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411 MMA Rankings 10.09.12: Middleweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 10.09.2012





Welcome to the weekly 411 MMA Rankings and it's fitting that we take a look at the best the middleweight division has to offer this week. Why? Well, the greatest 185-pounder of them all is returning to the octagon in just four days in his native country to fight. While Anderson Silva will be in action in the heavier weight class that is light heavyweight, that doesn't mean whatever may happen won't have any impact on his status at 185.

Sure, everyone expects Andderson to clobber Stephan Bonnar like few have before. But, what if the unthinkable happens? Would it be the biggest upset in the history of MMA (the 411 MMA crew will have more on that later in the week)? Does it mean Silva is ripe for the beating in this division when he has a slew of challengers like Tim Boetsch, Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher?

Is this the end of dominance for Anderson Silva?!

*Slaps self*


Of course not. Silva has improved with age and rarely takes a beating, so why should this Saturday night be any different?

In any event, you can bet the middleweight challengers mentioned above will be paying attention to Brazil. After all, while everyone understands the prime strategy to stopping Silva (see August 7, 2010), it never hurts to try and pick up on any fresh weaknesses.

So, while Silva is dropping his toes into the water of 205-pounds, what's going on in this division the rest of the year? A lot!

The next challenger for Silva may be determined when Weidman and Boetsch clash horns on December 29 or when Alan Belcher fights Yushin Okami on the same night. We've already seen Michael Bisping get back in the win column after his decision victory against Brian Stann last month. Our hopes and dreams of seeing a Silva/Bisping main event out of the United Kingdom may never come to reality, but that doesn't mean we're one step closer today than we were over the summer.

While there may not be too many challengers at 185 who make you confident Silva won't still be the champion at this time next year, the fact remains there are plenty of capable fighters willing to go balls to the wall should they ever get that opportunity to bring down Silva. You know who gets that same opportunity this weekend? STEPHAN BONNAR (if you couldn't tell, I'm fully on the Bonnar hype train).

Now, let's get back to the 411 MMA Rankings!




Feedback to last week's light heavyweight rankings:

From middy:
I'd move Rashad and Lyoto up and Shogun down, because of fighter IQ. Lyoto made Bader play his game and had earned himself a shot. Shogun on the other hand let Vera stand a chance and took another beating in the process. While nobody can beat Jones at least Shad stood with him for 5 rounds. While the division has names and the real LHW champ Chael P Sonnen is moving up, it would be nice to see some more newer fresher guys move up. Besides the guys listed there have to be a few more guys with ability to unseat Forrest, Lil Nog, and Rampage from their spots, who don't seem to really be going anywhere at this point, other than running out cages following fights in Forrest's case.
Perhaps Glover Teixeira is one of those up-and-coming guys prepared to make a name for himself?

Worth asking, if Shogun loses to Gustafsson in December, where does he go from there? Does he turn into Wanderlei Silva who's only on a card to have a fun fight and act as a big name?


From Brian:
It is official, the LHW division is the shallowest division in the UFC from lightweight to heavyweight. Kind of sad. Reminds me of the middleweight division a few years back.
That's what happens when you have a dominant champion. The same thing happened at 185 and 170 when Silva and GSP first went on their runs. Over time, the division reboots. Unfortunately, we may see Jones move up to heavyweight by the time a legit challenger shows up.

From MPMoore:
I would rather see Hendo vs Jones now, not vs Machida. It's not as interesting and Hendo ain't getting any younger. I would do that, then Shogun vs Gustaffson for next contender, Evans vs Machida in a rematch to bring forth the next after that. No one else is deserving of consideration and I don't want the chance of seeing Jones vs Machida again, not yet. Hendo makes the money. If Gustaffson can get past Shogun, and impressively, we may have our next fresh challenger. If the Hendo fight would need put off a while while he and Jones recover, Gustaffson vs Machida/Evans winner could also be a good move to get a clear 1.
Jones has beaten most of the names already and rematches from fights he dominated are not as sought after as fresh faces.
I can't wait until 2014 when Jones moves to HW. He's gonna outgrow his body, struggle for competition, and move up to find challenges. It's just not going to happen soon enough.
I'd love to see a rematch between Rashad Evans and Machida, not sure it's happening. Evans says he's fighting in January or February. If they want a big fight at 205 before then, it almost has to be Hendo/Machida with Jones out of action in the interim.

I'd throw out there, we may see Jones vs. Daniel Cormier at light heavyweight sooner than Jones moving up to heavyweight. It all hinges on Cain Velasquez's status in the heavyweight division going into and coming out of his rematch with Junior dos Santos at the end of the year.


From eds:
Wasn't Sonnen suppose to leave the UFC for good if he lost to Silva? Get da funk outta here
That offer had a time limit and when Silva didn't respond, Sonnen rescinded the offer.

From Cause I Can:
I dont think Lyoto or Henderson should have to run through the gauntlet again to get a fight with Jones. I wouldnt mind it but they've earned their shots, more so then Vitor. I wouldnt mind seeing Davis in a upper level fight.
It's more timing than forcing Machida and Henderson through the ringer. Jones just fought and his arm is going to need time to heal (assuming no surgery is necessary), so instead of holding the two former guys out of action, they're probably fighting within the next 2-3 months.

Thanks for all the feedback, comments, questions and etcetera. It's always appreciated!




RANKINGS FROM ONE YEAR AGO
(09.20.11)


1. Anderson Silva

2. Chael Sonnen

3. Yushin Okami

4. Brian Stann

5. Vitor Belfort

6. Mark Munoz

7. Michael Bisping

8. Hector Lombard

9. Chris Leben

10. Luke Rockhold

11. Jacare Souza

12. Alan Belcher

13.Demian MaiaJason Miller

14. Tim Kennedy

15. Rousimar Palhares



411's MMA Ranking Rules

- Which fighters are eligible for these rankings? They must meet the following qualifications: fight at least once in the past 365 days or if they have not, be officially scheduled for an upcoming fight.

- A fighter serving a disciplinary suspension will not be ranked. They can return when they have served their suspension or in the event it is rescinded. This includes fighters who may disregard their suspension locally to fight overseas.

- If a fighter appears on just one single ballot, and in the top ten, five points will be deducted to balance between other fighters who may be ranked lower, but appear on a greater amount of ballots.

- Want to complain about a fighter's ranking in the comments section? Please include an objective reason why you despise the list, and try your best to bring the rest of us to your way of thinking.





411's Official MMA Rankings: Middleweight Division


Middleweight Division (185 pounds)







1) Anderson Silva (30-4)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: April 14, 1975

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Chael Sonnen - Win via TKO (knee and punches) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen - July 7, 2012

- vs. Yushin Okami - Win via TKO (punches) - UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami - August 27, 2011

- vs. Vitor Belfort - Win via KTFO (front kick) - UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort - February 5, 2011

- vs. Chael Sonnen - Win via submission (triangle armbar) - UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen - August 7, 2010

- vs. Demian Maia - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 112: Invincible - April 10, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Stephan Bonnar - UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar - October 13, 2012

Comment: Well, Anderson did not want to fight any of his challengers at middleweight, so when the Jose Aldo/Frankie Edgar main event for UFC 153 fell apart (due to Aldo's injuries stemming from an accident while riding his motorcycle), Silva could not say no. After all, he gets to fight in his homeland, treated like a beloved superstar, collect a guaranteed six-figure payday (at the least) and fight at light heavyweight against a non-contender.

Silva takes on Stephan Bonnar this weekend and nobody expects the upset to happen, no matter how awesome the promo videos for UFC 153 have been (and trust me, they have been epic).

The last time Silva fought at 205-pounds, he made Forrest Griffin look like a joke. Before that? He crushed James Irvin in similarly impressive fashion. Odds are on history repeating itself.




2) Chris Weidman (9-0)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: June 17, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Mark Munoz - Win via KO (elbow and punches) - UFC on Fuel: Munoz vs. Weidman - July 11, 2012

- vs. Demian Maia - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis - January 28, 2012

- vs. Tom Lawlor - Win via technical submission (D'arce choke) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

- vs. Jesse Bongfeldt - Win via submission (standing guillotine choke) - UFC 131: dos Santos vs. Carwin - June 11, 2011

- vs. Alessio Sakara - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Versus: Sanchez vs. Kampmann - March 3, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Tim Boetsch - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

Comment: With Anderson Silva refusing to fight him in 2012, Weidman has signed to fight fellow contender Tim Boetsch in Las Vegas at the end of the year. A win against Boetsch and there should be no question who gets the first crack at the middleweight champion in 2013. Weidman's 2012 thus far has been spent fighting on short notice and beating Demian Maia followed up by knocking out former top contender Mark Munoz. If he can cap off the year with his tenth professional win, be prepared for the stacked hype train.




3) Michael Bisping (23-4)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: February 28, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Brian Stann - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort - September 22, 2012

- vs. Chael Sonnen - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis - January 28, 2012

- vs. Jason Miller - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC TUF 14 Finale - December 3, 2011

- vs. Jorge Rivera - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch - February 27, 2011

- vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama - Win via decison (unanimous) - UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama - October 16, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Bisping got the best of Brian Stann a couple weeks back as he took him his first win of the year. With Weidman/Boetsch taking on one another in December, it seems like Bisping is the odd man out and waiting for another top contender to fight. While it would perhaps be the best PPV main event if Bisping gets to fight Anderson Silva in 2013, you would expect him to need another win or two before he gets that chance. Plus, that may not come to fruition anytime soon because most of the other contenders are already scheduled in fights.

Perhaps, Bisping can get himself involved and fight the Weidman/Boetsch winner next year.




4) Luke Rockhold (10-1)


Height: 6'3

Birthday: October 17, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Strikeforce

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Tim Kennedy - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy - July 14, 2012

- vs. Keith Jardine - Win via TKO (strikes) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine - January 7, 2012

- vs. Jacare Souza - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov - September 10, 2011

- vs. Paul Bradley - Win via TKO (knees) - Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi - February 26, 2010

- vs. Jesse Taylor - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Strikeforce Challengers: Gurgel vs. Evangelista - November 6, 2009

Next scheduled appearance:

-- Injured (left wrist)

Comment: Breaking news as of late Monday night, Rockhold suffered an injury to his left wrist and has withdrawn from the November 3 Strikeforce card. He was scheduled to defend the championship against Lorenz Larkin but now, there are all sorts of rumors flying regarding the status of the 11/3 show and Showtime's deal with Zuffa.




5) Tim Boetsch (16-4)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: January 28, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Hector Lombard - Win via decision (split) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Yushin Okami - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

- vs. Nick Ring - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage - September 24, 2011

- vs. Kendall Grove - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill - May 28, 2011

- vs. Phil Davis - Loss via submission (Mr. Wonderful) - UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida - November 20, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Chris Weidman - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

Comment: Tim Boetsch has had the best 2012 of any middleweight in the sport and there is no debate. Sure, he was well on his way to losing in Japan against Yushin Okami earlier this year, but he persevered and knocked him out in the third round. In July, he made Hector Lombard's long-awaited UFC debut a lackluster one and now he's on a four-fight win streak. Talk about the perfect cherry on top of the resume to claim a middleweight title shot, he has it come December when he takes on undefeated Chris Weidman.




6) Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (16-3)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: December 7, 1979

Currently Fighting With: Strikeforce

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Derek Brunson - Win via KO (punch) - Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman - August 18, 2012

- vs. Bristol Marunde - Win via submission (arm triangle choke) - Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey - March 3, 2012

- vs. Luke Rockhold - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strkeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov - September 10, 2011

- vs. Robbie Lawler - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg - January 29, 2011

- vs. Tim Kennedy - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Houston - August 21, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





7) Alan Belcher (18-6)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: April 24, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Rousimar Palhares - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller - May 5, 2012

- vs. Jason MacDonald - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger - September 17, 2011

- vs. Patrick Cote - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun 2 - May 8, 2010

- vs. Wilson Gouveia - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez - December 12, 2009

- vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 100 - July 11, 2009

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Yushin Okami - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

Comment: The man who flaunts Johnny Cash has not lost in over three years and although he lost the opportunity to fight Vitor Belfort, he's now set to fight Yushin Okami in two months. While Okami just recently ended a two-fight losing streak, a win over a tough 185'er like Okami is another potential notch on Belcher's belt.




8) Vitor Belfort (21-10)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: January 4, 1977

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jon Jones - Loss via submission (americana) - UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort - September 22, 2012

- vs. Anthony Johnson - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes - January 14, 2012

- vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz - August 6, 2011

- vs. Anderson Silva - Loss via KTFO (front kick) - UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort - February 5, 2011

- vs. Rich Franklin - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 103: Belfort vs. Franklin - September 19, 2009

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Belfort took the fight with Jon Jones that so many others turned down. What transpired was nearly a tremendous upset when Belfort locked on an armbar in the first round. Bones escaped and spent the rest of the fight smashing Belfort before finishing him with a submission.




9) Brian Stann (12-5)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: September 4, 1980

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Michael Bisping - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort - September 22, 2012

- vs. Alessio Sakara - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs. Silva - April 14, 2012

- vs. Chael Sonnen - Loss via submission (arm triangle choke) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

- vs. Jorge Santiago - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill - May 28, 2011

- vs. Chris Leben - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 125: Resolution - January 1, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





10) Mark Munoz (12-3)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: February 19, 1978

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Chris Weidman - Loss via KO (elbow and punches) - UFC on Fuel: Munoz vs. Weidman - July 11, 2012

- vs. Chris Leben - Win via TKO (corner stoppage) - UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz - November 5, 2011

- vs. Demian Maia - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 131: dos Santos vs. Carwin - June 11, 2011

- vs. C.B. Dolloway - Win via KO (punches) - UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann - March 3, 2011

- vs. Aaron Simpson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida - November 20, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





11) Yushin Okami (27-7)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: July 21, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Buddy Roberts - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2 - August 11, 2012

- vs. Tim Boetsch - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 25, 2012

- vs. Anderson Silva - Loss via TKO (punches) - UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami - August 27, 2011

- vs. Nate Marquardt - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami - November 13, 2010

- vs. Mark Munoz - Win via decision (split) - UFC on Versus 2 - August 1, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Alan Belcher - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012





12) Hector Lombard (32-3-1)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: February 2, 1978

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Tim Boetsch - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Trevor Prangley - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 58 - November 19, 2011

- vs. Jesse Taylor - Win via submission (heel hook) - Australian Fighting Championship 2 - September 3, 2011

- vs. Falaniko Vitale - Win via KO (punch) - Bellator 44 - May 14, 2011

- vs. Joe Doerksen - Win via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) - CFC 16: Lombard vs. Doerksen - March 25, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Rousimar Palhares - UFC on FX 6 - December 14, 2012

Comment: Hell yeah, that's a great fight for FX. Lombard has the opportunity to wash the stench of his debut away taking on the danger submission specialist Palhares.




13) Tim Kennedy (14-4)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 1, 1979

Currently Fighting With: Strikeforce

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Luke Rockhold - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy - July 14, 2012

- vs. Robbie Lawler - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson - July 30, 2011

- vs. Melvin Manhoef - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson - March 5, 2011

- vs. Jacare Souza - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Houston - August 21, 2010

- vs. Trevor Prangley - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Strikeforce: Los Angeles - June 16, 2010

- vs. Zak Cummings - Win via submission (north-south choke) - Strikeforce Challengers 3: Kennedy vs. Cummings - September 25, 2009

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





14) Jake Shields (28-6-1)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: January 9, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ed Herman - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2 - August 11, 2012

- vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

- vs. Jake Ellenberger - Loss via KO (knee and punches) - UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger - September 17, 2011

- vs. Georges St. Pierre - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields - April 30, 2011

- vs. Martin Kampmann - Win via decision (split) - UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez - October 23, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





15) Alexander Shlemenko (45-7)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: May 20, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Minowaman - Win via TKO (strikes) - SFL 2 - April 7, 2012

- vs. Julio Paulino - Win via decision (unanimous) - FEFoMP - Battle of Empires - December 17, 2011

- vs. Vitor Vianna - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 57 - November 12, 2011

- vs. Brian Rogers - Win via TKO (knees) - Bellator 54 - October 15, 2011

- vs. Zelg Galesic - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - Bellator 50, September 17, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Maiquel Falcao - Bellator - TBA





Closing Comments: Mamed Khalidov and Rousimar Palhares received additional votes.

Chael Sonnen was removed from our middleweight rankings based on the fact he has moved up to light heavyweight (he's scheduled to fight Forrest Griffin in December).






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