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UFC 84 Review: BJ Penn retains lightweight title

UFC 84: ill will came to us all live from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 23, 2008. On the docket were three huge matches: Wanderlei Silva vs. Keith Jardine, Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz, and B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk. What else is there to say?

Let's get it on!

First on the docket was a match up between rising, undefeated star Thiago Silva and Antonio Mendes. Before the fight, Silva said, "every fight's a war. I'm ready. I'm gonna do what I have to do and I'm going to win."

Things started off quickly, as a high kick by Mendes, despite being blocked by his opponent dropped Silva to the ground. Moments later, the fight was back on the feet where Mendes executed some nice clinch work before nailing Silva with a low kick that left him on the canvas once again.

Soon after, Mendes stepped out of his adversary's guard and to his feet again. From there, the two clinched up inside and Mendes tried to hip throw Silva. However, the move didn't work, and instead Silva ended up taking Mendes down. Then Silva quickly moved to mount where he unleashed a brutal assault of ground and pound. Eventually, the onslaught was too much for Mendes to bear and he tapped out due to strikes.

Thiago Silva wins via submission (due to strikes) at 2:24 of round one.

Next up was a huge match up between Tito Ortiz and Lyoto Machida. "I think he (Ortiz) has the will and the desire to be successful," said UFC President Dana White before the fight. "(But) he doesn't have the will and desire to be the best fighter in the world." So would Dana White's words prove prophetic or would the Huntington Beach Bad Boy defeat Machida and catapult his name back into light heavyweight division contender status?

The majority of the first round saw Machida dance around the Octagon and pepper his opponents with kicks while shirking Ortiz's takedown attempts. However, very near the end of the initial stanza Ortiz came inside looking for a takedown and was then thrown violently to the canvas by his opponent. Machida quickly took side control, trapped Ortiz's arm, and started a vicious ground and pound assault until the bell tolled. Thus, the first round clearly went to Machida.

The second round saw Machida pepper his adversary with kicks and punches. Though it was somewhat unexciting, and Ortiz complained that Machida was running, the fighter from Brazil clearly won the stanza.

The final round saw Ortiz come out aggressive. In fact, at one point early on the two clinched up and the Huntington Beach Bad Boy landed some nice body punches. However, after a referee break up, Machida nailed Ortiz with a very powerful flying knee to the ribs that dropped him. From there, things got even more interesting. Believe it or not, Ortiz actually secured a strong triangle that he eventually transitioned to an armbar with. Though Machida got out?barely?it was still a pretty awesome move.

In this writer's opinion, the final stanza went to Ortiz, but the first two went to Machida. However, the judges saw things in Machida's favor even more obviously.

Lyoto Machida wins via unanimous decision (30-27) on all cards.

Next on the docket was a fight between UFC newcomer Goran Reljic and Wilson Gouveia. "I'm just going to punch him in the mouth and make him go back to Croatia," said Gouveia beforehand.

The first round was very close. For the majority of the stanza, Reljic connected with hard high and body kicks that did some damage. However, toward the end of the round Gouveia connected with a flurry of punches that Reljic countered by purposefully pulling guard. Give the round to Reljic, but don't be surprised if some went the other way with it.

The second round started out much like the first did. However, early on things changed as Gouveia caught his opponent with a hard left hand that floored him. From there, a furious ground and pound assault ensued. Still, somehow Reljic survived to push Gouveia off of him with his legs and get to his feet.

Believe it or not, things got even more interesting from there. Reljic landed a huge left that dropped Gouveia. Then the ground and pound started and it didn't stop until the referee pulled Reljic off.

Watch out for Goran Reljic. He's a force to be reckoned with, and this was an excellent fight.

Goran Reljic wins via TKO at 3:15 of round two.

The next televised match saw Christian Wellisch take on Shane Carwin. This one was fast. After some heavy leather being thrown that missed, one of Carwin's rights did not miss. And that was all she wrote.

Shane Carwin wins via TKO at 44 seconds of the very first round.

"Everytime you come fight me I give my best. . . this time is the same," said Wanderlei Silva before stepping into the Octagon against the always dangerous Keith Jardine. But would his best be good enough to win?

The answer? A resounding yes.

A right- left- right combination dropped Jardine to the canvas very early in the initial round. From there, Silva held Jardine's head down with one hand and pounded away with the other until the referee pulled him off.

Wanderlei Silva wins via knockout after 36 seconds in round one. Keith Jardine was down for awhile; let's hope that he's okay. The good thing is that he walked out on his own power.

Next up was a match between Ivan Salaverry and up and comer Rousimar Palhares. In sum, this was a showing of outstanding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Palhares, who promptly took Salaverry down, mounted him, and then took his back. From there, it was only a matter of time before Palhares transitioned from rear naked choke attempts to an armbar.

Rousimar Palhares wins via armbar at 2:36 of round one.

"Huge fight, huge fight. B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk?dream match up. The best possible scenario for a hundred and fifty pounds," said Joe Rogan about the UFC Lightweight Championship bout coming in. But dream match ups don't always go down as one might have thought.

The first round saw Sherk go for only one takedown unsuccessfully. On their feet, the two traded several shots but Penn's were a little more frequent and damaging. Thus, give the initial stanza to the fighter from Hawaii.

The second round was a complete stand up battle. On one hand, cuts under Sherk's eyes continued to bleed significantly. On the other, Sherk landed a lot of punches in the round. The second stanza was therefore very close. However, Sherk only went for one takedown, which was very surprising. He's not going to win a striking battle with The Prodigy.

The third stanza saw Sherk once again not go for any takedowns. In fact, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan seemed to pick up on a possible right hand injury sustained by Sean Sherk. Regardless, toward the end of the round a right uppercut by Penn was followed by a hard flying knee floored The Muscle Shark. From there, the ground and pound was unmerciful. Though the bell initially looked like it saved Sherk, the referee was forced to stop the fight inbetween rounds. There was no doubt whom the winner was here.

B.J. Penn wins via TKO after round three.

In sum, UFC 84: ill will was an awesome night of fights. Wanderlei Silva showed he was back with a great performance. B.J. Penn showed that he is in fact The Prodigy by stopping the man that many believe is the only one in the lightweight division that had a shot at him. Finally, Lyoto Machida once again proved that he is a great technician in the Octagon. Goodbye to Tito Ortiz if in fact his Octagon days are over.

And see you next time.

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