Breaking Down the UFC Heavyweight Divison

The Champion: Brock Lesnar

The Top Contender: The Winner of Mir vs. Nogueira

The Next Tier:

·         Frank Mir

·         Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

·         Gabriel Gonzaga

·         Cheick Kongo

·         Fabricio Werdum

·         Randy Couture

 

On the Rise: 

·         Cain Velasquez

·         Shane Carwin

·         Junior Dos Santos

 

Other Notables:

·         Heath Herring

·         Jake O’Brien

·         Antoni Hardonk

·         Mustafa Al Turk

·         Justin McCully

·         Eddie Sanchez

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Eddie Sanchez vs. Justin McCully @ UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira @ UFC 92 on December 28 (For Interim Title)

·         Cheick Kongo vs. Mustafa Al Turk @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Antoni Hardonk vs. Mark Burch @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Dan Evensen vs. Patrick Barry @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Jake O’Brien vs. Christian Wellish @ UFC 94 on January 31

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Heath Herring vs. Gabriel Gonzaga or Cain Velasquez

·         Shane Carwin vs. Junior Dos Santos

·         The loser of Mir vs. Nogueira vs. Randy Couture

 

Other Thoughts:

·         The status of Fabricio Werdum is unknown.  Rumors circulated that he was released from his UFC contract following a breakdown in contract negotiations.  Then it was reported that Werdum was not leaving the UFC.  If he stays he is a serious contender.  I hope the UFC would consider this and want to keep him around

·         The status of ProElite is uncertain, and I mention this because the UFC has the potential to sign a couple of good fighters from the EliteXC heavyweight division such as Brett Rogers and Dave Herman.  It looked like Antonio Silva will head to Sengoku and Kimbo Slice, well….who cares!

·         It is time for Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez to get more exposure and fight the best.  They are real threats to Brock’s belt. 

·         A 2009 bout between Lesnar and the winner of the Mir vs. Nogueira fight is exciting

·         We are hoping Randy Couture has a few fights left in the tank, and they probably will be at Heavyweight, but don’t expect him to fight no name fighters.

·         Not sure where Mark Coleman fits into the heavyweight picture seeing as how he will be fighting Shogun at light heavyweight

MMABlog’s Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Below I posted my heavyweight rankings.  My other rankings will be posted today as well.  Certainly the rankings could change a litte bit following UFC 90.  I’d love to hear your debate and arguments as these rankings are somewhat subjective.

 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Fedor Emelianenko

Affliction

Arlovski (#4) 1/24

2

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC

Mir (#11), 12/27

3

Randy Couture

UFC

Lesnar (#16), 11/15

4

Andrei Arlovski

Affliction

Emelianenko (#1) 1/24

5

Josh Barnett

Affliction

1/24

6

Fabricio Werdum

UFC

Do Santos (NR), 10/25

7

Gabriel Gonzaga

UFC

Hendricks (NR), 11/15

8

Tim Sylvia

Afliction

 

9

Alistair Overeem

DREAM/Strikeforce

 

10

Cheick Kongo

UFC

Al Turk (NR), 12/27

11

Frank Mir

UFC

Nogueira (#2) , 12/27

12

Ben Rothwell

Affliction

 

13

Aleksander Emelianenko

Affliction

 

14

Mirko Cro Cop

DREAM

 

15

Sergei Kharitonov

DREAM

 

16

Brock Lesnar

UFC

Couture (#3), 11/15

17

Roy Nelson

Affliction

 

18

Cain Velasquez

UFC

 

19

Antonio Silva

EliteXC?

 

20

Shane Carwin

UFC

 

21

Heath Herring

UFC

 

22

Dave Herman

EliteXC?

 

23

Pedro Rizzo

Affliction?

 

24

Brett Rogers

EliteXC?

 

25

Ricco Rodriquez

EliteXC?

 

UFC Fight Night 14 Medical Suspensions

These suspensions are precautionary more than anything and many times the fighters will be cleared to fight earlier with doctor’s approval.  Looks like at this event the winners took the bigger punishment.  Velasquez, Credeur and Blackburn especially.  Looks like Anderson Silva came out healthy and may be ready to go in September. 

  • James Irvin — Suspended until Sept. 3 with no contact until Aug. 19 due to a right-cheek laceration
  • Hermes Franca — Suspended until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Frankie Edgar — Suspended until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 due to a chin laceration
  • Jake O’Brien — Suspended until Sept. 3 with no contact until Aug. 19 for precautionary reasons
  • Cain Velasquez — Suspended until Jan. 7 due to possible meniscal/ligament tear in left knee (can be cleared early by an orthopedic doctor); minimum suspension until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Anthony Johnson — Suspended indefinitely due to a conjunctival laceration in right eye (can be cleared by an ophthalmologist); minimum suspension until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Tim Credeur — Suspended until Jan. 17 due to a right-knee injury (can be cleared early by orthopedic doctor); minimum suspension until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Cale Yabrough — Suspended until Sept. 13 with no contact until Aug. 19 for precautionary reasons
  • Brodie Farber — Suspended until Sept. 18 with no contact until Sept. 3 for precautionary reasons
  • Rory Markham — Suspended until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Nate Loughran — Suspended until Sept. 13 with no contact until Aug. 19 due to multiple lacerations
  • James Giboo — Suspended until Sept. 13 with no contact until Aug. 19 for precautionary reasons
  • Brad Blackburn — Suspended until Jan. 7 due to broken left thumb (can be cleared by orthopedic doctor)
  • UFC Fight Night 14 Fighter Salaries

    Anderson Silva: $200,000

    Brandon Vera: $200,000 ($100,000 win bonus)

    Frankie Edgar: $51,000 ($13,000 win bonus & $25,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

    CB Dollaway: $45,000 ($10,000 win bonus & $25,000 Submission of the Night Bonus)

    Hermes Franca: $42,000 ($25,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

    Rory Markham: $37,000 ($6,000 win bonus & $25,000 Knockout of the Night Bonus)

    James Irvin: $20,000

    Tim Credeur: $16,000 ($8,000 win bonus)
    Reese Andy $15,000
    Cain Velasquez: $14,000 ($7,000 win bonus)
    Jake O’Brien: $11,000

    Brad Blackburn: $10,000 ($5000 win bonus)
    Kevin Burns: $10,000 ($5,000 win bonus)
    Anthony Johnson: $9,000
    Jesse Taylor: $8,000
    Cale Yarbrough: $8,000

    Nate Loughran: $8,000 ($4,000 win bonus)

    Shannon Gugerty: $6,000 ($3,000 win bonus)

    Johnny Rees: $4,000
    Brodie Farber: $3,00O
    James Giboo: $3,000
    Dale Hartt: $3,000

     

     

    My UFC Fight Night 14 Thoughts

    Quick Results:

    Anderson Silva defeats James Irvin by TKO at 1:01 of the first round.
    Brandon Vera defeats Reese Andy by unanimous decision.
    Frank Edgar defeats Hermes Franca by unanimous decision.
    Cain Velasquez defeats Jake O’Brien by TKO in the first round.
    Kevin Burns defeats Anthony Johnson by TKO at 3:35 of Round 3
    CB Dollaway defeats Jesse Taylor by submission (choke) at 3:58 of Round 1
    Tim Credeur defeats Cale Yarbrough via technical knockout in round one
    Rory Markham defeats Brodie Farber via knockout (head kick) in round one
    Nate Loughran defeats Johnny Rees by submission (triangle choke) at 4:21 of Round 1
    Brad Blackburn defeats James Giboo by TKO (strikes) at 2:29 of Round 2
    Shannon Gugerty defeats Dale Hartt by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:33 of Round 1

    • Anderson Silva is awesome!  If there were ever any doubters he silenced them.  Some people thought that Anderson would have a hard time with the size, but he didn’t look like he gave up much size.  Some people thought he may not want to strike with Irvin, he did and he beat him badly.  Irvin was out of his league in this fight.  Anderson looked awesome!  Wow.  I hope he fights some more at 205 because the Cote fight isn’t what I want to see. 
    • Congrats to Brandon Vera for winning one.  I think the move to 205 was good, but he did look tired.  Thats okay the weight cut is tough and many guys have a hard time with the weight cut the first time.  Mike Swick looked poor in his win in his first 170 fight, but looked better the second time.  Vera will be a force at 205 and is right in the mix. 
    • Frank Edgar impressed me.  I thought Franca would win this one.  Edgar looked much better than he did against Maynard.  He dominated Franca.
    • The other guy I was impressed with was Cain Velasquez.  Could it be a heavyweight star was born?  He looked awesome.  I buy the hype.  I am on the Cain train.  He could hold the title before too long.
    • I hated to see the Burns/Johnson fight end the way it did.  I don’t know about the call, but whatever.  I don’t think Burns was poking on purpose, but he was warned.  Regardless of the deicsion Burns is a tough dude.  I gained tons of respect for Johnson too, he is a top notch human being.  How about him telling the crwods not to boo Burns?  He is a stand up guy.   
    • C.B. Dolloway did great, he showed his talent.  He is always capable of winning.  Some of the hype surrounding him was lost due to his losses to Amir.  You can’t take anything away from Amir, but C.B. was beating him up both times they fought before he got caught.  The point is that C.B. can hang with anyone at 185.  I was also glad to see Jesse Taylor back, and hope he gets one more shot at least.  By the way, I loved that Peruvian necktie.  What a submission!
    • Welcome to the UFC Rory Markham.  That KO was highlight material.  I don’t know who to give KO of the night to, but I think this was a better KO than Silva’s KO.  Ouch.
    • I will be interested to see who the UFC keeps and who they cut from this card.  The guys on the chopping block:

                        – Reese Andy – Give him one more shot.  He didn’t look great, but you can’t cut a guy for losing to one of the best.

                       – Jake O’Brien – I was against him being cut the first time, and I think he deserves one more shot, but he can’t hang with the top guys in the UFC heavyweight divison. 

                       – Brodie Farber – Don’t forget he was winning the fight.  I guess close doesn’t count, but I think he is a good prospect who lost to a veteran fighter. 

                       – James Giboo – Cut him. 

                       – Cale Yarbrough – Cut him.  He can’t hack it and I never thought he could. 

                       – Johnny Rees – Give him one more fight.

                      – Dale Hartt

    KO of the Night: Rory Markham

    Submission of the Night: C.B. Dolloway

    Fight of the Night: Frank Edgar vs. Hermes Franca (Not the most exciting, but it went long and there was action)

    My UFC Fight Night 14 Predictions

    Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin

    I am looking forward to this fight.  When I make my predictions I will look at all aspects of the game and some to a decision.  Sometimes I will even pick an upset, but there are several fighters that I cannot pick against right now.  Anderson Silva is one of those guys I cannot pick against right now, the others being B.J. Penn, Georges St. Pierre, and Fedor Emelianenko.  I might miss a pick every now and then with that startegy, but more often than not I am right.  I know Anderson will eventually lose a fight, but I will not pick against him anytime soon.  James Irvin is good and he has knockout power.  He could KO Anderson Silva.  However, Irvin has never been a top 10 light heavyweight.  He is fighting the number one pound for pound fighter in the world.  The blogegrs and fans along with the media will try to hype this fight and give Irvin a bigger chance to win, in then end Anderson is going to beat him.  I do not know how much can be said.  I pick Anderson Silva by TKO in round 2. 

    Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy

    Brandon Vera beat some good guys at heavyweight, however he was small for a heavyweight.  I believe Vera can bang with anyone.  Reese Andy is not known to a lot of MMA fans, but he was a former IFL fighter who hasn’t fought in a year.  Andy has a decent record and I have heard he is pretty good, but he hasn’t beaten anyone.  Vera will be by far the best guy he has ever fought.  I believe Vera will be fast and strong at 205 and will win by KO in round 1.  Welcome to light heavyweight Brandon Vera.

    Frankie Edgar vs. Hermes Franca

    Both these guys are good fighters.  Edgar has climbed the ladder at 155, but dropped off a bit following his loss to Gray Maynard.  Many people are forgetting that Hermes Franca was the number one contender and fought for the title against Sean Sherk before his failed drug test.  Franca is strong and aggressive.  Bioth guys have wrestling skills.  Edgar can win, but he needs to be more aggresive.  I pick Franca to win by unanimous decision.

    Jake O’Brien vs. Cain Velasquez

    I am glad the UFC brough back Jake O’Brien and I hope he gets another chance after this fight.  O’Brien has done well in the UFC his only loss coming to Arlovski.  However, I think Jake O’Brien’s strength is wrestling.  Cain Velasquez will be able to neutralize that.  From what I am hearing Cain is the real deal.  I buy the hype.  People say that Cain has great Jiu Jitsu and great stand up.  People are hailing him as the future of the heavyweight divison.  I will pick Cain Velasquez to win by TKO in round 1. 

    Kevin Burns vs. Anthony Johnson

    Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is looking to make an impression.  His KO of Tommy Speer in his last outing was incredible.  Kevin Burns looked good against Road Carneiro and pulled off the submission win.  I think Burns will want to take this fight down.  Johnson is big and strong and can strike with power.  I don’t see Burns being able to get the take down.  He will be forced to strike with Johnson and it won’t work well.  Anthony Johnson wins by TKO in round 3. 

    C.B. Dollaway vs. Jesse Taylor

    C.B. the odds on favorite to win TUF 7, but lost twice to Amir.  Jesse taylor made it to the finals before being kicked off following his drunken rampage.  This fight is interesting.  It is the TUF 7 cast off versus the guy who replaced him.  This fight is huge for both guys.  I don’t know if it is a winner go home fight, but C.B. needs a win something bad.  Jesse is big and strong and has something to prove.  C.B. is well rounded (except submission defense).  I think that Jesse is stronger and bigger, but C.B. is the better striker from what I saw on TUF. C.B. has better ground and pound, but Jesse does have good ground and pound.  They are similar in style.  They both probably are more comfortable on the ground.  I believe C.B. may stand this fight at first and see how it goes.  I think C.B. wins in round 2 by rear naked choke.

    Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough

    Cale showed nothing on the show.  I am bothered by this a little.  Let me vent.  I believe TUF 7 only had a few guys with real potenital and talent to make it in the UFC.  The UFC didn’t bring back many guys to the finale.  Why did they bring back Cale?  Cale is a vegetable, isn’t it?  I thought Gerald Harris is the guy that got cheated most, he deserves one shot in the UFC.  With that said, Tim is too experienced and too good for Cale.  Cale can knock him out if that stand, but Tim will take Cale down and soften him up and then submit him with a choke, in round 1.

    Brodie Farber vs. Rory Markham

    Brad Blackburn vs. James Giboo

    Nate Loughran vs. Johnny Rees

    Shannon Gugerty vs. Dale Hartt

    UFC News: Jesse Taylor vs. C.B. Dolloway at UFC Fight Night 14

    The UFC has quickly put together a good card to compete with Affliction.  All last week it was rumored that Jesse Taylor would be given another chance and would fight The Ultimate Fighter 7 runner-up C.B. Dolloway on this card.  Even yours truly posted regarding this rumor (here). It looks like the fight will happen.  We all remember Jesse Taylor as the one kicked off the Ultimate Fighter after he had earned a spot in the finale or as the pants peeing drunk.  However, Jesse Taylor seems to have it together.  He has quit drinking, and he has said and done all the right things. Jesse Taylor could have cried and made a big deal out of it, but he owned up to his actions, and I respect that.  I still think removing him was the best way to handle what took place, but I am glad to see him get another chance.  This from Dana White on Yahoo! Sports:

    I’ve faced a lot of challenges since we’ve had the UFC, but I have a kid (Taylor) who pissed his pants on television and now I have to turn him into a star…. Without a doubt, the kid deserves another chance. He made himself look like a fool, and he’s aware of that, but everyone deserves another opportunity and we’re going to give it to him. He acted like a moron. He’s embarrassed by it, which he should be, but what he did doesn’t amount to enough to ban him forever. Come on. He was just young and stupid, but at least he seems to have learned from what he did.”

    Taylor will have his hands full against C.B. Dolloway.  This will be a tough match, and is very important for both fighters.  C.B. lost in the finale to Amir, and needs a win in the UFC.  If Jesse gets on top he could just lay there and ground and pound C.B.  Jesse is a big fella.  This should be a interesting fight anyways and I hope it makes it on the televised portion.

    Here is the card as we know it today:

    Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin

    Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy

    Hermes Franca vs. Frank Edgar

    Cain Velasquez vs. Jake O’Brien

    Jesse Taylor vs. C.B. Dolloway

    Rory Markham vs. Brodie Farber

    Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns

    Brad Blackburn vs. James Giboo

    Nate Loughran vs. Johnny Rees

    Shannon Gugherty vs. Dale Hartt

    I imagine that the battle for the fifth spot on the televised card will fall between Burns vs. Johnson, Marham vs. Farber and Taylor vs. Dolloway.  I would have to say the edge goes to Dolloway/taylor because of how familar many SPIKE viewers will be of the two fighters because of TUF.  I’d also like to see the other two fights.  Markham is aggresive, so if he finishes quickly he may get aired as is Anthony Johnson.  I’d also like to see them pick up the Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough fight that got cancelled at the TUF 7 Finale due to Credeur’s adderall.