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. 

 

 

 

 

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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

WEC 36 Results and Thoughts

WEC 36 was a night full of upsets.  If I was a betting man I would have been hurting from this card.  If you look at my predictions you can see that.  Quite honestly it was not a good night for the WEC. 

  • Let me start with the main event and work my way down.  All I can say is…wow!  I did not expect that.  Urijah Faber has looked unbeatable and finally somebody dethroned the featherweight king.  I still think he is number 1 in the world, but what a KO.  I will be interested to see how the WEC works this situation out.  Will they give Urijah an instant re-match?  Will Leonard Garcia get a shot?  Will Faber fight a top contender like Garcia, Fabiano, Aldo or Tamura?  Honestly, I think he may desere a shot, but I would not be upset if they made him win one and let Garcia get first crack at the new champ. 
  • Mike Brown was innjured in the fight witha  broken rib cage and is out a few weeks.  So we will not see him defend his title for a bit.
  • The Sonnen vs. Filho fight stunk.  It wasn’t Chael’s fault at all.  What the heck was Paulo Filho doing.  He looked way out of it.  I suspect drugs.  Filho may have been drained from the weight drop.  He may not have all his personal stuff in order yet.  He may have seen this as a senseless fight.  I don’t know what the deal was.  Sonnen won easily.  I scored it 30-26…and that was being nice to Filho.  Can you say Kalib Starnes?
  • Who expected Leonard Garcia to KO Jens Pulver.  Urijah Faber couldn’t KO Pulver.  Garcia made quick work of Pulver.  He made it look easy.  I had been a Garcia doubter, but I am believing that he could be a featehrweight champ in the WEC.  He has serious knock out power and he rocked Jens.
  • Aaron Simpson looks like a solid middleweight prospect and he may have punched his ticked into the UFC with his one punch KO of David Avellan.  He is worth a shot.
  • Jake Rosholt is not just a good wrestler.  He is the real deal.  He is a future MMA star.  He looked very good and I think he will do very well in the UFC.  I’d love to see him vs. C.B. Dolloway. 
  • I also think Nissen Osterneck impressed.  He looked very good and nearly finished Rosholt.  The UFC may have lost some in the disappointing performance of Filho, but they may have gained in additions to their roster in the likes of Rosholt and guys like Osterneck and Simpson who emerged from WEC 36 with more respect in the fight world. 
  • Looks like Donald Cerrone will fight Jamie Varner for the title in January.  Razor Rob is done.

Results:

  • Mike Thomas Brown ded. Urijah Faber via TKO in round 1
  • Chael Sonnen def. Paulo Filho via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-27)
  • Leonard Garcia def. Jens Pulver via TKO in Round 1
  • Jake Rosholt def. Nissen Osterneck via TKO in Round 2
  • Donald Cerrone def. Rob McCullough via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Aaron Simpson def. David Avellan via KO in Round 1
  • Jose Aldo def. Jonathan Brookings via TKO in Round 3
  • Carmelo Marrero def. Steve Steinbess via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Danny Castillo def. Rafael Dias via TKO In Round 2
  • Rani Yayha def. Yoshiro Maeda via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
  • WEC 36 Preview and Predictions

    Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen

    This is a great fight with a great story line.  The two guys fought for the title last December and the fight ended in controversy.  Sonnen was winning the fight and suddenly Filho locked in an armbar.  Viewers could see the armbar was tight, Sonnen grimaced and even let out a scream.  The referre called a stop to the fight, but Sonnen thought it was unwarranted because he never tapped.  There was a lot of controversy concerning the stoppage, but Sonnen’s arm would have been broken if it wasn’t stopped.  This fight is a whole new fight.  Sonnen is no longer a huge underdog, although he probably is the underdog.  Filho is coming off of some serious personal issues including depression and drug rehab.  The fight vey well may be determined by Filho’s mental state.  Sonnen is no push over, he is a great wrestler with solid ground and pound skills.  He will have had a good training camp and plenty of time to prepare.  Filho ought to be ready to go.  Hopefully, he is back in the swing of things and has his problems straightened out. Following this fight both Filho and Sonnen should fight in the UFC with the WEC folding their middleweight divison along with their light heavyweight divison.  The two guys should contend for the belt right away win or lose here.  Filho has said he will not fight his good friend Anderson Silva and Anderson said the same.  Saddly, it looks like we will neve rsee the #1 vs. the #2 middleweights in the world.  Filho will be a solid competitor in the UFC.  I think a Sonnen vs. Silva match would be very interesting, but for Sonnen to get that match he has to win here.  This fight is hard to pick because Sonnen is improving so much and we do not know what Filho we will see.  My prediction may be risky, but I will pick Filho to win.  Why?  Because Filho is still the number 2 middleweight in the world.  I think that Filho will win by submission in round 2. 

    Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown

    This is another interesting fight that many are excited to see.  Some people think that Mike Brown could be a serious threat to Urijah Faber.  Faber very well could be Zuffa’s most dominant champion, and that is saying something when you consider guys like Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and B.J. Penn have nearly cleaned out their respective divisons.  The reality is that Mike Brown is a big featherweight, he is very experienced and he is very well rounded.  He has fought in the UFC and many other places and has some good wins over guys like Jeff Curran and Yves Edwards.  Brown has good submissions, having won 11 of his 19 wins by submission, however he also seems suseptible to submissions.  All four of his wins he lost by submission.  Faber has also shown improvement.  His fight against Pulver showed incredible boxing skill.  In the end I think Faber is too well rounded.  I believe Brown could be a good fight, but Faber is the best featherweight in the world.  In the end I think Faber will hit him hard a few times.  I do not know if Brown can endure what Jens Pulver did for 5 rounds.  If it goes to the ground Faber is comofrtable there and not to mention crafty.  Either way I pick Urijah Faber to win by a rear naked choke after a few hard hits in round 3. 

    Leonard Garcia vs. Jens Pulver

    Both Pulver and Garcia enter the WEC featherweight divison via the UFC’s lightweight divison.  Pulver debuted in the WEC by winning quickly and easily over Cub Swanson.  That win earned him a shot at featherweight champ Urijah Faber.  While Faber dominated Jens, I gained respect for Pulver as he showed true toughness in that fight.  Garcia debuted with an impressive KO win over highly touted and top ten featherweight Hiroyuki Takaya.  Therefore, this makes a good fight.  Garcia may be a good fit at 145 lbs.  Pulver is certainly a good fit here.  The winner of this fight would certainly be once again at the top of the heap along with the winner of December 3rd’s featherweight clash between IFL champ Waggney Fabiano and Japanese fighter Akitoshi Tamaura and the winner of the Josh Grispi vs. Diego Nunes fight.  I do not know what the difference will be in this fight, but I will base my pick on the experience.  Pulver is very experienced.  He has fought better competiton and beaten better guys.  On paper Pulver has the far better resume.  I know that may not be the best way to pick a fight, but I think Pulver’s toughness will out last Garcia and Jens will win by unanimous decision. 

    Rob McCullough vs. Donald Cerrone

    The winner of this fight will almost assuridly get the next title show against champ Jamie Varner.  “Razor” Rob McCullough is the former lightweight WEC champ, but he lost his title to Varner.  McCullough has not looked very good in his last few fights including a split deicsion win over Kenneth Alexander.  Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone looked very impressive in his debut over Danny Castillo.  He is 8-0 and I believe he will be a tough match for “Razor” Rob.  Cerrone has won all 8 of his fights by submission, so I am pretty sure he will want this fight on the ground.  If he can get McCullough down then the fight will be over.  If it stays standing, Rob could get a KO.  Judging by how bad McCullough looked in his last fight I will pick Cerrone to win by a submission in round 1. 

    Jake Rosholt vs. Nissen Osterneck

    The fight was originally supposed to be Rosholt vs. Danillo Vilefort.  Vilefort withdrew due to injury and Osterneck stepped in.  Both these guys are prospects.  Rosholt is more than justa  stand out college wrestler.  He is a 3 time divison I champion out of Oklahamoa State University and a 4 time All-American wrestler.  He may be one of the most decorated wrestlers to enter mixed martial arts.  Rosholt began training out of Xtreme Couture and has really stepped up his game and looked impressive.  He is expected to be a future contender.  We most likely will see him in the UFC in 2009.  I do think Osterneck poses some challenges in this fight and has great submission skills, but in the end I think Rosholt will use his wrestling to control the fight and work some ground and pound.  I pick Rosholt to win this fight by TKO in round 3. 

    Carmello Marrero vs. Steve Steinbeiss

    This fight has seemed doomed from the begining for Steinbeiss who has lost two opponents.  First he was supposed to fight up and comer Mark Munoz, but Munoz withdrew tih injury.  Then he was supposed to face TUF alum Alex Schouenauer who also withdrew with injury.  This might be good news for Steinbeiss who wants to be one of the 205ers moved over to the UFC.  Marrero is a UFC vet who went 1-2 posting losses to Wilson Gouveia and Gabriel Gonzaga, but he did score a win over Cheick Kongo.  This is a tough fight to call.  Marrero has good skills, but I look for Steinbeiss to win this one by decision.

     Quick Picks:

    David Avellan vs. Aaron Simpson

    Jose Aldo vs. Jonathan Brookins

    Danny Castillo vs. Rafael Dias

    Rani Yayha vs. Yoshiro Maeda

    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.

    MY WEC 35 Predictions

    Brian Stann vs. Steve Cantwell

    Some people say that this fight will have a different outcome than their last fight and I agree.  I think the fight will last a little longer, but I don’t see Brian Stann losing.  Brian Stann is a star in the making.  I think he has all the goods to be a great fighter.  I like Brian Stann.  I think he will come off victorious in this fight by KO late in round 1.

    Jamie Varner vs. Marcus Hicks

    The 155 divison in the WEC is very weak, and Jamie Varner is the most likely champion in display at this event to lose.  Marcus Hicks is a good fighter and he could very well beat Jamie Varner.  I still think Varner wins this fight.  I think Varner will win by decision.

    Carlos Condit vs. Hirumitsu Miura

    Carlos Condit is a great fighter.  I think he is up there with the top fighters at welterweight.  He should be mentioend in the same breath as St. Pierre, Fitch, Alves and Shields.  I cannot imagine Condit losing this fight.  Carlos Condit has great striking and awesome submissions.  He doesn’t have a weakness.  I think Condit wins this one in round 1 by submission.

    Brian Bowles vs. Damacio Page

    Brian Bowles is a talented fighter that can go a  long way in the UFC.  He is one of the ten guys in the WEC that I believe stack up well agaisnt UFC level talent.  I look for him to win here.

    Micah Miller vs. Josh Grispi

    Cole’s brother will pull out the unanimous deicison win here.

    L.C. Davis vs. Hiroyuki Takaya

    Carlo Prater vs. Brock Larsen

    Blas Avena vs. Dave Terrell

    Shane Roller vs. Todd Moore

    Kenji Osawa vs. Scott Jorgensen

    Mike Budnik vs. Greg McIntyre