The Ultimate Fighting Championship today announced three main card fights for UFC 84: Ill Will, which will take place on May 24th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event will be headlined by a bad blood-filled UFC lightweight title bout that pits current champion B.J. Penn up against former champion Sean Sherk.
Penn claimed the vacant title with a bloody submission win over top contender Joe Stevenson last month at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Penn has been vehement in his comments towards Sherk, who after successfully defending his belt against Hermes Franca last July, tested positive for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission and was stripped of his title.
The two exchanged barbs following Penn’s title win in January.
“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.
“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”
Former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will go up against an undefeated Lyoto Machida in a fight that will likely be Ortiz’s last with the UFC. The bout will be the final one on Ortiz’s current contract with the promotion.
According to Ortiz, he was expecting a rematch against former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Rashad Evans, whom Ortiz battled to a draw with at UFC 73: Stacked last summer in his last fight. Machida has yet to lose inside the confines of the UFC. He was last seen submitting Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in December.
A showdown between former PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei Silva and former “Ultimate Fighter” contestant turned upstart contender Keith Jardine will also take place at the event. A bout between the two was rumored for well over a month.
The reasoning behind the bout is pretty much elementary at this point. After the UFC booked Rashad Evans and Ryoto Machida for scheduled bouts at the same event, it became likely that Silva and Jardine would be paired up. Both Silva and Jardine are coming off of fights against former champion Chuck Liddell. Jardine won a unanimous decision over Liddell last September but Silva ended up going the distance with Liddell in December and losing.
The bout will be Silva’s second inside the confines of the UFC since returning to the promotion after a seven-year stint in PRIDE. A win over Silva will move Jardine that much closer to a well-deserved title shot.
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