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

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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

My UFC 85: Bedlam Predictions

Matt Hughes vs. Thaigo “The Pitbull” Alves

This may at first look like a less than spectacular main event, however, I think this could be a good fight.  The story behind this fight is that Matt Hughes is the most dominant welterweight ever, but many say he is on his way down.  Meanwhile, Thiago Alves is on his way up.  Alves is coming off of a knockout win over Karo “The Heat” Parisyan.  Most people consider Alves a top ten welterweight in the world, however he was out classed and out of his league against Jon Fitch.  There is no doubt that Thiago has excellent striking ability.  However, I expect Matt Hughes to take Alves down and ground and pound him.  I don’t expect Alves to be able to get up agaisnt the bigger Hughes.  The worry for me about picking Hughes is first of all he has been busy lately with book signing and opening a new gym.  That could distract him.  Secondly, he is 34 and Alves is 24.  Third, he wants Matt serra and could be looking straight past Alves to Serra.  A win here would make Matt Hughes clearly back in line for contention of the belt and if he beats Alves and Serra, he will get another title shot even if it is against Georges St. Pierre.  I believe Hughes’ experience will be a help and not a hindrance in this fight. Therefore, I pick Matt Hughes by unanimous decision following three round of slamming Alves and laying on him and elbowing him. 

Brandon “The Truth” Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum

This is a hard pick to make.  Brandon Vera was a rapidly rising star before all the disputes with his manager.  He was great in the octagon as well, however, he sropepd his last fight against Tim Sylvia.  Fabricio Werdum has tons of talent too.  He has beaten some good opponents.  He has beaten Gonzaga twice, Aleksander Emleianenko and Alistair Overeem.  Vera is a great Muay Thai fighter while Werdum is a great jiu jitsu guy.  This fight could go either way.  Werdum showed some great striking against Gonzaga.  The bottom line is that the winner of this fight will most likely get the winner of the Mir vs. Nogueira fight late in the year.  For the sake of making a pick, I will pick Brandon Vera to win by TKO in round 2. 

Michael “The Count” Bisping vs. Jason “Dooms” Day

Bisping looked great at 185 in his last fight.  He could content at 185.  This fight will tell a lot about him as a middleweight.  He destroyed Charles McCarthy.  I believe Jason Day is a step up from McCarthy in talent.  Jason Day is a little bit of a late replacement of the incarcerated Chris Leben.  jason Day destroyed a serious contender in Alan Belcher and prior to that beat David Loiseau.  That shows what Day is capable of doing in the octagon.  I think this will be an exciting fight, and honestly Jason Day could take this fight, but I am going to pick Michael Bisping. He will have the home crowd, he will be ready to go.  A win here means Bisping may next get a guy like Leben, Cote or Almeida next.  I pick Michael Bisping by TKO in round 2.

Mike “Quick” Swick vs. Marcus Davis

When Mike Swick dropped to welterweight I thought he could be a serious contender.  I still think he can be, in fact I have him as my 10th ranked UFC welterweight.  However, he didn’t look good at all against Jos Burkman, in fact he very well lost that fight. Marcus Davis on the other hand has looked dominant.  Mike swick will be a real test for the “Irish Hand Grenade” who is coming off of 11 straight wins.  Whoever wins this fight will be in the title mix.  All I have to judge by is Swick’s one performance at welterweight, so I will pick Marcus Davis to win this one in exciting fashion in round 1.

Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites

What a ground game this fight could display.  Thales Leites is really good, but Nate Marquardt is underrated.  He realyl did well against Anderson Silva initially.  Marquardt is a contender in this divison.  I think that Marquardt will win this fight by submission in round 3. 

Martin Kampmann vs. Jorge Rivera

Martin Kampmann showed a lot of promise before his injury.  Rivera has been an on and off again fighter who you never know how he will perform.  We will see how Martin does in his return.  Will he have ring rust or will he be hungry for a win?  I think that training with Xtreme Couture is a huge advantage to him and that Kampmann will prove to be too much for Rivera.  I believe Kampmann will win by first round submission.  (Watch for this fight to creep onto the pay per view showing).

Jason Lambert vs. Luis Arthur Cane

Lambert is coming off that disappointing KO from Wilson Gouveia.  Can is coming off of that DQ in UFC 79.  Both guys are quality fighters, but there isn’t much room for failure in the light heavyweight divison.  The loser could essentially be removed from any possibility of contention.  The winner will take a step up.  I believe that Luis Arthur Cane will prove to be the better striker in this one and will KO Lambert in round 2.

Matt “Handsome” Wiman vs. Thiago Tavares

Matt Wiman has done great since coming off of The Ultimate Fighter.  Wiman very well could be one of the underrated lightweights.  Tavares is a good fighter as well and he is favored to win this fight.  Coincidently, both fighters have recently fought Michihiro Omigawa and both won by unanimous decision.  The cool pick will be Tavares, therefore I will pick Matt Wiman to win this fight by unanimous decision.  Whoever wins here moves into the top 20 of a stacked divison.

Eddie Sanchez vs. Antoni Hardonk

Eddie Sanchez is a late replacement for the injured Neil Wain.  I don’t know how that will affect Sanchez. Hardonk has struggled in the UFC, going 2-2 and losing to Frank Mir and Justin McCully.  Sanchez is 3-1 in the UFC.  I expect Sanchez to move to 4-1 in the UFC.  I don’t expect this fight to last long, maybe into round 2.  Therefore I pick Sanchez to win by TKO in round 2.

Roan Carneiro vs. Kevin Burns

Carneiro is beatable, but I don’t know anything about Kevin Burns.  I have to pick Carneiro by unanimous decision.

Jess Liaudin vs. Paul Taylor

Taylor has already beaten Liaudin once in his career,  Taylor is exciting and if he comes out swinging I expect him to win.  I think Taylor win will by first round KO.

 Upset Watch: Fabricio Werdum over Brandon Vera and Jason Day over Michael Bisping

 

The Stars of the UFC

There is a recent shift in stars of the UFC.  Those stars are the great investments, the money makers. The stars are not necessarily your best fighters, but they are well liked by the fans and they draw a crowd.  The stars are the people that the UFC will market and set up to be successful.  The stars get the most money and the best fights.  The stars have a louder voice with the UFC brass.  Some of those stars have been discontent like Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski and Tito Ortiz.  Those guys leaving hurts the UFC.  The guys the UFC recognizes as their stars are the ones they need to cater to more.  The stars are prized in all MMA organizations.  The WEC has Filho, Faber, Condit, and Stann.  PRIDE had Fedor, Cro Cop, Barnett, Wanderlai, Dan Henderson, Gomi, Arona, Shogun and the Nogueira brothers.  EliteXC has Lawler, Kimbo, Frank Shamrock, and Carano.  Strikeforce has Gilbert Melendez and Cung Le.  The stars are not always the champs, but they may be.  In the UFC there is a shift.  The old guard is moving on.  They are still there, and still draw a crowd and are still good PPV fights, but in a few years will be gone.  The old guard consisted of Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Ken Shamrock, Tito Ortiz and Matt Hughes.  There is a star level, then there is a second tier level of guys you want to hold onto at all costs, who have a following, and then there is the emerging star tier. Then you have your great fighters who perform in the octagon are respected, but may not have the charisma to be the face of the organization.  These guys can win and hold belts, but they won’t be the Chuck Liddell’s.  This system explains why the UFC gives a title shot and coaches spot to Forrest Griffin, who i no way has earned the title of number 1 contender.  He is good, but not that good.  He may eventually earn that, but this is premature.  Why did he get it?  Because he is popular.  He will sell PPVs and people will watch TUF because of him.  Personality will carry a guy a long way, just look at the Houston Alexander bandwagon. A lack of personality will hurt a guy, just ask Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt, who if they had the charisma would be stars because they have the ability.  These guys can move up and down these different levels, but some guys have already been crowed as stars and can do little to harm that.  Your stars are the guys you hold on to at all costs.  Your second tier you want to keep because they are your contenders and can become stars.  Your third tier you be careful with because they can become stars if you play your cards right.  Your fourth tier are some of the best fighters, they put on good fights, they win fight night bonuses and they should be signed and kep in the organization if you can.  The effect of a star leaving the UFC is much greater than when someone else does.  The UFC is hurt by loosing their four biggest heavyweight stars Couture, Cro Cop, Arlovski and Sylvia.  The UFC is not so much hurt by loosing Jake O’Brien.  It would be nice to keep O’Brien, but if you can’t you move on.  Also, you sign MMA free agents based on this tier.  I and many others consider Fedor for example a star level guy, an instant smash hit and a great investment.  You pay him well, but he will make you money.  Dana White apparently considered him second tier, and didn’t sign him.  My opinion you give the Fedors and the Couture and the Liddells whatever they want.  My system looks like this:

UFC’s Stars:

  • Anderson Silva
  • Georges St. Pierre
  • B.J. Penn
  • Rich Franklin
  • Chuck Liddell
  • Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
  • Forrest Griffin
  • Tito Ortiz
  • Matt Hughes
  • Wanderlai Silva

Second Level: UFC’s Near Stars:

  • Brandon Vera
  • Matt Serra
  • Jon Fitch
  • Diego Sanchez
  • Dan Henderson
  • Josh Koscheck
  • Sean Sherk
  • Kenny Florian
  • Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
  • Rashad Evans
  • Michael Bisping
  • Joe Stevenson
  • Gabriel Gonzaga
  • Chris Leben
  • Karo Parisyan
  • Clay Guida

Third Level: The UFC’s Emerging Stars:

  • Brock Lesnar
  • Roger Huerta
  • Mac Danzig
  • Joe Lauzon
  • Cain Velasquez

Fourth Level: UFC’s Stud Fighters, but Not Stars:

  • Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
  • Fabricio Werdum
  • Keith Jardine
  • Frank Mir
  • Thiago Silva
  • Heath Herring
  • Lyoto Machida
  • Marcus Aurelio
  • Yushin Okami
  • Marcus Davis
  • Patrick Cote
  • Evan Tanner
  • Stephan Bonnar
  • Martin Kampmann
  • Marvin Eastman
  • Ricardo Almeida
  • Mike Swick
  • Thiago Tavares
  • Nate Quarry
  • Wilson Gouveia
  • Nate Marquardt
  • Kauhiro Nakamura
  • Jason MacDonald
  • Demian Maia
  • Thiago Alves
  • Thales Leites
  • Frank Edgar
  • Matt Hammil
  • Nate Diaz
  • Akihiro Gono
  • Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
  • Gray Maynard
  • Hermes Franca
  • Cheick Kongo
  • Din Thomas
  • Spencer Fisher
  • Tyson Griffin

Note: The reality show really helped some of these fighters draw a fan base, because people saw them on TUF they root for them to suceed in their careers

My UFC Fight Night 12 predictions

Corey Hill vs. Joe Veres

Joe Veres lost to Gray Maynard in 9 second.  Now I do not think Corey Hill is as good as Maynard, but I think he will beat Veres.  I would assume after this fight Joe Veres will hate TUF 5.  I think Corey Hill has real potential in the UFC.  Unlike some of the other TUF 5 guys Corey must win this fight to stay in the UFC.

Matt Wiman vs. Justin Buchholtz

I believe Matt Wiman will give Buchholtz a nice welcome to the UFC and should ink another win in the octagon.

Gray Maynard vs. Dennis Siver

I think Gray is an underrated fighter who made a fantastic decision to train with Randy Couture.  His last fight didn’t last long.  I believe he will win another in the first round.

Cole Miller vs. Jeremy Stephens

To be honest this pick is pure guess work, but I believe the math up shows what the UFC thinks of the TUF 5 fighters.  Joe Lauzon although not the winner is going to be the best to come out of there and the most marketed from season 5, but I believe they think a lot of Manny, Gray Maynard and Cole Miller as they are fighting quality opponents. 

Thiago Tavares vs. Michihiro Omigawa

Tavares came near pulling out a win against Tyson Griffin.  I expect this one to go to Tavares who is a good fighter.

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Alberto Crane

Alberto Crane can submit anyone, but I think Pellegrino is too good.  He has fought some of the best and fought them well.  I predict Kurt Pellegrino will win via unanimous decision.

Nate Diaz vs. Alvin Robinson

Robinson posted a good win over Jorge Gurgel.  Nate Diaz is super talented, but I think will be inconsistent.  I still think Nate Diaz will win this fight.  I predict by submission.  Robinson has good submissions, but I doubt he will catch Nate Diaz in a submission. 

Patrick Cote vs. Drew McFedries

Both of these guys have serious knockout power.  A fight like this is tough to pick because one good shot can KO the other guy.  McFedries is far more explosive of a fighter.  Cote has some good wins in the octagon the last coming against the rapidly falling Kendall Grove.  I am going to pick McFedries via KO is round 1.  I expect Drew to come out swining, but he better watch out because Cote can knock you out. 

Mike Swick vs. Josh Burkman

Mike Swick struggled against top level competition in the middleweight divison.  In my opinion the only top quality fighters he fought he lost to (Leben and Okami).  The question is, how will Swick do at welterweight.  He will have a slight size advantage.  I have Swick in my top ten welterweights, but that is being generous.  A win here would make Swick very relevant in this divison.  Burkman is no push over.  His UFC losses are to Karo and Jon Fitch.  That seems to indicate he won’t hang with the top tier guys.  I pick Mike Swick to pull out a win via TKO in round 2. 

What to expect in MMA in ’08

  • I expect to see new title holders in every division but one and that is the middleweight.  All though Anderson could be challenged by Dan Henderson.  My picks for the title holders: Nogueira, Not sure about lightheavyweight, Anderson Silva, St. Pierre, and B.J. Penn.
  • I expect to see a few more fighters signed to UFC contracts.  Highlighting the list: Matt Lindland, Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, and some other big name surprise
  • I expect TUF to be a disappointment with Rampage Jackson getting a lot of camera time saying his crazy off the wall things
  • I expect the middleweight division to get tougher
  • I expect a few UFC stars to retire (Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin)
  • I expect Sean Sherk to get another title shot, but B.J. Penn to beat him badly
  • I expect the light heavyweight division to get crazier with guys like Machdia, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans, and Shogun in the title mix.
  • I expect Chuck Liddell to avenge his loss to Keith Jardine by summer
  • I expect that Shogun is still only one fight away from a title shot, I think that my top ten in the lightheavyweight at the top ten at light heavyweight, perhaps not in that order.
  • I expect Dan Henderson to try Anderson Silva like he hasn’t been tried in a while
  • I expect Jon Fitch, Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, Roger Huerta, Matt Lindland, and either Arlovski or Cro Cop to get a title shot. 
  • I expect the former PRIDE guys to turn it around in the octagon
  • I expect another solid fight from Wanderlai Silva, can you say rematch?
  • I expect the Fedor vs. Randy fight to happen
  • I expect other organizations to become more of a competition to the UFC
  • I expect Dana White to say many more expletives on national television
  • I expect TUF alums to suceed this year even more
  • I expect Diego Sanchez to drop to lightweight
  • I expect Brock Lesnar to be a middle of the road fighter
  • I expect Brandon Vera to drop to lightheavyweight
  • I expect Bisping to cry when he gets beat in middleweight
  • I expect Tito to loose in the Apprentice

UFC Fighter Rankings

Where do fighters rank in the UFC?  I’ve seen all sorts of thoughts on rankings, so I will chime in and give my rankings, which of course are the best and most accurate.  I am using a few guidelines.

  • This is strictly UFC, not including fighters not yet signed in UFC from Pride.  For example, Fedor would be on or near the top of the Heavyweight rankings, but he is yet to sign so he is not included
  • This is based not on popularity or even record, but purely on who I perceive to be the best fighters
  • I am putting the title holders at number one in each weight class, even though they might not be the best in that class, for example, I would not have Matt Serra as the best fighter in his class, but he is the belt holder.
  • Some fighters are rising quickly and others are falling quickly (i.e. Tito and Cro Cop)

HEAVYWEIGHTS

1. Randy “The Natural” Couture

2. Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski

3. Gabriel Gonzaga

4. Cheick Kongo

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

6. Tim Sylvia

7. Mirko “Cro Cop”

8. Brandon Vera

9. Frank Mir

10. Jeff Monson 

11. Heath Herring

12. Fabricio Werdum

13. Assuerio Silva

(Note: Fedor, Josh Barnett, and even Aleksander Emelianko may have made the list had they signed. )

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS

1. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

3. Dan Henderson

4. Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell

5. Wandelai Silva

6. Rashad Evans

7. Houston Alexander

8. Tito Ortiz

9. Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine

10. Forrest Griffin

11. Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira

12. Matt “The Hammer” Hamill

13. Micael Bisping

14. Ryoto Machida

15. Jason Lambert

16. Stephan Bonnar

17. Renato “Babalu” Sorbal

18. Wilson Gouveia

19. Marvin Eastman

(Note: I put Hamill above Bisping because I believe he beat Bisping in their fight.  Even though Bisping got the win, Hammil looked better.)

MIDDLEWEIGHT:

1. Anderson Silva

2. Rich Franklin

3. Yushim Okami

4. Terry Martin

5. Nate Marquardt

6. Dan Henderson

7. Jason MacDonald

8. Patrick Cote 

9. Kalib Starnes

10. Chris Leben

11. Martin Kampmann

12. Thales Leites

13. Ivan Salaverry

14. Nate “Rock” Quarry

15. Evan Tanner

16. Kendall Grove

17. Ed Herman

18. Travis Lutter

19. Dean Lister

20. Alessio Sakara

WELTERWEIGHT:

1. Matt Serra

2. Georges St. Pierre

3. Matt Hughes

4. Diego Sanchez

5. Karo Parisyan

6. Josh Koschek

7. Jon Fitch

8. B.J. Penn

9. Marcus Davis

10. Mike Swick

11. Thiago Alves

12. Josh Burkman

13. Luigi Fioravanti

14. Nick Diaz

15. Chris Lytle

16. Edilberto “Crocota” de Oliveira

17. Jonathan Goulet

LIGHTWEIGHT:

1.  Sean Sherk

2. B.J. Penn

3. Joe “Daddy” Stevenson

4. Roger Huerta

5. Kenny Florian

6. Hermes Franca

7. Nick Diaz

8. Joe Lauzon

9.  Din Thomas

10. Marcus Davis

11. Clay Guida

12. Spencer Fisher

13. Frank Edgar

14. Melvin Guillard

15. Drew Fickett

16. Kurt Pellegrino

17. Terry Etim

18. Tyson Griffin

19. Marcus Aurelio

20. Sam Stout

21. Tiago Tavares

22. Nate Diaz

(Note: I listed to 22 because there are so many quality fighters and the last 12-15 of these guys are not far from one another in ranking,  Some rankings have my number 19 Marcus Aurelio much higher, but come on, whose he gonna bump down?)

 Let the disputing begin.  I’d love to hear comments.  Perhaps I left someone off included someone I shouldn’t have.  Perhaps I have someone overrated or another underrated.  Let me know what you think.