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

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: C.B. Dolloway vs. Jorge Rivera at UFC 92

The Ultimate Fighter 7 runner up C.B. Dolloway looks to return to action at UFC 92 against middleweight fighter Jorge Rivera.  Rivera is coming off of the tragic loss of his daughter a few months ago.  This should be a good fight, but C.B. would have to be the favoirte entering into the fight.  This should be a huge step up in competition for Dolloway and a tough test for him.  This certainly is not a gimme.

C.B. is coming off of a win at UFC fight Night 14 in July against fellow TUF 7 competitor Jesse Taylor.

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

My UFC 85: Bedlam Predictions

Matt Hughes vs. Thaigo “The Pitbull” Alves

This may at first look like a less than spectacular main event, however, I think this could be a good fight.  The story behind this fight is that Matt Hughes is the most dominant welterweight ever, but many say he is on his way down.  Meanwhile, Thiago Alves is on his way up.  Alves is coming off of a knockout win over Karo “The Heat” Parisyan.  Most people consider Alves a top ten welterweight in the world, however he was out classed and out of his league against Jon Fitch.  There is no doubt that Thiago has excellent striking ability.  However, I expect Matt Hughes to take Alves down and ground and pound him.  I don’t expect Alves to be able to get up agaisnt the bigger Hughes.  The worry for me about picking Hughes is first of all he has been busy lately with book signing and opening a new gym.  That could distract him.  Secondly, he is 34 and Alves is 24.  Third, he wants Matt serra and could be looking straight past Alves to Serra.  A win here would make Matt Hughes clearly back in line for contention of the belt and if he beats Alves and Serra, he will get another title shot even if it is against Georges St. Pierre.  I believe Hughes’ experience will be a help and not a hindrance in this fight. Therefore, I pick Matt Hughes by unanimous decision following three round of slamming Alves and laying on him and elbowing him. 

Brandon “The Truth” Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum

This is a hard pick to make.  Brandon Vera was a rapidly rising star before all the disputes with his manager.  He was great in the octagon as well, however, he sropepd his last fight against Tim Sylvia.  Fabricio Werdum has tons of talent too.  He has beaten some good opponents.  He has beaten Gonzaga twice, Aleksander Emleianenko and Alistair Overeem.  Vera is a great Muay Thai fighter while Werdum is a great jiu jitsu guy.  This fight could go either way.  Werdum showed some great striking against Gonzaga.  The bottom line is that the winner of this fight will most likely get the winner of the Mir vs. Nogueira fight late in the year.  For the sake of making a pick, I will pick Brandon Vera to win by TKO in round 2. 

Michael “The Count” Bisping vs. Jason “Dooms” Day

Bisping looked great at 185 in his last fight.  He could content at 185.  This fight will tell a lot about him as a middleweight.  He destroyed Charles McCarthy.  I believe Jason Day is a step up from McCarthy in talent.  Jason Day is a little bit of a late replacement of the incarcerated Chris Leben.  jason Day destroyed a serious contender in Alan Belcher and prior to that beat David Loiseau.  That shows what Day is capable of doing in the octagon.  I think this will be an exciting fight, and honestly Jason Day could take this fight, but I am going to pick Michael Bisping. He will have the home crowd, he will be ready to go.  A win here means Bisping may next get a guy like Leben, Cote or Almeida next.  I pick Michael Bisping by TKO in round 2.

Mike “Quick” Swick vs. Marcus Davis

When Mike Swick dropped to welterweight I thought he could be a serious contender.  I still think he can be, in fact I have him as my 10th ranked UFC welterweight.  However, he didn’t look good at all against Jos Burkman, in fact he very well lost that fight. Marcus Davis on the other hand has looked dominant.  Mike swick will be a real test for the “Irish Hand Grenade” who is coming off of 11 straight wins.  Whoever wins this fight will be in the title mix.  All I have to judge by is Swick’s one performance at welterweight, so I will pick Marcus Davis to win this one in exciting fashion in round 1.

Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites

What a ground game this fight could display.  Thales Leites is really good, but Nate Marquardt is underrated.  He realyl did well against Anderson Silva initially.  Marquardt is a contender in this divison.  I think that Marquardt will win this fight by submission in round 3. 

Martin Kampmann vs. Jorge Rivera

Martin Kampmann showed a lot of promise before his injury.  Rivera has been an on and off again fighter who you never know how he will perform.  We will see how Martin does in his return.  Will he have ring rust or will he be hungry for a win?  I think that training with Xtreme Couture is a huge advantage to him and that Kampmann will prove to be too much for Rivera.  I believe Kampmann will win by first round submission.  (Watch for this fight to creep onto the pay per view showing).

Jason Lambert vs. Luis Arthur Cane

Lambert is coming off that disappointing KO from Wilson Gouveia.  Can is coming off of that DQ in UFC 79.  Both guys are quality fighters, but there isn’t much room for failure in the light heavyweight divison.  The loser could essentially be removed from any possibility of contention.  The winner will take a step up.  I believe that Luis Arthur Cane will prove to be the better striker in this one and will KO Lambert in round 2.

Matt “Handsome” Wiman vs. Thiago Tavares

Matt Wiman has done great since coming off of The Ultimate Fighter.  Wiman very well could be one of the underrated lightweights.  Tavares is a good fighter as well and he is favored to win this fight.  Coincidently, both fighters have recently fought Michihiro Omigawa and both won by unanimous decision.  The cool pick will be Tavares, therefore I will pick Matt Wiman to win this fight by unanimous decision.  Whoever wins here moves into the top 20 of a stacked divison.

Eddie Sanchez vs. Antoni Hardonk

Eddie Sanchez is a late replacement for the injured Neil Wain.  I don’t know how that will affect Sanchez. Hardonk has struggled in the UFC, going 2-2 and losing to Frank Mir and Justin McCully.  Sanchez is 3-1 in the UFC.  I expect Sanchez to move to 4-1 in the UFC.  I don’t expect this fight to last long, maybe into round 2.  Therefore I pick Sanchez to win by TKO in round 2.

Roan Carneiro vs. Kevin Burns

Carneiro is beatable, but I don’t know anything about Kevin Burns.  I have to pick Carneiro by unanimous decision.

Jess Liaudin vs. Paul Taylor

Taylor has already beaten Liaudin once in his career,  Taylor is exciting and if he comes out swinging I expect him to win.  I think Taylor win will by first round KO.

 Upset Watch: Fabricio Werdum over Brandon Vera and Jason Day over Michael Bisping

 

Tournaments in the UFC

What if UFC had a 16 man tournament.  In other words a little bigegr version of what DREAM is doing with lightweights and middleweights.  A tournament would doa  lot of good things.  It would give an underdog the chance to win and fight the top dog.  You would have to have some type of ranking to do it and seed the guys like with the NCAA basketball tournament.  It would ease match making.  It would give exciting fights and intriguing possibilites.  Can you imagine all the possible scenarios of what could happen and who could fight one another?  I bet guys would fight passionatley.  There would be upsets.  So…I played around and came up with this…I took my 16 top guys in each class and made a bracket.  The fight one winner will fight the fight 2 winner and so on…

Lightweight:

Round One Match ups:

B.J. Penn vs. Rich Clementi

Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard

Marcus Aurelio vs. Frank Edgar

Kenny Florian vs. Manny Gamburyan

Sean Sherk vs. Spencer Fisher

Nate Diaz vs. Joe Stevenson

Joe Lauzon vs. Tyson Griffin

Roger Huerta vs. Mac Danzig

Welterweight:

Georges St. Pierre vs. Chris Lytle

Thiago Alves vs. Mike Swick

Karo Parisyan vs. Matt Serra

Josh Koscheck vs. Ryo Chonan

Jon Fitch vs. Roan Carneiro

Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fiorvanti

Marcus Davis vs. Akihiro Gono

Matt Hughes vs. Chris Wilson

Middleweight:

Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites

Martin Kampmann vs. Nate Quarry

Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida

Yushin Okami vs. Demian Maia

Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner

Nate Marquardt vs. Jason MacDonald

Chris Leben vs. Michael Bisping

Dan Henderson vs. Jorge Rivera

Light Heavyweight:

Quinton Jackson vs. Goran Reljic

Mauricio Shogun Rua vs. Matt Hammil

Wanderlei Silva vs. Sokoudjou

Chuck Liddell vs. Houston Alexander

Keith Jardine vs. Jame Irvin

Forrest Griffin vs. Wilson Gouveia

Thiago Silva vs. Rashad Evans

Lyoto Machida vs. Stephan Bonnar

Heavyweight:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dan Evenson

Cheick Kongo vs. Eddie Sanchez

Heath Herring vs. Cain Velasquez

Frank Mir vs. Christian Wellish

Fabricio Werdum vs. Antoni Hardonk

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin

Brock Lesnar vs. Justin McCully

Brandon Vera vs. Neil Wain

 

This all could make some interesting match-ups.  What you would do would be take all five divisons and make 5 fight cards with 8 fights each.  You could split them up or have a “lightweight card”.  5 cards would finish round one.  Then you could have two 10 fight card and that would finish round two.  Then you could have another card that would do the semi-final match ups and another card for the championships.  Try making an un-televised undercard out of any of these fights.  That would be awesome.  Of course you could put more thought into match ups and potential second and third round “dream match up” in where you placed fighters, but it is a great idea.  The one flaw is that if the UFC had one card a month this tournament would take 9 months to finish and that would keep a lot of fighters from fighting in that time.  I guess you could break it up and have non-tournament fights mixed in there too.  Just food for thought…

Which TUF Season Produced the Best Fighters?

1. TUF 1

TUF 1 saved the UFC.  Dana White acknowledges that the finale fight of Bonnar vs. Griffin was a defining UFC moment, perhaps that is why Griffin is getting a title shot.  In this season you have 2 or 3 guys that could hold a title eventually.  Kenny Florian is looking dominant.  Diego and Josh both are doing well as is Mike Swick in the welterweight divison.  Chris Leben may never win a title, but he is winning a lot.   

Notable Alumni: Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Nate Quarry, and Chris Leben

2. TUF 2

This may not have as many stud fighters as season 1, but season 2 was good and produced 4 serious contenders (Stevenson, Marcus Davis, Keith Jardine, and Rashad Evans).   

Notable Alumni: Joe Stevenson, Luke Cummo, Josh Burkman, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Marcus Davis, Jorge Gurgel, Melvin Guillard and Rob MacDonald

3. TUF 4

The comeback season was a success.  Travis Lutter lost to Anderson Silva, but still looked good.  We will see how he does against Rich Franklin.  We all know of Matt Serra winning against St. Pierre.  Clementi, Cote and Lytle all have looked good lately.  This season has a lot of names that UFC fans know. 

Notable Alumni: Travis Lutter, Charles McCarthy, Jorge Rivera, Rich Clementi, Pete Sell, Patrick Cote, Matt Serra, Chris Lytle and Din Thomas

4. TUF 5

This season is still developing talent.  However, these lightweights are all contenders. I think this season has 5 or so guys that could be top 15 material in a stacked divison. 

Notable Alumni: Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz, Manny Gamburyan, Matt Wiman, Cole Miller, Corey Hill

5.  TUF 3

Not a bad season, but disappointing as far as how these guys have done after the show.  Bisping has done fair and dropped to middleweight and we will see how he does there.  Matt Hamill may be the success story of this show.  Kendall Grove has fallen hard.  Ed Herman can rise some if he keeps winning.   

Notable Alumni: Kendall Grove, Kalib Starnes, Ed Herman, Micahel Bisping, Matt Hamill

6. TUF 6

This show was the weakest of all.  We will see the effects of it.  In two years there may be two or three guys in the UFC from TUF 6.  Mac Danzig was so much better than everyone else on this season.  George can be decent and do well in the UFC.  Tommy Speer is so raw.  Matt Arroyo has good skills, but we will see.  Guys like Koppenhaver and Rollins have earned some time in the UFC, but I doubt it will last.  Watch for Mac though to climb the lightweight ranks. 

Notable Alumni: Mac Danzig, Tommy Speer, George Sotiropolous