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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Poll Questions In Wake of UFC 91

Cast your vote below in some questions that arose following UFC 91. 

UFC 91 Preview and Predictions

Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar

Perhaps this is not the biggest fight in UFC history, but it is a big one that is sure to attract a record crowd.  The hype surrounding this card speaks volumes about this particular fight seeing as how the rest of the card is mediocre at best.  This is also a hard fight to pick.  Here is what we know.  Brock Lesnar has looked impressive in his two UFC fights although he lost his debut against Frank Mir (or as he says it “Murr”).  Quite honestly, if Steve Mazagatti hadn’t pulled Lesnar off and stood them up for a hit to the back of the head the fight may have ended with Lesnar being victorious.  Against Heath Herring Lesnar showed incredible ability to control another fighter and he showed that he hits stinkin’ hard.  There are a lot of unknowns about Brock Lesnar.  However, Randy Couture is not an unknown at all.  We know what he will bring to the cage.  He comes in as an underdog despite his experience.  Let me break down this fight. I broke down different skills sets and picked who had tha advantage in each realm that may be a factor in this fight.  Myabe it will help in picking a winner.

Age: Brock Lesnar

Randy is 45.  Brock Lesnar is 31.  Age could be a factor.  It hasn’t been for Randy yet, but it is bound to be eventually.  Everyone thought it was an issue against Tim Sylvia and against Gabriel Gonzaga and it wasn’t, a little over a year later, we expect it could be a factor.  I do not believe it will be the sole factor or even the deciding factor, but it will be a factor. Unfortunately, if Couture loses everyone will blame it on Randy’s age and not Lesnar’s skill.  I believe everyone would agree that Lesnar wins the age battle.

Experience: Randy Couture

There is no question that Randy’s experience is a huge factor.  Lesnar is 2-1 in his MMA career.  Granted he has fought elite fighters in Mir and Herring, he doesn’t nearly have the résumé that Couture has.  Couture has an impressive 16-8 record.  Randy has been in the ring against guys like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Tim Sylvia, Gabriel Gonzaga, Vitor Belfort, Josh Barnett, Ricco Rodriguez, Maurice Smith, Pedro Rizzo, Jeremy Horn, and Kevin Randleman.  Couture has fought 5 round fights.  He has headlines big events.  He has been in every imaginable situation in a fight.  That is a huge advantage.  The limelight will not be a decided advantage for Randy because Lesnar has been there.  He experienced that in WWE and even in his college wrestling days.  When it comes down to instincts in the ring though Randy has the advantage.  The one who loses this fight could very well be the one who makes the first mistake.  That bodes very well for Couture.

Strength: Brock Lesnar

Is there any real question here?  Look at Lesnar.  He dwarfs everyone.  He is strong as an ox.  By the way, never question whether Lesnar’s build and strength were gained by natural means because he does not like being accused of steroids.  Strength could be an issue.  Lesnar’s strength could give Lesnar the ability to hold Couture down and avoid reversals.  It could help in the clinch, where Randy is very good.  It could help to avoid submissions and to get off his back.  In this match-ups strength will be an issue.  We give the strength advantage to Lesnar.

Athleticism: Brock Lesnar

This is a tough one to call.  I just give the athletic advantage to Lesnar because he is younger and he is a physical specimen.  He is a elite wrestler.  He played some pro football.  He is doing well in MMA.  He has shown great athletic prowess.  I think Lesnar may be the most athletic heavyweight.  He is quick and moved well for a guy nearing 300 lbs. I know WWE is fake and say what you want about pro wrasslin’, but it does take great athleticism do fair well in the WWE. I give the athleticism advantage to Lesnar, but not by a lot.

Wrestling: Brock Lesnar

I know that Randy Couture is a top tier wrestler.  I know of his background at Oklahoma State.  I know that he was an Olympic alternate like 3 times.  There is no one with the wrestling pedigree of Brock Lesnar.   He is a national champ out of Minnesota.  He could have done whatever he wanted wrestling wise.  Where does this come into play?  On the ground.  It will be very hard to keep Brock on his back.  However, he is not in there against some tomato can wrestler.  Randy Couture is a good, very good wrestler.  I give the advantage to Brock here though mainly because Randy is further removed from his wrestling career than Brock Lesnar.  The skill set difference may not be enough to make much difference and I highly doubt this fight will unfold like the Herring fight did. 

Grappling: Randy Couture

Brock Lesnar showed a lot of skill against Herring, but he showed very little grappling or jiu jitsu skills.  He should have submitted him numerous times following the many times he mounted the Texas Crazy Horse or the times he took his back.  If he gives Randy his back he will be choked out.  That may be a good place for Randy to look to win and it may be an area that Brock is vulnerable.  With that said the brute strength of Lesnar makes up for some of his lack of grappling skill and also, Lesnar is showing improvement constantly.  Certainly he has worked on grappling.  The question is how much did he improve since Herring?

Clinch: Randy Couture

Randy is a master at the clinch and dirty boxing.  He is not afraid to clinch with bigger stronger guys.  Just ask Gonzaga and Sylvia.  The clinch could be a good place to be for Randy.  He has a decided clinch advantage.

Size: Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar has to cut weight to make 265 lbs.  Randy Couture will come in barely over 205 lbs.  Lesnar wears those XXXXL MMA gloves.  He will be a tough dude to wrap up and to hold onto.  Enough said. 

Striking Technique: Randy Couture

Randy never fails to impress.  He has more technique because he has been at it longer.  He may utilize his technique and boxing skills to keep Lesnar away and he may want to test Brock’s chin.  Randy hit Sylvia so hard in round 1 of their fight that Tim says he didn’t come to until round 5. 

Striking Power: Brock Lesnar

Ask Heath Herring.  Brock can hit hard.  He doesn’t seem to have the technique that Randy does, but I have a feeling that Brock hits harder.  He packs a lot of weight behind a punch.  If Brock hits Randy like he did Herring it could be a bad night for Captain America.

Training: Randy Couture

I do not doubt Lesnar’s work ethic or how good his training will be.  The bottom line is that Xtreme Couture is becoming one of the elite training facilities in the world.  Randy will as always have a superior game plan and will have trained and prepared for everything in this fight.

Fans/Popularity: Randy Couture

He is Captain America.  He is the Natural.  Randy Couture is beloved by fans.  I do not know if his recent stint outside the octagon will hurt him, but I think it will help him.  I imagine that when Randy walks out Saturday night that the cheers will be deafening.  The fans will be behind Randy.  Brock is not unpopular, it is just he is fighting the most popular or at least one of the most popular mixed martial artists.  His popularity will translate into money and pay per view buys.  I think Randy will have the crowd seeing as how he is fighting out of his hometown of Las Vegas.  This is a factor in this fight.  Brock will receive some love too, but not the love of Captain America.

Cardio:  Randy Couture

I almost labeled this a tossup.  It really could be, but I gave it to Randy for a few reasons.  First, Randy is and always has been known as a cardio machine.  Second, he has gone five round before.  After round 3 it is a new place for Brock.  I would imagine that Brock’s cardio is very good and that he is prepared to go 5, but he is more likely to gas than Randy and Randy could keep a fast paced or in your face style that could wear down Lesnar.  I do not think it is a huge advantage, but it could be a slight advantage.

The only other question I would have is will Randy show some ring rust?  I doubt it.  I am so tempted to pick Lesnar to win this fight.  However, I have learned my lesson about betting against Randy Couture.  Therefore I pick Randy Couture to win by submission in round 3. 

Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson

A great fight in the lightweight divison which should determine the number 1 contender.  If Florian wins he has to get a title shot.  If Florian can avoid the Stevenson guillotine choke he will win this fight.  I am excited about this one.  However, I pick Florian by decision.

Demian Maia vs. Nate Quarry

This is a great fight.  Quarry is a good striker and Maia is a great grappler and jiu jitsu practioner.  The winner of this fight moved far up the ladder at 185 lbs.  I think if it stays standing Quarry wins.  If it goes to the ground Maia wins.  With that said, I think it will go to the ground.  Maia will then make quick work of Quarry.  If I am wrong Quarry will have won by KO or TKO.  Nevertheless, I pick Maia by submission in round 1.

Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone

I know nothing about Catone, but do you really think they will give the Ultimate Fighter winner a guy they thought would beat Amir?  Amir by submission in round 2.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks

Quick Picks:

Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamdan McCrory

Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley

Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson

Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

Fight of the Night Pick: Gurgel vs. Riley

Submission of the Night Pick: Demian Maian or Dustin Hazelett

KO of the Night Pick: Jeremy Stephens

Upset to Wtach: Brock Lesnar over Randy Couture and Nate Quarry over Demian Maia

This Week (November 9-15) In MMA

  • UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar This is being billed as “the biggest fight in UFC history”.  From a money standpoint that may be true.  From a talent standpoint I don’t think so.  The card is solid, but not as good as some of the upcoming UFC cards.  MMAblog will cover more of this event as the week goes on.  get ready to order the pay per view event Saturday…The fight card looks like this:

Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar

Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson

Nate Quarry vs. Demian Maia

Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks

Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamadan McCrory

Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley

Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson

Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

  • The Ultimate Fighter 8 Episode 9 will air Wednesday, November 12th.  The show is expected to feature a light heavyweight bout between Team Mir number 1 pick and one of the favorites to win the show, Krzysztof Soszynski who will be taking on Kyle Kingsbury.
  • Cagefest Xtreme: Evolution will take place Saturday, November 15th.  The Ultimate Fighter 6 runner- up Tommy Speer will be headlining the card against Beau Baker.  Also, on the card is Antwain Britt, who many may remember for being a cast member of the Ultimate Fighter 8.  Britt won his first bout to make it into the house, but he sustained a hand injury which forced him out of the show.  Apparently the UFC declined to pick him up.  A win here could get Britt into the UFC.  Britt will take on CT Turner. Also, UFC veteran Chad Reiner will be fighting against Kyle Baker.
  • Destiny MMA will have a show in Hawaii on November 15th which will be headlined by UFC veteran and our favorite afraid to engage fighter, Kalib Starnes who will be taking on the talented and dangerous Hawaiian fighter Kala Kolohe Hose.  In addition, Po’ai Suganuma will be in action as wil Kaelo Kwan.
  • Also do not forget the Countdown to UFC 91, which will first air on SPIKE on Monday Night (Tonight)!

UFC 88 Fighter Salaries

Chuck Liddell – $500,000

Dan Henderson – $250,000

Rashad Evans – $180,000 (Includes $60,000 KO of the Night Bonus and $60,000 win bonus)

Jason MacDonald – $104,000 (Includes $60,000 Submission of the Night Bonus)

Rich Franklin – $100,000

Kurt Pellegrino – $84,000 (Includes $60,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

Thiago Tavares – $73,000 (Includes $60,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

Nate Marquardt -$56,000

Dong Hyun Kim – $46,000

Ryo Chonan – $30,000

Jason Lambert – $17,000

Tim Boetsch – $16,000

Martin Kampmann – $15,000

Matt Hamill – $10,000

Roan Carneiro – $9,000

Matt Brown – $8,000

Rousimar Palhares – $7,000

Mike Patt – $5,000

UFC News: Matt Brown vs. Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 88

It has been learned that a bout between welterweights Matt Brown and Dong Hyun Kim will take place at UFC 88.  Matt Brown was a cast member on the Ultimate Fighter 7, where he looked very impressive.  Also Matt Brown is coming off of a win against TUF 6 cast member Matt Arroyo.  Following his stint on TUF as a middleweight Brown dropped to the welterweight divison where he is better suited.  Brown will be fighting a tough Korean fighter in Dong Hyun Kim.  Kim impressed everyone with his UFC 84 performance and debut against Jason Tan.  Kim was aggresive and rained down vicious elbows.  This could be a tough match for Matt Brown.

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.