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In May, the UFC returned to Las Vegas for two much anticipated events – a lightweight title match and the farewell match for a former “Apprentice”. In addition, we had a much anticipated strikers battle between light-heavyweights. Did it deliver?
If MMA were like pro wrestling, B.J. Penn could probably be one of the greatest sports entertainers of all time. He’s a skilled fighter, he has great defense and timing, and he can promote the hell out of a fight. After Sean Sherk was stripped of the Lightweight Title for (alleged) steroid use, Penn won the belt by beating Joe Stevenson in dominating fashion. Sherk was understandably upset that someone was holding a belt that he never lost in the Octagon, but Sherk, to be honest, can’t hype a fight because he’s all about working hard. Penn, however, can make himself seem the babyface or the heel depending on what’s needed of him. And here he kind of did both by slamming Sherk at every opportunity leading up to the fight. Given the hype, we expected a great fight. We got a good one, but not a great one. The fight was pretty one-sided as Sherk opted to work opposite his strengths and B.J. – one of the four best pound-for-pound fighters in the world – picked him apart. The victory opened the door for a rematch with Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre – provided, of course, that GSP won his first title defence in August 2008.
The co-main event featured two strikers at 205 lbs., as Wanderlei Silva was trying to prove that he wasn’t washed up against a game Keith Jardine. Silva was coming off a loss to Chuck Liddell and Jardine was coming off a win against Liddell. According to MMAth, this meant that Jardine would beat Silva, but that’s why they fight the fights. Silva proved that he still had something left to give with this match and we could see him fight just about anyone at 205 next.
The final major fight on this card was the final (?) UFC fight of the incredibly overrated Tito Ortiz, against the undefeated karate fighter Lyoto Machida. Machida is known as somewhat of a boring fighter, but against Sokoudjou he showed some aggression in finishing the fight and it really seems that his style really throws off his opponents. Ortiz proved to be no exception, as he seemed confounded at times, but still, he put up a better fight than some of Machida’s other UFC opponents, so good on him, I guess. But also, good riddance to a fighter who, really, was no longer relevant to today’s MMA world. This fight actually made me change my tune about Machida since I could really see what he was doing out there that made him so effective.
The other PPV fights saw Thiago Silva show that he’s a dangerous guy at 205 and Goran Reljic beat Wilson Gouveia.
The undercard featured fights that were definitely entertaining. Of note were the submission victories by Yoshida and Palhares, and the judo throws of Kim Dong Hyun. They’re all definitely worth a look. The Yoshida match, by the way, was the match which apparently prompted Koppenhaver to legally change his name to War Machine. Long story short, TNA trademarked the name War Machine Rhino and sent a cease and desist to Koppenhaver. The weird part in all of this? Marvel Comics hasn’t tried to sue TNA since I’m pretty sure there’s a guy in black and silver armour called “War Machine”. Well, unless he’s a Skrull.
The UFC did a great job with this set. Not only did we get the usual complete fights and extras, but Zuffa did us a favour by putting the bonus materials on a second disc so that we got ring entrances and introductions for the two main event fights. The music may be generic though, as I seem to recall Wanderlei Silva coming down to Darude’s “Sandstorm”. I might be mistaken though,
Here’s the lineup:
- Christian Wellisch vs. Shane Carwin (Lavigne)
- Jason Tan vs. Kim Dong Hyun (Mazzagatti)
- Jon Koppenhaver vs. Yoshida Yoshiyuki (Dean)
- Rich Clementi vs. Terry Etim (Lavigne)
- Sokoudjou vs. Nakamura Kazuhiro (Mazzagatti)
- Ivan Salaverry vs. Rousimar Palhares (Yamasaki)
- Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes (Dean)
- Lyoto Machida vs, Tito Ortiz (Lavigne)
- Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic
- Wanderlei Silva vs, Keith Jardine
- UFC Lightweight Championship: B.J. Penn (c) vs. Sean Sherk
We get a widescreen enhanced DVD, and everything looks very nice when upconverted to 1080p. Well, except for the drunk cougars the director insists on showing at random intervals. The sound is crisp, and you will cringe every time Rogan talks/yells.
- Behind the Scenes
- Pre-Fight Press Conference
- Post-Fight Press Conference
If you like stoppages, then this is definitely the disc for you. There wasn’t a great, standout fight in here, but they were all enjoyable and I don’t think you’re going to dislike any of them. Unless, of course, you’re a Tito Ortiz fan.