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Friday Night Throwdown: UFC 84 fight preview part I

firday night throwdown

Welcome back folks for another edition of the Friday Night Throwdown here on MMAmania.

This latest installment will be one of a three-part series that takes a look at the three key fights that will headline UFC 84: "Ill Will" on May 24. In part one today, I’ll go in-depth on the upcoming light heavyweight tilt between Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine.

In the coming weeks, the Throwdown will also cover both the Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida and BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk match ups.

Put simply, a stellar card takes place 22 days from now as UFC 84 will feature not only a grudge match for the lightweight title, but two key light heavyweight super fights that will determine who could be in line for a title shot.

One of those encounters features the return of Silva and Jardine, who both fought Chuck Liddell at one point last year with mixed results. Wanderlei went to war with Liddell in arguably one of the greatest slugfests ever in the sport while Jardine outworked Liddell to a split decision win.

There are two BIG questions that have to be answered on May 24th:

Is this Wanderlei’s last stand?

There is no question heading into this fight that the fighter who needs to win the most is Silva. One must give credit to Silva because of the fact that the fighters who have defeated him in the past three fights are no slouches. It’s almost a murderer’s row of fights in Henderson, Liddell and Cro Cop. It’s because of this that Silva is already a living legend in this sport.

But the fact still remains that he is on a three fight losing streak and he can ill afford to lose four in a row.

In looking back at the Liddell fight, Liddell’s significant reach advantage was the difference maker. Liddell kept Silva at bay throughout the fight. Silva didn’t have the opportunity to get inside of Liddell’s range without getting caught. Had he been able to close the distance, Silva would’ve been able to utilize his dangerous clinch game. The one thing that Silva should’ve done was to soften Liddell with leg kicks as Jardine did in his fight with Liddell.

But it wasn’t to be and in the end, Liddell won the fight.

Silva will have no problem getting in Jardine’s range in this fight. It’s no secret that Jardine will look to use his effecting kickboxing game to keep Silva from getting too close to throw bombs. Wanderlei has to look to the kicking game as well to soften Jardine to strike with him. Wanderlei has more power than Jardine and his best way to finish the fight is with his strking.

At the end of the day, Silva clearly needs to win this fight to get his esteemed career back on track.

The big money fights are in the light heavyweight division for him. Although many are clamoring for Silva to move down to 185, the man still has the talent to dominate the 205-pound class. The only way I see a move to middleweight is if he doesn’t get back to his winning ways on May 24.

Why does Jardine doesn‘t get any respect?

I’m a big Forrest Griffin fan, but it’s a travesty that Griffin got a title shot before Jardine did.

The reason I say this is because let’s get real here. Griffin defeated Hector Ramirez and Shogun Rua, but Jardine defeated Liddell and GRIFFIN! It’s painfully obvious that the UFC felt a Griffin-Jackson PPV would sell more than Jackson-Jardine, which is the reason Forrest got the title shot.

And what is Jardine left with to prove he should be next in line … a date with the Axe Murderer that’s what!

I’m not the biggest advocate of Jardine but I feel that Jardine deserved the first crack at Rampage. He has the more qualified resume. Granted, Shogun was arguably still the number one light heavyweight in world when Griffin defeated him. By the same token, Jardine defeated the greatest light heavyweight champion in the history of the UFC.

Who was the more popular fighter at the time … Shogun or Liddell?

Back to this fight. A win here for Jardine clearly puts him ahead of Lyoto Machida for the winner of Jackson-Griffin. A loss for Jardine puts him right back on the bottom of totem pole. It’s a travesty folks, yet all Jardine has to do is win this fight and win it convincingly. And he has a hell of chance of winning this fight. All Jardine has to do is not slug with Silva but outwork him on the feet and he walks away with a decision win.

If he decides to get reckless (see Houston Alexander) it will a very short night for Jardine and POOF there goes that title shot!

Who wins this fight?

Tune in to our UFC 84 fight predictions in three weeks of course! Shameless plug to remind you guys to keep coming to the site for all the latest updates and fight predictions!

MMA news and other notes

Rich Franklin moving up to 205?: Rich is between a rock and a hard place at this point. He is perhaps the second best middleweight in the world. But it doesn’t mean a damn thing if the man atop of the division is your kryptonite in two fights. I would trade Franklin to light heavyweight and Wanderlei to middleweight in a heartbeat.

Franklin is clearly still a top draw and fan favorite in eyes of many. I would pick him to defeat the likes of Jardine and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. It wouldn’t hurt for Franklin to even fight Liddell -- he would likely him a run for his money. The only fighter I would recommend Franklin to stay away from is Machida, of course, the reason being that Machida KTFO’d Franklin in Japan years ago.

Now I may be getting far ahead of myself here because there is one more big fight for Franklin at 185 against Dan Henderson. Add that with the inevitable middleweight showdown between Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami, and you have one star studded card that could take place in the fall. If Franklin indeed does get by Henderson, it would be wise to move up to 205.


Chris Leben turns himself in to clear off a past DUI charge: At first, everyone I knew assumed that Leben was back to his old ways during the first season of the Utimate Fighter. Turns out that it wasn’t the case and that Leben turned himself in to allow him obtain his visa for his fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 85 in London. First off, big props for Leben because he’s one of my favorites and he’s one of the main reasons I was watching that first season of TUF. To see the way he was in that season to the man he is today, got to give respect to the man.

He’s changed for the better and is riding a two fight winning streak since his last defeat. Leben has a hell of chance in the fight with Bisping. I don’t think that Bisping has fought anyone who has power in his hands like Leben. Plus, Leben’s ground game is seriously underrated and if it goes to the ground the edge has to go with Leben. All in all it should a great fight but once again great job Chris on cleaning up your life to be a better fighter.

What do you take from DREAM 2?: For me if there was anything that stands out after the first round of the DREAM 2008 Middleweight Grand Prix is simply one thing. Until he gets a win, Denis Kang is the most overrated middleweight in the world right now. Many sites and experts have Kang in the top 10, but I just don’t see it. He was the prohibitive favorite in this tournament and came up small again. When he gets a win, then people can argue with me if he’s top 10 material or not.

Loser of the Week: CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone was quoted in a report that he doesn’t support his network’s decision to air MMA on free TV. The typical reason of an incompetent moron who doesn’t know a damn thing about MMA is simply this, "I just don’t like the sport." Add that with his statement that he thinks it’s not "socially responsible" to air the fights for free. That’s a bad sign for EliteXC with its first card on CBS just four weeks away.

The head honcho of the network doesn’t even support the decision to have MMA on his network!

This is clearly another hurdle MMA must go through to get respected as a legitimate sport and not a flash in the pan like the XFL. Add to the fact that the President of Fox Sports, Ed Goran was quoted as saying about a possible deal with the UFC as "We don’t need money badly." These guys are clearly unbelievable and just doesn’t give the sport the chance to succeed. The fact of the matter is that FOX, the network that airs shows like Moment of Truth and Celebrity Boxing will eventually have to get a deal done with UFC.

At the same time, if the EliteXC show bombs it could be a huge setback for the sport in regard to being on national television. It doesn’t matter if you a fan of EliteXC or not, if you truly love the sport then you will watch the May 31 show on CBS. Do it for the sport folks, we all know they need the support because it’s clear that the big man upstairs at CBS doesn’t.

That ends another edition of the Friday Night Throwdown here on Next week is part two of my UFC 84 preview. Part two will highlight the other light heavyweight bout between Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz. Should be a fun FNT next week and I’m looking forward to it. Agree or disagree with the statements made in today’s column? Then be sure to reply in the comments section at the bottom of the page or e-mail me at

Until next time … I’ll see right back here next Friday in the Throwdown!

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