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

UFC News: Joe Doerksen vs. Travis Lutter at UFC 91

It looks like middleweight fighter and Ultimate Fighter 4 winner Travis Lutter will be given a second chance in the UFC.  Lutter is a very talented ground fighter and jiu-jit su specialist, but many have questioned his heart.  He was given a title shot against Anderson Silva and failed to make weight, then he fought Rich Franklin and looked very good, nearly submitting Franklin, but he then gave up and got beta up by Franklin.  That caused his release from the UFC.  He appears to be fighting Joe Doerksen at UFC 91.  Doerksen himself is a solid ground fighter.  Doerksen has fought a lot of guys in the fight world.  This should be a good scrap and a golden opportunity for Travis Lutter.

UFC Cutting Fighters

What is taking place?  Who has been cut?  Why have they been cut?  Who should be cut?  Wh shouldn’t be cut? What fighters are on the chopping block? 

The UFC had over 200 fighters under contract.  Just recently the UFC has decided to start cutting fighters to allow the better fighters to fight more often.  In the recent weeks the UFC has cut Jake O’Brien, David Heath, Din Thomas, Kalib Starnes, Travis Lutter, John Halverson, Soa Palelei, Tommy Speer, and Kuniyoshi Hironaka.  They allowed Cro Cop and Tim Sylvia out of their contracts and have not yet re-signed Arlovski.  They are about to loose Tito Ortiz.  The goal of the UFC brass is to get down to the 150-160 range of contracted fighters.  This means there are more cuts to come.  Many fights on upcoming cards are do or die fights.  Let me sound my opinion…

  • I understand what the UFC is trying to do, and I too want to see the best fight more often
  • The options are either to have more events with more fights on the fight cards or release some fighters
  • If the UFC has 200 fighters under contracts and hold 18 fight events annually with 10 fights per card that means there will be 180 fights, with 360 fighters in action annually.  That means some fighters will only fight once per year.  That doesn’t cut it.  They need 3-4 fights a year to susatain their career.

With that in mind…

  • I don’t agree with all the cuts that have been made.  For example, Jake O’Brien was undefeated in the UFC, then he looses to Arlovski and he is cut.  He was a top 10-15 UFC heavyweight.  The heavyweight divison is hurting bad now.  That is the worst move of all.  Hironaka just won fight of the night in a loss to Goulet and he was cut.  Din Thomas was a top 15 lightweight and he was cut.  I think Tommy Speer deserved one more chance to prove himself. 
  • I understand cutting Starnes and kind of understand cutting Lutter and Doerksen. 
  • I don’t understand why Dana White will let Sylvia and Cro Cop out of their contacts, but won’t let Couture
  • There are some fighters would could be cut and the UFC will not miss them

Who is in danger?

The bottom line is the next few UFC events for many guys will be do or die.  This will make for some exciting fights as no one wants to be fired, but it cannot be a constant issue as we do not want fighters to look over their shoulders because they are bound to lose eventually. So who is in danger?

UFC 84

  • Christian Wellisch
  • Jason Tan
  • Dong Hyun Kim
  • Jon Koppenhaver
  • Yoshiyuki Yoshida
  • Rousimar Palhares
  • Ivan Salaverry
  • Kazuhiro Nakamura
  • Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
  • Antonio Mendes

UFC 85

  • Jess Liaudin
  • Paul Taylor
  • Paul Kelly
  • Roan Carneiro
  • Jason Lambert

TUF 7 Finale

  • Jeremy Horn
  • Drew McFedries
  • Dustin Hazelett
  • Evan Tanner
  • Kendall Grove

Nearly half those guys will be cut

What standard should be used to decide to gets cut.  The problem is some guys are going to lose, should they be cut for one loss?  Here would be my standard…

  • Exciting fighter.  This earned Koppenhaver and Rollins a chance and may give them one more fight.  You can lose well.  The UFC wants exciting fighters.  The lack of excitment got Starnes cut.  Dana has always said he would reward exciting fights.  This could keep a guy like Terry Etim or Paul Taylor around even if they loose.  I would can boring fighters who refuse to engage.
  • Popular fighter.  I would not cut a more popular fighter because they could be a draw.  They need to look at the fan base before cutting.  That could save a guy like Kendall Grove or Jeremy Horn.
  • Ranked fighter.  I would not cut a top 20 fighter in the world.  That should save Sokodjou and Nakamura. 
  • Experienced figher.  You give the MMA vets an extra shot.  That again would spare Jeremy Horn even with a loss
  • Classy Figher.  MMA needs good ambassadors.  I would keep around classy guys and emphasize character if I was looking to sign people.  That has worked in other sports.  Many teams won’t trade for, sign or draft a troubled athelete even if they are talented because they are a liability.  MMA needs to target young people and if they want credibility they need to have class act guys in a controversial sport.  Punk fighters should be booted before classy guys. 
  • Potential fighter.  Shane Carwin is highly touted it he loses he needs to stay.  Brock Lesnar was in the same boat as was Velasquez.  If they are highly touted you give them a chance and let them prove themselves. 
  • Not All Losses Are Equal.  You cannot fault a guy for fighting good competition.  Imagine if Sokoudjou losses to Nakamura, there is chatter that he would be cut.  He would have lost to two quality guys in Machida and Nakamura.  I don’t expect him to lose, but he is universally ranked in the top ten in the world.  Dan Henderson has lost 2 in a row in the UFC.  Some say Wanderlai could even be in trouble, but you cannot can him for losses to Liddell and Jardine.  My opinion you keep some guys no matter what.  If Henderson fights Rich Franklin next he could easily lose that making him 0-3 in the UFC.  My tohughts would be give him a second tier guy to prove he is worth it.  If he loses then cut him, the same with Wanderlai and Sokodjou.  They did that with Cro Cop. 
  • Adequate opportunity.  I think if the UFC signs someone and gives them a fight you give them a chance to win.  Guys like Carwin, Wain, Palhares, Carneiro may lose their first fight.  Give them one more chance.  You want to develop talent and not ruin it.
  • Winability.  Like my new word?  It means do they have the skills to win?  I think UFC fighters need to be able to have a winning record.  There is no need for guys that will just get beat

The bottom line is cuts need to be made, but only cut those who have no heart and cannot compete at that level.  That is why using the Zuffa owned WEC as a farm system is a great idea.  Send the guys that need to improve down to WEC and bring the best of the WEC into the big leagues.

 

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!

Which TUF Season Produced the Best Fighters?

1. TUF 1

TUF 1 saved the UFC.  Dana White acknowledges that the finale fight of Bonnar vs. Griffin was a defining UFC moment, perhaps that is why Griffin is getting a title shot.  In this season you have 2 or 3 guys that could hold a title eventually.  Kenny Florian is looking dominant.  Diego and Josh both are doing well as is Mike Swick in the welterweight divison.  Chris Leben may never win a title, but he is winning a lot.   

Notable Alumni: Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Nate Quarry, and Chris Leben

2. TUF 2

This may not have as many stud fighters as season 1, but season 2 was good and produced 4 serious contenders (Stevenson, Marcus Davis, Keith Jardine, and Rashad Evans).   

Notable Alumni: Joe Stevenson, Luke Cummo, Josh Burkman, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Marcus Davis, Jorge Gurgel, Melvin Guillard and Rob MacDonald

3. TUF 4

The comeback season was a success.  Travis Lutter lost to Anderson Silva, but still looked good.  We will see how he does against Rich Franklin.  We all know of Matt Serra winning against St. Pierre.  Clementi, Cote and Lytle all have looked good lately.  This season has a lot of names that UFC fans know. 

Notable Alumni: Travis Lutter, Charles McCarthy, Jorge Rivera, Rich Clementi, Pete Sell, Patrick Cote, Matt Serra, Chris Lytle and Din Thomas

4. TUF 5

This season is still developing talent.  However, these lightweights are all contenders. I think this season has 5 or so guys that could be top 15 material in a stacked divison. 

Notable Alumni: Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz, Manny Gamburyan, Matt Wiman, Cole Miller, Corey Hill

5.  TUF 3

Not a bad season, but disappointing as far as how these guys have done after the show.  Bisping has done fair and dropped to middleweight and we will see how he does there.  Matt Hamill may be the success story of this show.  Kendall Grove has fallen hard.  Ed Herman can rise some if he keeps winning.   

Notable Alumni: Kendall Grove, Kalib Starnes, Ed Herman, Micahel Bisping, Matt Hamill

6. TUF 6

This show was the weakest of all.  We will see the effects of it.  In two years there may be two or three guys in the UFC from TUF 6.  Mac Danzig was so much better than everyone else on this season.  George can be decent and do well in the UFC.  Tommy Speer is so raw.  Matt Arroyo has good skills, but we will see.  Guys like Koppenhaver and Rollins have earned some time in the UFC, but I doubt it will last.  Watch for Mac though to climb the lightweight ranks. 

Notable Alumni: Mac Danzig, Tommy Speer, George Sotiropolous

UFC News: Gomi, TUF 7, UFC 83

Takanori Gomi Deal Falls Through                                                                                                                                                            It has been reported that a dead between the UFC and Takanori Gomi has fallen through.  Apparently, the deal was close to being signed because Frank Edgar was offered a fight with him.  I think that would have been a great fight, but I think Gomi should have stepped right in for a title shot.  I still think he should get the winner of the Penn/Sherk fight as a unification title bout.  I hope that the deal works out because Gomi is worth the investment.  There are only maybe 20 fighters worldwide that I believe should be catered to when negotiating contracts and Gomi is one of those guys.  I hope this deal works out

TUF 7

tuf7.jpg

I have compiled a list of the TUF 7 fighters here. It looks like another good season.  I am not sure if any of these guys are run away favorites.  Apparently the Brazillian “Jacare” is not on the show.  We are still awaiting news as to when the finale will be and when Griffin and Jackson will fight.  It is looking like a June event. 

 Also, it seems that one of the new twists to TUF is that the show will feature 32 cast members rather than the typical 16.  Right off the bat there will be 16 fights with the winners earning a spot in the house.  I think there is a good and bad to this move.  The good is that some of the weaker fighters will be off the show right away.  However, they could match to of the best fighters off with each other and one of the top 2 or 3 could not even make the house.  I will be interested to see how they pair off the fights for the first round. 

UFC 83 to be  April 19

It has been reported before that UFC 82 would be March 1 and UFC 83 would be March 8, which never made sense.  It seems that UFC 83 will actually be April 19, 2008 in Montreal Canada.  Headlining the card of course will be the title bout between Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra.  It seems the previously rumored bouts from UFC 83 are being moved.  The Alexander/Irvin fight was moved to UFC Fight Night 13 and Bisping’s middleweight debut may happen at UFC 83 in Montreal, but may be delayed until the June London card.  Also rumored to be on this card is Mac Danzig vs. Mark Bocek, the return of “Shogun”, Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter, Jason MacDonald vs. Joe Doerksen and Keith Jardine, possibly to take on Shogun or even a re-match with Liddell.  Stay tuned to my “Upcoming Events” section which I regularly update.

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!