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

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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 7 Episode 9

There is no way I can compete with some of the other sites TUF recaps and I don’t intend to.  For a great show recap check out MMAMania or MMAJunkie. However, I do want to say a few things about the show in general and episode 9. 

Thoughts on Episode 9:

The first fight of the quarter finals was Jesse Taylor vs. Dante Rivera.  This wasn’t much of a fight.  Jesse took Dante downeasily for two round and Dante laid there and took some punishment.  There was some frustration from fill in coach Ramapage that the corner kept yelling out every submission Dante attempted.  The bottom line is that neither guys was too impressive.  I will give Jesse Taylor credit that he got on top and did his thing.  He can win against anyone because he is so strong and big at middleweight.  He just isn’t very exctiing to watch.  Dante looked horrible.  I don’t know if Dante will fight at the finale, if he does I expect a match between him and Matthew Riddle as they have gone back and forth a bit in the house.  I think Riddle would destroy him.  I don’t even know if Dante really beat Brandon Sene in the first fight.  Anyways, Jesse won that fight easily, I don’t know if he even took a punch.

       The second fight of the quarterfinals was Amir Sadollah vs. Matt Brown.  During the interviews Matt Brown came across very confident and Amir came across very doubtful of himself.   Everyone knew this fight would be a war.  The first round featured a lot of stand up.  I honestly do not know who won the round.  It could be scored either way, but I would give it 10-9 to Matt Brown, but Amir did have the harder shots and stayed aggresive.  Round 2 came out and Amir got some good hits.  Finally, he took Brown down where he submitted him with a triangle choke.  Let me just tell you that Amir is for real.  He impressed Dana.  White said that he thought Amir had a great chin and great heart.  I agree.  Amir could shock people in this.  He didn’t impress me against Gerald Harris, but against Matt Brown he did great. He just lacks some confidence.  An Amir with confidence can be great.  Perhaps it isn’t quite his time, but if he could hook up with a solid camp he could be a force anywhere.  Nevertheless, he is no pushover now and is in the semifinals.

Next week we will see the other two quarter final matchs of C.B. Dolloway vs. Cale Yarbrough and Tim Credeur vs. Dan Cramer.  Cale appears to be C.B.’s sacrifical lamb.  Tim and Dan was said in the previews to be a brawl.  That may favor Dan even though Tim is the favorite to win that fight.  Also, we will see a feud between Jesse Taylor and the incredibly annoying Jeremy May.  It looks like he causes Taylor to flip his lid.  Additionaly, the semi-final match ups will be announced.

Thoughts of TUF 7 (In General):

Many people have been critical of this season of TUF and I know the ratings are down lower than ever, but I have enjoyed it.  The big complaint was all the antics in the house got too much attention.  I agreed.  I am thankful that the focus is on the fighters and on the fights.  Some episodes have even shown two fights.  I loved the fight to get on the show aspect, even though I don’t know if the best 16 got on the show.  I think the house antics undermined the intent of the show and for the casual viewer turned people off not just to The Ultimate Fighter, but to MMA.  The fighters in the house showed themselved season after season to be foul mouthed, disresectful, violent, and destructive.  I was entertained by it, but it doesn’t represent MMA well.  I think in a society which is skeptical of mixed martial arts, the fighters need to go above and beyond and show people that MMA fighters have class and character.  TUF highlighted the opposite. So I think this season of TUF has been great.  I have enjoyed the fights.  I don’t know how many of these guys will make it in the UFC, but they have put on some good shows.  I think the fighters are better than last season, where Mac Danzig was the favorite to win from day 1.  I think C.B. Dolloway and Tim Credeur are still the favorites to sqaure off in the finale and the most likely to make an impact in the UFC.  Both are capable top 10 guys at middleweight.  I also think that Amir has shown some skill and heart.  Jesse Taylor can ground and pound well and may have a UFC future.  I even think Matthew Riddle could do well, as can Gerlad Harris.  Dan Cramer is a great fighter, who I am excited to see fight next week against Credeur, and I think Cramer could surprise some people.  That means I am picking 7 guys to be around in the UFC in a year.  That would fit the mold well with other seasons.  TUF 1 has 8 guys still in the UFC, TUF 2 has 9, TUF 3 has only 3, TUF 4 has 6, but also featured just recently cut Lutter and Din Thomas.  TUF 5 has 8 guys still around the UFC.  TUF 6 has 6 guys, but msot likely many of them will be cut this year. 

 

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.