Breaking Down the UFC Light Heavyweight Division

The Champion: Forrest Griffin

The Top Contender: Rashad Evans

The Next Tier:

·         Wanderlei Silva

·         Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

·         Lyoto Machida

·         Thiago Silva

·         Rich Franklin

·         Dan Henderson

·         Keith Jardine

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

·         Chuck Liddell

·         Luis Arthur Cane

·         Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

On the Rise: 

·         Luis Arthur Cane

 

Other Notables:

·         Brandon Vera

·         Mat Hamill

·         Stephan Bonnar

·         Jon Jones

·         Tim Boetsch

·         Steve Cantwell

·         Brian Stann

·         James Irvin

·         Eric Schafer

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hussan at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans @ UFC 92 on December 28 (For Title)

·         Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson @ UFC 93 on January

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Mark Coleman @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Andre Gusmao vs. Antonio Mendes @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Ivan Serati vs. Tomasz Drwal @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva @ UFC 94 on January 31

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Luis Cane vs. Keith Jardine

·         Brandon Vera vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

Other Thoughts:

·         There are rumors of a Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell match up at UFC 95

·         There are a lot of light heavyweight contenders and the match ups are being set.  The winner of Wanderlei vs. Rampage should get the next title shot, although the winner of Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva should be considered as well. 

·         We are waiting for the debut of rumored UFC signee Glover Teixeira who has been having visa troubles in Brazil. 

·         The UFC could sign former EliteXC light heavyweight Rafael Feijao, which would be a big time contender.

·         The UFC has a clear monopoly on the light heavyweight division.  There are only a few fighters worth a  dime in this division not in the UFC (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ricardo Arona, Tito Ortiz, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral)

·         I looks like two solid light heavyweights have dropped to middleweight in Goran Reljic and Wilson Gouveia

·         The Ultimate Fighter 8 which featured light heavyweights is sure to place a few good fighters in the divison, but it will take time for them to climb the ladder.  Watch out for guys like Ryan Bader, Vinny Magalhes, Kryztof Soszynski, and Eliot Marshall.

·         It is somewhat possible to see Randy Couture take a few fights at light heavyweight and also to see Anderson Silva fight at 205 more often in 2009

 

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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

    Mid Year MMA Awards

    Best Knockout

    Honorable Mention: Luis Arthur Cane KO Jason Lambert, Shane Carwin KO Christian Wellish, Murilio Rua TKO Tony Bonello, Matt Wiman KO Thiago Tavares

    5. Anthony Johnson KO Tommy Speer

    4. Wilson Gouveia KO Jason Lambert

    3. Brian Stann KO Doug Marshall

    2. James Irvin KO Houston Alexander

    1. Wanderlei Silva KO Keith Jardine

    Best Submission

    Honorable Mention: Antonio Nogueira submits Tim Sylvia by Guillotine, Yoshiyuki Yoshida submits Jon Koppenhaver by Anaconda choke, Nate Diaz submits Kurt Pellegrino, Cole Miller Submits Jorge Gurgel by Triangle Choke

    5. Demian Mia Submits Ed Herman by Triangle Choke

    4. Frank Mir Submits Brock Lesnar by Kneebar

    3. Rousimar Palhares Submits Ivan Salaverry by Armbar

    2. Dustin Hazelett Submits Josh Burkman by Armbar

    1. Shinya Aoki Submits Katsuhiko Nagata by Aokiplata

    Best Fight

    Honorable Mention: Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Calvancante, Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock

    5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia

    4. Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver

    3. Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith

    2. Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

    1. Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda

    Best Fight Card

    5. WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver

    4. UFC 80: Rapid Fire

    3. UFC 81: Breaking Point

    2. DREAM 4

    1. UFC 84: Ill Will

    Upset of The Year:

    Honorable Mention: Jason Day over Alan Belcher,

    5. Thiago Alves over Karo Parisyan

    4. Kevin Burns over Roan Carneiro

    3. Fabricio Werdum over Gabriel Gonzaga

    2. Josh Thomson over Gilbert Melendez

    1. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson

    Fighter Of The Year:

    Honorable Mention: Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Michael Bisping, Georges St. Pierre, Diego Sanchez

    5. Miguel Torres

    4. Forrest Griffin

    3. Thiago Alves

    2. Shinya Aoki

    1. B.J. Penn (2 Impressive wins over Sean Sherk and Joe Stevenson)

    Best UFC Newcomer:

    Honorable Mention: Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar

    5. Rousimar Palhares

    4. Dong Hyun Kim

    3. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

    2. Goran Reljic

    1. Cain Velasquez

    Worst Calls By A Ref. or Judges

    5. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson –  Not just that Forrest got the win, but that it was unanimous.  Many, including me scored the fight either a draw or to Jackson

    4. Brandon Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum- Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in round 1 when Werdum was mounted on Vera throwing down punches.  There was just 10 seconds remaining and Vera seemed to be defending himself well. 

    3. Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites — Leites got the win, but lost the fight.  He lost the fight due to two points taken away from Marquardt.  One point was justified, but the other was due to elbow to the back of the ehad that wasn’t to the back of the head.  I will confess, that another point could have fairly been deducted for an illegal slam, but I hated to see Marquardt get a loss on his record that I feel he won

    2. Phantom split decisions — How was Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove a split deicsion?  How was Heath Herring vs Cheick Kongo a split decision?  The right person got the decision, but how was it split?

    1. Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson – Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in the 3rd round while Thompson was still standing and failed to stop it when Thompson was mounted on Kimbo raining down elbows

    Anderson Silva To Fight 3 or 4 More Times in ’08

    This from Dana White per MMAweekly

    Anderson Silva, being the monster that he is, you all know is going to move up to 205 on July 19. He’s going to fight at 205. If everything goes well, he wants to move back to 185 and fight Sept. 6 in Atlanta, probably against Yushin Okami, then he wants to fight again two months later…. When I talk about real fighter, this is the kind of guy I’m talking about. This guy sat down in a meeting with us, literally, two months ago and said you’re not fighting me enough, I want to fight more. And he wants to keep proving himself. He’s one of these guys that said my window is this big and I want to get everything in before this window closes. He wants to fight (July) 19. He wants to fight again Sept. 6 (at UFC 88), back down to 185 (pounds); he wants to defend his title, then again two months later. Anderson Silva might fight three or four more times this year. He might fight three or four more times this year and it’s almost August!”

    I suspect for sure we will see Anderson Silva fight at UFC 88 or 89 against Yushin Okami and I suspect that fight will be announced shortly after the James Irvin fight on July 19th.  Also, we could see Anderson another time by year end! That is incredible. Dana is known for exagerating slightly. I do believe Anderson could fight a few more times this year, but I don’t know about 3 or 4 more times.   I would bet that we will see Anderson July 19 and one more time.  Then I suspect he will fight again in early 2009.  Dana White told MMAweekly:

    “He wants to hold both the 185 and the 205 pound belt and he wants to defend them both. Normally I won’t let guys do stuff like that because it’s just… stupid. I’ll let Anderson Silva do it,”

    I hope he does well at Light Heavyweight and alternates between middleweight and light heavyweight.  I am sure he’d love to get the light heavyweight belt, but I’d say he must win 2 or 3 before he gets the title shot.