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….

The Top BJJ Practitoners in The World of MMA

There are some great BJJ practioners out there.  Many of them have chosen a career in mixed martial arts and many of them have faired very well.  However, the transfer is not easy and MMA is a different baby than jiu jitsu.  If you don’t believe me try taking punshed to the face while working for your submissions.  Some guys have been very successful.  Any time I give a list I am sure to make notable omissions.  Any omissions are out of my ignorance and not simply a bad ranking.  Ranking jiu jitsu practioners in MMA is difficult because of weight class divisions.  However, I will rank them by overall success in MMA, potential to be a champ and jiu jitsu credentials in the MMA world.

 

1.       Demian Maia – The UFC middleweight contender may not be the best in the world at jiu-jit-su, but he has done very well in MMA and is always a submission threat.

2.        Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza – He has done well in MMA and is a legend on the ground

3.       Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – His MMA career merits him a top spot.

4.        Royce Gracie

5.        Ricardo Almeida

6.        Rousimar Palhares

7.        Jake Shields

8.       Shinya Aoki

9.       Vinny Magalhes – The TUF 8 cast member is a stud on the ground and as of now he is NOT better than Nogueira

10.   Robert Drysdale – I was hesitant to put him on this list because he just started in MMA, but he very well may be the best BJJ practitioner in the world right now

11.    Roger Gracie

12.   Waggney Fabiano

13.   Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro

14.    Fabricio Werdum

15.   Dean Lister

16.    Dustin Hazelett

17.    Nate Marquardt

18.    Thales Leites

19.   B.J. Penn

20.   Nate Diaz

21.   Frank Mir

22.   Gabriel Gonzaga

23.   Ricardo Arona

24.   Rani Yahya

25.   Renato “Babalu” Sobral

26.   Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

27.   Andre Galvao

28.   Vitor Belfort

29.   Marcio Cruz

30.   Jeff Monson

31.   Mark Kerr

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

UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar Fighter Salaries

  • Brock Lesnar — $450,000 ($250,000 to show, $200,000 to win)
  • Randy Couture — $250,000
  • Gabriel Gonzaga — $110,000 ($55,000 to show, $55,000 to win)
  • Dustin Hazelett — $88,000 ($14,000 to show, $14,000 to win, $60,000 Submission of Night Bonus)
  • Kenny Florian — $80,000 ($ 40,000 to show, $40,000 to win)
  • Jeremy Stephens — $76,000 ($8.000 to show, $8,000 to win, $60,000 KO of the Night Bonus)
  • Jorge Gurgel — $10,000 ($60,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)
  • Aaron Riley — $68,000 ($4,000 to show, $4,000 to win, $60,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)
  • Demian Maia — $40,000 ($20,000 to show, $20,000 to win)
  • Joe Stevenson — $35,000
  • Nate Quarry — $25,000
  • Mark Bocek — $18,000 ($9,000 to show, $9,000 to win)
  • Matt Brown — $16,000 ($8,000 to show, $8,000 to win)
  • Tamdan McCrory — $10,000
  • Josh Hendricks — $8,000
  • Alvin Robinson — $7,000
  • Rafael dos Anjos — $4,000
  • Ryan Thomas — $3,000

Poll Questions In Wake of UFC 91

Cast your vote below in some questions that arose following UFC 91. 

UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar Results and Thoughts

Quick Results:

Brock Lesnar defeats Randy Couture via TKO in Round 2                                                                              Kenny Florian defeats Joe Stevenson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1
Dustin Hazelett defeats Tamden McCrory via Submission (Armbar) Round 1
Gabriel Gonzaga defeats Josh Hendricks via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
Demian Maia defeats Nate Quarry via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1
Aaron Riley defeats Jorge Gurgel via unanimous decision
Jeremy Stephens defeats Rafael dos Anjos via knockout in round three
Mark Bocek defeats Alvin Robinson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 3
Matt Brown defeats Ryan Thomas via Submission (Armbar) Round 2

  • Congratulations to Brock Lesnar the new UFC Heavyweight champ.  The fight was very predictible.  I do not know what to make of it.  Is Brock Lesnar that good?  Or did Randy have a lot of ring rust?  I think a little of both.  There is no way around it, Brock Lesnar beat Randy.  I rooted for Randy, but Brock manhandled Randy.  I still think he got the title shot too early in his career, but it is over now anmd he is the champ.  He proved he is a good fighter who can hang with anyone.  He flew up the rankings I am sure with a win over Randy.  Bring on Nogueira or Mir. 
  • I hope we see Randy again. It didn’t sound like he was done, so that is good news.
  • Kenny Florian looked incredible.  He is better than ever.  He would beat Sean Sherk now.  I think he is the number one contender.  He may sit out a while, but he deserves a shot at B.J. Penn.  Kenny Florian made a really good Joe Stevenson look bad.  Now we see why Joe was the underdog. 
  • Demain Maia is at the top of the heap at 185.  He looked very, very good against Nate Quarry.  He may be a serious threat to Anderson Silva.  Rumor has it he is on the short list for TUF 9 coaches alongslide Bisping.  Maia vs. Bisping would be interesting.  Demain Maia is the real deal.
  • Gabriel Gonzaga looked to be back to true self with a good KO
  • Dustin Hazelett climbed the ladder at 170.  He has great ground game.  Did he break McCrory’s arm????  Hazelett had some of the best submissions in MMA.  The beard was cool too.  Don’t write of McCrory either.  He lookeed pretty good.
  • Jorge Gurgel vs.  Aaron Riley was an all out war.  I predicted it to be fight of the night and I was right. 
  • Matt Brown has jiu jitsu!!!  He may be the steal from the TUF 7 season.  He has looked really good since TUF, and very well could be undefeated since his showing, but lost a close decision to Dong Hyun Kim
  • Jeremy Stephens’ KO of Rafael dos Anjos was sick.  The snot flying out was crazy.  Good camera work there.  By the way I called that to be KO of the Night as well.
  • I was glad to see so many fights on the pay per view last night.

Official Fight of the Night: Aaron Riley vs. Jorge Gurgel

Official Submission of the Night: Dustin Hazelett

Official KO of the Night: Jeremy Stephens