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

Advertisements

The MMA Free Agent Market Is Full

1.       Jake Shields

Record: 22-4-1

Key Wins: Nick Thompson, Carlos Condit, Paul Daley, Yushin Okami, Dane Menne, Hayato Sakurai

Key Losses: Akira Kikuchi

MMABlog Ranking: #3 Ranked Welterweight

Jake Shields is no doubt the best free agent on the market now due to the collapse of EliteXC.  However, I do not know if there is much competition for his services.  I believe most people are pretty sure that Shields will sign with the UFC.  There is a lack of welterweight talent everywhere else.  Look for Shields to be in the Octagon by Spring ’09.  Not only will Shields be in the UFC he will be competing for a title shot immediately.

 

2.       Eddie Alvarez

Record: 15-1

Key Wins: Tatsuta Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen

Key Losses: Nick Thompson

MMABlog Ranking: #4 Ranked Lightweight

Alvarez gained a lot of fame in MMA circles with his performance in the DREAM lightweight tournament.  Alvarez fought very well as a welterweight, but the drop down to lightweight is a good move for Alvarez.  Alvarez, who made it to the finals of the DREAM lightweight grand prix.  Alvarez is  a top tier lightweight.  I look to see him back in Japan seeking to get the lightweight DREAM belt that he feels is rightfully his.

 

3.       Yoshihiro Akiyama

Record: 12-1

Key Wins: Denis Kang, Melvin Manhoef, Katsuyori Shibata

Key Losses: Jerome LeBanner

MMABlog Ranking: #14 Ranked Middleweight

The rumors that have been swirling have been that Akiyama has been in discussions with Sengoku and with the UFC.  As much as I’d like to see him in the UFC and as much as I think the UFC would like to have him, I would be shocked if he ended up there.  I would give a definite advantage in negations to the Japanese organization.  However, the UFC is seeking a worldwide expansion and adding another Korean fighter of a top caliber would be a huge plus.  Akiyama is a top 10-15 middleweight without a doubt.  I’d like to see him up his level of competition though.

4.       Robbie Lawler

Record: 16-4

Key Wins: Scott Smith, Frank Trigg, Joey Villasenor, Murilo Rua, Chris Lytle

Key Losses: Jason Miller, Nick Diaz, Evan Tanner

MMABlog Ranking: #5 Ranked Middleweight

Most people consider Robbie Lawler a top 5 middleweight in the world and many have him as high as number 3.  There is no doubt that there will be a lot of offers out there for Robbie Lawler, but the odds on favorite has to be the UFC.  He seemed to like the idea of a return to the octagon.  The problem with that for Lawler is that he will go from being a big fish in a small pond to being a small fish in a big pond.  The UFC is always looking for good competition for Anderson Silva and what better competition than the EliteXC middleweight champ.  If the UFC could add Lawler it would be huge.  Think about this, the UFC middleweight division has been the one touted as being weak.  Dana White has said that it is not weak it just appears weak because of Anderson Silva.  It is possible that the UFC in a matter of a few months will have added the #2 middleweight in Paulo Filho and the #3 middleweight in Robbie Lawler as well as vying for guys like top 10 Akiyama.  Lawler is an instant challenger for the belt and there will be much clamoring for Silva vs. Lawler.  If he is not with the UFC I’d be shocked.  In his first run in the UFC, Lawler went 4-3.  Let’s see if he can do better in a second stint.  Other promotions will come calling so the UFC isn’t a lock, but they are bound to give a good offer.

 

5.       Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante

Record: 7-1

Key Wins: Wayne Cole, Travis Galbraith

Key Losses: Marcio Cruz

MMABlog Ranking: #21 Ranked Light Heavyweight

Feijao has the potential to be a UFC champion.  He trains with the Nogueira and Anderson Silva and has looked very impressive.  He has all the tools to be a champion.  I look for Feijao to land in the UFC.  That is where he can be best developed.  The UFC would be smart to slowly work him up.  I would be shocked to see him sign elsewhere.  I would go as far to say that he is a top priority for the UFC, especially among the EliteXCers.

 

6.       Tito Ortiz

Record: 15-6-1

Key Wins: Ken Shamrock (x3), Forrest Griffin, Patrick Cote, Evan Tanner, Wanderlei Silva, Vladimir Matyushenko, Vitor Belfort

Key Losses: Frank Shamrock, Chuck Liddell (x2), Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida

MMABlog Ranking: #20 Ranked Light Heavyweight

Tito Ortiz has been rumored to be everywhere.  First, it was rumored he was going to Affliction and signing a record deal.  Then we heard he was headed to the EliteXC.  Those both fell through.  Now, following back surgery we are waiting to see where Ortiz will land.  Say what you want about Tito, he is still a top draw.  I do not like him as a fighter, but he is worth big money because of his fan base.  His record is impressive as well.  He boasts big wins over big names and his losses have come to the best of the best.  However, the past few years have been a different story.  Ortiz has struggled to get wins.  He has not won a fight in 2 years.  That has to hurt the size of offers.  Tito is about 2 things: Money and Tito.  Whoever will give him the most money and the most camera time will get Tito.  We know of his feud with the UFC and with Dana White, so I still doubt he will end up there, but it is possible.  I still have to guess that Affliction is his best bet.  We will see though, he very well could end up back in the UFC.  Ortiz only has one fight outside the UFC, so it would be weird to see him somewhere else, but I think that is what we will see, but overall I think Tito doesn’t care to fight anymore and perhaps he is past his prime.

 

7.       Antonio Silva

Record: 11-1

Key Wins: Justin Eilers, Ricco Rodriguez, Wesley Correira

Key Losses: Eric Pele

MMABlog Ranking: #19 Ranked  Heavyweight

The giant heavyweight is a solid fighter that would be a good add anywehere.  However, he is currently under suspension from the CSAC because of an alleged failed steroid test.  He will be out until July on ’09.  This will hurt his marketability.  Nevertheless, he is a solid add to any organization.  I would have to believe that most promotions will extend him an offer.  For him to get into the UFC he may need a win or two under his belt (or maybe not).  I am sure the UFC would like to ass another great heavyweight, but I’d look for him to start fighting in Japan.  DREAM would be my prediction. 

 

8.       Ricardo Arona

Record: 13-5

Key Wins: Alistair Overeem, Wanderlei Silva, Kazushi Sakuraba, Dean Lister, Murilo Rua, Dan Henderson, Guy Mezger, Jeremy Horn (x2)

Key Losses: Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Shogun Rua, Fedor Emelianenko, Quintion Jackson, Wanderlei Silva

MMABlog Ranking: #17 Ranked Light Heavyweight

No one really knows where the Brazilian Tiger has been in the fight world.  Arona is ranked in the top 20 by most in the light heavyweight division, despite being out of action since April of 2007.  I do not know if PRIDE’s collapse or Sokoudjou’s KO of him has kept him out, but we are waiting to see Arona again.  Just look at his wins over top named fighters.  Wow!  His only losses has come to top notch fighters.  Arona has said before that the UFC is a perfect place for him to fight.  He could end up there, but I still think he ends up somewhere in Japan first.  However, if he wants to fight long term he will need to be in Affliction of the UFC.  I’d like to see him in the UFC and make a re-match between him and Sokoudjou, but I am not holding my breath.

 

9.       Denis Kang

Record: 31-10-1

Key Wins: Akihiro Gono, Murilo Rua

Key Losses: Gegard Mousasi, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Kazuo Misaki, Jason Miller, Joe Doerksen

MMABlog Ranking:

There was a period between 2003 and 2006 when Denis Kang went 22-0-1.  The Canadian middleweight is coming off of an impressive win over Marvin Eastman on October 25th and is now a free agent.  I imagine he will get some offers and attention.  I haven’t heard anything about which direction he will go, but I would guess Affliction would be a good place for him.  I would guess the UFC would make him an offer, but I don’t know if he will land there.  He has done some fighting in Japan so DREAM is a possibility as well.  I look for this signing to happen sooner than later.

10.   Joey Villasenor

Record: 26-6

Key Wins: Jorge Santiago, Ryan Jensen, Phil Baroni, David Loiseau

Key Losses: Murilo Rua, Robbie Lawler, Ryo Chonan, David Terrell

MMABlog Ranking:  #19 Ranked Middleweight

Smokin’ Joe is a solid fighter who trains out of Team Jackson.  I would be surprised if he does not land a stint with the UFC.  He has said that is what he wants and I think they will make an offer to him.  He was scheduled to fight Lawler for the EliteXC middleweight title in November, but EliteXC’s collapse ended that.  How about Lawler vs. Villasenor in the UFC?  

 

11.   Nick Diaz

Record: 18-7

Key Wins: Gleison Tibau, Josh Neer, Drew Fickett, Chris Lytle, Robbie Lawler, Takanori Gomi

Key Losses: K.J. Noons, Sean Sherk, Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs, Karo Parisyan

MMABlog Ranking: #23 Ranked Lightweight

Nick Diaz is a liability for any promotion.  There is no doubt that he is tough and a good fighter, but he is a horrible representative of MMA.  Dana White has criticized him and I think Nick’s attitude after fighters will keep him out of the UFC. 

I think Nick Diaz is a bad a**. Nick Diaz is a tough kid. Nick Diaz doesn’t handle himself right all the time in public. I like him — I respect him as a fighter. I love his attitude. I love the way that kid fights. But you can’t do the stuff that this kid does in public. You can’t get into fights when the fight is over … you can’t do that stuff.”

I look for Diaz to sign somewhere, perhaps DREAM or World Victory Road.  He likes fighting in Japan and I think that is where he will go.  Until then I hope he works on his attitude because he is hard to like when he acts like a street thug.  He has a lot of issues such as: recreation drug use, attitude, and making weight.  Nevertheless, he will land somewhere and be just fine.

 

12.   Nick Thompson

Record: 36-10-1

Key Wins: Eddie Alvarez, Chris Wilson, Josh Neer

Key Losses: Jake Shields, Karo Parisyan, Yushin Okami, Ed Herman

MMABlog Ranking: #14 Ranked Welterweight

Thompson is a crafty veteran who has fought nearly everywhere.  Most people agree he is a top 20 welterweight in the world.  I am not sure about Thompson’s contract status, but I assume he was signed to a contract with ProElite.  Thompson has not fought since his loss to Jake Shieds.  “The Goat” has been around, including having gone 1-1 in the UFC.  I would not be shocked to see Thompson signed to fight in Japan somewhere.

 

13.   Dave Herman

Record: 10-0

Key Wins: Kerry Schall, Ron Waterman

Key Losses: None

MMABlog Ranking: #22 Ranked Heavyweight

Herman is another one of the spoils of EliteXC’s collapse and in my opinion is a top notch prospect.  I think he is a solid add.  I think the UFC would be a good fit, but he would need to be slowly built up.  He has great potential as a fighter, but please do something about that nickname (“Pee Wee”).  I would not be shocked to see him land in Strikeforce either, but UFC is a good place if he wants exposure and tough fights. 

 

14.   David Loiseau

Record: 18-8

Key Wins: Evan Tanner, Tony Fryklund, Joe Doerksen,

Key Losses: Joey Villasenor, Mike Swick, Rich Franklin, Jeremy Horn

MMABlog Ranking: NR

There is no question that the former number one contender, Canadian David Loiseau wants back in the UFC.  He is coming off of a win over Solomon Hutcherson and he hopes that earned him an offer, but he may need one more win.  I expect that he will be given one more chance in the UFC sometime in 2009.

 

15.   Brett Rogers

Record: 8-0

Key Wins: James Thompson, Jon Murphy

Key Losses: None

MMABlog Ranking: #24 Ranked Heavyweight

Rogers is a hard hitting prospect who was with the EliteXC.  Rogers looked very impressive in his KO win over Jon Murphy that aired on CBS’ debut card.  Rogers seemed to be unhappy that Kimbo Slice was getting the hype when he felt he deserved it, and he was probably right.  He has been untested, but he hits hard.  He has a place in a big time promotion.  I do not know if the UFC would gamble with him, but that is the best place for him.  Affliction may be a bad move because they would not have time to develop him like the UFC could.  I would love to see a TUF featuring hevayweights like Rogers, Herman and even Kimbo, but they don’t need TUF to get offers.

 

16.   Wilson Reis

Record: 6-0

Key Wins:

Key Losses:

MMABlog Ranking:

The EliteXC’s featherweight champ is sure to land a job.  I think that the best place for him would be in the talented pool of the WEC.  He could be a solid contender among some of the best featherweights.  Zuffa would be smart to pick him up.

 

17.   Benji Radach

Record: 19-4

Key Wins: Murilo Rua, Ryan McGivern

Key Losses: Chris Leben, Sean Sherk, Matt Horwich

MMABlog Ranking:

Radach is coming off of an impressive KO win over Murilo Rua at EliteXC’s last event.  He is sure to find a home somewhere.  He wanted back in the UFC, but they hinted that he needed one more fight somewhere else.  He could end up back in the UFC.  He is hard hitting and talented, but I think he may head to Affliction or Strikeforce, but don’t count out the UFC just yet.

 

18.   Bao Quach

Record: 15-8-1

Key Wins:

Key Losses: Waggney Fabiano

MMABlog Ranking:

Another solid featherweight who ought to head to the WEC.  The WEC moved out their light heavyweight and middleweight divisions to focus on the lighter classes and they need Quach. 

 

19.   Frank Shamrock

Record: 29-3-2

Key Wins:  Bas Rutten, Tito Ortiz, Jeremy Horn

Key Losses:  Bas Rutten (x2), Renzo Gacie, Cung Le

MMABlog Ranking:

Shamrock is in the same boat as Tito Ortiz.  Both guys are legends and both are popular, but both seem to be past their prime.  Ironically, both have feuds with Dana White.  The UFC is unlikely for Frank.  I think he is Affliction bound.  Anywhere he goes he will be a crowd attractor. 

 

20.   Scott Smith

Record: 13-5

Key Wins: Pete Sell

Key Losses: Robbie Lawler, Ed Herman, Patrick Cote, David Terrell, James Irvin

MMABlog Ranking:

Smith looked really good against Robbie Lawler, but his record does nto show many solid wins.  He is exciting and always puts on a show.  I like Scott Smith and think he is a good sign for someone, but likely it will not be UFC.  I think Strikeforce or even DREAM would be a good sign.

 

21.   K.J. Noons

Record: 7-2

Key Wins: Nick Diaz, Yves Edwards

Key Losses: Charles Bennett

MMABlog Ranking:

The much aligned EliteXC lightweight champ.  He refused to fight Nick Diaz again for the title and was stripped of his belt just before EliteXC’s collapse.  One may wonder if he was a one hit wonder.  He beat Nick Diaz, but I do not know if he can hang with top level guys.  He could do well in the WEC lightweight division.  I hear he may want a boxing career, but if he opts for MMA, the WEC would be a good move on his behalf.

 

22.   Paul Daley

Record:  18-7-2

Key Wins:  Duane Ludwig, Jess Liaudin

Key Losses: Jake Shields

MMABlog Ranking:

Daley in the Cage Rage champion and he is coming off of a loss to Jake Shields at EliteXC’s last event.  He could opt to go back to Cage Rage, which may still hang around despite ProElite’s fall.  However, he may look to go to a big stage like the UFC.  The UFC is trying hard to market the U.K. and what better way than a solid U.K. fighter like Paul Daley.  That is a good option.  Maybe he could do TUF 9.

 

23.   Robert Drysdale

Record: 0-0 (1-0 Amatuer)

Key Wins:

Key Losses:

MMABlog Ranking:

Drysdale is a pure prospect as well.  He is widely regarded as the best jiu jitsu guy in the world.  He trains and teaches at Xtreme Couture.  Drysdale recently made his move into MMA with a win on the amateur level.  He could be a big time fighter one day.  He has a long way to go still.  In a year he could be in the UFC, which would have to be the favorite to land him when he is ready.

 

24.   Andre Galvao

Record: 1-0

Key Wins:

Key Losses:

MMABlog Ranking:

Galvao is a prospect, not a star.  He is know for superior grappling and jiu jitsu skills.  He will be a great fighter in the likes of Demian Maia.  I do not know if he is ready for the big leagues yet, but the UFC ought to keep tabs on him as should the other organizations.  Within a year I look to see him on a big stage somewhere.

Others: Gina Carano, Kimbo Slice, Murilo “”Ninja” Rua, Phil Baroni, Jon Murphy, Ryan McGivern

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

My EliteXC: Heat Predictions

Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock

This is the crappiest main event I have ever seen in a big show.  I know that Kimbo and Shamrock are big draws because of their names, but these guys would be on the undercard of a UFC event if it was based on talent levels alone.  This fight is another gimme for Kimbo, but if Shamrock can take Kimbo down I think he can win and ground and pound him some.  I am torn with how to pick this fight.  The EliteXC is pulling for Kimbo and if he loses it will kill EliteXC.  Shamrock is old and has lost his last five fights.  He is on his way out of the fight game.  I would think he would want to win badly here though.  I am rooting for Ken in this one.  Kimbo’s cardio will be an issue as will his groudn game.  No doubt he can strike and hit hard, but Shamrock is very well experienced.  With that said, I still think Kimbo wins this fight by KO, however I wouldn’t bet any money on Kimbo. 

Jake Shields vs. Paul Daley

I believe Jake Shields is a top 5 welterweight in the world.  I’d love to see him against top notch competition, which he won’t get in EliteXC.  Paul Daley is a good fighter, but I do not think he is on Jake Shields’ level.  I think his previous opponent, Nick Thompson was tougher than Daley.  I look for a entertaining fight that ends with a first or second round submission victory for Jake Shields.

Anrdei Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson

I’d be shocked if this fight is competitive.  Arlovski will be much quicker and much more talented all around.  Don’t get me wrong, Roy Nelson can bang, but he can’t bang with Arlovski.  If I was Arlovski, I would box him and then take him down and ground and pound the big bellied former IFL champ.  I think Arlovski’s speed and all around skills will be too much for Nelson.  I pick Arlovski to win by second round TKO.

Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobald

It is hard to pick against Gina Carano.  Quite honestly, I know nothing about Kelly Kobald, but I like Gina Carano.  I am not a huge fan of women’s MMA, but I could watch Carano all day long.  I hope Carano wins and that the fight with her and Cyborg will be set up.  I think Carano is well trained and now re-focused.  I just hope she makes weight.  I think it will stop in round 2 with ref stoppage or rear naked choke.

Murilo “Ninja” Rua vs. Benjo Radach

I hope this fight makes the CBS televised section because Ninja is a great fighter.  He is in his brother’s shadow, but he is good.  It appears that Villasenor will get the next title shot at Robbie Lawler on November 8, but Rua is in the mix as well.  I would think that it is possible that if Ninja wins here he could take on Frank Shamrock at the next EliteXC on CBS event for the number 1 contender spot.  I think Ninja wins this by unanimous decision. 

Cristiane Cyborg vs. Yoko Takahashi

This fight won’t be televised, but I think Cyborg will dominate.  First round KO.

Best Non-UFC Fighters

Here are the best non-UFC fighters.  This shows where the UFC is stacked and where they lack.  There competition is mainly in Affliction at heavyweight and DREAM at lightweight.  Here are the best non-UFC guys that the UFC should look to sign if possible. 

Rank

Heavyweight

Light Heavy

Middleweight

Welterweight

Lightweight

1

Fedor Emelianenko

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Paulo Filho

Jake Shields

Takanori Gomi

2

Andrei Arlovski

Ricardo Arona

Matt Lindland

Carlos Condit

Shinya Aoki

3

Josh Barnett

Rafael Feijao

Robbie Lawler

Jay Hieron

JZ Calvancante

4

Tim Sylvia

Vladimir Matyushenko

Kazuo Misaki

Nick Thompson

Eddie Alvarez

5

Ben Rothwell

Babalu Sobral

Gegard Mousasi

Mach Sakurai

Mitsuhiro Ishida

6

Mirko Cro Cop

Tito Ortiz

Vitor Belfort

Mike Pyle

Joachim Hansen

7

Roy Nelson

Steve Cantwell

 “Jacare” de Sousa

 

Tatsuya Kawajiri

8

Aleks Emelianenko

Brian Stann

Jason Miller

 

Josh Thomson

9

Antonio Silva

 

Melvin Manhoef

 

Gilbert Melendez

10

Alistair Overeem

 

Murilio Rua

 

Vitor Ribeiro

11

 

 

Cung Le

 

Jamie Varner

12

 

 

Denis Kang

 

Ryan Schultz

13

 

 

Joey Villasenor

 

KJ Noons

14

 

 

Frank Shamrock

 

Nick Diaz

15

 

 

Yoshihiro Akiyama

 

Caol Uno

16

 

 

Jorge Santiago

 

 

17

 

 

Chael Sonnen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Shamrock to Fight the Lawler/Smith Winner

Frank Shamrock said on his blog that he was most likely going to fight the winner of the Lawler vs. Smith fight at tonight’s EliteXC event.  The thoughts of a Lawler vs. Shamrock fight are intriguing and I am sure it would make for a great fight, but I wonder is he the EliteXC middleweight who is the number one contender?  In my opinion, Frank Shamrock is the fourth ranked EliteXC middleweight.  Obviously, right now Robbie Lawler is 1 and Scott Smith is 2.  Behind Scott Smith I have Joey Villasenor and Murilio “Ninja” Rua.  I think either of those guys should get a shot before Shamrock.  How many guys get a title shot coming off of a loss?  I know Frank fought well against a great fighter in Cung Le, but he lost, and he needs a win before he gets a title shot.  In my opinion, give Villasenor the next title shot and on the same card have a match between Ninja Rua and Frank Shamrock with the winner to get a title shot.  EliteXC needs to clean up some.  I think they have some good fighters and some big name draws, but they need to have some type of way to give guys like Villasenor more chance.  Shamrock is a part of the good ol’ boy network and that is why he will get a shot, not because he is mroe deserving.  Don’t get me wrong Frank is a good fighter and I would tune in to see him fight for the belt, but I don’t know if he is more deserving than Villasenor or Rua.  He may draw more viewers, but that doesn’t mean he deserves it.

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