Breaking Down the UFC Middleweight Division

The Champion: Anderson Silva

The Top Contender: ?

The Next Tier:

·         Yushin Okami

·         Nate Marquardt

·         Michael Bisping

·         Dan Henderson

·         Demian Maia

·         Thales Leites

·         Patrick Cote

·         Chael Sonnen

 

On the Rise: 

·         Demian Maia

·         Michael Bisping

 

Other Notables:

·         Denis Kang

·         Rousimar Palhares

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Chris Leben

·         Ricardo Almeida

·         Nate Quarry

·         Jason MacDonald

·         Wilson Gouveia

·         Goran Reljic

·         Dan Miller

·         Dean Lister

·         Kendall Grove

·         Alan Belcher

·         Ed Herman

·         Jorge Rivera

·         Alessio Sakara

·         C.B. Dolloway

·         Mike Massenzio

·         Matt Horwich

·         Jake Rosholt

·         Amir Sadollah

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Nate Loughran vs. Tim Credeur at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister at UFC 92 on December 27

·         C.B. Dolloway vs. Mike Massenzio at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Denis Kang vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 93 on January 17

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Yushin Okami vs. Anderson Silva

·         Thales Leites vs. Rousimar Palhares

·         Demian Maia vs. Michael Bisping

 

Other Thoughts:

·         The UFC Middleweight division is very, very underrated!  I believe it is because of Anderson Silva’s dominance.  The middleweight division does not have a clear number 1 contender, but from top to bottom I would put this division with any.  Albeit, the UFC’s competitors have some middleweight talents in the likes of guys like Gegard Mousasi, Jacare, Vitor Belfort, Matt Lindland, Jorge Santiago,and  Kazuo Misaki.  Not to mention the few solid middleweights from EliteXC such as Robbie Lawler, Joey Villasenor, Scott Smith, Frank Shamrock and Benji Radach.  The UFC is sure to pick some of those guys up

·         Rumor has it the UFC is in negotiations with top middleweight Yoshihio Akiyama.  I do not know if they call pull him away from DREAM and Sengoku, but that would be a huge add. 

·         The middleweight division is growing with adds like signing Denis Kang, the move of WEC’s division which will add Chael Sonnen and Jake Rosholt as well as guys like Aaron Simpson and Danillo Vilefort likely to come over.

·         Paulo Filho will not be in the UFC…yet.

·         TUF 9 will feature middleweight coaches with Michael Bisping being a lock.  The other names being thrown around are Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and even Demian Maia

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UFC News: Denis Kang vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 93

It appears thta the most recent big time UFC signee has his first UFC fight in sights and an opponent is prepared according to several sources including MMAonTap.  It looks like new UFC middleweight fighter Denis Kang will square off agaisnt UFC veteran Alan Belcher at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland making his highly anticipated UFC debut.  This should be a great fight and a huge opportunity for both guys.  Kang would be the early favorite, but Alan Belcher is known for his great striking ability and his solid Muay Thai skills.  The bout agreements reportedly have been handed out.  Kang will probably stay in Canada and train with Georges St. Pierre for their respective fights.  The winner of this fight will be in the “contender” mix as quality opponents for the champ are slim.  Both of these guys could pose a interesting match up for Anderson Silva eventually.

This is shaping up to be a great card, look for the card to start coming together more this week and next week.  This card has two solid fights to headlines in a light heavyweight clash between Rich “Ace” Franklin and Dan Henderson.  Also, A awesome re-match between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and UFC Hall of Famer Mark “The Hammer” Coleman.

MMABlog’s Welterweight MMA Rankings

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Georges St. Pierre

UFC

Penn (LW #1) 1/31

2

Jon Fitch

UFC

 

3

Jake Shields

EliteXC?

 

4

Josh Koscheck

UFC

Alves (#5), 9/25

5

Thiago Alves

UFC

Koscheck (#4), 9/25

6

Carlos Condit

WEC

 

7

Diego Sanchez

UFC

 

8

Karo Parisyan

UFC

1/31

9

Matt Hughes

UFC

Serra (#10) 4/?

10

Matt Serra

UFC

Hughes (#9), 4/?

11

Mike Swick

UFC

Goulet (NR) 12/10

12

Marcus Davis

UFC

 

13

Hayato Sakurai

 

 

14

Nick Thompson

EliteXC?

 

15

Brock Larson

WEC

 

16

Chris Lytle

UFC

 

17

Jay Hieron

Affliction

 

18

Dustin Hazelett

UFC

McCrory (NR) 11/15

19

Chris Wilson

UFC

 

20

Yoshiyuki Yoshida

UFC

Koscheck (#4) 12/10

21

Dan Hardy

UFC

 

22

Ryo Chonan

UFC

Blackburn (NR), 12/27

23

Akihiro Gono

UFC

 

24

Dong Hyun Kim

UFC

 

25

Luigi Fiorvanti

UFC

Farber (NR), 12/10

Mid Year MMA Awards

Best Knockout

Honorable Mention: Luis Arthur Cane KO Jason Lambert, Shane Carwin KO Christian Wellish, Murilio Rua TKO Tony Bonello, Matt Wiman KO Thiago Tavares

5. Anthony Johnson KO Tommy Speer

4. Wilson Gouveia KO Jason Lambert

3. Brian Stann KO Doug Marshall

2. James Irvin KO Houston Alexander

1. Wanderlei Silva KO Keith Jardine

Best Submission

Honorable Mention: Antonio Nogueira submits Tim Sylvia by Guillotine, Yoshiyuki Yoshida submits Jon Koppenhaver by Anaconda choke, Nate Diaz submits Kurt Pellegrino, Cole Miller Submits Jorge Gurgel by Triangle Choke

5. Demian Mia Submits Ed Herman by Triangle Choke

4. Frank Mir Submits Brock Lesnar by Kneebar

3. Rousimar Palhares Submits Ivan Salaverry by Armbar

2. Dustin Hazelett Submits Josh Burkman by Armbar

1. Shinya Aoki Submits Katsuhiko Nagata by Aokiplata

Best Fight

Honorable Mention: Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Calvancante, Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia

4. Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver

3. Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith

2. Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

1. Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda

Best Fight Card

5. WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver

4. UFC 80: Rapid Fire

3. UFC 81: Breaking Point

2. DREAM 4

1. UFC 84: Ill Will

Upset of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Jason Day over Alan Belcher,

5. Thiago Alves over Karo Parisyan

4. Kevin Burns over Roan Carneiro

3. Fabricio Werdum over Gabriel Gonzaga

2. Josh Thomson over Gilbert Melendez

1. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson

Fighter Of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Michael Bisping, Georges St. Pierre, Diego Sanchez

5. Miguel Torres

4. Forrest Griffin

3. Thiago Alves

2. Shinya Aoki

1. B.J. Penn (2 Impressive wins over Sean Sherk and Joe Stevenson)

Best UFC Newcomer:

Honorable Mention: Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar

5. Rousimar Palhares

4. Dong Hyun Kim

3. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

2. Goran Reljic

1. Cain Velasquez

Worst Calls By A Ref. or Judges

5. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson –  Not just that Forrest got the win, but that it was unanimous.  Many, including me scored the fight either a draw or to Jackson

4. Brandon Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum- Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in round 1 when Werdum was mounted on Vera throwing down punches.  There was just 10 seconds remaining and Vera seemed to be defending himself well. 

3. Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites — Leites got the win, but lost the fight.  He lost the fight due to two points taken away from Marquardt.  One point was justified, but the other was due to elbow to the back of the ehad that wasn’t to the back of the head.  I will confess, that another point could have fairly been deducted for an illegal slam, but I hated to see Marquardt get a loss on his record that I feel he won

2. Phantom split decisions — How was Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove a split deicsion?  How was Heath Herring vs Cheick Kongo a split decision?  The right person got the decision, but how was it split?

1. Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson – Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in the 3rd round while Thompson was still standing and failed to stop it when Thompson was mounted on Kimbo raining down elbows

My UFC 85: Bedlam Predictions

Matt Hughes vs. Thaigo “The Pitbull” Alves

This may at first look like a less than spectacular main event, however, I think this could be a good fight.  The story behind this fight is that Matt Hughes is the most dominant welterweight ever, but many say he is on his way down.  Meanwhile, Thiago Alves is on his way up.  Alves is coming off of a knockout win over Karo “The Heat” Parisyan.  Most people consider Alves a top ten welterweight in the world, however he was out classed and out of his league against Jon Fitch.  There is no doubt that Thiago has excellent striking ability.  However, I expect Matt Hughes to take Alves down and ground and pound him.  I don’t expect Alves to be able to get up agaisnt the bigger Hughes.  The worry for me about picking Hughes is first of all he has been busy lately with book signing and opening a new gym.  That could distract him.  Secondly, he is 34 and Alves is 24.  Third, he wants Matt serra and could be looking straight past Alves to Serra.  A win here would make Matt Hughes clearly back in line for contention of the belt and if he beats Alves and Serra, he will get another title shot even if it is against Georges St. Pierre.  I believe Hughes’ experience will be a help and not a hindrance in this fight. Therefore, I pick Matt Hughes by unanimous decision following three round of slamming Alves and laying on him and elbowing him. 

Brandon “The Truth” Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum

This is a hard pick to make.  Brandon Vera was a rapidly rising star before all the disputes with his manager.  He was great in the octagon as well, however, he sropepd his last fight against Tim Sylvia.  Fabricio Werdum has tons of talent too.  He has beaten some good opponents.  He has beaten Gonzaga twice, Aleksander Emleianenko and Alistair Overeem.  Vera is a great Muay Thai fighter while Werdum is a great jiu jitsu guy.  This fight could go either way.  Werdum showed some great striking against Gonzaga.  The bottom line is that the winner of this fight will most likely get the winner of the Mir vs. Nogueira fight late in the year.  For the sake of making a pick, I will pick Brandon Vera to win by TKO in round 2. 

Michael “The Count” Bisping vs. Jason “Dooms” Day

Bisping looked great at 185 in his last fight.  He could content at 185.  This fight will tell a lot about him as a middleweight.  He destroyed Charles McCarthy.  I believe Jason Day is a step up from McCarthy in talent.  Jason Day is a little bit of a late replacement of the incarcerated Chris Leben.  jason Day destroyed a serious contender in Alan Belcher and prior to that beat David Loiseau.  That shows what Day is capable of doing in the octagon.  I think this will be an exciting fight, and honestly Jason Day could take this fight, but I am going to pick Michael Bisping. He will have the home crowd, he will be ready to go.  A win here means Bisping may next get a guy like Leben, Cote or Almeida next.  I pick Michael Bisping by TKO in round 2.

Mike “Quick” Swick vs. Marcus Davis

When Mike Swick dropped to welterweight I thought he could be a serious contender.  I still think he can be, in fact I have him as my 10th ranked UFC welterweight.  However, he didn’t look good at all against Jos Burkman, in fact he very well lost that fight. Marcus Davis on the other hand has looked dominant.  Mike swick will be a real test for the “Irish Hand Grenade” who is coming off of 11 straight wins.  Whoever wins this fight will be in the title mix.  All I have to judge by is Swick’s one performance at welterweight, so I will pick Marcus Davis to win this one in exciting fashion in round 1.

Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites

What a ground game this fight could display.  Thales Leites is really good, but Nate Marquardt is underrated.  He realyl did well against Anderson Silva initially.  Marquardt is a contender in this divison.  I think that Marquardt will win this fight by submission in round 3. 

Martin Kampmann vs. Jorge Rivera

Martin Kampmann showed a lot of promise before his injury.  Rivera has been an on and off again fighter who you never know how he will perform.  We will see how Martin does in his return.  Will he have ring rust or will he be hungry for a win?  I think that training with Xtreme Couture is a huge advantage to him and that Kampmann will prove to be too much for Rivera.  I believe Kampmann will win by first round submission.  (Watch for this fight to creep onto the pay per view showing).

Jason Lambert vs. Luis Arthur Cane

Lambert is coming off that disappointing KO from Wilson Gouveia.  Can is coming off of that DQ in UFC 79.  Both guys are quality fighters, but there isn’t much room for failure in the light heavyweight divison.  The loser could essentially be removed from any possibility of contention.  The winner will take a step up.  I believe that Luis Arthur Cane will prove to be the better striker in this one and will KO Lambert in round 2.

Matt “Handsome” Wiman vs. Thiago Tavares

Matt Wiman has done great since coming off of The Ultimate Fighter.  Wiman very well could be one of the underrated lightweights.  Tavares is a good fighter as well and he is favored to win this fight.  Coincidently, both fighters have recently fought Michihiro Omigawa and both won by unanimous decision.  The cool pick will be Tavares, therefore I will pick Matt Wiman to win this fight by unanimous decision.  Whoever wins here moves into the top 20 of a stacked divison.

Eddie Sanchez vs. Antoni Hardonk

Eddie Sanchez is a late replacement for the injured Neil Wain.  I don’t know how that will affect Sanchez. Hardonk has struggled in the UFC, going 2-2 and losing to Frank Mir and Justin McCully.  Sanchez is 3-1 in the UFC.  I expect Sanchez to move to 4-1 in the UFC.  I don’t expect this fight to last long, maybe into round 2.  Therefore I pick Sanchez to win by TKO in round 2.

Roan Carneiro vs. Kevin Burns

Carneiro is beatable, but I don’t know anything about Kevin Burns.  I have to pick Carneiro by unanimous decision.

Jess Liaudin vs. Paul Taylor

Taylor has already beaten Liaudin once in his career,  Taylor is exciting and if he comes out swinging I expect him to win.  I think Taylor win will by first round KO.

 Upset Watch: Fabricio Werdum over Brandon Vera and Jason Day over Michael Bisping

 

UFC 83 Thoughts and Comments

Georges St. Pierre when focused and determined is bad news for any welterweight.  That is bad news for Jon Fitch.  St. Pierre proved that the Serra knockout was a fluke.  Perhaps it showed that Matt Serra is good, but not that good.  I look forward to the Serra vs. Hughes fight.  Again, wow GSP is great when he wants to be.

Rich Franklin looked pretty good and is a class act.  He is what MMA is all about.  Rich can hang with most middleweights and win, this is his dilemna.  He can beat anyone in that divison except Anderon Silva.  Rich showed great talent escaping an arm bar and picking apart Lutter.

Travis Lutter, a jiu jitsu great has no cardio.  How in the world can you step into the octagon, get paid as a career to fight, and get tired after one round.  There is no excuse for that.  In my opinion Lutter can submit anyone, but he is not able to hang with strikers.  If he wants to fight in the UFC he needs to improve.

Michael Bisping looked great at middleweight, but come on he wasn’t fighting a top ten guy or even a top 20 guy at middleweight.  He looked like he was in great shape and he did great.  I’d like to see Bisping fight a top 15 type guys maybe Leben, Cote, or Almeida.

Nate Quarry looked fantastic.  If this indicates what he will be he will be dangerous.  Perhaps Quarry could fight Bisping.  He will get a top ten type guy now.  He looked fresh though, but he fought Starnes.

I considered Starnes a decent fighter.  Now I think he is not so much.  I can handle loosing.  I can handle a guy getting submitted or KO’s.  I can handle a guy getting KO’s bad or quickly, but running is ridiculous.  If I was Dana I would can Starnes right now.  He may have punched his ticket out of the UFC.  By the way Nate Quarry making fun of Starnes, doing the running man and the Screech was stinkin’ hilarious.  It made that fight worth watching.  How much do you want to bet Starnes’ leg isn’t hurting him as bad as his pride is?

Mac Danzig looked great.  After a little bit of a tough round 1 Mac came out and showed his experience and versatility.  He ought to get a tough level competitor now.  I’d like to see a Nate Diaz vs. Mac Danzig fight.  Mac will go far in the lightweight divison.  He did great against a good ground fighter. 

Didn’t see the undercard fights, but looks like MacDonald will stay near the 3-9 range in the middleweight divison.  Goultet earned fight of the night with a great fight and show of heart.  That Maia submission was sick, I wouldn’t want to fight him, he is here to stay and he climbed my rankings.  Jason Day impressed Dana White and may have earned a chance to hang around the UFC.  UFC 83 may have been a coronation of Cain Velasquez as the next great heavyweight, but time will tell.  I hear he looked real good.  Rich Clementi keep winning and climbing the rankings slowly.  If I was Dana White or Joe Silva Kalib Starnes, Charles McCarthy, and Travis Lutter would be done with their UFC careers.  Can them and sign someone who will fight. 

If any of my readers paid attention, they will see how great I did at picking these fights.  I was 10 of 11.  I missed the Maia vs. Herman fight and I nearly picked Maia.  This is not to brag because i usually am slighlty better than 60% or so.  At least for once I picked a card accuratley.  Can’t wait till UFC 84!

UFC News: Stephan Bonnar and Patrick Cote Hurt

Stephan Bonnar has been forced to bow out of his April fight with Matt Hamill due to an injury.  Bonnar was just practicing his jiu-jitsu and heard a pop.  Initially it was diagnosed a partial tear in the lateral collateral ligament, but an MRI revealed a complete tear.  Bonnar will be out for six months meaning when he returns he will have not fought in one year since he beat Eric Schafer at UFC 77.   No replacement has been named yet, but there is plenty of time to find a quality guy for Hamill. 

Patrick Cote was scheduled to fight Alan Belcher at UFC 83.  This is a bummer to the Canadian fans who would have loved to have seen Cote fight.  I think it is a good thing for Alan Belcher as Patrick Cote is fighting very well lately and climbing the middleweight rankings which are open for the taking.  Cote has been replaced by newcomer Jason Day.  Cote suffered a sprained knee and will just be out four to six weeks.