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

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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

UFC 91 Preview and Predictions

Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar

Perhaps this is not the biggest fight in UFC history, but it is a big one that is sure to attract a record crowd.  The hype surrounding this card speaks volumes about this particular fight seeing as how the rest of the card is mediocre at best.  This is also a hard fight to pick.  Here is what we know.  Brock Lesnar has looked impressive in his two UFC fights although he lost his debut against Frank Mir (or as he says it “Murr”).  Quite honestly, if Steve Mazagatti hadn’t pulled Lesnar off and stood them up for a hit to the back of the head the fight may have ended with Lesnar being victorious.  Against Heath Herring Lesnar showed incredible ability to control another fighter and he showed that he hits stinkin’ hard.  There are a lot of unknowns about Brock Lesnar.  However, Randy Couture is not an unknown at all.  We know what he will bring to the cage.  He comes in as an underdog despite his experience.  Let me break down this fight. I broke down different skills sets and picked who had tha advantage in each realm that may be a factor in this fight.  Myabe it will help in picking a winner.

Age: Brock Lesnar

Randy is 45.  Brock Lesnar is 31.  Age could be a factor.  It hasn’t been for Randy yet, but it is bound to be eventually.  Everyone thought it was an issue against Tim Sylvia and against Gabriel Gonzaga and it wasn’t, a little over a year later, we expect it could be a factor.  I do not believe it will be the sole factor or even the deciding factor, but it will be a factor. Unfortunately, if Couture loses everyone will blame it on Randy’s age and not Lesnar’s skill.  I believe everyone would agree that Lesnar wins the age battle.

Experience: Randy Couture

There is no question that Randy’s experience is a huge factor.  Lesnar is 2-1 in his MMA career.  Granted he has fought elite fighters in Mir and Herring, he doesn’t nearly have the résumé that Couture has.  Couture has an impressive 16-8 record.  Randy has been in the ring against guys like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Tim Sylvia, Gabriel Gonzaga, Vitor Belfort, Josh Barnett, Ricco Rodriguez, Maurice Smith, Pedro Rizzo, Jeremy Horn, and Kevin Randleman.  Couture has fought 5 round fights.  He has headlines big events.  He has been in every imaginable situation in a fight.  That is a huge advantage.  The limelight will not be a decided advantage for Randy because Lesnar has been there.  He experienced that in WWE and even in his college wrestling days.  When it comes down to instincts in the ring though Randy has the advantage.  The one who loses this fight could very well be the one who makes the first mistake.  That bodes very well for Couture.

Strength: Brock Lesnar

Is there any real question here?  Look at Lesnar.  He dwarfs everyone.  He is strong as an ox.  By the way, never question whether Lesnar’s build and strength were gained by natural means because he does not like being accused of steroids.  Strength could be an issue.  Lesnar’s strength could give Lesnar the ability to hold Couture down and avoid reversals.  It could help in the clinch, where Randy is very good.  It could help to avoid submissions and to get off his back.  In this match-ups strength will be an issue.  We give the strength advantage to Lesnar.

Athleticism: Brock Lesnar

This is a tough one to call.  I just give the athletic advantage to Lesnar because he is younger and he is a physical specimen.  He is a elite wrestler.  He played some pro football.  He is doing well in MMA.  He has shown great athletic prowess.  I think Lesnar may be the most athletic heavyweight.  He is quick and moved well for a guy nearing 300 lbs. I know WWE is fake and say what you want about pro wrasslin’, but it does take great athleticism do fair well in the WWE. I give the athleticism advantage to Lesnar, but not by a lot.

Wrestling: Brock Lesnar

I know that Randy Couture is a top tier wrestler.  I know of his background at Oklahoma State.  I know that he was an Olympic alternate like 3 times.  There is no one with the wrestling pedigree of Brock Lesnar.   He is a national champ out of Minnesota.  He could have done whatever he wanted wrestling wise.  Where does this come into play?  On the ground.  It will be very hard to keep Brock on his back.  However, he is not in there against some tomato can wrestler.  Randy Couture is a good, very good wrestler.  I give the advantage to Brock here though mainly because Randy is further removed from his wrestling career than Brock Lesnar.  The skill set difference may not be enough to make much difference and I highly doubt this fight will unfold like the Herring fight did. 

Grappling: Randy Couture

Brock Lesnar showed a lot of skill against Herring, but he showed very little grappling or jiu jitsu skills.  He should have submitted him numerous times following the many times he mounted the Texas Crazy Horse or the times he took his back.  If he gives Randy his back he will be choked out.  That may be a good place for Randy to look to win and it may be an area that Brock is vulnerable.  With that said the brute strength of Lesnar makes up for some of his lack of grappling skill and also, Lesnar is showing improvement constantly.  Certainly he has worked on grappling.  The question is how much did he improve since Herring?

Clinch: Randy Couture

Randy is a master at the clinch and dirty boxing.  He is not afraid to clinch with bigger stronger guys.  Just ask Gonzaga and Sylvia.  The clinch could be a good place to be for Randy.  He has a decided clinch advantage.

Size: Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar has to cut weight to make 265 lbs.  Randy Couture will come in barely over 205 lbs.  Lesnar wears those XXXXL MMA gloves.  He will be a tough dude to wrap up and to hold onto.  Enough said. 

Striking Technique: Randy Couture

Randy never fails to impress.  He has more technique because he has been at it longer.  He may utilize his technique and boxing skills to keep Lesnar away and he may want to test Brock’s chin.  Randy hit Sylvia so hard in round 1 of their fight that Tim says he didn’t come to until round 5. 

Striking Power: Brock Lesnar

Ask Heath Herring.  Brock can hit hard.  He doesn’t seem to have the technique that Randy does, but I have a feeling that Brock hits harder.  He packs a lot of weight behind a punch.  If Brock hits Randy like he did Herring it could be a bad night for Captain America.

Training: Randy Couture

I do not doubt Lesnar’s work ethic or how good his training will be.  The bottom line is that Xtreme Couture is becoming one of the elite training facilities in the world.  Randy will as always have a superior game plan and will have trained and prepared for everything in this fight.

Fans/Popularity: Randy Couture

He is Captain America.  He is the Natural.  Randy Couture is beloved by fans.  I do not know if his recent stint outside the octagon will hurt him, but I think it will help him.  I imagine that when Randy walks out Saturday night that the cheers will be deafening.  The fans will be behind Randy.  Brock is not unpopular, it is just he is fighting the most popular or at least one of the most popular mixed martial artists.  His popularity will translate into money and pay per view buys.  I think Randy will have the crowd seeing as how he is fighting out of his hometown of Las Vegas.  This is a factor in this fight.  Brock will receive some love too, but not the love of Captain America.

Cardio:  Randy Couture

I almost labeled this a tossup.  It really could be, but I gave it to Randy for a few reasons.  First, Randy is and always has been known as a cardio machine.  Second, he has gone five round before.  After round 3 it is a new place for Brock.  I would imagine that Brock’s cardio is very good and that he is prepared to go 5, but he is more likely to gas than Randy and Randy could keep a fast paced or in your face style that could wear down Lesnar.  I do not think it is a huge advantage, but it could be a slight advantage.

The only other question I would have is will Randy show some ring rust?  I doubt it.  I am so tempted to pick Lesnar to win this fight.  However, I have learned my lesson about betting against Randy Couture.  Therefore I pick Randy Couture to win by submission in round 3. 

Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson

A great fight in the lightweight divison which should determine the number 1 contender.  If Florian wins he has to get a title shot.  If Florian can avoid the Stevenson guillotine choke he will win this fight.  I am excited about this one.  However, I pick Florian by decision.

Demian Maia vs. Nate Quarry

This is a great fight.  Quarry is a good striker and Maia is a great grappler and jiu jitsu practioner.  The winner of this fight moved far up the ladder at 185 lbs.  I think if it stays standing Quarry wins.  If it goes to the ground Maia wins.  With that said, I think it will go to the ground.  Maia will then make quick work of Quarry.  If I am wrong Quarry will have won by KO or TKO.  Nevertheless, I pick Maia by submission in round 1.

Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone

I know nothing about Catone, but do you really think they will give the Ultimate Fighter winner a guy they thought would beat Amir?  Amir by submission in round 2.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks

Quick Picks:

Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamdan McCrory

Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley

Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson

Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

Fight of the Night Pick: Gurgel vs. Riley

Submission of the Night Pick: Demian Maian or Dustin Hazelett

KO of the Night Pick: Jeremy Stephens

Upset to Wtach: Brock Lesnar over Randy Couture and Nate Quarry over Demian Maia

This Week (November 9-15) In MMA

  • UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar This is being billed as “the biggest fight in UFC history”.  From a money standpoint that may be true.  From a talent standpoint I don’t think so.  The card is solid, but not as good as some of the upcoming UFC cards.  MMAblog will cover more of this event as the week goes on.  get ready to order the pay per view event Saturday…The fight card looks like this:

Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar

Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson

Nate Quarry vs. Demian Maia

Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks

Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamadan McCrory

Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley

Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson

Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

  • The Ultimate Fighter 8 Episode 9 will air Wednesday, November 12th.  The show is expected to feature a light heavyweight bout between Team Mir number 1 pick and one of the favorites to win the show, Krzysztof Soszynski who will be taking on Kyle Kingsbury.
  • Cagefest Xtreme: Evolution will take place Saturday, November 15th.  The Ultimate Fighter 6 runner- up Tommy Speer will be headlining the card against Beau Baker.  Also, on the card is Antwain Britt, who many may remember for being a cast member of the Ultimate Fighter 8.  Britt won his first bout to make it into the house, but he sustained a hand injury which forced him out of the show.  Apparently the UFC declined to pick him up.  A win here could get Britt into the UFC.  Britt will take on CT Turner. Also, UFC veteran Chad Reiner will be fighting against Kyle Baker.
  • Destiny MMA will have a show in Hawaii on November 15th which will be headlined by UFC veteran and our favorite afraid to engage fighter, Kalib Starnes who will be taking on the talented and dangerous Hawaiian fighter Kala Kolohe Hose.  In addition, Po’ai Suganuma will be in action as wil Kaelo Kwan.
  • Also do not forget the Countdown to UFC 91, which will first air on SPIKE on Monday Night (Tonight)!

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