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.

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The effect of the Ultimate Fighter on the UFC

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There is a lot of talk about which UFC divison is the stongest.  I have discussed my opinion before, but I was curious which divison has been best bolstered by TUF. Below I listed each current UFC fighter and their current divison.  Some guys have fought in the UFC and left for other organizations so I did not include them.  Some guys have fought at one weight and dropped down recently like Michael Bisping.  I made my decison based not solely on numer of fighters, but quality fighters and number of contenders in the divison from TUF. Here is my evaluation…

The least bolstered is the Heavyweight divison, because there are no current UFC TUF alumni in that divison.  Evans and Jardine comepeted in Heavyweight and then dropped to lightheavyweight.

The fourth most bolstered is the middleweight divison.  There are 11 TUF alums in the middleweight divison currently and none are real contenders right now.  You have a bunch of second tier guys in: Travis Lutter, Ed Herman, Kendall Grove, Nate Quarry and Patrick Cote.  Some of those guys are close to breaking through to contender levels.  I would say your most succesful guy has been Chris Leben and I believe Michael Bisping will be a contender, but contender is a tough word in a divison where Anderson Silva owns the belt.  I don’t think these guys could beat the top 4 or 5 in that divison.

The third best divison is the lightheavyweight divison.  However, these five guys are all above average guys.  I consider three of them legit contenders in the divison (Griffin, Jardine and Evans) and I consider Bonnar and Hamill the best of the second tier guys.  Bonnar and Hamill are slated to fight in April, the winner will become a serious contender threat and break into the top 12 in that divison.  I put them below the others sheerly because they don’t have as many alums in the divison now.

To be honest the second and first was a toss up between the welterweight and lightweight divisons who have both benefited from TUF competitors dropping to their weight classes.  Here are my arguments for both.  The welterweight divison has a champ in Matt Serra.  Also one could argue that they have 2 other top five fighters in Koscheck and Sanchez, making TUF alums 3 of the top five in that divison.  If you throw Marcus Davis, who is a serious contender is the mix you have some good fighters, not to mention guys like Mike Swick who have just dropped down.  The jury is still out on the TUF 6 guys.  We will have to wait and see who will stick around the welterweigh divison.  I look for Speer, Sotiropplous, and Arroyo to make a little splash. 

The lightweight divison has the most TUF alums by far.  Obviously, Joe Stevenson has been the most successful and could get a title shot.  They also have another top five guy in their divison in Kenny Florian.  Joe Lauzon is set to fight Kenny and could move into seriosu contention if he pulls out a win.  I wouldn’t overlook guys like Mac Danzig, Nate Diaz, Cole Miller, Manny Gamburyan or Gray Maynard.  Din Thomas has proven himself well and Rich Clementi and Jorge Gurgel are no scrubs.

If you made me pick the most benefited from TUF I would say the lightweights, with the welterweights close behind.  It is kind of interesting to note that in 2008 at least 3 guys from TUF will get a title crack (Serra, Stevenson, and Griffin) and possibly more. 

TUF will continue to have an impact on the UFC for the good.  They hope to help out the middleweight divison, but likely good welterweights will bulk up to get on the show and the best of the next season will help the welterweight divison most.  In my opinion, they need to help out the middleweight, but in order to do so the show has to feature light heavyweights.  I look forward to see the new twists and turns of TUF 7, and to see the impact of the future TUF alumni on the UFC.  Ultimate Fighter has been Dana White’s best move and he admits is helped the UFC greatly.

Heavyweights:

None!

Light Heavyweights

  • Stephan Bonnar
  • Forrest Griffin
  • Keith Jardine*
  • Rashad Evans*
  • Matt Hamill

Middleweights

  • Chris Leben
  • Nate Quarry
  • Michael Bisping
  • Ed Herman
  • Kalib Starnes
  • Kendall Grove
  • Rory Singer
  • Travis Lutter
  • Charles McCarthy
  • Pete Sell
  • Patrick Cote

Welterweights

  • Diego Sanchez*
  • Josh Kosheck*
  • Mike Swick*
  • Josh Burkman
  • Luke Cummo
  • Marcus Davis
  • Matt Serra
  • Chris Lytle
  • Tommy Speer
  • George Sotiropolous
  • Matt Arroyo

Lightweights

  • Kenny Florian**
  • Joe Stevenson*
  • Jorge Gurgel*
  • Melvin Guillard*
  • Rich Clementi*
  • Din Thomas*
  • Gray Maynard
  • Matt Wiman
  • Joe Lauzon
  • Rob Emerson
  • Corey Hill
  • Nate Diaz
  • Manny Gamburyan
  • Cole Miller
  • Mac Danzig*

*Is now fighting in a different divison than he competed in under TUF

Who can beat Anderson Silva?

UFC’s middleweight divison is the weakest divison with the strongest champion.  So the title picture at middlewight is not bright.  Can anyone beat Anderson Silva?  I would say yes, but there aren’t many who can.  The middleweight division is tough and UFC is making an effort to remedy it.  The next Ultimate Fighter will feature middleweights, but I doubt any will seriously be able to contend any time soon.  Michael Bisping is dropping down to 185, he is good and will be a top 5 guy in middleweight, but not the top middleweight.  If Matt Hammil could rock him standing up, Anderson Silva would destroy him.  I am glad to see Dan Henderson dropping to fight Anderson, makes for another good unifcation bout.  I will rank my middleweights according to who has the best chance of beating Anderson Silva and in my opinion unlike the light heavyweight divison they should line up to beat Anderson Silva.  Again, this is not the same as my rankings.  My UFC middleweight rankins would be: 1. Anderson Silva 2. Dan Henderson 3. Rich Franklin 4. Yushin Okami 5. Michael Bisping.  Prior to Bisping and Hendo dropping the top four always included Silva, Franklin, Okami and McDonald, but none of them could challenge Anderson.  In fact there is a huge gap between Anderson and Rich and then Rich and the rest of the pack.  Poor Franklin is between a rock and a hard place.  He won’t get another title shot until Anderson is dethroned.  So here are my guys most likely to be Anderson Silva. 

1. Paulo Filho.  Some content Filho is the best middleweight in the world even ahead of Anderson Silva.  They are great friends and don’t want to fight.  I believe the fight would be great and translate to big bucks.  I’d love to see Paulo move over from WEC to the UFC.  Since both are Zuffa owned will his contract allow him to fight in UFC?  This to me would be one of the most anticipated fight in MMA.  If Silva wins and Filho looses in WEC anytime soon look for the move. 

2. Dan Henderson.  Dan is better at middleweight then light heavyweight.  I think he can beat Anderson.  he has to have a good night and Anderson has to have a bad night.  Dan showed against Rampage he could take a hit, but he has to be more aggressive then he was against Rampage.  He has to stun Silva to beat him.  I look forward to their match and I look forward to seeing Dan at middleweight.   He may take the belt. 

3. Matt Lindland.  Rumor us he has been talking to Dana White about a return to the UFC.  He wants to fight Anderson.  I think Dana needs to put his pride aside and sign a top 3 middleweight in the world.  I don’t know if Lindland can beat Silva, but he is a serious contender, and would be a good boost for the middleweight divison.  If he can’t beat Silva at least it would be some competition to the 2-10 spots in the divison.

4. Denis Kang.  He is a fantastic fighter who has a great resume and has fought some of the best, but I think he is a long shot, but nevertheless I would love to see him in the UFC

5. Matt Hughes.  Matt mentioend going up to fight Silva.  It could happen.  Matt has the rapport to get the fight if he wants it, but size may hurt him.  If he could ground and pound Anderson he may win, but I believe Anderson’s clinch and stand up is too much for one of my favorite fighters. 

6. Robbie Lawler. I would love to see Lawler back in the UFC.  Was his stint as a coach with Matt Hughes a starting point.  I don’t see him laying down his EliteXC belt though, and don’t see him loosing it.  I think he could really compete here.  He is a hard hitter, however he may get knocked out.  If Nick Diaz can knock him out I imagine Anderson Silva could too. 

7. B.J. Penn This would be a huge move up for B.J.  He can get the weight class, but I don’t know if he can beat Anderson.  I am a B.J. Penn fan, and on the ground he could contend, but does he have the desire to do it?  I have heard talks of it, but this one I dount will ever materialize.  Now, I believe we could see B.J. fight for the welterweight belt again some time in 2008 or 2009, but he would have to get in line behind Matt Serra, Jon Fitch and Karo Parisyan. 

8. Yushin Okami.  He hold a win over Anderson Silva, but he didn’t beat Anderson Silva.  Okami is a big guy, but that won’t beat Anderson Silva.  I wouldn’t mind the fight being booked, but Okami needs to beat one or two more quality guys before he gets a title shot.  He may not be very exciting, but he has been effective in the UFC, so perhaps he has earned his shot. 

9. Ninja Rua. Okay, I would much rather see Shogun move down to fight Anderson, but Ninja is a good fighter even though he lost to Lawler.  He is a legit top ten middleweight.  I’d like to see him in the UFC regardless and think he could be a good fighter in there and on a lucky day maybe he could get the best of Anderson Silva.  Now Shogun vs. Anderson would be exciting. 

10. Rich Franklin. He is the #2 or #3 middleweight in the world still, but we have been there and done that. Rich has pushed his luck with Anderson and should be thanking God that he survived two fights with Silva.  One more he may be done.   

It will never happen, but I woudl love to see one of those fights where Fedor fights a middleweight.  Fedor killed Matt Lindland and I suspect he would be Anderson Silva.  That is it!  Notice I didn’t even include “Twinkle Toes” Trigg or “Mayhem” Miller as I don’t see they have a shot.  There are some other guys who may get a chance guys like Nate Quarry.  Anderson has already beat all your other middleweights in the UFC worth anything (Leben, Marquardt, and Lutter).  Well if Dan Henderson can’t beta him and if Dana can’t get Filho or Lindland to fight him look for a long reign for Silva.