UFC News: Demian Maia vs. Chael Sonnen Set For UFC 95

Okay, the UFC 95 card sucks royally (that may be a pun seeing as how the card is in London) but, at least there will be a few good fights.  One of those fights that is exciting is going to be a middleweight match up between Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen.  Both of these names were tossed around as possible opponents for Anderson Silva.  The winner of this fight would surely be considered for a title shot.  The problem is the UFC suddenly thickened things a top the 185 lb. division.  It is strongly rumored that Thales Leites will leap frog numerous contenders and get a title shot.  Meanwhile, Dana White has pretty much assured that Yushin Okami will get a title shot.  That makes a contender and one in waiting.  We figure that this summer the two TUF 9 coaches will fight, witht the winner getting a title crack by year end.  Therefore if Silva fights 4 times in 2009, we know his opponents.  They will probably be: Thales Leites, Yushin Okami, The winner of the Sonnen vs. Maia fight, and the winner of the Bisping vs. TUF 9 coach. 

    Anyways as for the Sonnen-Maia fight that is a good one.  Maia is incredible on the ground.  Sonnen comes over from the WEC with a great wrestling pedigree and improving stand up.  Sonnen surely will want to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing.  If he takes it to the ground at any time he is on very dangerous ground even when he is on top.

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Why Does Leites Get A Crack At Silva?

I have been confused lately by Joe Silva and Dana White’s decisions and matchh making for middeweight champ Anderson Silva.  Dana has been quick to proclaim Silva as the best pound for pound fighter in the world.  I don’t disagree with that statement, however I do not think he is defending his belt against the number 1 contenders.

Case 1 – It was proclaimed that when Patrick Cote met Ricardo Almeida that the winner would get a title shot.  Many were confused by this as neither seemed like the number one contender.  They may have been able to climb the ladder, but they were not there yet.  Silva showed he was in a different league than Cote by toying with him.

Case 2- Travis Lutter.  I understand the Ultimate Fighter winner getting a title shot, but Lutter jumped tons of guys for a title shot.  He missed weight and then got submitted. 

Case 3 – Thales Leites.  I know Leites is good.  He is superb on the ground.  He owns a win over Nathan Marquardt.  However, that win is controversial.  I have Leites ranked 8.  I understand that the 6 guys between Anderson and Leites may not be able to beat Silva.  I also understand that he has already fought many of them including Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, and Nate Marquardt. 

Well, if not Leites then who?  I understand not giving a re-match to Henderson or Marquardt yet.  They may get their shots.  Henderson is slated to fight Rich Franklin in January and Marquardt appears to be fighting Wilson Gouveia in February.  The winners inch closer to a re-match.  That moves Henderson and Marquardt off the map for now.  Rich Franklin is now at 205 it seems, plus he got destroyed by Silva twice.  Michael Bisping is nearing number one contender status, but he will coach the Ultimate Fighter season 9 opposite the Henderson/Franklin winner.  The two TUF coaches would then square off for the title shot.  That takes Bisping out for now. 

 That leaves two guys between Silva and Leites: Demian Maia and Yushin Okami.  Both of these guys are more deserving than Leites.  I suppose that the UFC in their looking for the next opponent for Silva was left with three names as I am: Maia, Leites, and Okami.  Let’s check out their respective resumes and see who should have gotten the “job”.

Demian Maia –  Maia is 9-0 overall and 4-0 in the UFC.  He has looked very, very impressive.  He has 4 submissions wins.  He has UFC wins over Nate Quarry, Ed Herman and Jason MacDonald.  He has earned the reputation of having the best functional jiu jitsu for MMA.   Most everyone agrees that Silva’s achilles heel may be a jiu jitsu practitioner of very high calibur. 

Yushin Okami –  Okami is 6-1 in the UFC and 22-4 overall.  He has UFC wins over Evan Tanner, Jason MacDonald, Mike Swick, and Alan Belcher.  His sole UFC loss came to Rich Franklin.  He was slated to have a title shot before an injury allowed Cote to step in and take it.  Okami is set to face Dean Lister at UFC 92.  A win would make him the clear number one contender in most rankings.  Oh yeah, did I mention that Okami has a win on his record over Anderson Silva.  I know it was a DQ win, but it is a win. 

Thales Leites – is 14-1 overall and 5-1 in the UFC.  His UFC wins come over Pete Sell, Floyd Sword, Ryan Jensen, Nate Marquardt and Drew McFedries.  He does have good ground skills and has finished 3 fights by submission. 

Breaking it down: Based on resumes alone Okami would get the job.  The runner-up would be Maia and the one left looking in would be Leites. 

So…why not Okami?  The answer is I have no flippin clue.  I can appreciate his upcoming bout with Lister.  However, what does the UFC do with Okami if he beats Lister?  If he looses then it settles it.  The UFC should have waited a week to book Silva’s April opponent.  If Okami had won he should have gotten the shot.  Okami was excluded because they do not see him as marketable.  The problem with that is that Leites is not Mister Personality.  I have no problem suggesting Maia is one or two wins away.  He does have better quality wins than Leites though. 

Here is my problem.  Leites is on a 5 fight win streak.  He will get a title shot coming off of a win to Drew McFedries.  Come on.  Make a dude fight someone good for the title shot.   Before that Leites scored a win over Nate Marquardt, but Marquardt won that fight.  He only won because Nate lost two points in the contest and Leites still only won by split decision. 

I am not anti-Leites.  He is a good fighter.  He may pose serious problems to Silva.  However, this is not the fight I want to see.   Leites is not ready.  Okami has earned his shot and further seals it with a win Saturday.  Maia should be at least considered. 

Tell me what you think….

UFC News: Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites to Fight in April

In what appears to be a headline bout at what may be called UFC 97, UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva will defend his belt against fellow Brazilian Thales Leites. 

Silva has gone 8-0 in the UFC and is coming off of what many thought was a disappointing win over Patrick Cote.  Thales Leites is 5-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a quick submission win over Drew McFedries. 

The bout is not a surprise as Dana White threw out Leites’ name in a recent interview.  However, he does seem to have leap frogged several notable contenders.  Nevertheless, Leites who has slick submissions will be a threat to Silva.

UFC 97 appears to be taking place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on April 18th.  This will leave room for speculation that if Georges St. Pierre is successful against B.J. Penn that he will defend his belt at this event against Thiago Alves.  Perhaps this is the UFC way of setting up the mega fight between Silva and St. Pierre.

UFC News: Anderson Silva vs. Luiz Cane Possible at UFC 95

There is some clamour that UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva will next fight at UFC 95 against Luiz Cane. It is pretty definite that Anderson will fight next at 205 and pretty sure he will fight at UFC 95, but his opponent is far from a lock. A Cane match up would be very entertaining as two great Brazilian strikers would face off. However, it could be a tough match too. Cane is a step up from Irvin. The fight does make sense and could see Anderson one more fight away after it from a title shot at 205 if he wanted it. Luiz Cane could really beneift from this fight as well. UFC 95 will take place in London, England and is yet to have a headliner. We will see what is in the works as time passes on. More news should come on this shortly.

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

Breaking Down the UFC Light Heavyweight Division

The Champion: Forrest Griffin

The Top Contender: Rashad Evans

The Next Tier:

·         Wanderlei Silva

·         Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

·         Lyoto Machida

·         Thiago Silva

·         Rich Franklin

·         Dan Henderson

·         Keith Jardine

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

·         Chuck Liddell

·         Luis Arthur Cane

·         Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

On the Rise: 

·         Luis Arthur Cane

 

Other Notables:

·         Brandon Vera

·         Mat Hamill

·         Stephan Bonnar

·         Jon Jones

·         Tim Boetsch

·         Steve Cantwell

·         Brian Stann

·         James Irvin

·         Eric Schafer

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hussan at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans @ UFC 92 on December 28 (For Title)

·         Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson @ UFC 93 on January

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Mark Coleman @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Andre Gusmao vs. Antonio Mendes @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Ivan Serati vs. Tomasz Drwal @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva @ UFC 94 on January 31

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Luis Cane vs. Keith Jardine

·         Brandon Vera vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

Other Thoughts:

·         There are rumors of a Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell match up at UFC 95

·         There are a lot of light heavyweight contenders and the match ups are being set.  The winner of Wanderlei vs. Rampage should get the next title shot, although the winner of Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva should be considered as well. 

·         We are waiting for the debut of rumored UFC signee Glover Teixeira who has been having visa troubles in Brazil. 

·         The UFC could sign former EliteXC light heavyweight Rafael Feijao, which would be a big time contender.

·         The UFC has a clear monopoly on the light heavyweight division.  There are only a few fighters worth a  dime in this division not in the UFC (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ricardo Arona, Tito Ortiz, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral)

·         I looks like two solid light heavyweights have dropped to middleweight in Goran Reljic and Wilson Gouveia

·         The Ultimate Fighter 8 which featured light heavyweights is sure to place a few good fighters in the divison, but it will take time for them to climb the ladder.  Watch out for guys like Ryan Bader, Vinny Magalhes, Kryztof Soszynski, and Eliot Marshall.

·         It is somewhat possible to see Randy Couture take a few fights at light heavyweight and also to see Anderson Silva fight at 205 more often in 2009

 

Anderson Silva’s Next Fight

It is well known that Anderson Silva wants to fight more.  I do not know if he is trying burn through his contract or if he is just that competitive. 

Dana White commented on this:

He’s flipping out. He wants to fight again, like, on Nov. 15. He’s (upset) about his performance and he wants to fight again immediately

Well, November 15th would be a great palce for Silva as the card is already weak, but it will not happen as there is just not enough time to find a quality opponent.  The only option would be to move someone up from one of the December cards, but that is still unlikely. 

Rumors have gone around that a fight between Silva and Chuck Liddell would take place at UFC 95 in London, February 21st.  That fight would be great, but it makes no sense.  It could end Chuck Liddell permanently.  I am quite sure that Silva will fight again soon and it most likely will be at 205. 

We could see Anderson at UFC 92 or even at one of the other December cards, but that is still not far away, but it is close enough to see him fight on one of those cards.  Against who?  I have no idea.  Keith Jardine?  Brandon Vera? Sokoudjou?  Cane?  Those are all top level contenders that could be possible opponents at 205.  We will have to wait and see.  If Silva is that upset about UFC 90, he will be back much sooner than later, but we do not know who the sacrificial lamb to Silva’s anger will be. 

Just a side note: The Ultimate Fighter Finale needs a headliner and The UFC Fight Night 16: Fight for The Troops card has penciled in a Koscheck vs. Yoshida fight, but one might wonder if Koscheck will physically be able to go and headline that event following the beating he took at UFC 90.  Maybe, just maybe that is a place where Silva could unleash some anger and frustation against some 205 lb fighter.