My WEC 34 Predictions

Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver

This is being billed as the biggest fight in WEC history.  I think it is big, but it isn’t that big.  Urijah Faber is one of the stars of the WEC.  Jens Pulver is a near legend.  Urijah Faber is one of the best pound for pound guys in the world.  Jens Pulver has never lost at 145 lbs.  Urijah Faber has dominated the WEC featherweight divison.  Jens Pulver is a former 155 lb. champ.  I think Faber will prove to be too versatile and too much.  The edge goes to Faber because he trained for this fight with B.J. Penn.  Of course we know B.J. Penn recently beat Pulver.  Training with B.J. is a huge advantage because Faber can get advice from a guy who fought Pulver twice.  Pulver may be good and yes he looked good against Cub Swanson, but he isn’t Urijah Faber good.  I am excitied about this fight, but I have to pick Faber to win by submission is round 2. 

Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda

Miguel Torres has quickly become a MMA star.  He is mentioned as also one of the top pound for pound guys.  Maeda seems to be a solid fighter with a great record.  However, the time is now for Torres.  Miguel has an amazing record of 33-1.  This is his first title defense and I don’t expect him to lose it or for it to go to 5 rounds.  Torres is great on the ground.  I expect the height to be a huge advantage and for Torres to submit Maeda in round 3. 

Chuck Grigsby vs. Mark Munoz

Kenneth Alexander vs. Rob McCullough

Rob McCullough lost his belt and he wants it back.  The WEC has had some belt transitions as Doug Marshall, Rob McCullough, and Chase Bebee all lost their belts.  McCullough stands the best chance of getting his back.  I think he will come out and win by TKO or KO in round 1. 

Mike Brown vs. Jeff Curran

Curran is ranked as one of the best in his weight class.  Brown will give him a contest though. He is American Top trained and has beated some good fighters and has fought some of the best.  Curran would lose this, but I will pick Curran to win via unanimous decision.

Chase Beebe vs. Will Ribeiro

Ribeiro can KO people apparently, but I expect Beebe to win by unanimous decision.  He wants a re-match with Torres and will eventually get one.

Tim McKenzie vs. Jeremy Lang

Luis Sapo vs. Alex Serdyukov

Jose Aldo vs. Alexandre Nogueira

Dominick Cruz vs. Charlie Valencia

WEC News, Rumblings and Predictions

This is a good fight on paper.  The card would have been much better with the Sonnen vs. Filho II fight on it.  I am looking forward to this fight, it has been billed as a good guy vs. bad guy fight.  On one side you have the champ, Doug “Rhino” Marshall.  He talks a lot of talk, he has a foul mouth and he looks the bad guy part.  On the other side you have an army veteran, the “All American” Brian Stann.  I am not going to pull any punches, I am rooting for Stann.  I think he could be a great MMA fighter, especialyl if he has any ground game.  Marshall may never find out.  I am predicting a round 1 TKO for Stann.  He is a potential star, and a win for Stann translates to $$$ for the WEC. 

     Today it was announced that June would be the date for the Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver fight.  Also they announced a Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia bantamweight title fight.  I am lookign forward to that card.  Torres really impressed me against Beebe.  He is 33-1.  I think he could dominate that divison and then move up and beat Faber.  The Faber vs. Pulver fight will be good.  Pulver I thought was done in MMA and then he comes and beat Cub Swanson quickly.  Faber is the man and the face of his division.  I will root for and pick Faber and Torres to retain their belts.   

       I also wonder what other title defenses will come.  When will Paulo Filho get it together and come out of rehab ready to fight?  Who will he fight?  I would say Filho will be offered the winner of the Sonnen vs. Baker fight tonight, which I am not counting out Baker to win.  Who will Jamie Varner face in his first title defense?  My bet would be a re-match with Rob McCullough.  I think Razor Rob is a better fighter than Varner and will get the belt back eventually.  Who will Carlos Condit next fight?  Heaven knows, he is awesome.  The WEC has done well and have 4 or 5 stars in Faber, Torres, Filho, Stann, and Condit.  The WEC is better off when these guys win.  I’d still like to see some of them against the best in the UFC, especially Condit and Filho.  If Faber could move to 155, he could be a great UFC fighter. 

What to expect in MMA in ’08

  • I expect to see new title holders in every division but one and that is the middleweight.  All though Anderson could be challenged by Dan Henderson.  My picks for the title holders: Nogueira, Not sure about lightheavyweight, Anderson Silva, St. Pierre, and B.J. Penn.
  • I expect to see a few more fighters signed to UFC contracts.  Highlighting the list: Matt Lindland, Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, and some other big name surprise
  • I expect TUF to be a disappointment with Rampage Jackson getting a lot of camera time saying his crazy off the wall things
  • I expect the middleweight division to get tougher
  • I expect a few UFC stars to retire (Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin)
  • I expect Sean Sherk to get another title shot, but B.J. Penn to beat him badly
  • I expect the light heavyweight division to get crazier with guys like Machdia, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans, and Shogun in the title mix.
  • I expect Chuck Liddell to avenge his loss to Keith Jardine by summer
  • I expect that Shogun is still only one fight away from a title shot, I think that my top ten in the lightheavyweight at the top ten at light heavyweight, perhaps not in that order.
  • I expect Dan Henderson to try Anderson Silva like he hasn’t been tried in a while
  • I expect Jon Fitch, Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, Roger Huerta, Matt Lindland, and either Arlovski or Cro Cop to get a title shot. 
  • I expect the former PRIDE guys to turn it around in the octagon
  • I expect another solid fight from Wanderlai Silva, can you say rematch?
  • I expect the Fedor vs. Randy fight to happen
  • I expect other organizations to become more of a competition to the UFC
  • I expect Dana White to say many more expletives on national television
  • I expect TUF alums to suceed this year even more
  • I expect Diego Sanchez to drop to lightweight
  • I expect Brock Lesnar to be a middle of the road fighter
  • I expect Brandon Vera to drop to lightheavyweight
  • I expect Bisping to cry when he gets beat in middleweight
  • I expect Tito to loose in the Apprentice

WEC fighters

I have to believe that next to the UFC the WEC has the best fighters.  They have 10 guys that are great fighters.  I wonder how would the WEC stars stack up against UFC stars.  Let us look at the title holders and see where they would rank in their perspective divisions.

Light Heavyweight Champ Doug Marshall

I don’t think Marshall could contend in the UFC at the light heavyweight divison.  He is a good fighter and seems to have to problems holding his WEC belt, but he would maybe be a #15 rank at UFC.  He would be in the mix of that deep division, but he would start way back and have to prove himself.  I don’t see him being able to beat people like Jackson, Griffin, Shogun, Liddell, Silva, Machida, Alexander, Sokodjou.  He may be able to match well with a Jardine like guy.  He could have a good night against any of the above, but overall I would rank him as a Bisping level light heavyweight, which isn’t bad.

Middleweight Champ Paulo Filho

Some have argued for Paulo Filho to be the best Middleweight in the world even ahead fo Anderson Silva.  The two are great friends and I know they are hesitant to fight, but I would love to see them fight.  I believe Filho would get an immediate title shot in the UFC and win, loose or draw is a top two middleweight in the UFC, with Rich Franklin still a ways off.  I was disappointed with Filho’s last win.  He looked unimpressive, especailly standing.  I have no problem with that fight beign called. Sonnen’s arm was going to break otherwise.  Nevertheless, Filho pulled out a win.  He is the WEC fighter that could really contend in the UFC, and maybe the best guy in the world to challenge Anderson Silva for the title. 

Welterweight Champ Carlos Condit

“The Natural Born Killer”.  Condit is good.  How good?  I am not sure.  I do believe he would be okay in the UFC.  I don’t believe his time to shine would be instant.  He would right now rank at 7 or 8 in the UFC welterweight divison, which is deep.  He would be behind: Hughes, St. Pierre, Serra, Fitch, Parisyan, and Koscheck.  Perhaps him and Diego Sanchez would be a good match up.  I place him on Diego’s level, maybe with a slight edge going to Condit.  He will only improve.  I’d lvoe to see him in the UFC

Lightweight Champ Rob Mccullough

Least likely of all the champs to contend I think. The “razor” is good, and dominates WEC.  He woukd be a top ten, but barely.  I don’t see him being able to beat a Sherk, Penn or Stevenson.  Really I don;t see him beating  an Edgar, Lauzon, Thomas or Franca.  He is exciting to watch though and he can pack a punch. 

Featherweight Champ Urijah Faber

Faber is the star and face of the WEC.  The WEC needs Faber to do well.  The UFC has no 145 division.  I wonder if Faber could move up to 155.  If so I believe he would be a seriosu contender in the UFC.  I think he is that good.  He is the one guy the WEC can’t affor to lose.  The other option is for the UFC to make a 145 lb division.  Assume with me that you start it with some of the WEC stars and you alread have a strong 3-5 fighters.  Perhaps have Faber, Pulver, Swanson, Curran, Micah Miller, and Chase Beebee.  If I was Dana White I would be seeing green with that idea.  The UFC and WEC are not necesarily competitors as both are Zuffa owned, but Dana should see the Faber market and find a way to get him to the UFC.

Bantaweight Champ Chase Bebee

The same as above, his only hope for UFC would  be to add serious weight and go to 155 or to jump to 145 if the UFC started a featherweight division.  I believe Chase could do well.  Faber good?  Maybe not, but he is a fighter and will not quit.  I like Chase, he will hold the bantaweight title for a while.

 Yes, some of the WEC fighters can content in the UFC, but I think the UFC is still superior.  I believe Jen Pulver is case in point.  I thought Cub Swanson was going to make quick work of Pulver, but it happened the other way around.  Perhaps Swanson got caught and Pulver got lucky, or perhaps that shows what an average UFC fighter can do in another place. 

Since I am full of suggestions to Dana White, I think it would be cool to have one whole UFC fight card called “UFC vs. WEC”  Put the champs against the champs.  Offer big contracts to WEC fighters who can take the belt.  I would go nuts over such a card.  In addition you could try Faber against one of the UFC’s best lightweights…vision the card with me for a second…

Rampage Jackson vs Doug “Rhino” Marshall

Anderson Silva vs Paulo Filho

Hughes/St. Pierre vs Carlos Condit

Penn/Stevenson vs Rob McCullough

Sherk, Penn or Stevenson vs Urijah Faber

Dana, if you need to hire a guy full of idea that will make your wallet fat, just drop me a line. 

UFC Fighter Rankings

Where do fighters rank in the UFC?  I’ve seen all sorts of thoughts on rankings, so I will chime in and give my rankings, which of course are the best and most accurate.  I am using a few guidelines.

  • This is strictly UFC, not including fighters not yet signed in UFC from Pride.  For example, Fedor would be on or near the top of the Heavyweight rankings, but he is yet to sign so he is not included
  • This is based not on popularity or even record, but purely on who I perceive to be the best fighters
  • I am putting the title holders at number one in each weight class, even though they might not be the best in that class, for example, I would not have Matt Serra as the best fighter in his class, but he is the belt holder.
  • Some fighters are rising quickly and others are falling quickly (i.e. Tito and Cro Cop)

HEAVYWEIGHTS

1. Randy “The Natural” Couture

2. Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski

3. Gabriel Gonzaga

4. Cheick Kongo

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

6. Tim Sylvia

7. Mirko “Cro Cop”

8. Brandon Vera

9. Frank Mir

10. Jeff Monson 

11. Heath Herring

12. Fabricio Werdum

13. Assuerio Silva

(Note: Fedor, Josh Barnett, and even Aleksander Emelianko may have made the list had they signed. )

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS

1. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

3. Dan Henderson

4. Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell

5. Wandelai Silva

6. Rashad Evans

7. Houston Alexander

8. Tito Ortiz

9. Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine

10. Forrest Griffin

11. Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira

12. Matt “The Hammer” Hamill

13. Micael Bisping

14. Ryoto Machida

15. Jason Lambert

16. Stephan Bonnar

17. Renato “Babalu” Sorbal

18. Wilson Gouveia

19. Marvin Eastman

(Note: I put Hamill above Bisping because I believe he beat Bisping in their fight.  Even though Bisping got the win, Hammil looked better.)

MIDDLEWEIGHT:

1. Anderson Silva

2. Rich Franklin

3. Yushim Okami

4. Terry Martin

5. Nate Marquardt

6. Dan Henderson

7. Jason MacDonald

8. Patrick Cote 

9. Kalib Starnes

10. Chris Leben

11. Martin Kampmann

12. Thales Leites

13. Ivan Salaverry

14. Nate “Rock” Quarry

15. Evan Tanner

16. Kendall Grove

17. Ed Herman

18. Travis Lutter

19. Dean Lister

20. Alessio Sakara

WELTERWEIGHT:

1. Matt Serra

2. Georges St. Pierre

3. Matt Hughes

4. Diego Sanchez

5. Karo Parisyan

6. Josh Koschek

7. Jon Fitch

8. B.J. Penn

9. Marcus Davis

10. Mike Swick

11. Thiago Alves

12. Josh Burkman

13. Luigi Fioravanti

14. Nick Diaz

15. Chris Lytle

16. Edilberto “Crocota” de Oliveira

17. Jonathan Goulet

LIGHTWEIGHT:

1.  Sean Sherk

2. B.J. Penn

3. Joe “Daddy” Stevenson

4. Roger Huerta

5. Kenny Florian

6. Hermes Franca

7. Nick Diaz

8. Joe Lauzon

9.  Din Thomas

10. Marcus Davis

11. Clay Guida

12. Spencer Fisher

13. Frank Edgar

14. Melvin Guillard

15. Drew Fickett

16. Kurt Pellegrino

17. Terry Etim

18. Tyson Griffin

19. Marcus Aurelio

20. Sam Stout

21. Tiago Tavares

22. Nate Diaz

(Note: I listed to 22 because there are so many quality fighters and the last 12-15 of these guys are not far from one another in ranking,  Some rankings have my number 19 Marcus Aurelio much higher, but come on, whose he gonna bump down?)

 Let the disputing begin.  I’d love to hear comments.  Perhaps I left someone off included someone I shouldn’t have.  Perhaps I have someone overrated or another underrated.  Let me know what you think.