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.

Many Questions Arise in Wake of UFC 90?

I believe several questions arose in wake of UFC 90.  I will post the questions in poll form so my readers can voice their opinions.

1. 

Personally, I think it is a mix of a few things and none of them involve anything Cote did.  I think Anderson Silva was trying to confuse Cote.  Part of me feels he was playing around and trying to get in a groove.  I really feel that a KO was coming.  He showed flashes of it.  I was highly disappointed with the fight, but stuff happens.  Silva had a game plan and we don’t like it because Cote’s knee blew.  Silva didn’t know that would happen.  Perhaps he planned on becoming more aggressive.  Anyways, as Dana White said, I would hate to be Silva’s next opponent.  I have a feeling he will be fighting sooner than later. 

2. 

Here is my take on it.  I think Thiago Alves is for real.  I was not on his bandwagon, but I think he is a very good strike, however I see two problems.  He is very predictable.  He loved the flying knee and superman punch.  A good striker could give him problems too.  Also, I don’t know how he would do off his back.  I do not know if he could beat either GSP or B.J. Penn.  I am leaning towards Penn winning the super fight on January 31, and I think if B.J. can get Alves down to the ground he can submit him and pound him.  I think style wise both Penn and GSP are tough matchups for anyone.  So, I say he is for real, but he cannot beat GSP or Penn right now.  GSP was impressed with Alves and thinks he may see Thiago after Penn, but Georges better not overlook B.J.

3.

I am not quite on the bandwagon, but I think he could be a solid fighter.  He needs to prove himself more.  I do not know if he is that good or if Werdum just underestimated him.  He has great training and could be a star, but I’d like to see one more fight before I jump on the bandwagon.  I seem to remember a few guys like Houston Alexander and Sokoudjou coming out of nowhere with a couple of big names KO’s and then disappointing.  I don’t think Dos Santos fits into that mold because I think he will be a more well rounded fighter and trains with some of the best.

4.

I think several impressed.  I guess I would have to say that I was impressed with Thiago Alves the most.  He looked very sharp.  I also was impressed with Josh Koscheck in his loss.  He is tough as nails.  I thought Sherk was impressive and showed good stand up.  Of course Dos Santos was impressive as well.  I enjoyed the Miller vs. Horwich fight and think that both are solid fighters.

5.

My answer depends on how literal you take this question.  Most disappointing to me was Anderson Silva.  I expected a KO.  However, it wasn’t all his fault.  The Cote injury was disappointing, but that wasn’t his fault either.  I really expected more out of Aurelio as well.

UFC News: Diego Sanchez Out, Josh Koscheck in vs. Thiago Alves

The news has been reported that welterweight contender Diego Sanchez has sustained an injury that has forced him to withdraw from his upcoming bout with top contender Thiago Alves at UFC 90.  Diego suffered a rib injury that will force him out.  The problem with that is that this fight is being billed as one of the top fights of UFC 90, with the winner getting a title shot.  I am assuiming that has changed slightly now.  Poor Diego will be forced not only out of this fight, but also to wait for another chance to become a number one contender. 

Josh Koscheck was scheduled to headline the December, Fight for the Troops event against Yoshiyuki Yoshida.  As of now, that bout has not been called off, but it is very likely that fight will not happen.   I would imagine the UFC will look for another guy to fight Yoshida.  Perhaps the fight with Parisyan or even a guy like Jon Fitch.  Nevertheless, give Josh Koscheck credit for coming in on short notice and taking on a very tough fighter in Thiago Alves.  This fight is just as interesting and should be just as competitive, however, I did think Diego’s aggressive, in your face style was a problem for Thiago, but Koscheck can do that as well.  I only wonder what facrot cardio will play for Josh with little time to prepare.

UFC News: Diego Sanchez vs. Thiago Alves at UFC 90

It was first reported that Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves would fight at UFC 89 on October 19th in Birmingham, England.  That is the free SPIKE fight and will feature a main event of Chris Leben vs. Michael Bisping. However, it was never made official.  Then we learned of a pay per view event the next week on October 25, possibly in Chicago.  It looks like the welterweight clash between Sanchez and Alves will take place at UFC 90, certainly not as a main event, but probably as a second or third fight.  The fight is not yet offficial, but is in the works and should be made official soon.

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

Josh Koscheck Wants B.J. Penn At 155

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, Josh Koscheck speaks of a fight he’d like to have.  Interestingly, Josh wants B.J. Penn…

I just want to be a world champion, whether it be at 155, 170, 185, wherever. I believe I have a lot of fights left in me. With my work ethic and the training partners I have and the coaches I have, I believe some day that dream is going to come true…. You never know [about possibly making the drop to 155]. If people would want to see me fight B.J. Penn at 155 for the title, because there is really nobody there for him to fight, I’d do it…. I know B.J. very well, but business is business. We’re friends, but at the end of the day, it’s about making money together. If the fans would want to see it, I’d suck it up and I’d live that life to where I’d do whatever I have to do to make 155…. What are you in this business for, to make money and to win a title. Usually, they go hand in hand. A fight with B.J. would be like a dream for me

He might not need to move to 155 to fight B.J. Penn for the title.  We could see B.J. fight the Fitch/St. Pierre winner by year’s end.  If that is the case Koscheck could keep contending and winning and could get a shot at a welterweight champ in B.J. Penn.  The problem for Koscheck is that he in not next in line.  At welterweight you have Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez probably fighting for a title shot.  Koscheck could be next in line though with a win tonight over Lytle.  If B.J. Penn gets the next welterweight title shot, then we could see the Alves/Sanchez winner fight Koscheck for the number one contender spot.  At lightweight Koscheck would have to get in line behind the Huerta/Florian winner for a crack at Penn.  Needless to say I do not think Koscheck can beat B.J., sorry Kos.

UFC News: Diego Sanchez vs. Thiago Alves At UFC 89

UFC 89 is starting to fall together.  The show will for sure air on SPIKE and not on Pay Per view.  The fight will be headlined by a bout between middleweights Chris Leben and Michael Bisping.  In addition to that the card will also feature a welterweight match between Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves.  It would seem from this match that a number one contender will be determined.

Thiago Alves dismanted UFC star Matt Hughes at UFC 85 in England in June.  Diego Sanchez look exceptional at the Ultimate Fight 7 Finale against Luigi Fiorvanti.  Dana did not say, but I would guess this would have huge implications for the title down the road.  B.J. Penn could throw a wrench in this as he said he gets the winner of St. Pierre vs. Fitch in December or January.  Also, you have to throw Josh Koscheck into the mix as well.  This should be a good match up though.