MMABlog’s Lightweight MMA Rankings

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

B.J. Penn

UFC

St. Pierre (#1 WW) 1/31

2

Takanori Gomi

World Victory Road

Golyaev (NR), 11/1

3

Shinya Aoki

DREAM

 

4

Eddie Alvarez

EliteXC?

 

5

Sean Sherk

UFC

T. Griffin (#15), 9/25

6

Mitsuhiro Ishida

DREAM/Strikeforce

 

7

Tatsuya Kawajiri

DREAM

 

8

Kenny Florian

UFC

Stevenson (#10), 11/15

9

Josh Thomson

Strikeforce

Edwards (NR), 11/21

10

Joe Stevenson

UFC

Florian (#8), 11/15

11

Gesias Calvancante

DREAM

 

12

Joachim Hansen

DREAM

 

13

Gilbert Melendez

Strikeforce

 

14

Jamie Varner

WEC

 

15

Tyson Griffin

UFC

Sherk (#5), 9/25

16

Roger Huerta

UFC

 

17

Gray Maynard

UFC

Clementi (NR), 9/25

18

Frank Edgar

UFC

Wiman (NR), 12/10

19

Vitor Ribeiro

 

 

20

Nate Diaz

UFC

 

21

K.J. Noons

EliteXC?

 

22

Joe Lauzon

UFC

 

23

Nick Diaz

EliteXC

 

24

Spencer Fisher

UFC

Gugerty (NR), 9/25

25

Caol Uno

DREAM

 

 

Others Considered: Clay Guida, Hermes Franca, Marcus Aurelio, Jim Miller, Jorge Masvidal , Rich Clementi, Matt Wiman, and Mac Danzig.

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Poll Questions In Wake of UFC 89

Cast your vote on several questions that arose from UFC 89…

My UFC 89 Predictions

Some of these are very tough picks.  This is a solid card, which is by far better than UFC 90.  I will probably stink up my picks because there are some tough fights here.  From top to bottom this is a good card.  Maybe not the big names that pay per view cards often carry, but to the serious MMA fan even fights on this undercard are appealing.

Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben

I think Bisping is a serious contender at 185 lbs.  He has looked impressive, but he has not fought anyone of Chris Leben’s calibur yet at 185.  He handily beat Jason Day and Charles McCarthy, but Leben is better than those guys.  Leben can strike and he has an iron chin.  I think when it comes down to it we will see that the difference is Bisping’s conditioning and his ability to take Leben down and work some ground and pound.  If Bisping tries to exchange with Leben it could be goodnight “Count”.  However, Bisping is hailed the best UK fighter, and is likely the TUF 8 coach.  I look for Bisping to win by ref stoppage in round 3. 

Brandon Vera vs. Keith Jardine

This is a very tough fight to pick and here is why.  Brandon Vera made the drop from heavyweight to light heavyweight, which I think is a good move.  He debuted at 205 and looked less than impressive ina  win over Reese Andy.  I do not know if Vera is struggling as a fighter right now or if the weight cut got to him that fight.  I would expect a much better Vera Saturday.  Jardine is a tough guy to figure.  He has at times looked like a top contender.  He has beaten Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin.  However, he got beat handily and quickly by Wanderlei Silva and Houston Alexander.  So is Jardine a top 5 fighter?  Or is he a “gatekeeper”?  My pick for this fight is not concrete, and I would not be shocked for it to go either way, however, I pick Brandon “The Truth” Vera by unanimous decision.  It would be great for Vera’s career if he finished quickly and in exciting fashion like the Vera of old. 

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Luiz Arthur Cane

Argghhh.  Another hard fight.  For the same reasons as above.  How good is Sokoudjou?  He has impressive KO wins over Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, which put him on the MMA map.  He then lost in his UFC debut to Lyoto Machida.  There is no shame in that, Machida is a top guy.  Then he came and dismantled Nakamura, who was unable to answer the bell after round 1.  This fight will show how good Sokoudjou is.  Many people may look over this fight, but this may be the best match up on the card.  A lot of people do not know who Luiz Cane is, but he is a phenomenal striker.  He devestated Jason Lambert.  Anyways, I will go with Sokoudjou by 2nd round KO. 

Marcus Davis vs. Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly is tough. He has an iron chin, great wrestling and good ground and pound skills.  He isn’t afraid to trade blows either as he showed against Paul Taylor.  I think when it comes down to it Marcus Davis is way more experienced.  That will be the difference.  I pick Davis by late first round submission.

Shane Carwin vs. Neil Wain

Quite honestly, I know very little about Neil Wain.  However, I do know that Shane Carwin is one of the top heavyweight prospects.  I do know he has knockout power.  I do know that he reportedly has some of the best ground and pound skills.  I think we will see it on display.  I pick Carwin by ref stoppage in round 1.

Dan Hardy vs. Akihiro Gono

Dan Hardy is the British newcomer who is highly touted by many.  He will make his debut against a tough Akihiro Gono.  I have no idea how to predict this fight.  Hardy is touted, but looking at his record, I don’t know what there is to tout.  Gono has tons of experience, but he too has struggled at times.  I believe that home octagon advantage could play a factor and help Hardy who will be a sure crowd favorite.  The winner of this fight will be thrust right into the top ten of the stacked welterweight divison.  I think that Gono wins a tough decision victory.

David Baron vs. Jim Miller

I don’t like this match up.  These are two good signings being placed opposite one another in their debuts.  I wouldn’t mind the fight, but I’d like to see both guys have a chance to win one first.  Only one will win.  David Baron gained fame with his win over Hayato “Mach” Sakurai.  He also boasts wins over Dan Hardy and another UFC recent signee in Abdul Mohammed.  Jim Miller is a former IFL fighter, whose lone career loss came to Frank Edgar.  This should be a tough match between two well rounded fighters.  In the end I think David Baron will win by decision.

Chris Lytle vs. Paul Taylor

Both these guys are tough as nails.  Paul Taylor may be under the radar.  He has a 2-2 record in the UFC, but that is deceiving.  His losses came to Paul Kelly and Marcus Davis.  He was very competitive in both fights, in fact Davis’ submission was seen as a come from behind victory.  Chris Lytle is a very tough dude.  I honestly do not know if he will be able to handle Paul Taylor’s pace.  Both guys like to stand and strike.  Chris Lytle’s nickname is “lights out”.  Lytle has fought some top names in the game such as Koscheck, Alves, Hughes, Serra, Parisyan, Lawler, Nick Diaz, Shonie Carter, and Joe Riggs.  The problem is he has lost to all those dudes.  The point is this, Lytle is a good fighter, but he is not a great fighter.  Don’t get mad at me, that is what his record says.  He has not beaten a top notch fighter except an early win in his career over Kazuo Misaki.  He has some solid wins over guys like Matt Brown, Savant Young, Pat Healy, Tiki Ghosn and Pete Spratt, but those guys are not top guys.  The question as I pick this fight is which group Paul Taylor fits into.  I think Taylor is good and could win this, but Chris Lytle is the prototypical UFC gatekeeper, the top guys beat him and the second tier guys don’t.  I think Taylor has a future in the UFC still, but I think this fight ends with a Lytle KO is round 2.

Jess Liaudin vs. David Bielkheden

Poor David Bielkheden.  He made his UFC debut against a Diego Sanchez with something to prove and he could beat up at UFC 82. Now he drops to lightweight against another welterweight who has dropped to lightweight.  I think it could be an exciting match as the loser may be out of the UFC.  I think that Liaudin will pull out a win here in a unaimous decision. 

Terry Etim vs. Sam Stout

Terry Etim was very hyped coming into the UFC.  He hasn’t lived up to it at all.  He won his debut, but scored losses to Gleison Tibau and Rich Clementi following.  Sam Stout is tough as his fights with Spencer Fisher indicate.  I would not be surprised if he wins this fight that we see the rubber match of those fights.  Terry Etim has great submissions.  If he losses he is out of the UFC.  I suspect Etim will win by submission, even though it does not seem that Stout is very suseptable to submissions.  Etim by submission, round 1.  If it stands though Stout wins. 

Per Eklund vs. Samy Schiavo

This could be a good fight.  Schiavo may be underrated.  He lost to Clay Guida badly, but Schiavo has excellent strikes and solid submissions.  I think Schiavo will be too much for Eklund and will finish the fight by TKO in round 2.

UFC News: Sam Stout vs. Terry Etim at UFC 89

Previously it was rumored that Sam Stout would be facing Paul Kelly at UFC 89.  It does appear that both of them will fight at UFC 89 just not each other.  Stout appears to be headed for a lightweight clash with British Fighter Terry Etim. 

It is very interesting to note that both Etim and Stout are coming off of loses to Rich Clementi at UFC 83 and 84 respectivley.

UFC 84 Predictions

Christian Wellish vs. Shane Carwin

Shane Carwin has never left the first round of a fight.  Nate Marquardt touts him highly.  He is rumored to be a great striker and a great grappler and jiu jitsu guy.  He is being hailed as the next big thing in the UFC heavyweight divison.  A win would ruin that for him.  I am not going to bet against Carwin in fact this is one of the fights I feel most comfortable with.  Don’t be shocked to see this one creep onto the pay-per view showing.  My final pick is Shane Carwin by TKO in round 1.

Terry Etim vs. Rich Clementi

Terry Etim is a great submission guy with 9 of his 10 wins coming by submissions. 5 of Rich Clementi’s 12 losses have come via submissions.  The experience would go to Clementi.  Terry Etim hasn’t fought since September.  Rich Clementi just fought in April at UFC 83 when he beat Sam Stout in a split decision.  This is a hard fight to pick because you have to assume that the fight will go on the ground and if it does Etim can submit Clementi quickly.  However, I am going to pick Clementi by ref stoppage in round 2. 

Ivan Salavarry vs. Rousimar Palhares

Ivan Salaverry is very talented, but for some reason hasn’t show all he can do.  He is very well rounded.  Palhares is a relative unkown, but apparently he can submit people because that is how he wins.  I struggled picking this fight because Salaverry may be done.  This is one of those win or go home fights.  I amy regret it but I am going to pick Palhares by submission is round 1. 

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Jason Tan

I have no idea what to say here.  The loser is going to be cut.  Japanese fighters seem to struggle over in the UFC with the exception of Okami.  Maybe Kim is Korean and he will win.  Jason Tan hasn’t beat quality people yet.  However, I am going to pick Jason Tan by unanimous decision.

Jon Koppenhaver vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

It comes down to heart and Koppenhaver has heart, but his head is messed up.  I pick Yoshida to win by unanimous decision.

Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes

Mendes has a good record, but Thiago Silva has looked amazing.  I think he is a guy to watch in the UFC.  Silva is 12-0 with 10 wins coming by TKO.  I think Silva is going to KO Mendes in round 2. 

Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic

Gouveia is 4-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming in the TUF 3 Finale to Keith Jardine.  Now, Gouveia in his last fight was nearly KO’d by Jason Lambert, but he camback and won the fight.  Gouveia may want to keep the fight standing and may want to watch for Reljic’s armbar.  Reljic is a Croatian who has trained with Cro Cop.  I don’t know how good he will be, but we will see.  This may be a good fight.  I think Gouveia could easily win this fight, but I am going to pick Reljic by upset win and submission in round 1.

Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

Sokoujou is still a top ten talent most places.  He is doing some training with Extreme Couture and his guys tend to do very well.  Nakamura has an average record of 11-7, but to his credit his losses have come to Machida, Shogun, Barnett, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.  In other words he has some good wins and some good fights, but struggles against the top tier.  This may be a win or go home fight as well.  I look for Sokoudjou to win this fight by unanimous decison.

Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida

Perhpas this is the fight will all the drama.  Tito is most likely gone from the UFC win or lose.  We know of his bitterness with Dana White.  Tito wants nothing more than to go out with a win as a sign to the UFC that he is still a good fighter.  Dana wants nothing more than Tito to lose badly in this fight.  In fact he has probably given Machida all sorts of incentives if he wins.  Tito claims to be in tip top shape.  However, I have a feeling he has been distracted by talks of where he will fight next, the Apprentice, clothing lines, Jenna, other busisness ventures, did I mention Jenna?  I think in the end Machida is too good.  I wouldn’t want to go to decision against Tito, no fighter has been given more questionable decisions than Tito.  Machida is 12-0 and that against top notch guys.  He holds wins over B.J. Penn, Rich Franklin, Sokoudjou, Nakamura, and David Heath.  I am going to pick Lyoto Machida to win by TKO in round 2. 

Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva

This is set up to be a great fight.  Both these guys are good guys with great records.  The question for me is Wanderlei’s best days behind him?  Jardine in my opinion should be the one coaching TUF and should be the one getting the next title shot.  Jardine beat Liddell and Wanderlei lost to Chuck recently.  So I guess many people with figure that Jardine should easily beat Silva.  Not so fast.  I think Wanderlei’s training and hard word will pay off.  I like Keith Jardine, but I like Wanderlei Silva.  He is a class act and a MMA legend.  I am rooting for him all the way.  A win for Jardine ought to mean title shot.  A loss for Silva and some people are talking he is out of the UFC.  I doubt that yet.  With that said I will pick Wanderlei Silva to win by TKO in round 1.

B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk

If B.J. Penn looks like he did against Joe Stevenson it is good bye Sean Sherk.  I am rooting for B.J.  Sean Sherk is no puch over though.  Sherk has one many fights by ground and pound.  That may be dangerous against the jiu-jitsu of Penn.  Cardio will be a huge factor to me.  Sherk has an awesome record.  Sherk could win this one, but I am going to pick B.J. Penn by submission in round 2. 

Upsets to watch for: Terry Etim over Rich Clementi.  Keith Jardine over Wanderlei Silva.  Wilson Gouveia over Goran Reljic. 

UFC 83 Thoughts and Comments

Georges St. Pierre when focused and determined is bad news for any welterweight.  That is bad news for Jon Fitch.  St. Pierre proved that the Serra knockout was a fluke.  Perhaps it showed that Matt Serra is good, but not that good.  I look forward to the Serra vs. Hughes fight.  Again, wow GSP is great when he wants to be.

Rich Franklin looked pretty good and is a class act.  He is what MMA is all about.  Rich can hang with most middleweights and win, this is his dilemna.  He can beat anyone in that divison except Anderon Silva.  Rich showed great talent escaping an arm bar and picking apart Lutter.

Travis Lutter, a jiu jitsu great has no cardio.  How in the world can you step into the octagon, get paid as a career to fight, and get tired after one round.  There is no excuse for that.  In my opinion Lutter can submit anyone, but he is not able to hang with strikers.  If he wants to fight in the UFC he needs to improve.

Michael Bisping looked great at middleweight, but come on he wasn’t fighting a top ten guy or even a top 20 guy at middleweight.  He looked like he was in great shape and he did great.  I’d like to see Bisping fight a top 15 type guys maybe Leben, Cote, or Almeida.

Nate Quarry looked fantastic.  If this indicates what he will be he will be dangerous.  Perhaps Quarry could fight Bisping.  He will get a top ten type guy now.  He looked fresh though, but he fought Starnes.

I considered Starnes a decent fighter.  Now I think he is not so much.  I can handle loosing.  I can handle a guy getting submitted or KO’s.  I can handle a guy getting KO’s bad or quickly, but running is ridiculous.  If I was Dana I would can Starnes right now.  He may have punched his ticket out of the UFC.  By the way Nate Quarry making fun of Starnes, doing the running man and the Screech was stinkin’ hilarious.  It made that fight worth watching.  How much do you want to bet Starnes’ leg isn’t hurting him as bad as his pride is?

Mac Danzig looked great.  After a little bit of a tough round 1 Mac came out and showed his experience and versatility.  He ought to get a tough level competitor now.  I’d like to see a Nate Diaz vs. Mac Danzig fight.  Mac will go far in the lightweight divison.  He did great against a good ground fighter. 

Didn’t see the undercard fights, but looks like MacDonald will stay near the 3-9 range in the middleweight divison.  Goultet earned fight of the night with a great fight and show of heart.  That Maia submission was sick, I wouldn’t want to fight him, he is here to stay and he climbed my rankings.  Jason Day impressed Dana White and may have earned a chance to hang around the UFC.  UFC 83 may have been a coronation of Cain Velasquez as the next great heavyweight, but time will tell.  I hear he looked real good.  Rich Clementi keep winning and climbing the rankings slowly.  If I was Dana White or Joe Silva Kalib Starnes, Charles McCarthy, and Travis Lutter would be done with their UFC careers.  Can them and sign someone who will fight. 

If any of my readers paid attention, they will see how great I did at picking these fights.  I was 10 of 11.  I missed the Maia vs. Herman fight and I nearly picked Maia.  This is not to brag because i usually am slighlty better than 60% or so.  At least for once I picked a card accuratley.  Can’t wait till UFC 84!

UFC Stacking Cards

UFC is stacking there cards of late full of talents.  There is so many fights on these upcoming cards I don’t know what to do and surely good fights will go untelevised. 

UFC 82 is so stacked that some great fighters will be prelim fighters.  UFC 82 includes a main event match between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson for the title.  Jon Fitch will take on talented newcomer Chris Wilson.  Yushin Okami who has been fighting well will fight Evan Tanner who is looking to get his life straight and his title back.  The UFC will also welcome back Andrei Arlovski (and maybe say goodbye) who will fight Jake O’Brien.  The card also includes Heath Herring vs. Cheick Kongo, David Bielkheden vs. Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett, Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fiorvanti and Jorge Gurgel vs. John Halverson.

Ultimate Fight Night 13 may be most stacked of all.  The main events will be Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon and Matt Hamill vs. Stephan Bonnar.  Also featuring a good fight between Karo Parisyan and Thiago Alves.  Houston Alexander and James Irvin were just bumped up to this card.  Also we will see a great fight between Spencer Fisher and Marcus Aurelio.  Din Thomas vs. Josh Neer and Clay Guida vs. Sammy Schiavo will be undercarded along with Tommy Speer’s first fight since TUF Finale.  Not to mention it has been romored that Frank Edgar would fight on this card.  Wow what a card!

There is some confusion on UFC 83.  Some have said it will be March 8, and looks lame.  Whatever the case may be, there will be an event April 19 (either 83 or 84) which will feature Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre.  Also,  Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter.  We also suspect both Keith Jardine and Shogun to fight here, but not necessarily each other.  In addition Mac Danzig will fight here. Another good fight here will be Rich Clementi vs. Sam Stout, but will probably be undercard. Wow!!!

The May 24th event will feature the much hyped and anticipated BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk fight as well as a couple signifcant lightheavyweight bouts between Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva as well as Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida, which could be Tito’s going away party.  MMAJunkie announced that would also include Ivan Salaverry vs. Rousimar Palhares a talented middleweight.

This is just the start, there are more fights to be added, but the first half of the year looks stacked.  You add into that mix TUF 7 and the title fight between Griffin and Jackson and TUF Finale by summer, it’s going to be a stack first half of 2008, keep it up Dana!