicted winner: Jardine
Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes
Five of the 10 fighters on the main card are Brazilian, but this fight is the only one featuring two Brazilians in the Octagon together. This should amount to little more than sparring practice for the undefeated Silva. Mendes is stepping into the Octagon for the first time.
Predicted winner: Silva
Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic
The betting odds say this will be the most evenly matched fight, with Gouveia a very slight favorite. Gouveia is a Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist who showed surprising punching power the last time he stepped into the Octagon at UFC 80, and I think he'll hand Reljic, who is 7-0 in his MMA career, his first loss.
Predicted winner: Gouveia
Official web site
UFC 84 at Wikipedia