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411's MMA Rankings 12.11.12: Lightweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 12.11.2012





Welcome to the weekly 411 MMA Rankings where the staff sorts through the muck and after we put our brains in the same pot, the list of the best 15 fighters in the world germinates. It's a scientific method if I ever saw one! This week is especially interesting because number one ranked lightweight Benson Henderson put that crown along with his UFC championship on the line not 72 hours ago when he fought Nate Diaz in Seattle, Washington. How did it go?

Let's just say Henderson's Saturday night went a LOT better than Manny Pacquiao's did. Diaz was beaten in practically ever facet of the fight, whether it be standing or on the ground. All the challenger could do when it was said and done was to congratulate the champion and start the healing process. As for Benson, this was clearly his most dominant win as champion and there will be no denying from any onlookers as there was in both of his fights against Frankie Edgar this year.

So, where should Nate Diaz fall to in our rankings, if at all? Does Gilbert Melendez leap frog him, how about Gray Maynard?

There's 20 days left in the year, but the lightweight division still has one last big fight to go out on. At UFC 155, Jim Miller returns to fight Joe Lauzon in his first fight since losing to Diaz in May. If he's to ever return to the spot where he may get a title shot, this is a fight he must win. The same goes for Joe who, much like Kenny Florian before him, has had difficulty in winning the "big" fights in his career. Is it now or never?

When the calendar flips to 2013, will B.J. Penn be on his way back to lightweight? Personally, I doubt he gets back into the mix of weight cutting, which means he may retire…permanently. What say you?

In a bit of a preview, January is looking packed with big fights at 155-pounds. Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone will light up Chicago on Fox, Pat Healy helps put the final nails in Strikeforce's coffin against Jorge Masvidal and it's possible (not confirmed) that Bellator champion Michael Chandler may have his first defense against tournament champion Rick Hawn.

Now, move on and check out the latest 411 MMA Rankings. Enjoy the holidays and great fights, all the same.




Feedback to Last Week's Middleweight Rankings

From John Arthur:
The odds have Belfort as a favorite over Bisping so that means you can make one of two decisions either go
Silva/Weidman/Belfort/Bisping/Boetsch/Rockhold or
Silva/Weidman/Boetsch/Rockhold/Belfort/Bisping
Personally I would go
Silva/Weidman/Belfort/Bisping/Rockhold/Boetsch/Lombard/Jacare/Munoz/Belcher/Okami/Stann
Lombard/Boetsch and Rockhold/Jacare being very close fights and keeping all four men in the mix at the center of the title picture.
With the winner of Belfort/Bisping staying at #3 and the loser falling to #5-#7
Rockhold automatically moves up to #4
the winner of Okami/Belcher moves up to #6/#7/#8 loser falling to #14/15
Boetsch/Lombard/Jacare will fill out the rankings based on how they look in their non-ranked fights taking positions as high as #5 or as low as #10. If any of the three suffer an upset they will fall in the same range as the Okami/Belcher loser with Phillipou/Palhares/Larkin ranking in between Munoz and Stann
So in summation how the rankings should look based on next fight
1. Silva
2. Weidman
3. Bisping/Belfort
4. Rockhold
5. Bisping/Belfort/Boestch/Lombard/Jacare
6. Bisping/Belfort/Boestch/Lombard/Jacare/Okami/Belcher
7. Bisping/Belfort/Boestch/Lombard/Jacare/Okami/Belcher
8. Boetsch/Lombard/Jacare/Okami/Belcher
9. Boescth/Lombard/Jacare/Munoz
10. Munoz/Larkin/Phillipou/Palhares
11. Larkin/Phillipou/Palhares/Stann 
(loser of Okami/Belcher)
(at some point the winner of Shlemenko/Falcao)
All of that can change based on an especially dominant performance or a blow-away lackluster showing. You never know who may have a bad night. Remember, Chris Weidman didn't really shoot up to the top until he decimated Mark Munoz earlier in the year. It's never so formulaic, especially when you have all these fights going down in a close timespan, although I guess it can sometimes appear that way.

I do wonder though, if Philipou ends up with the upset over Boetsch, just how high can he jump? If Lombard falls again in the UFC, is he totally out of the rankings? If Okami loses to Belcher, is he done, too?


From 401k:
Wow.. 185 sure is mediocre. I would but Bisping 2 only because I think he beats Weidman but thats nothing to clamor over.. Vitor is slowly becoming a co-main event level gatekeeper.. He's not going to be champion, but if you cant beat him you arent good enough to either.. Of all the guys I like Belcher, he's kind of a more likable Bisping.. Solid all around fighter, isnt spectacular in 1 particular thing and could string together a few wins in a row to make a case in this average division...
How are you so certain Bisping can beat Weidman? I see Weidman as the stronger of the two, a better wrestler and he's not going to stand in one place and let the Brit pick him apart standing. It's a much more difficult fight for Bisping in my mind.

If Belfort loses to Bisping, as you say, hello gatekeeper status.


From Cause I Can:
Im surprised Belfort is so high up and Stann is so low. CHANGE PLACES!
For now, Stann is just below the middle. His game is limited because he'll lose to a Michael Bisping and Chael Sonnen, but he'll look great against mid-level guys like Sakara or Santiago.

From Blode:
1. Silva
2. Weidman
3. Rockhold
4. Belfort
5. Boetsch
6. Belcher
7. Bisping
8. Lombard
9. Khalidov
10. Munoz
11. Souza
12. Le
13. Stann
14. Okami
15. Roger Gracie
What's Boetsch have to do to get a spot above Vitor Belfort?

From sisti:
rockhold above vitor...yeah ok lol
also, stann is beyond overrated...what has he ever accomplished? he got completely obliterated by chael and hasn't beaten anyone legit. also, okami should be way higher

not to nitpick the whole rankings, but just think okami needs to be higher and vitor needs to be above rockhold...look at vitor's losses, they are against the best fighter's in MMA history and then he even held his own against Jones

MW is a lame division...silva is taking fight at LHW and barely defending his belt at MW now. I'd like to see Weidman/Bisping/Belcher fight amongst themselves and see who deserves a shot
What has Vitor Belfort done at middleweight in recent years? Not that Rockhold has a bunch of wins against top 5 guys, but he did beat Jacare Souza and a game Tim Kennedy.

Brian Stann is a banger, he has a shot as long as his opponent is not a wrestler. Does it limit his future as a contender? Certainly, but hey, he could probably make it a fight against Hector Lombard (if the Cuban were insistent on brawling).


From Wolvie316:
I think Mousassi would be a beast if he goes back to middle weight. There are less wrestlers in that division plus he'd be one of the best strikers there.
I doubt he's considering moving back down to 185, he's a big guy and I'm not even sure he's keen on big weight cuts. If he does come to the UFC, it'll be interesting to see how he does against the likes of Phil Davis and Ryan Bader before we get to Rashad Evans and other top 205ers.

From Khwaj:
Or have Mousasi fight Cung Le to see who gets to be murdered by Anderson Silva. His striking is light years beyond either of theirs, hell throw in Stann, Belcher and/or Belfort again too... There is no striker at Middleweight that lasts more than 2 rounds against Anderson Silva. And yeah I'd take Silva over GSP and "Bones" (at least at this point).
There's no doubt, the most lucrative option for Mousasi may be at 185-pounds. Is the constant weight cutting worth it?

From Hitman:
Not for nothing but the division looks kinda weak, not really a lot of draw power either
The middleweight division has never had much drawing power. Over the past 5 years, you can pretty much chalk it up to Anderson Silva, Frank Shamrock and Chael Sonnen (throw Cung Le in there, too, if we're talking about local drawing power).

From Brian:
Yeah, seems kind of strange to me. Looking through the list, nobody jumps out at me at a top contender as in my mind they haven't fought anybody that great (other than some of them getting beat by Silva or Chael).

I guess if Rich, Wanderlei, Chael and Dan Henderson were still fighting at 185 it would make things sort out better in my mind.... but as they are not at 185 we are left with a group of fighters below Anderson and Chael that don't really stand out to me. I am not on the Weidman train yet. If he beats another top MW fighter (or two) I can see it but for now it makes a lot of sense to me for Silva to fight GSP or Jones as MW is cleaned out as far as I am concerned. Bisping is really good but I don't think he has any chance agaist Silva. Tim and Alan are promising but still haven't doing anything that impressive. Vitor needs a few more fights under his belt at MW for us to know where he stands.

Yeah..... strange division to me. A strong top 15 if Andeson and Chael were out of the picture (and I guess Chael is now).
If Anderson is strict on his desire for a super fight, even if it's Jon Jones, we may be forced to see the other middleweights fight among themselves and emerge down the road as viable contender.s But yes, it's tough (for example) to see Alan Belcher beat Yushin Okami and think he stands a chance against Silva.


Thanks for all the comments, questions and whatever else you sent our way. It is always appreciated and welcome!




RANKINGS FROM ONE YEAR AGO
11.08.11


1. Frankie Edgar

2. Gilbert Melendez

3. Gray Maynard

4. Clay Guida

5. Eddie Alvarez

6. Ben Henderson

7. Donald Cerrone

8. Shinya Aoki

9. Anthony Pettis

10. Jim Miller Dennis Siver

11. Jorge Masvidal

12. Joe Lauzon

13. Nate Diaz

14. Melvin Guillard

15. Brian Cobb





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


Lightweight Division (155 lbs)






1) Benson Henderson (18-2)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: November 16, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nate Diaz - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

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

- vs. Frankie Edgar - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 25, 2012

- vs. Clay Guida - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos - November 12, 2011

- vs. Jim Miller - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Versus: Hardy vs. Lytle - August 14, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: It wasn't quite the same kind of dominance as Anderson Silva but Benson Henderson absolutely dominated Nate Diaz for 25-minutes in his second title defense this past weekend. At no point did you believe Diaz had much of a shot, even when he was transitioning between various submissions on the ground. Henderson's game plan worked to perfection, peppering Diaz's lead leg with powerful kicks and securing takedowns at will.

It will be intriguing to see where Henderson goes next, meaning, whether he'll fight Gilbert Melendez or Anthony Pettis first in 2013. Both match-ups have their own kind of storylines and we may be able to see Benson grow even further as champion.

*Henderson did in fact fight the entire 25-minutes on Saturday with a toothpick in his mouth. What?




2) Gilbert Melendez (21-2)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: April 12, 1982

Currently Fighting With: Strikeforce

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Josh Thomson - Win via decision (split) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier - May 19, 2012

- vs. Jorge Masvidal - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal - December 17, 2011

- vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri - Win via TKO (strikes) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley - April 9, 2011

- vs. Shinya Aoki - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Nashville - April 17, 2010

- vs. Josh Thomson - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Evolution - December 19, 2009

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured (shoulder)

Comment: Still nursing a shoulder injury that has cost him a fight a few months back, Melendez's Strikeforce career is done. With the final show expected for January 12, it appears he'll jump tot he UFC after then and perhaps get an immediate title shot against Ben Henderson. You have to believe Gil would pose a tougher match-up for the UFC king than his friend and training partner, Nate Diaz did. After all, he's a strong wrestler in his own right and is plenty effective in the clinch, too. Color me interested.




3) Nate Diaz (16-8)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: April 16, 1985

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Benson Henderson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Jim Miller - Win via via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller - May 5, 2012

- vs. Donald Cerrone - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

- vs. Takanori Gomi - Win via submission (armbar) - UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage - September 24, 2011

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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Could you imagine a more disappointing performance in a title fight? Even quick knockouts or submissions can be accepted for what they are, I believe. Nate's struggles with quality wrestlers returned to the forefront as he had absolutely no answer for Henderson's thorough control from beginning to end.

Nate said he was hit with a punch early on that impaired his vision for the rest of the fight. He did credit Benson for landing the shot, but I have a tough time believing the fight would have gone too differently otherwise.

You would imagine, working with strong wrestlers like Gilbert Melendez and Jake Shields for years, his takedown defense would improve to some degree. Unfortunately for him, it has not. Ironically, it's also the biggest criticism of his brother Nick Diaz (who is expecting to challenge Georges St. Pierre in 2013 and don't be surprised if that fight turns out just like Henderson/Diaz).




4) Gray Maynard (11-1-1)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: May 9, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 6 fights:

- vs. Clay Guida - Win via decision (split) - UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida - June 22, 2012

- vs. Frankie Edgar - Loss via KO (strikes) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

- vs. Frankie Edgar - DRAW (split) - UFC 125: Resolution - January 1, 2011

- vs. Kenny Florian - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2 - August 28, 2010

- vs. Nate Diaz - Win by decision (split) - UFC Fight Night 20 - January 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured (knee)

Comment: While preparing to fight Joe Lauzon, his knee and hamstring went kaput and he knew he needed to get medical help. So, the UFC substituted him with Jim Miller and Maynard had his knee scoped. Based on comments from last month, he expects to be back relatively soon (perhaps as early as January or February).




5) "Showtime" Anthony Pettis (14-2)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: January 27, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Joe Lauzon - Win via KO (head kick) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 25, 2012

- vs. Jeremy Stephens - Win via decision (split) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

- vs. Clay Guida - Loss via decision (unanimous) - TUF 13 Finale - June 4, 2011

- vs. Ben Henderson - Win via decision (unanimous) - WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis - December 16, 2010

- vs. Shane Roller - Win via submission (Triangle Choke) - WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez 2 - August 18, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Donald Cerrone - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

Comment: Pettis sees the landscape in the UFC and knows he's THIS close to a title fight against Benson Henderson. It seems to me the only real opposition (pending a loss to Cerrone) is Gilbert Melendez. So, Anthony will want to make a statement in front of millions of people on Fox in January. He has not competed since February due to injuries but he's healthy and ready to get back in the mix.

Remember, he's the only man in the past five years to beat the reigning UFC champion, Ben Henderson.




6) Michael Chandler (10-0)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: April 24, 1986

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championship

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Akihiro Gono - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 67 - May 4, 2012

- vs. Eddie Alvarez - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 58 - November 19, 2011

- vs. Patricky Freire - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 44 - May 14, 2011

- vs. Lloyd Woodard - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 40 - April 8, 2011

- vs. Marcin Held - Win via technical submission (arm triangle choke) - Bellator 46 - March 12, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Rick Hawn - Bellator 85 - January 17, 2013

Comment: Bellator confirmed today (Tuesday), Chandler and Hawn will compete in the main event of the promotion's debut on Spike TV next month.




7) "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone (19-4-0-1)


Height: 6'

Birthday: March 29, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

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

- vs. Jeremy Stephens - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Sung-Jung vs. Poirier - May 15, 2012

- vs. Nate Diaz - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

- vs. Dennis Siver - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 137: Diaz vs. Penn - October 29, 2011

- vs. Charles Oliveira - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Versus: Hardy vs. Lytle - August 14, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Anthony Pettis - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

Comment: Cerrone has not fought just twice in a year since 2008 when we went 2-0 in WEC. Following last year's run with a 4-1 record in the UFC, he ended up with two fights this year. He defeated Jeremy Stephens in May and he knocked out friend Melvin Guillard in the summer.

Don't be mistaken, he'll start 2013 with a bang. One of the premiere fights set for UFC on Fox 6 is a long awaited match-up between Cerrone and "Showtime" Anthony Pettis. There is no possible way this fight won't be amazing, simply put.




8) Eddie Alvarez (24-3)


Birthday: November 11, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Free Agent

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Patricky Freire - Win via KO (head kick) - Bellator 75 - October 12, 2012

- vs. Shinya Aoki - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 66 - April 20, 2012

- vs. Michael Chandler - Loss via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 58 - November 19, 2011

- vs. Pat Curran - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 39 - April 2, 2011

- vs. Roger Huerta - Win via TKO (doctor stoppage) - Bellator 33 - October 21, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: We still do not know for sure where Eddie Alvarez will compete in 2013. What we do know is Bellator retains the right to match any offer for about the next five or six months. CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMAJunkie.com they have yet to receive an offer from the UFC to look at, match or decline.

It's possible Eddie and the UFC have ongoing negotiations, or perhaps they are waiting for Bellator's matching ability to expire. It's worth noting that although the UFC can offer more money, if Alvarez should return to Bellator, he could earn an immediate title rematch against Michael Chandler. Remember, Rebney said in certain cases, they will promote title rematches if the public wants them and obviously, everyone would love to see Chandler/Alvarez 2.




9) Pat "Bam Bam" Healy (28-16)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: July 20, 1983

Currently Fighting With: Strikeforce

Last 5 fights:

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

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

- vs. Maximo Blanco - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov - September 10, 2011

- vs. Eric Wisely - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce Challengers: Gurgel vs. Duarte - August 12, 2011

- vs. Lyle Beerbohm - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce Challengers: Beerbohm vs. Healy - February 18, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Jorge Masvidal - Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine - January 12, 2013

Comment: It sure sucks to be Pat Healy's title shots, doesn't it? For the second time in 2012, he's had shots at Gilbert Melendez's Strikeforce championship go up in smoke because of the champ's injured shoulder. Instead of competing for gold next month, Bam Bam will end his run in the promotion with a fight against a brawler in Jorge Masvidal. If Healy can win, he'll enter the UFC on a six-fight winning streak once Strikeforce is absorbed next month.




10) Jim Miller (21-4)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: August 30, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nate Diaz - Loss via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller - May 5, 2012

- vs. Melvin Guillard - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller - January 20, 2012

- vs. Ben Henderson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Versus: Hardy vs. Lytle - August 14, 2011

- vs. Kamal Shalorus - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

- vs. Charles Oliveira - Win via submission (Kneebar) - UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 - December 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Joe Lauzon - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

Comment: As the Fighting Miller Brothers are prone to do, Jim accepted this fight against Joe Lauzon this month on short notice. He's filling in for the injured Gray Maynard and he must be itching to get back in the octagon and put the memories of his past two losses behind him. Not too long ago, Miller was on the cusp of earning a UFC title shot and instead, he saw both Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz earn them instead. Is it about time we see why Jim has been one of the toughest lightweights in the UFC in recent years? Or will he continue to struggle?




11) Joe Lauzon (22-7)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: May 22, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jamie Varner - Win via submission (triangle choke)- UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera - August 4, 2012

- vs. Anthony Pettis - Loss via KO (head kick) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

- vs. Melvin Guillard - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

- vs. Curt Warburton - Win via submission (Kimura) - UFC on Versus: Kongo vs. Barry - June 26, 2011

- vs. George Sotiropoulos - Loss via submission (Kimura) - UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida - November 20, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Jim Miller - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

Comment: Lauzon cornered friend and training partner Joe Proctor this past weekend and it will be his turn in under three weeks to put the bow on his 2012. After a bounce back 2011 in which he submitted both of his opponents, he was knocked off his pedestal courtesy of an Anthony Pettis head kick. However, he built a lot of momentum off of his show-stopping win against Jamie Varner on Fox. It's amazing to think that he's still just 28-years-old but if he's to take that next step into the mix of potential title contenders in 2013, he needs to stop Jim Miller.





12) Rick Hawn (14-1)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: September 15, 1976

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Brent Weedman - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 70 - May 25, 2012

- vs. Lloyd Woodard - Win via KO (punches) - Bellator 66 - April 20, 2012

- vs. Ricardo Tirloni - Win via KO (punches) - Bellator 62 - March 23, 2012

- vs. Jay Hieron - Loss via decision (split) - Bellator 43 - May 7, 2011

- vs. Lyman Good - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 39 - April 2, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Michael Chandler - Bellator 85 - January 17, 2013

Comment: Hawn, the Olympic judoka with knockout power will challenge the champion who boasts a background as a Division-I wrestler in college. Something has to give.




13) Josh Thomson (19-5, 1 No Contest)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 21, 1978

Currently Fighting With: Strikeforce

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Gilbert Melendez - Loss via decision (split) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier - May 19, 2012

- vs. K.J. Noons - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey - March 3, 2012

- vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Dynamite!! 2010 - December 31, 2010

- vs. JZ Cavalcante - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons 2 - October 9, 2010

- vs. Pat Healy - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum - June 26, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown




14) Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 20, 1988

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Gleison Tibau - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

- vs. Kamal Shalorus - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller - January 20, 2012

- vs. Arymarcel Santos - Win via TKO (strikes) - ProFC 36: Battle on the Caucas - October 22, 2011

- vs. Vadim Sandulitsky - Win via submission (triangle choke) - ProFC/GM Fight: Ukraine Cup 3 - September 15, 2011

- vs. Khamiz Mamedov - Win via submission (triangle choke) - ProFC 30: Battle on Don - August 5, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Thiago Tavares - UFC on FX: Bisping vs. Belfort - January 19, 2013

Comment: Nurmagomedov will put his undefeated record on the line in Brazil next month against a tough as nails kind of fighter in Thiago Tavares. The Brazilian is 4-1-1 in the UFC dating back to 2009 and is coming off a decision win against Sam Stout earlier this year (he has not fought since due to an injury and then because Dennis Hallman failed to make weight in October). At only 24-years-old, Khabib has not let up in his continued dominance over opposition even since making his UFC debut 11 months ago.





15) Jamie Varner (20-7-1, 2 No Contests)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: October 12, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Joe Lauzon - Loss via submission (triangle choke) - UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera - August 4, 2012

- vs. Edson Barboza - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 146: dos Santos vs. Mir - May 26, 2012

- vs. Drew Fickett - Win via submission (strikes) - XFC 16: High Stakes - February 10, 2012

- vs. Nate Jolly - Win via KO (strikes) - XFC 14: Resurrection - October 21, 2011

- vs. Dakota Cochrane - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Titan Fighting Championships 20 - September 23, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Melvin Guillard - TUF 16 Finale - December 15, 2012

Comment: The Worm sneaks back into the rankings, essentially knocking Clay Guida off the list. He's back on the block this weakend when he looks for his second win inside the octagon of the year. Coming off the entertaining fight against Joe Lauzon this summer in which he was eventually overwhelmed, the task to win doesn't get any easier. Melvin Guillard is a strong bull of a fighter, but can Varner prevent only the second losing streak of his career?





Final Notes: Melvin Guillard and Marcin Held received additional support.





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