Breaking Down the UFC Welterweight Division

The Champion: Georges St. Pierre

The Top Contender:  B.J. Penn & Thiago Alves

The Next Tier:

·         Jon Fitch

·         Josh Koscheck

·         Diego Sanchez

·         Karo Parisyan

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Mike Swick

·         Matt Hughes

·         Matt Serra

 

On the Rise: 

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Dan Hardy

·         Dustin Hazelett

 

Other Notables:

·         Marcus Davis

·         Chris Lytle

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Chris Wilson

·         Dustin Hazelett

·         Ryo Chonan

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Akihiro Gono

·         Luigi Fiorvanti

·         Dan Hardy

·         Jonathan Goulet

·         Tamdan McCrory

·         Kevin Burns

·         Anthony Johnson

·         Rory Markham

·         Paul Taylor

·         Roan Carneiro

·         Brad Blackburn

·         Pete Sell

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Luigi Fiorvanti vs. Brodie Farber at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Steven Bruno vs. Johnny Rees at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Brad Blackburn vs. Ryo Chonan at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle at UFC 93 on January 17

·         B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 on January 31 (For Title)

·         Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Arroyo vs. Dan Cramer at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra April 2009

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Dustin Hazelett vs. Chris Wilson

·         Martin Kampmann vs. Pete Sell

·         Thiago Alves vs. Georges St. Pierre/B.J. Penn

 

Other Thoughts:

·         When people talk about staked divisions they think of the UFC welterweight division.  The best welterweights are here.  There may be a handful of decent welterweights outside the UFC including Jake Shields, WEC’s Carlos Condit, Hayato Sakurai, Jay Hieron and Nick Thompson.

·         Jake Shields will likely land in the UFC.  That is what he wants and where he wants to be.  There are a lot of potential match ups here for him.

·         Thiago Alves will get a title shot in 2009 against the winner of Penn vs. St. Pierre.

·         Martin Kampmann signed a new contract and should fight at 170

·         B.J. Penn very well could become a fixture at 170 as he could vacate his lightweight title win or lose against St. Pierre.

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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

      

TUF News: Matt Brown vs. Matt Arroyo

One of the matchups for the TUF 7 finale on June 21st has been learned and it will be TUF 7’s Matt Brown vs. TUF 6’s Matt Arroyo.  This is an interesting matchup since Arroyo fights at welterweight and Brown competed as a middleweight. The two fighters have fought before and perhaps Arroyo is seeking to avenge a loss that Matt Brown handed him. Brown holds a second-round TKO victory over Arroyo in 2006.  It will be interesting to see who the other TUF 7 guys fight and who fights att all.  Matthew Riddle indicated in an interview that not everyone will fight at the finale though he was going to fight.  I expect that the loser of this fight could fall victim to the UFC’s roster cuts.

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

The effect of the Ultimate Fighter on the UFC

ultimate-fighter.jpg

There is a lot of talk about which UFC divison is the stongest.  I have discussed my opinion before, but I was curious which divison has been best bolstered by TUF. Below I listed each current UFC fighter and their current divison.  Some guys have fought in the UFC and left for other organizations so I did not include them.  Some guys have fought at one weight and dropped down recently like Michael Bisping.  I made my decison based not solely on numer of fighters, but quality fighters and number of contenders in the divison from TUF. Here is my evaluation…

The least bolstered is the Heavyweight divison, because there are no current UFC TUF alumni in that divison.  Evans and Jardine comepeted in Heavyweight and then dropped to lightheavyweight.

The fourth most bolstered is the middleweight divison.  There are 11 TUF alums in the middleweight divison currently and none are real contenders right now.  You have a bunch of second tier guys in: Travis Lutter, Ed Herman, Kendall Grove, Nate Quarry and Patrick Cote.  Some of those guys are close to breaking through to contender levels.  I would say your most succesful guy has been Chris Leben and I believe Michael Bisping will be a contender, but contender is a tough word in a divison where Anderson Silva owns the belt.  I don’t think these guys could beat the top 4 or 5 in that divison.

The third best divison is the lightheavyweight divison.  However, these five guys are all above average guys.  I consider three of them legit contenders in the divison (Griffin, Jardine and Evans) and I consider Bonnar and Hamill the best of the second tier guys.  Bonnar and Hamill are slated to fight in April, the winner will become a serious contender threat and break into the top 12 in that divison.  I put them below the others sheerly because they don’t have as many alums in the divison now.

To be honest the second and first was a toss up between the welterweight and lightweight divisons who have both benefited from TUF competitors dropping to their weight classes.  Here are my arguments for both.  The welterweight divison has a champ in Matt Serra.  Also one could argue that they have 2 other top five fighters in Koscheck and Sanchez, making TUF alums 3 of the top five in that divison.  If you throw Marcus Davis, who is a serious contender is the mix you have some good fighters, not to mention guys like Mike Swick who have just dropped down.  The jury is still out on the TUF 6 guys.  We will have to wait and see who will stick around the welterweigh divison.  I look for Speer, Sotiropplous, and Arroyo to make a little splash. 

The lightweight divison has the most TUF alums by far.  Obviously, Joe Stevenson has been the most successful and could get a title shot.  They also have another top five guy in their divison in Kenny Florian.  Joe Lauzon is set to fight Kenny and could move into seriosu contention if he pulls out a win.  I wouldn’t overlook guys like Mac Danzig, Nate Diaz, Cole Miller, Manny Gamburyan or Gray Maynard.  Din Thomas has proven himself well and Rich Clementi and Jorge Gurgel are no scrubs.

If you made me pick the most benefited from TUF I would say the lightweights, with the welterweights close behind.  It is kind of interesting to note that in 2008 at least 3 guys from TUF will get a title crack (Serra, Stevenson, and Griffin) and possibly more. 

TUF will continue to have an impact on the UFC for the good.  They hope to help out the middleweight divison, but likely good welterweights will bulk up to get on the show and the best of the next season will help the welterweight divison most.  In my opinion, they need to help out the middleweight, but in order to do so the show has to feature light heavyweights.  I look forward to see the new twists and turns of TUF 7, and to see the impact of the future TUF alumni on the UFC.  Ultimate Fighter has been Dana White’s best move and he admits is helped the UFC greatly.

Heavyweights:

None!

Light Heavyweights

  • Stephan Bonnar
  • Forrest Griffin
  • Keith Jardine*
  • Rashad Evans*
  • Matt Hamill

Middleweights

  • Chris Leben
  • Nate Quarry
  • Michael Bisping
  • Ed Herman
  • Kalib Starnes
  • Kendall Grove
  • Rory Singer
  • Travis Lutter
  • Charles McCarthy
  • Pete Sell
  • Patrick Cote

Welterweights

  • Diego Sanchez*
  • Josh Kosheck*
  • Mike Swick*
  • Josh Burkman
  • Luke Cummo
  • Marcus Davis
  • Matt Serra
  • Chris Lytle
  • Tommy Speer
  • George Sotiropolous
  • Matt Arroyo

Lightweights

  • Kenny Florian**
  • Joe Stevenson*
  • Jorge Gurgel*
  • Melvin Guillard*
  • Rich Clementi*
  • Din Thomas*
  • Gray Maynard
  • Matt Wiman
  • Joe Lauzon
  • Rob Emerson
  • Corey Hill
  • Nate Diaz
  • Manny Gamburyan
  • Cole Miller
  • Mac Danzig*

*Is now fighting in a different divison than he competed in under TUF