The WEC Fighters Making Their Move to the UFC…

·         Chael Sonnen – Chael Sonnen is coming off of a win over WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho, but he never got the official title because Filho failed to make weight.  Sonnen looks very good lately and will certainly challenge for the belt right away.  He could be in consideration for the TUF 9 coaching gig as well alongside Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and Demian Maia.

·         Jake Rosholt – Rosholt won his WEC debut against Nissen Osterneck, but he looked very vulnerable standing.  Rosholt will certainly get a shot in the UFC and many think Rosholt could be a champ some day.  He is training now out of Xtreme Couture, so his striking should improve.  I would say it won’t be long and he will have his first opponent in the octagon.

·         Nissen Osterneck – This is somewhat of a surprise, but it is being reported that despite losing his WEC debut to Rosholt that Osterneck will get a chance in the UFC.  His loss to Rosholt was his first professional loss, but he did look pretty good in that fight. 

Light Heavyweight

·         Steve Cantwell – Cantwell will be the first WEC fighter to make the move over.  He is the champ.  A rubber match was slated for him and Brian Stann, but Stann withdrew due to injury.  Cantwell will make his UFC debut against Razak Al-Hussan at UFC Fight Night 17: Fight For the Troops on December 10th. “The Robot” is a very young fighter with great striking and kickboxing and is sure to improve.

·         Brian Stann – Stann made a move to Team Jackson and sustained an injury, but he should be recovered soon and may have an opponent sooner than later.  We still could see Cantwell vs. Stann III if Cantwell wins next week.

·         Steve Steinbeiss – Steinbeiss is coming off of a split decision loss to Carmello Marrero at WEC 36, but it is being reported he will fight in the UFC anyways.  

·         Mark Munoz – He fights December 3rd in the WEC and then is expected to make his move to the UFC.  He is a solid prospect who may be competitive in the UFC. 

Note: Paulo Filho has been dropped from his Zuffa contract and will not make the move to the UFC.  Also, I am note sure what the contract status is of Carmello Marrero.  It looks like Doug Marshall will not be with Zuffa.  Danillo Vilefort looks to be dropping to 170 lbs. 

 

 

 

 

Breaking Down the UFC Light Heavyweight Division

The Champion: Forrest Griffin

The Top Contender: Rashad Evans

The Next Tier:

·         Wanderlei Silva

·         Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

·         Lyoto Machida

·         Thiago Silva

·         Rich Franklin

·         Dan Henderson

·         Keith Jardine

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

·         Chuck Liddell

·         Luis Arthur Cane

·         Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

On the Rise: 

·         Luis Arthur Cane

 

Other Notables:

·         Brandon Vera

·         Mat Hamill

·         Stephan Bonnar

·         Jon Jones

·         Tim Boetsch

·         Steve Cantwell

·         Brian Stann

·         James Irvin

·         Eric Schafer

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hussan at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans @ UFC 92 on December 28 (For Title)

·         Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson @ UFC 93 on January

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Mark Coleman @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Andre Gusmao vs. Antonio Mendes @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Ivan Serati vs. Tomasz Drwal @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva @ UFC 94 on January 31

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Luis Cane vs. Keith Jardine

·         Brandon Vera vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

Other Thoughts:

·         There are rumors of a Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell match up at UFC 95

·         There are a lot of light heavyweight contenders and the match ups are being set.  The winner of Wanderlei vs. Rampage should get the next title shot, although the winner of Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva should be considered as well. 

·         We are waiting for the debut of rumored UFC signee Glover Teixeira who has been having visa troubles in Brazil. 

·         The UFC could sign former EliteXC light heavyweight Rafael Feijao, which would be a big time contender.

·         The UFC has a clear monopoly on the light heavyweight division.  There are only a few fighters worth a  dime in this division not in the UFC (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ricardo Arona, Tito Ortiz, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral)

·         I looks like two solid light heavyweights have dropped to middleweight in Goran Reljic and Wilson Gouveia

·         The Ultimate Fighter 8 which featured light heavyweights is sure to place a few good fighters in the divison, but it will take time for them to climb the ladder.  Watch out for guys like Ryan Bader, Vinny Magalhes, Kryztof Soszynski, and Eliot Marshall.

·         It is somewhat possible to see Randy Couture take a few fights at light heavyweight and also to see Anderson Silva fight at 205 more often in 2009

 

MMABlog’s Light Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Here are my 205’ers.  The UFC clearly has the deepest and best pool of 205 lb fighters.  I only see a couple of non-UFC fighters being top 25 material. 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Forrest Griffin

UFC

Evans (#6), 12/27

2

Quinton Jackson

UFC

W. Silva (#4) 12/27

3

Lyoto Machida

UFC

T. Silva (#10) 1/31

4

Wanderlei Silva

UFC

Jackson (#2) 12/27

5

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

UFC

Coleman (NR), 1/17

6

Rashad Evans

UFC

Griffin (#1), 12/27

7

Dan Henderson

UFC

Franklin (#12), 1/17

8

Keith Jardine

UFC

 

9

Chuck Liddell

UFC

 

10

Thiago Silva

UFC

Machida (#3), 1/31

11

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Affliction

Moisa (NR), 11/3

12

Rich Franklin

UFC

Henderson (#7), 1/17

13

Brandon Vera

UFC

 

14

Vladimir Matyushenko

Affliction

 

15

Luiz Cane

UFC

 

16

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

UFC

 

17

Ricardo Arona

 

 

18

Renato “Babalu” Sobral

Affliction

Southworth (NR), 11/21

19

Matt Hamill

UFC

Andy (NR), 12/27

20

Tito Ortiz

 

 

21

Rafael Feijao

EliteXC?

 

22

Steve Cantwell

UFC

Al-Hussan (NR), 12/10

23

Stephan Bonnar

UFC

Jones (NR), 1/31

24

James Irvin

UFC

 

25

Brian Stann

UFC

 

Also considered: Jon Jones, Tim Boetsch, Bobby Southworth, Mark Coleman (Didn’t include him because he hasn’t fought again.  He probably is top 25 material)

UFC News: Brian Stann vs. Steve Cantwell at UFC Fight Night 16

A source close to UFC Blogger has revealed that Brian Stann will take on WEC light heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell at UFC Fight Night 16.  This will be the rubber match between the two fighters.  Brian Stann won the WEC light heavyweight title by defeating Doug Marshall in a vicious KO.  Brian Stann is a relative newcomer to MMA and should be an exciting add to this card and to the UFC.  He has a lot to learn, but he has shown he has a tough chin and great potential, not to mention the fact that he is incrediblly popular.  I knew that Brian Stann would appear on this card and predicted it when the first mention was made of this event.  It was just reported today that the WEC would fold their light heavyweight and middleweight divisons, and that the December 3rd event would be the last one promoting those weight classes.  They didn’t waster any time.  What better headliner to have for this event than the All-American, Marine veteran Brian Stann.  Not to mention it should be an exciting fight.  Steven Cantwell, the current champion.  He had an impressive TKO of Stann to take his belt.

The rematch had already been discussed internally at the WEC, and according to Stann, as happy as he was to get another shot at Cantwell, he was a little sad that a week later a fight would take place in front of the military and he wouldn’t be involved. This from Brian Stann via MMAweekly.com

“They were talking to me about a rematch right after I lost that fight, so I was already excited about that and I thought it was going to be Dec. 3 in Vegas, so I’d be fighting Steve (Cantwell) in his hometown for the third time,” Stann said in an exclusive interview with MMAWeekly.com.  “It was kind of like a tear in my heart because all of a sudden I was watching Spike TV and watching the Fight Night and they announced this special featuring the Fallen Heroes Fund and it’s going to benefit TBI (traumatic brain injury) patients. “I have so much experience with my guys that suffer from TBI and to get to fight on a military base.  I was in Iraq when they fought on the marine base last time so I didn’t get a chance to fight or even be there, and I just thought this is a dream come true.”  “Most people go to fights to watch their heroes or their role model fight. For me, to fight in Fort Bragg, and Fort Bragg is only an hour and 15 minutes away from my old Marine corps base, so a ton of my marines are going to be up there, plus all the young soldiers.  That’s like a dream come true to me.  Now, I’m fighting in front of my heroes, the people who inspire me. I’ll fight till I’m dead in front of those guys.  It’s a lifetime experience right there.  I’m really excited.  I was already calling a bunch of my Marines.  One in particular, a guy by the name of Robert Gas, who when we were hit by a suicide vehicle during my first tour and he took some severe shrapnel damage to the head and he had several brain surgeries since then and obviously suffers from severe TBI, and I’m going to be contacting him and getting him cage side seats and flying him up for that.”

 I can tell you who will be the crowd favorite and the sentimental favorite at this event.  Reading that quote caused me to jump on the Stann bandwagon for this one.  I like Cantwell and hope he has a UFC future, but I want Stann to win in front of his fellow soldiers.  This very well could be the main event.  MMAweekly also is reporting that Brian Stann will also move his training camp to New Mexico and work with Greg Jackson and his camp to prepare.

 What a card this is shaping up to be:

Brian Stann vs. Steven Cantwell

Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet

Matt Wiman vs. Frank Edgar

 

 

 

UFC/WEC News: The WEC to Fold Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Divisons in 2009

This from the WEC website today:

The WEC also announced that, starting in 2009, the organization will focus on four weight classes: welterweight (170 pounds), lightweight (155 pounds), featherweight (145 pounds), and bantamweight (135 pounds). The WEC will no longer actively promote light heavyweight and middleweight fights after the Dec. 3rd event. This increased attention to the sport’s lighter divisions makes the WEC the undisputed home of the most exciting lighter weight fighters in mixed martial arts.

I guess that means that the December 3rd card could feature some of the prominent WEC light heavyweight or middleweight fighters, but I look for several of them to move over to the UFC.  The names that will land in the UFC: Paulo Filho, Chael Sonnen, Jake Rosholt, Danillo Vilefort, Mark Munoz, Steve Cantwell, Steve Steinbeiss, Alex Schoenauer, and Brian Stann. 

The WEC will focus on the lighter weight classes and should free them to strengthen theier 155 and 170 lb divisons.

MMA News: Some WEC Weight Classes To Fold Into UFC

It appears that more information is coming soon about the possible merger of the WEC lightheavyweight and middleweight divisons into the UFC. Here is a portion of the report from MMAJunkie:

“We’re working on that now,” White said of the merger.  Ever since Zuffa LLC (the UFC’s parent company) purchased the organization in December 2006, White has maintained that the WEC would be run as a separate entity — not a feeder system for the UFC — with a focus on the sport’s lighter weight classes.

Although some fighters — including current WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, former UFC title-holder Jens Pulver and featherweight prospect Leonard Garcia — went from the UFC to the WEC, they weren’t necessarily demotions. In fact, Pulver and Garcia made the moves so they could fight at 145 pounds (a weight class not offered in the UFC), and Varner joined the WEC with the promise of a title shot.

However, the organization has struggled to stock its middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, and rather than pull talent from the UFC, White said the WEC’s 205-pound and 185-pound divisions will be folded into the UFC.  “The answer is yes, and we’re working on that right now,” White said. Although the light-heavyweight division offers some decent prospects in current WEC title-holder Steve Cantwell and former champ Brian Stann, neither is likely to make much of an immediate impact in the UFC’s stacked 205-pound division. However, a couple of WEC 185-pounders could make some waves in the UFC. Current WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho is generally considered one of the world’s top three 185-pounders, and his upcoming Sept. 10 opponent, Chael Sonnen, gave Filho all he could handle in their previous match-up. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Filho are friends and, in the past, said they’re unlikely to fight each other. However, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson all provide intriguing match-ups for the undefeated Brazilian. In any manner, White didn’t mention a timetable for the merger but confirmed the wheels are in motion.

I believe there are only a few guys that will make it into the UFC and be effective.

1. Paulo Filho

2. Chael Sonnen

3. Bryan Baker

4. Jake Rosholt

5. Steve Cantwell

6. Brian Stann

It would be assumed that Filho will be the most effective in the UFC.  This should be a good move and it should really bolster the UFC’s middleweight divison.  I’d have to say I’d also like to see Carlos Condit in the UFC, but the welterweight divison is likely to stay put in the WEC.  It is likely to happen following WEC 36 where Filho will re-match Chael Sonnen.

WEC 35 Thoughts and Recap

Quick Results

  • Carlos Condit def. Hiromitsu Miura via TKO (strikes) in Round 4
  • Steve Cantwell def. Brian Stann via TKO (punches) in Round 2
  • Jamie Varner def. Marcus Hicks via TKO (strikes) in Round 1
  • Brian Bowles def. Damacio Page via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
  • Josh Grispi def. Micah Miller via TKO (strikes) in Round 1
  • Brock Larson def. Carlo Prater via TKO (strikes) in Round 1
  • Blas Avena def. Dave Terrel via TKO (strikes) in Round 1
  • Shane Roller def. Todd Moore via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
  • Mike Budnik def. Greg McIntyre via submission (triangle choke) in Round 3 
  • Scott Jorgensen def. Kenji Osawa via unanimous decision
    • I thought WEC put on another outstanding card
    • Jamie Varner looked impressive and perhaps I underestimated his talent.  He looked dominant against a very game Marcus Hicks.  It appears he will fight the winner of the McCullough/Cerrone fight in Septmeber. 
    • Josh Grispi may be a good challenge for Urijah Faber, but Faber must get through Brown first
    • Brian Stann showed he is one dimensional and Steve Cantwell showed he has a vast array of striking skills.  I think Stann will get a rubber match soon though.
    • Brian Stann though he losses showed that he was a class act.  He put the belt around Cantwell and he did nothing but show humility in defeat.  I like Brian Stann for that.
    • Carlos Condit vs. Hirumitsu Miura was the fight of the night and one of the best I have seen.  I underestimated Miura.  He showed good ground game in reversing Condit numerous times and excellent Judo skills.  He also showed very tough striking.  I enjoyed the chess match here.
    • Condit showed why he is the champ.  His conditioning is what proved to be the difference.  I have no problem with the stoppage as Mirua laid there for a while after the fight.  The question for Carlos Condit is where does he go now?
    • The WEC showcased some newer and upcoming talent like Josh Grispi, Brian Bowles, Mike Budnik and Shane Roller