Breaking Down the UFC Welterweight Division

The Champion: Georges St. Pierre

The Top Contender:  B.J. Penn & Thiago Alves

The Next Tier:

·         Jon Fitch

·         Josh Koscheck

·         Diego Sanchez

·         Karo Parisyan

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Mike Swick

·         Matt Hughes

·         Matt Serra

 

On the Rise: 

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Dan Hardy

·         Dustin Hazelett

 

Other Notables:

·         Marcus Davis

·         Chris Lytle

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Chris Wilson

·         Dustin Hazelett

·         Ryo Chonan

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Akihiro Gono

·         Luigi Fiorvanti

·         Dan Hardy

·         Jonathan Goulet

·         Tamdan McCrory

·         Kevin Burns

·         Anthony Johnson

·         Rory Markham

·         Paul Taylor

·         Roan Carneiro

·         Brad Blackburn

·         Pete Sell

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Luigi Fiorvanti vs. Brodie Farber at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Steven Bruno vs. Johnny Rees at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Brad Blackburn vs. Ryo Chonan at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle at UFC 93 on January 17

·         B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 on January 31 (For Title)

·         Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Arroyo vs. Dan Cramer at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra April 2009

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Dustin Hazelett vs. Chris Wilson

·         Martin Kampmann vs. Pete Sell

·         Thiago Alves vs. Georges St. Pierre/B.J. Penn

 

Other Thoughts:

·         When people talk about staked divisions they think of the UFC welterweight division.  The best welterweights are here.  There may be a handful of decent welterweights outside the UFC including Jake Shields, WEC’s Carlos Condit, Hayato Sakurai, Jay Hieron and Nick Thompson.

·         Jake Shields will likely land in the UFC.  That is what he wants and where he wants to be.  There are a lot of potential match ups here for him.

·         Thiago Alves will get a title shot in 2009 against the winner of Penn vs. St. Pierre.

·         Martin Kampmann signed a new contract and should fight at 170

·         B.J. Penn very well could become a fixture at 170 as he could vacate his lightweight title win or lose against St. Pierre.

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A Defense of C.B. Dolloway in the Ultimate Fighter Finale

I have seen and heard a lot of upset people about C.B. Dolloway being in the TUF 7 finale.  Some people don’t feel he deserved a second chance since he already lost to Amir once.  This is not to argue whether Jesse should or should not have been booted.  The fact is he was.  The decision had to be made as to who would fight Amir in the finals.  I believe the right final is in place and C.B. deserves it.  Let me tell all you haters why…

1. C.B. Dolloway was the best fighter in the house.  Most people would agree that C.B. was the favorite all the way through the show from start to finish.  That does not mean he should be given a free fight or a pass, but he was the best.  Remember, TUF is not just a tournament it is about finding the best fighter.  The best, however does not always win.  I am not saying there were not other guys who were good or could have beaten C.B. (Amir did beat him), but overall I still think C.B. was the best fighter and most people would agree with that point.  Like it or not out of all the guys from this season, the “most likely to suceed in the UFC” award would have to go to C.B.

2. C.B. made it to the semi-finals.  He wasn’t handed anything.  I do think Amir had a much tougher road to the finals.  Amir had to beat Gerald Harris, Matt Brown, and C.B. Dolloway to get the finals.  He earned it hands down.  Amir beat arguablly 3 of the top 5 or 6 guys in the house.  C.B. got to the semis by beating Nick Klein and Cale Yarbrough.  He earned a semi spot. 

3.  He fought for the spot on the finals.  The spot against Amir was not just given to the president’s pet.  They brought in Tim Credeur and C.B. Dolloway.  They did not just pick C.B. to take the spot, although they could have and it still would have been fair.  I am sure when thinking about who Taylor’s replacement would be the choice was between Tim Credeur and C.B. Dolloway.  They were the top two guys going in and they both proved themselves.  They were both number one picks.

4.  The C.B. vs. Amir fight sells.  The re-match concept sells.  The revenge concept sells. C.B. sells.  Amir sells.  They are both fairly popular or polarizing in C.B.’s case.  C.B. and Amir put on the best shows out of the guys in the house.  They are exciting and fast paced.  Amir’s fights were awesome.  He proved incredible toughness.  He endured beatings and pulled out wins out of no where.  He was getting beat in all his fights (excpet maybe with Matt Brown) and managed to win.  C.B.’s fight with Amir and his fight with Tim Credeur to get to the finals were awesome.  They were perhaps two of the best fights not just of the season, but also of TUF history. 

5. C.B. fought well against Amir. I know many people argue he shouldn’t have another shot against Amir because Amir already beat him.  I know fans have grown to like Amir because he was the underdog.  I honestly believe the fear of C.B. coming in to fight Amir a second time is that C.B. will win and should win.  However, let us not forget that C.B. was beating Amir.  Amir won a come from behind victory.  I am not taking anything away from Amir, he won and won fair and square.  A win is a win.  I know you cannot really play what ifs, however if the fight had gone two more minutes and gone to a decision C.B. would have won by unanimous decision 30-27.  I know it didn’t happen that way, but he still fought well and is a worthy opponent for Amir.

6. Honestly, who else was it going to be?  Matt Brown?  Amir already beat him too.  C.B. would be a better choice than him.  Dan Cramer?  Tim Credeur already beat him, so he wasn’t the best choice?  Dante Rivera?  He looked horrible against Jesse Taylor and barely beat Brandon Sene.  C.B. or Tim would be a better pick than him.  Cale Yarbrough?  C.B. beat him badly, so C.B. deserved the finals more than him.  Someone who didn’t win their first round fight?  Jeremy May? Ha!  Gerald Harris?  Nick Klein? Mike Dolce? Matthew Riddle?  Come on.  The two options were Tim and C.B. and rather than just pick one of them, they fought for the spot and C.B. won.

Bottom line, everyone who think C.B. Dolloway shouldn’t be in the finals needs to get over it and be rational about it.  Like it or not he earned it just as much as Amir.  Perhaps you don’t like C.B., perhaps you think he is too cocky, and you have that right.  If that is the case root for Amir in the finale, but don’t be ignorant and say he didn’t deserve it.  That is just hating on a guy who was and is the most talented fighter of the season. 

Please, discuss this in the comments section.  I am open for debate and want to have more discussion on here.  Voice your thoughts even if you disagree with me, or maybe I converted you!!!  Anyways, comment below and let’s talk about a polarizing subject.  I’d really like to know why so many people don’t like C.B.  Did he rub you the wrong way?  Is it that you root for the underdog and hate the favorite?

The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale Predictions

C.B. Dolloway vs. Amir Sadollah

This is a re-match for the TUF 7 crown.  Amir beat C.B. in the third round of a semi-final fight via armbar.  However, it must be remembered that C.B. beat Amir for two and a half rounds.  I think Amir has been shockingly good.  I think he has a place in the UFC, and will be very good.  He however has far less experience than C.B.  C.B.’s wrestling is awesome, and certainly he has been preparing for Amir well and defending armbars.  I think when it comes down to it, C.B. may keep the fight standing or do a little bit better ground and pound.  C.B.’s problem was cardio.  If he has bettered that he will be a force in the UFC.  From day one most people considered C.B. the best in the house and in the end I think a great final match is set up.  Some don’t like C.B. because of his cockiness, but I like him.  Some others feel that he shouldn’t be given this re-match and I disagree.  He wasn’t just handed this.  He had to beat Tim Credeur to get there.  Also, Amir didn’t tear him up, he won a come from behind win as he did in all his fights.  Don’t forget Gerald was beating Amir before he won.  Matt Brown gave him fits as did C.B.  Now with that said a win is a win, and Amir is amazing.  No one thought Amir would get this far.  He showed endurance and a great Nogueira like ability to come from behind.  Overall, I think C.B. is the best out of this season and I think he deserves this shot and will make the most of it.  I pick C.B. by ref stoppage in round 2. 

Kendall Grove vs. Evan Tanner

This has been billed as a do or die fight.  The loser of this fight is probably out of the UFC unless they put on a good show.  Kendall grove has looked horrible lately.  Evan Tanner didn’t look so hot in his bouth with Yushin Okami, but then again Okami is a great fighter.  Tanner has been out of fighting for a while now and I don’t know if he can get back with it.  If Tanner fights like the Tanner of old he will win and win big.  However, if not he is done with the UFC and his fighting career.  He has way more to lose in this fight than Kendall Grove.  I will pick Evan Tanner by TKO or ref stoppage in round 2. 

Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fioravanti

This match is one that I think will be better than some expect.  Fiorvanti is maybe the most underrated welterweight in the UFC and he could easily pull a win out.  Luigi is an awesome fighter and is well rounded.  He may have better stand up than Diego.  Diego Sanchez though seems to be refocused and ready to go.  I was half tempted to pick the upset here, but I am picking Diego to get back on track and win by submission in round 1.

Dustin Hazelett vs. Josh Burkman

Hazelett is a good fighter, but I think Burkman will prove too strong, aggresive and big for him in this fight.  Burkman didn’t look great against Swick his last outing, but I believe he is betetr than he showed.  Hazelett could hope for some type of submission, but if Burkman strikes with Dustin.  It will not be good for Hazelett.  If I was Hazelett I would try to pull off some type of head kick to get a KO.  I think that in the end Burkamn wins this one by decision.

Spencer Fisher vs. Jeremy Stephens

Fisher has to be the favorite in this fight, but Stephens is tough.  In this fight I just have to go with experience.  I think it can be a great fight though, and this is on my upset watch.  I will pick Fisher by decision.  If we see the Fisher of old it will be a win for him.  Stephens may have learned from Edgar about wrestling and ground and pound though against Fisher. 

Jeremy Horn vs. Dean Lister

Both these guys are good on the ground, but Dean Lister is amazing on the ground.  Jeremy Horn will want to keep this fight standing and if he can it is bad news for Lister.  I think Horn needs a win here to hang around the UFC.  I think he will do it.  I pick Jeremy Horn by TKO in round 3. 

Marvin Eastman vs. Drew McFedries

This fight may be a good stand up match.  Drew McFedries is talented, but has struggled lately.  Marvin Eastman is big at middleweight.  I think the beastman Eastman will win by TKO in round 1.  Don’t count Drew out though. 

Rob Kimmons vs. Rob Yundt

I don’t know much about these guys, except seeing Yundt lose to Almeida.  Kimmons has lost 3 times and they were all to UFC or former UFC fighters.  Perhaps that means he cannot hang with UFC level guys.  I don’t know if Yundt will prove to be UFC worthy.  However, I pick Yundt to win by decision.

Quick Picks:

Matt Brown vs. Matt Arroyo

Matthew Riddle vs. Dante Rivera

Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough

Upset Watch:

 Jeremy Stephens over Spencer Fisher.  Dean Lister over Jeremy Horn.  Kendall Grove over Evan Tanner.

UFC News: Matthew Riddle vs Dante Rivera

TUF 7 Dante Rivera vs. Matthew Riddle

Slowly we are learning about the fights which are to take place at The Ultimate Fighter 7 finale on June 21st.  It appears that Matthew Riddle will take on Dante Rivera.  Riddle and Rivera have been shown bickering back and forth on several occasions.  The fight was assumed following Riddle’s elimination when he hinted he would be fighting at the finale in a fight the fans would want to see.  The season is coming quickly to an end.  The fight card features several bouts with non-TUF 7 competitors including the headliners of Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fiorvanti and Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove.  Also the show will feature fights between non-TUF 7 guys in…Dustin Hazelett vs. Josh Burkman, Spencer Fisher vs. Jeremy Stephens, Jeremy Horn vs. Dean Lister, Marvin Eastman vs. Drew McFedries, and Rob Kimmons vs. Rob Yundt.  Also, we know that TUF 7 competitor Matt Brown will take on TUF 6 competitor Matt Arroyo in a welterweight bout. 

     I do not know how many guys on TUF 7 are going to be on the finale card, but it looks like the card is already full.  I am guessing there will only be two or three more fights besides the finalists, leaving several out.  Right now there are 9 fights on the card and only three of those fighters are from this season of TUF.  I like the fights on the card and they will be interesting, but I think the TUF 7 guys should all get their chance as they earned it.  Here are my predictions for who will be on the card from the TUF 7 cast…

C.B. Dolloway

Tim Credeur

Jesse Taylor

Dan Cramer

Amir Sadollah

Matt Brown*

Matthew Riddle*

Dante Rivera*

Gerald Harris

 

(That leaves out: Nick Klein, Jeremy May, Brandon Sene, Pat Schultz, Mike Dolce, Cale Yarbrough, and Luke Zachrich)

 * They are already confirmed to fight at the finale

      

TUF 7 Episode 9

There is no way I can compete with some of the other sites TUF recaps and I don’t intend to.  For a great show recap check out MMAMania or MMAJunkie. However, I do want to say a few things about the show in general and episode 9. 

Thoughts on Episode 9:

The first fight of the quarter finals was Jesse Taylor vs. Dante Rivera.  This wasn’t much of a fight.  Jesse took Dante downeasily for two round and Dante laid there and took some punishment.  There was some frustration from fill in coach Ramapage that the corner kept yelling out every submission Dante attempted.  The bottom line is that neither guys was too impressive.  I will give Jesse Taylor credit that he got on top and did his thing.  He can win against anyone because he is so strong and big at middleweight.  He just isn’t very exctiing to watch.  Dante looked horrible.  I don’t know if Dante will fight at the finale, if he does I expect a match between him and Matthew Riddle as they have gone back and forth a bit in the house.  I think Riddle would destroy him.  I don’t even know if Dante really beat Brandon Sene in the first fight.  Anyways, Jesse won that fight easily, I don’t know if he even took a punch.

       The second fight of the quarterfinals was Amir Sadollah vs. Matt Brown.  During the interviews Matt Brown came across very confident and Amir came across very doubtful of himself.   Everyone knew this fight would be a war.  The first round featured a lot of stand up.  I honestly do not know who won the round.  It could be scored either way, but I would give it 10-9 to Matt Brown, but Amir did have the harder shots and stayed aggresive.  Round 2 came out and Amir got some good hits.  Finally, he took Brown down where he submitted him with a triangle choke.  Let me just tell you that Amir is for real.  He impressed Dana.  White said that he thought Amir had a great chin and great heart.  I agree.  Amir could shock people in this.  He didn’t impress me against Gerald Harris, but against Matt Brown he did great. He just lacks some confidence.  An Amir with confidence can be great.  Perhaps it isn’t quite his time, but if he could hook up with a solid camp he could be a force anywhere.  Nevertheless, he is no pushover now and is in the semifinals.

Next week we will see the other two quarter final matchs of C.B. Dolloway vs. Cale Yarbrough and Tim Credeur vs. Dan Cramer.  Cale appears to be C.B.’s sacrifical lamb.  Tim and Dan was said in the previews to be a brawl.  That may favor Dan even though Tim is the favorite to win that fight.  Also, we will see a feud between Jesse Taylor and the incredibly annoying Jeremy May.  It looks like he causes Taylor to flip his lid.  Additionaly, the semi-final match ups will be announced.

Thoughts of TUF 7 (In General):

Many people have been critical of this season of TUF and I know the ratings are down lower than ever, but I have enjoyed it.  The big complaint was all the antics in the house got too much attention.  I agreed.  I am thankful that the focus is on the fighters and on the fights.  Some episodes have even shown two fights.  I loved the fight to get on the show aspect, even though I don’t know if the best 16 got on the show.  I think the house antics undermined the intent of the show and for the casual viewer turned people off not just to The Ultimate Fighter, but to MMA.  The fighters in the house showed themselved season after season to be foul mouthed, disresectful, violent, and destructive.  I was entertained by it, but it doesn’t represent MMA well.  I think in a society which is skeptical of mixed martial arts, the fighters need to go above and beyond and show people that MMA fighters have class and character.  TUF highlighted the opposite. So I think this season of TUF has been great.  I have enjoyed the fights.  I don’t know how many of these guys will make it in the UFC, but they have put on some good shows.  I think the fighters are better than last season, where Mac Danzig was the favorite to win from day 1.  I think C.B. Dolloway and Tim Credeur are still the favorites to sqaure off in the finale and the most likely to make an impact in the UFC.  Both are capable top 10 guys at middleweight.  I also think that Amir has shown some skill and heart.  Jesse Taylor can ground and pound well and may have a UFC future.  I even think Matthew Riddle could do well, as can Gerlad Harris.  Dan Cramer is a great fighter, who I am excited to see fight next week against Credeur, and I think Cramer could surprise some people.  That means I am picking 7 guys to be around in the UFC in a year.  That would fit the mold well with other seasons.  TUF 1 has 8 guys still in the UFC, TUF 2 has 9, TUF 3 has only 3, TUF 4 has 6, but also featured just recently cut Lutter and Din Thomas.  TUF 5 has 8 guys still around the UFC.  TUF 6 has 6 guys, but msot likely many of them will be cut this year. 

 

TUF News: Matt Brown vs. Matt Arroyo

One of the matchups for the TUF 7 finale on June 21st has been learned and it will be TUF 7’s Matt Brown vs. TUF 6’s Matt Arroyo.  This is an interesting matchup since Arroyo fights at welterweight and Brown competed as a middleweight. The two fighters have fought before and perhaps Arroyo is seeking to avenge a loss that Matt Brown handed him. Brown holds a second-round TKO victory over Arroyo in 2006.  It will be interesting to see who the other TUF 7 guys fight and who fights att all.  Matthew Riddle indicated in an interview that not everyone will fight at the finale though he was going to fight.  I expect that the loser of this fight could fall victim to the UFC’s roster cuts.