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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MMABlog’s Middleweight MMA Rankings

The middleweights were hard to rank down towards the last 10.  Sorry if I left some good guys out.

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Anderson Silva

UFC

 Cote (#12), 9/25

2

Paulo Filho

UFC

Sonnen (#16) 11/3

3

Rich Franklin

UFC

Next Fight at LHW

4

Dan Henderson

UFC

Next Fight at LHW

5

Robbie Lawler

EliteXC?

 

6

Kazuo Misaki

Strikeforce

1/4

7

Nate Marquardt

UFC

 

8

Matt Lindland

Affliction

Sobral (LHW) ) 1/24

9

Yushin Okami

UFC

Lister (NR), 12/27

10

Gegard Mousasi

DREAM

Belfort (#25,) 1/24

11

Thales Leites

UFC

McFedries (NR), 9/25

12

Patrick Cote

UFC

A. Silva (#1), 9/25

13

Michael Bisping

UFC

 

14

Yoshihiro Akiyama

 

 

15

Ronaldo “Jacare” de Sousa

DREAM

 

16

Chael Sonnen

UFC

Filho (#2) 11/3

17

Demian Maia

UFC

Quarry (#18), 11/15

18

Nate Quarry

UFC

Maia (#17), 11/15

19

Joey Villasenor

EliteXC?

 

20

Cung Le

Strikeforce

 

21

Jorge Santiago

 

 

22

Chris Leben

UFC

 

23

Jason Macdonald

UFC

 

24

Martin Kampman

UFC

 

25

Vitor Belfort

Affliction

Mousasi (#10) 1/24

 

Others Considered: Ricardo Almeida, Rousimar Palhares, Dean Lister, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg

UFC News: Drew McFedries Replaces Goran Reljic

It did not take long for the UFC to tap a replacement for Goran Reljic who was set to face Thales Leites.  It appears the replacement will be none other than Miletich trained fighter, Drew McFedries.  McFedries is very talented and has knockout power, but he has proven vulnerable on the ground.  Leites is a top notch fighter who is coming off of a controversial win over Nate Marquardt.  McFedries is coming off of a loss at UFC Fight Night 15 to Mike Massenzio.

UFC News: Mike Massenzio Signs With the UFC

The UFC has signed former IFL middleweight fighter Mike Massenzio to a four fight contract.  It also appears that Massenzio will debut at UFC Fight Night 15 in September against the tough Drew McFedries.  Massenzio was a former college wrestling star who turned to mixed martial arts.  He boasts a 10-2 record in MMA with notable wins against Dan Miller and Dante Rivera.  Massenzio enters into a heavy second tiered middleweight divison.  Perhaps he will be a good addition to the UFC, but Drew McFedries is a tough welcome for him.

The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale Quick Results

Kendall Grove def. Evan Tanner via split decision

Amir Sadollah def. C.B. Dolloway via Armbar Submission in round 1

Diego Sanchez def. Luigi Fiorvanti via TKO in round 3

Spencer Fisher def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision

Matt Riddle def. Dante Rivera via Unanimous decision

Dustin Hazelett def. Josh Burkman via submission (arm bar) — Round 2, 4:46

Drew McFedries def. Marvin Eastman via TKO (strikes) — Round 1, 1:08

Matt Brown def. Matt Arroyo via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 3:40

Dean Lister def. Jeremy Horn via submission (guillotine choke) — Round 1, 3:52

Matt Brown def. Matt Arroyo via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 3:40

Rob Kimmons def. Rob Yundt via submission (guillotine choke) — Round 1, 3:58

Official Bonuses:

Fight of the Night: Josh Burkman vs. Dustin Hazelett

KO of the Night: Drew McFedries

Submission of the Night: Dustin Hazelett

Other Notes:

  • The Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough fight was cancelled due to traces of Adderol being in Tim’s system still.  Apparently, he informed the commission prior to weigh ins and they pulled the fight.  It was not due to some advantage he would be given, but because of concern for Tim’s health while on Adderoll.  No further discipline will be given.
  • Diego Sanchez looked great and his striking was awesome.  I was disappointed because I wanted to see his improved ground game that he speaks of.  He is still a force at welterweight and he beat a tough Luigi Fiorvanti.
  • Kendall Grove looked good, but he didn’t impress me.  Evan Tanner is tough as nails.  I don’t think Evan has what it takes to fight in the UFC anymore, but he can sure go in there and take a beating.
  • Congratulations to Amir Sadollah TUF 7 winner.  Who would have picked this at season’s start?  I like C.B. and think he will be just fine in the UFC, but he needs to leave Tempe and join a major camp where he can learn some submissions and submission defense.  Anyways, Amir is awesome and he has a great personality.
  • I think Matt Riddle may shock some people in the UFC as he is tough and looked much improved. 
  • Drew McFedries is back in a big way
  • Saddly, fight of the night and submission of the night were not televised (Burkman vs. Hazelett)
  • Overall this wasn’t a great show in my opinion.

 

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