MMABlog’s Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Below I posted my heavyweight rankings.  My other rankings will be posted today as well.  Certainly the rankings could change a litte bit following UFC 90.  I’d love to hear your debate and arguments as these rankings are somewhat subjective.

 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Fedor Emelianenko

Affliction

Arlovski (#4) 1/24

2

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC

Mir (#11), 12/27

3

Randy Couture

UFC

Lesnar (#16), 11/15

4

Andrei Arlovski

Affliction

Emelianenko (#1) 1/24

5

Josh Barnett

Affliction

1/24

6

Fabricio Werdum

UFC

Do Santos (NR), 10/25

7

Gabriel Gonzaga

UFC

Hendricks (NR), 11/15

8

Tim Sylvia

Afliction

 

9

Alistair Overeem

DREAM/Strikeforce

 

10

Cheick Kongo

UFC

Al Turk (NR), 12/27

11

Frank Mir

UFC

Nogueira (#2) , 12/27

12

Ben Rothwell

Affliction

 

13

Aleksander Emelianenko

Affliction

 

14

Mirko Cro Cop

DREAM

 

15

Sergei Kharitonov

DREAM

 

16

Brock Lesnar

UFC

Couture (#3), 11/15

17

Roy Nelson

Affliction

 

18

Cain Velasquez

UFC

 

19

Antonio Silva

EliteXC?

 

20

Shane Carwin

UFC

 

21

Heath Herring

UFC

 

22

Dave Herman

EliteXC?

 

23

Pedro Rizzo

Affliction?

 

24

Brett Rogers

EliteXC?

 

25

Ricco Rodriquez

EliteXC?

 

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My EliteXC: Heat Predictions

Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock

This is the crappiest main event I have ever seen in a big show.  I know that Kimbo and Shamrock are big draws because of their names, but these guys would be on the undercard of a UFC event if it was based on talent levels alone.  This fight is another gimme for Kimbo, but if Shamrock can take Kimbo down I think he can win and ground and pound him some.  I am torn with how to pick this fight.  The EliteXC is pulling for Kimbo and if he loses it will kill EliteXC.  Shamrock is old and has lost his last five fights.  He is on his way out of the fight game.  I would think he would want to win badly here though.  I am rooting for Ken in this one.  Kimbo’s cardio will be an issue as will his groudn game.  No doubt he can strike and hit hard, but Shamrock is very well experienced.  With that said, I still think Kimbo wins this fight by KO, however I wouldn’t bet any money on Kimbo. 

Jake Shields vs. Paul Daley

I believe Jake Shields is a top 5 welterweight in the world.  I’d love to see him against top notch competition, which he won’t get in EliteXC.  Paul Daley is a good fighter, but I do not think he is on Jake Shields’ level.  I think his previous opponent, Nick Thompson was tougher than Daley.  I look for a entertaining fight that ends with a first or second round submission victory for Jake Shields.

Anrdei Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson

I’d be shocked if this fight is competitive.  Arlovski will be much quicker and much more talented all around.  Don’t get me wrong, Roy Nelson can bang, but he can’t bang with Arlovski.  If I was Arlovski, I would box him and then take him down and ground and pound the big bellied former IFL champ.  I think Arlovski’s speed and all around skills will be too much for Nelson.  I pick Arlovski to win by second round TKO.

Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobald

It is hard to pick against Gina Carano.  Quite honestly, I know nothing about Kelly Kobald, but I like Gina Carano.  I am not a huge fan of women’s MMA, but I could watch Carano all day long.  I hope Carano wins and that the fight with her and Cyborg will be set up.  I think Carano is well trained and now re-focused.  I just hope she makes weight.  I think it will stop in round 2 with ref stoppage or rear naked choke.

Murilo “Ninja” Rua vs. Benjo Radach

I hope this fight makes the CBS televised section because Ninja is a great fighter.  He is in his brother’s shadow, but he is good.  It appears that Villasenor will get the next title shot at Robbie Lawler on November 8, but Rua is in the mix as well.  I would think that it is possible that if Ninja wins here he could take on Frank Shamrock at the next EliteXC on CBS event for the number 1 contender spot.  I think Ninja wins this by unanimous decision. 

Cristiane Cyborg vs. Yoko Takahashi

This fight won’t be televised, but I think Cyborg will dominate.  First round KO.

MMA News: Andrei Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson at EliteXC on CBS October 4

It looks like Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell will not wait for Affliction.  Arlovski was slated to fight Josh Barnett before the Affliction card was postponed.  I guess he could be ready for the January card as well, but Arlovski will take on Roy Nelson at EliteXC: Heat on October 4. 

Sherdog.com reports:

At least two fighters will not sit on the sidelines following the postponement of Affliction’s Oct. 4 “Day of Reckoning” event in Las Vegas.

Former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski (13-5) and IFL kingpin Roy Nelson (13-2) have been offered a heavyweight bout at EliteXC “Heat” Oct. 4 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The event will be aired live on CBS.

Arlovski’s management team would not comment Wednesday on the proposed bout, while Nelson’s attorney, Rod Donohoo, also refrained from remarks. However, Sherdog.com has learned from separate sources that both fighters have agreed in principle to the match and that contracts have been issued for review.

The last-minute addition will be presented as an Affiction-EliteXC co-promoted fight

This really solidifies this card which has fights with Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock, Gina Carano and Kelly Kobald, Jake Shields and Paul Daley, and Murilo Rua and Benji Radach.

Where The IFL Fighters Are Landing

The IFL’s demise is history.  Zuffa bought the former fight organization and its assets, but the biggest asset is the fighters.  Some of the contracts were believed to be taken by Zuffa, but apparently many were simply let go and became free agents.  Here are the former IFL fighters and their new homes. 

Fighter

New Organization

Roy Nelson*

Affliction

Vladimir Matyushenko*

Affliction

Jay Hieron*

Affliction

Dan Miller*

UFC

Ryan Schultz*

World Victory Road

Waggney Fabiano*

 

Chris Horodecki

Affliction

Mike Massenzio

UFC

Jim Miller

UFC

Bart Palaszewski

WEC

Rory Markham

UFC

Brad Blackburn

UFC

Andre Gusmao

UFC

Reese Andy

UFC

Danillo Vilefort

WEC

Ryan McGivern

 

Matt Horwich

 

Delson Heleno

 

Deividas Taurosevicious

 

Mike Ciesnolevicz

 

LC Davis

WEC

Mark Miller

 

Benji Radach

 

Pat Healy

 

Marcio Cruz

World Victory Road

Carmelo Marrero

 

Rafael Dias

 

Jake Ellenberger

 

Alexandre Ferreira

 

*Denotes a IFL title holder

The UFC, WEC and Zuffa have faired better than most people credit.  Affliction has just gotten the guys that didn’t make it in the UFC previously (Matysuhenko and Hieron).  Horodecki being one that I really feel the UFC missed out on, he would have been great for the WEC.  Also, I believe the big one will be Waggney Fabiano.  The WEC should go hard after him as he may be good competition for Faber. 

Evaluating Affliction

One of the questions that I keep thinking about is whether or not Affliction in here to stay and whether or not they will compete with the UFC.  No one disagrees that UFC is the standard of MMA right now, but Affliction is making up ground quickly.  It has been a tell tale sign of a slight change that Affliction has signed so many guys lately including many of the stars from the now defunt IFL, which was bought by the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa.  Affliction has signed Champs Roy Nelson and Vladimir Matyushenko.  They have signed lightweight star Chris Horodecki and are rumored to have welterweight champ Jay Hieron.  Affliction is cleaning up the free agents and doing better in that regard than even the UFC as of late.  So, what is there to judge a promotion…

1. Fighter Talent – Fight promotions are fight promotions.  There are other factors that come into play, but primarily if a promotion does not have top level talent they will not stay relevant.

2. Show Quality –  While good fighters is essential, the promotion must put on a good show.  They must entertain fans.  This includes exciting fights, good commentators and a solid show production.  Promotions have to build shows people will come to or buy.

3.  Solid Managment –  Managment is important to a fight promotion, not just anyone can do it.  A promotion may suceed or fail based ont he business savvy of the fight promoter or president.  The PR, fighter pay, contracts, TV deals, etc. all come into play here.

With that said, let’s see how Affliction is doing…

1. Fighter Talent…

There is a lot of hype around Affliction’s fighter talent.  Here is who I can think of off hand that they have and will use on their cards

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Andrei Arlovski
  • Josh Barnett
  • Tim Sylvia
  • Ben Rothwell
  • Roy Nelson
  • Pedro Rizzo
  • Paul Buentello
  • Aleksander Emelianenko
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Tito Ortiz
  • Vladimir Matyushenko
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral
  • Mike Whitehead
  • Edwin DeWees
  • Vernon White
  • Vitor Belfort
  • Matt Lindland
  • Jay Hieron
  • Mike Pyle
  • J.J. Ambrose
  • Chris Horodecki

I went to HDNet’s Rankings to see how many Affliction Fighters were ranked in the top 100 pound for pound or top in their divisons  here is the results.

(Pound for Pound Rank, Divison Rank)

  • Fedor Emelianenko (2, 1)
  • Andrei Arlovski (25, 4)
  • Josh Barnett (27, 5)
  • Tim Sylvia (55, 7)
  • Ben Rothwell (81, 12)
  • Roy Nelson (84, 13)
  • Pedro Rizzo (NR, 19)
  • Paul Buentello (NR, NR)
  • Aleksander Emelianenko (76, 10)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (85, 13)
  • Tito Ortiz (87, 15)
  • Vladimir Matyushenko (66, 12)
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral (92, 16)
  • Mike Whitehead (NR, NR)
  • Edwin DeWees (NR, NR)
  • Vernon White (NR, NR)
  • Vitor Belfort (NR, NR) – Unfairly I’d admit
  • Matt Lindland (22, 5)
  • Jay Hieron (59, 11)
  • Mike Pyle (NR, NR)
  • J.J. Ambrose (NR, NR)
  • Chris Horodecki (NR, NR)
  • Put this into perspective, out of the top 100 the promotions faires like this in pound for pound top 100 fighters…

    • UFC -39
    • Affliction – 13
    • DREAM -12
    • WEC – 10
    • EliteXC – 10
    • Strikeforce – 5
    • World Victory Road – 3

    The point is that Affliction’s talent is overrated. 

    • They are right about the level of DREAM talent wise
    • They are no where near the talent level of the UFC
    • 10 of the Affliction guys that appeared on the rankings list have fought in the UFC before.  Some have been sucessful.  There are several former UFC champs (Sylvia, Barnett, Rizzo, Ortiz and Arlovski), however most of them did no better than fair in the UFC (see Matyushenko, Hieron, et. al)
    • Most of the top Affliction guys are in the second half of their careers and are past their prime.  They still have fight left in them, don’t get me wrong, but not for the long haul
    • What happens if two or three of those gusy get injured?  Affliction is hanging their hat on Fedor, Barnett, Arlovski and Ortiz.  They cannot keep putting everyone on every card, they will run out of match-ups.
    • To their credit, they can put on good fights.  The talent isn’t bad.  Their guys can fight exciting fighter, but they have exciting fights at tough man competitions. They need to sign younger talent and more talent.

    Show Quality…

    • I cannot judge them solely on their sole show.  Affliction needs to improve their show quality as far as commentating, interviews and production is concerned
    • Also, I thought with the exception of the last 3 fights the card wasn’t what it was billed to be
    • They are nowhere near the UFC level as far as enjoyability to watch

    Solid Managment:

    • The UFC with Dana White and the Fertitas is still the managment standard.  I have problems with the UFC and Dana White’s managing style.  I don’t like his constant expletives, I don’t like the way he trashes other promotions, I don’t like the stubborness he exhibits with signing guys like Lindland and Barnett, and even Fedor.  However, Dana is crafty.  Atencio is no Dana White.  Watch his video below where he can’t remember Josh Barnett’s name and he is the main event for the second show. 
    • Affliction does have the deep pocketed Donald Trump behind them which helps.  Trump is a business guiness, but he doesn’t neccessarily know MMA.  The money helps thought he same way it helped having Lorezon and Frank in the UFC early days when they lost tons of money.

    Here is the point folks…Affliction is a solid upstart company.  They may be around for a while, but before we jump ont he bandwagon and label them peers to the UFC and competitors to the UFC let them get through a few shows first.  Let’s see how much money they lose after 3 events.  Let’s see how many fights they can do after 3 card.  They could compete, but as for now it is the UFC and then everyone else.  Zuffa is sitting pretty in the MMA world.  They are the big leagues, everything else is just the minors.  Affliction, EliteXC and DREAM are in the same boat and in a year from now at least one of them will be non-existent.

    Best Non-UFC Fighters

    Here are the best non-UFC fighters.  This shows where the UFC is stacked and where they lack.  There competition is mainly in Affliction at heavyweight and DREAM at lightweight.  Here are the best non-UFC guys that the UFC should look to sign if possible. 

    Rank

    Heavyweight

    Light Heavy

    Middleweight

    Welterweight

    Lightweight

    1

    Fedor Emelianenko

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    Paulo Filho

    Jake Shields

    Takanori Gomi

    2

    Andrei Arlovski

    Ricardo Arona

    Matt Lindland

    Carlos Condit

    Shinya Aoki

    3

    Josh Barnett

    Rafael Feijao

    Robbie Lawler

    Jay Hieron

    JZ Calvancante

    4

    Tim Sylvia

    Vladimir Matyushenko

    Kazuo Misaki

    Nick Thompson

    Eddie Alvarez

    5

    Ben Rothwell

    Babalu Sobral

    Gegard Mousasi

    Mach Sakurai

    Mitsuhiro Ishida

    6

    Mirko Cro Cop

    Tito Ortiz

    Vitor Belfort

    Mike Pyle

    Joachim Hansen

    7

    Roy Nelson

    Steve Cantwell

     “Jacare” de Sousa

     

    Tatsuya Kawajiri

    8

    Aleks Emelianenko

    Brian Stann

    Jason Miller

     

    Josh Thomson

    9

    Antonio Silva

     

    Melvin Manhoef

     

    Gilbert Melendez

    10

    Alistair Overeem

     

    Murilio Rua

     

    Vitor Ribeiro

    11

     

     

    Cung Le

     

    Jamie Varner

    12

     

     

    Denis Kang

     

    Ryan Schultz

    13

     

     

    Joey Villasenor

     

    KJ Noons

    14

     

     

    Frank Shamrock

     

    Nick Diaz

    15

     

     

    Yoshihiro Akiyama

     

    Caol Uno

    16

     

     

    Jorge Santiago

     

     

    17

     

     

    Chael Sonnen

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    MMA News: Matyushenko vs. Nogueira at Affliction 2

    It appears that Affliction has signed yet another top fighter in former IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko.  Yesterday it was reported that Affliction signed former IFL heavyweight champ Roy Nelson and that he would appear on Afflictions second card on October 11.  It also appears that Matyushenko will appear on this second card and will fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a light heavyweight bout.  This should be a very good bout.  Both guys are ranked in my top 15 and most people’s top 20.  These 2 fighters in my opinion may make up the two best non-UFC light heavyweights.  I was frustrated that Nogueira was not the one talked about to get Tito Ortiz, but this is a better fight for him anyways.  The October 11th card dubbed “Day of Reckoning” will be headlined by a fight between heavyweights Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski.

    • Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett
    • Tito Ortiz vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral
    • Matt Lindland vs. Vitor Belfort
    • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Vladimir Matyshenko
    • Roy Nelson vs. Jay White
    • Tim Sylvia vs. ?
    • Paul Buentello vs. ?
    • Pedro Rizzo vs. ?
    • Mike Pyle vs. ?