by: Jack Bratcher
UFC 84 was just an awesome night of fights. Every time I watch one of these big events, my respect for these MMA athletes/fighters grows and grows. Tito vs. Lyoto was just an incredible fight; just as much for all the repercussions this fight would hold as for the action in the cage. Lyoto fought a very strategic technical fight. He picked apart Tito like an artist painting a masterpiece, stroke by stroke and frustrating Tito in the process. Tito, like the old warrior he is, surprised everyone by getting Lyoto in a triangle and damn near ended the fight but Lyoto said he would have let him break it or died before he tapped and was able to get out and go on to win the fight. Personally, I thought Lyoto was hand-picked to deliver Tito a beating as his farewell fight and I thought the fight was a great success if that was the purpose. It was very entertaining because Tito put up a hell of a fight and in fact almost won. Great fight.
Before the Wanderlei / Jardine fight I was talking with a friend and said that I thought Wandy would win because he would press the action much like Houston Alexander did and Jardine does not like that and has trouble reacting to that style of aggressiveness. My friend said that’s EXACTLY why he bet on Wandy to win and the fight would go down EXACTLY like that. And it did. Wandy came out and did what he does best; he attacked and caught Keith with multiple shots that dropped him and he attacked the wounded animal like a shark smelling the blood and finished him easily very early in the first round. Wanderlei really needed this win and he couldn’t have done a better job. I like Jardine alot. He actually looked to be very ready for this fight and even dropped the chimpanzee approach but just wasn’t ready for the blitzkreig of someone like Wandy. I think Keith will bounce back from this and be fine and a win for Wanderlei was much more important in this fight. However, as much respect as I have for Jardine and as much as I like him I have to ask the question, is it possible Jardine has a glass jaw? Obviously the blueprint has been set on how to beat Keith and hopefully he will do what’s needed to correct this, learn from this and come back stronger and I have little doubt that won’t happen with the great camp and coaches that surround him.
Sean Sherk in the post fight presser said that he wanted to show some of his boxing skills that he’s been working on and seemed satisfied to stand and trade strikes with B.J. Penn. I only remember Sean even remotely looking for a takedown once or twice in the entire fight. Sean said B.J. was just as dangerous on the ground as he was standing so he may as well stand with him. I think Sean would have had a better chance if he would have went for the ground and pound but that’s just my opinion. Sherk was throwing bad intentions in every round. I kept thinking that if any of those big punches were to land B.J. could be in some real trouble. But they didn’t land and B.J. was never in any trouble. Instead, B.J. stood for the entire fight picking Sherk apart with some very nice boxing. Penn kept a jab working followed by combinations for pretty much the entire fight. Penn looked extremely comfortable standing just as if he was out there on those Hawaiian waves riding his surfboard in perfect tune with the rhythms of the ocean. He looked natural and relaxed and in the third round he hit Sherk with a shot that knocked him back and bounced him off the cage and still riding those waves of the perfect rhythm B.J. rushed forward and with the most flawless perfect timing landed a knee to the face of the rebounding Sean Sherk that ended the fight. There were questions that if Sherk could take the fight into deep waters, would B.J.’s cardio hold up. Those questions were put to rest. Sherk did land some punches on B.J. but not enough to do any damage. In fact, I saw no signs on B.J.’s face after the fight that B.J. had even been in a fight. On the other hand, Sherk’s face told the entire story of being on the receiving end of a dominant performance.
The post fight press conference was almost exciting as some of the fights and for a moment I thought it could turn into a fight with Tito causing all kinds of controversy to the point that policemen had to stay in the room. At first it seemed Tito and Dana could possibly even work something out and Tito could end up staying with the UFC but as the press conference continued, Tito became more and more outspoken and antagonistic in his words about Dana. Personally, I don’t see how Dana would ever want someone fighting for the company that acted like that in public at a company press conference. It helps no one. Tito kept talking about needing to be respected and Dana said that respect is a two way street. Personally, I think they need marriage counseling. Maybe they can work it out but seems doubtful.
It was a great night of fights with some great undercard and preliminary bouts as well.