“Satisfying! Very satisfying,” described Fighters.com’s fourth-ranked lightweight and UFC Lightweight Champion “Prodigy” B.J. Penn (13-4-1) after defeating fifth-ranked “Muscle Shark” Sean Sherk (32-2-1) by TKO after the third round at UFC 84 in Las Vegas Saturday.
Veteran referee Mario Yamasaki determined that Sherk was unable to continue after a Penn flurry at the cage that left Sherk on the mat at the end of the third round.
The three five-minute rounds were fought entirely standing up, resembling a boxing match.
Penn worked a slicker boxing style set-up with a long, snapping jab. Sherk threw left and right hooks in a stiff, technical style.
Penn established his jab in the first round as Sherk pressured.
Sherk clinched to muffle “The Prodigy’s” reach advantage; but, Penn landed an uppercut to break the clinch.
Sherk attempted to counter with his own jab, but threw it short as Penn followed down the pipe with his left. Sherk clinched again; but, Penn threw him off.
Sherk began round two with a cut under his right eye from Penn’s relentless jabbing. He shrugged his shoulders before the bell, disappointed with his first-round performance.
But, the Minnesotan took the fight to Penn in the second round. Penn clinched inside Sherk’s left/right hook combo and hammered knees to “The Muscle Shark’s” body.
Again, Penn clinched; but, Sherk overwhelmed him with a flurry. Penn pushed out of the clinch.
Unable to solve Penn’s boxing riddle, Sherk began to test his leg kick; but, Penn answered with a left hook.
Penn had all the answers Saturday night.
Sherk began round three with another cut under his left eye. Before the bell rang, he sized himself up on the above-Octagon screen.
Increasingly desperate to overcome Penn’s reach advantage, Sherk began lunging with his punches.
Penn timed an uppercut as Sherk lunged into a punch, sending Sherk backpedaling to the cage. Penn followed him with a flying knee that landed square on Sherk’s jaw. Penn mounted and pounded Sherk to the bell.
Penn describe the flurry, “He got caught. I hit him and I knew the fight was done when he put his hands up and looked at me like, ‘Yeah, you got me. It’s over.’”
The referee Yamasaki stopped the action at the bell, but determined Sherk was no longer fit to fight another round after Sherk remained on his knees and awarded Penn the TKO.
When asked if the stoppage was justified, Sherk replied, “I’m not real sure. I didn’t even hear the bell ring.”
“I was surprised [Sherk wanted to box],” Penn admitted. “I thought he was going to try to use his combinations to setup his takedowns. ”
After the fight, Penn asked the 15,000-person crowd, “You want GSP? You want B.J. Penn to fight GSP?” He was referring to top-ranked welterweight “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (16-2), who won a split decision over Penn in 2006.
UFC President Dana White told reporters that Penn has at least one more fight before “clearing out the lightweight division” and earning a rematch with the 170-pound champion St. Pierre.
Penn admitted it’d be hard for him to take a fight against the winner of Florian versus Huerta seriously after dominating Sherk, considered the second-ranked lightweight in the UFC behind Penn.
The “Axe Murderer” Is Back
Shortly into the first round, Jardine lunged into a flurry that Silva countered with a right hook that collapsed the “Dean of Mean”, then followed with a left and right hook as Jardine fell.
Silva pounced and pounded Jardine until he went stiff and the referee waved off the carnage.
Jardine lay prone several minutes after the stoppage as Silva became emotional at the mic.
Machida Sends Ortiz Packing
UFC President Dana White got the last laugh on ninth-ranked light heavyweight “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-6-1).
He matched him versus third-ranked “Dragon” Lyoto Machida (13-0), who routinely sucks the air out of the world’s most exciting sport.
Machida won a paced UD over Ortiz by 30-27 on all three judges score cards.
Machida may have sucked the air out of Ortiz’s big-dollar post-UFC plans by forcing another boring fight on an exciting fighter.
Ortiz stalked the elusive “Dragon” for a takedown throughout the fight; and, Machida, to his credit, avoided all but one of “Bad Boy’s” shots.
At the end of round one, Machida even slammed Ortiz into side control and chiseled open a gash on the bridge of Ortiz’s nose with elbows.
After several attempts to engage Machida in the second round, frustrated Ortiz dropped his hands and waved Machida on.
Machida responded with a 1-2 combo; and, Ortiz nodded and countered with a body kick and punch before the bell halted the action.
In round three, Ortiz took a Machida flying knee to the body; and, Machida followed Ortiz to the mat. Ortiz recovered and smothered Machida’s G’n'P, then locked on a triangle choke.
The capacity crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena took their feet; but, it was too late; Machida was too slick rolling over and too slippery yanking free as Ortiz transitioned into an armbar.
Fighters.com gave the decision to Machida by the score 29-28.
Ortiz left open the possibility of returning to the UFC in his post-fight comments; but, it was clear in the post-fight press conference that he was unwanted. Ortiz crashed the press conference and refused to leave, prodded on by his girlfriend, Jenna Jameson, shouting, “You don’t have to go anywhere, baby!”
Soukoudjou: “Just one thing: Shogun.”
Seventh-ranked light heavyweight ”African Assassin” Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (5-2) got back to what brought him to the big show Saturday night at UFC 84 in Las Vegas when a straight right turned the lights out on “Kaz” Kazuhiro Nakamura (11-8) in the first round.
Sokou’ landed snapping leg kicks throughout the round, but was frustrated by Nakamura’s in-and-out flurries and elusive defense. Finally, after landing a body kick he had tested out earlier in the round, Sokou’ followed with a straight right that dropped Kaz’.
The bell rang before it was clear how much damage the big punch had done; but, when Nakamura first tried to stumble from the Octagon thinking the fight had been stopped, then collapsed on his stool, the fight was stopped after the first round.
After the fight, Sokoudjou announced, “Just one thing: Shogun.”
Yoshida Silences War Machine
“It was just the way I expected,” Yoshida said after his victorious UFC debut.
Koppenhaver fired first with a leg kick, then clinched with the Japanese judoka.
“Zenko” flipped Koppenhaver into side mount and wrapped up the anaconda choke toot sweet. Referee Herb Dean tugged on Koppenhaver’s arm and determined he was unconscious, ending the fight.
Yoshida said, “The anaconda choke was right there for me.”
Silva Welcomes Mendes
Mendes surprised Silva early with a left roundhouse kick to the head, dropping Silva. Mendes declined the ground game. Again, Mendes caught a Silva body kick and dumped him to the mat, but declined to follow for long.
When it was Silva’s turn with a nice trip takedown at the cage, it was clear why Mendes wanted to stay on his feet.
Silva easily passed to mount and pounded a flailing Mendes to a TKO stoppage.
Reljice Debuts Victoriously
Gouveia dropped; and, Reljic followed, pounding Gouveia for another twenty seconds before referee Herb Dean woke up and realized he should stop the fight before Gouveia was brain damaged.
Palhares Slick Victory
Brazilian Top Team’s “Toquinho” Rousimar Palhares (8-1) made a slick conversion from a rear naked choke he was working on Ivan Salaverry (12-7) to tap Salaverry in an armbar at 2:36 of round one. The fight was all Palhares and all BJJ, earning the UFC’s $75,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus.
Kim Mandhandles Tan
Tan shot for a double-leg takedown to begin the first round; but, Kim proved nimble, avoiding the mat while elbowing a gash into Tan’s skull. Kim eventually relented to the mat, but on his terms, tossing Tan and mounting.
Tan took a pounding from Kim’s punches and elbows, but survived for a second round.
Tan switched his strategy in round two, throwing high and low kicks to begin the round; but, Kim avoided contact.
Tan again shot for a takedown; and, again Kim hip tossed Tan to the mat, mounted, and pounded him to the bell.
Tan worked rubber guard, attempting an omoplata; but, Kim made him pay for every submission attempt by avoiding and following up with a punch.
Kim came out to the third-round bell to take Tan out. Kim threw two big, off-target hooks before clinching and throwing Tan to the mat to pound him out with elbows for the TKO.
Carwin Clobbers Wellisch
A wrestler, Carwin established his jab from the opening bell. Wellisch timed Carwin and grazed him with a left hook 25 seconds into the round. Carwin popped another jab in Wellisch’s face, which Wellisch followed into a head-on collision with Carwin’s fight-ending right hook, knocking Wellisch’s mouthpiece to the mat.
Clementi Continues Streak
Clementi survived an all-Etim first round.
“His lankiness was hard, hard, hard to deal with,” Clementi admitted after the fight.
Clementi got tagged with low and high kicks as he closed range for the takedown. Midway through the round, Clementi finally succeeded in taking the fight to the mat, but Etim smothered his offense, causing the referee to stand the fighters. Six-foot-one Etim continued to exploit his reach advantage.
The second and third rounds were different entirely. Clementi’s relentless pressure, which caused him to take some shots in the first round, began to wear on Etim. Clementi began scoring his takedowns, mostly single-leg into half-mount.
Etim continued to smother Clementi on the mat; but, Clementi put together a pitty-pat G’n'P that scored on the judges cards and eventually opened up a gash under Etim’s right eye.
In the third round, Clementi held Etim’s left arm beneath Etim and landed hammer fists.
The accumulation of strikes on the mat won Clementi his sixth straight.