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411 MMA Rankings 01.15.13: Bantamweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 01.15.2013





The lightest weight class we rank at 411mania are the bantamweights at 135-pounds and the two top championships in the sport will be defended one month from today. So, it's a good thing you're here to see beyond any question who the best fighters in the division are to begin 2013. 411 MMA is efficient like that.

Valentine's Day on Spike TV is the place where Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas will defend his gold against Marcos Galvao. Two nights later in Great Britain, UFC interim champion Renan Barao will put his belt on the line against Michael McDonald. By Sunday, February 17, we'll know beyond any reasonable doubt (hopefully) with Dominick Cruz out of action thanks to his ACL injury, who the best active fighter is.

Looking at the rearview mirror, two contenders fell by the wayside in the UFC last month when Brad Pickett and Mike Easton both suffered decision losses. On the bright side, it means other talent are emerging in the big picture and those would be Eddie Wineland and Raphael Assuncao, respectively.

Before you scroll down to check out the rankings, give a look at this video, a clip of Dominick Cruz on FUEL TV last month explaining the situation around his ACL injury and recovery.






Feedback to last week's welterweight rankings:

From Brian:
WW is STACKED! Kos isn't even in the top 10 and he is an outstanding fighter with his only losses to GSP and Hendricks.... crazy (I agree with the ranking though).
Nate is a total beast at 170 - I thought he was a decent sized MW. I am also very curious to see how Damian does.
So many good matchups at WW - cannot wait!
Enjoyed the list - thanks.
Unfortunately, Nate did not look like much of a beast this weekend in his loss to Tarec Saffiedine. But that only underscores the depth at welterweight in 2013. For the first time in many years, this division is full of talent from top to bottom.

From erere:
wow, don't think i've ever seen a rankings where I thought 1-15 is all completely stack as much as this week's. don't see how GSP has held onto the belt as long as he had with being in a division that nuts. i do think that the same thing that people criticize him for (playing it safe), is the same reason he's able to do the impossible (hold onto the belt in a ridiculously stacked division)
It's a weird thing to say though because how else should GSP be fighting? I doubt if Georges insisted on standing and brawling with anyone, he'd still be where he is. You have to fight smart though and his dominance at 170 is a mix of intelligence and physical power.

We'll probably see the same thing when he fights the Nick Diaz and his sub-par wrestling.


From MPMoore:
Diaz is ranked because he is scheduled to fight, and I'm ok with that.
What I'm not ok with is the fact that he's scheduled to fight GSP, which Jonny should be doing.
Diaz lost his last fight, then got suspended from the failed drug test.
Diaz should have drawn Kos or someone similar but the money is with GSP/Diaz still, even though GSP will absolutely maul him on the ground.
Jonny should beat Ellenberger, so hopefully his shot is June/July/August range.
I am also opposed to the "superfight" with ASilva for two reasons: First, this division is stacked with legit contenders who are all 1-2 fights away so GSP has plenty to do and good rematches even with the likes of Fitch and Condit next year and new blood with McDonald (should they put their bro-love aside) and Kampmann and possibly Marquardt and Maia; and Second, because Jones is the better choice for a ASilva superfight.
Like you, I can only hope Hendricks gets his title shot next, assuming he beats Ellenberger. It's no guarantee though, that he wins or that the UFC grants him the shot regardless. However, after Diaz, there really is no big money fight at 170 so unless St. Pierre wants to move up to fight Anderson Silva, the time should come for Hendricks.

From Erick:
The 170 pound devision is stacked 1-15. All but 1 is in the UFC.
Indeed, and it makes you wonder whether the push for GSP to fight Silva is dying a slow death with the resurgence of big talent in this division.

From cyks:
Nick Diaz has another month left on his suspension. Why is he ranked?
- A fighter serving a disciplinary suspension will not be ranked.
I made an exception under the circumstances.
"Although Nick Diaz is still technically serving his suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (it will expire in February), since he has already been booked in the main event title fight for March, I made the decision to reinstate him one month early."



Thanks for all the comments, questions, support, hate, good, bad, and most definitely ugly. We appreciate it!




Rankings From One Year Ago
02.14.12


1. Dominick Cruz

2. Renan Barao

3. Urijah Faber

4. Michael McDonald

5. Zach Makovsky

6. Scott Jorgensen

7. Brian Bowles

8. Eduardo Dantas

9. Miguel Torres

10. Masakatsu Ueda

11. Bibiano Fernandes

12. Brad Pickett

13. Takeya Mizugaki

14. Alexis Vila

15. Mike Easton





411's MMA Rankings Guidelines

- 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


Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)






1) Renan Barao (29-1)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: February 27, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Urijah Faber - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Scott Jorgensen - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit - February 4, 2012

- vs. Brad Pickett - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz - November 5, 2011

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

- vs. Chris Cariaso - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis - December 16, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Michael McDonald - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013

Comment: The Brazilian will be back in the cage in roughly 30 days for his first defense of the interim-championship in the United Kingdom. He's been a one man buzz saw for years, but he's running into an equally dangerous bantamweight in the form of Michael McDonald. Having knocked off three top bantamweights in the UFC already, a lot of people feel this division is under the Renan era for the long term. If he is successful next month, who can step up and stop the man?




2) Michael "Mayday" McDonald (15-1)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: January 15, 1991

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Miguel Torres - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans - April 21, 2012

- vs. Alex Soto - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

- vs. Chris Cariaso - Win via decision (split) - UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill - May 28, 2011

- vs. Edwin Figueroa - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis - March 26, 2011

- vs. Clint Godfrey - Win via submission (Armbar) - WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki - November 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Renan Barao - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013

Comment: Happy birthday to Mayday! He turns 22-years-old today and is preparing for his first title fight since he won the Tachi Palace Fights 135-pound strap in 2010. The biggest problem for him in recent years has not been losing or poor performances in the cage, but rather the health of his hands. He has suffered a broken hand on at least two different occasions and they are the types of injuries that can become more commonplace if they happen often enough. McDonald has not seen action since he dropped Miguel Torres about nine months ago. Assuming his hands do not disintegrate, it's a great match-up between a pair of men who have displayed no weaknesses since emerging as top bantamweights.




3) Urijah Faber (26-6)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: May 14, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Brian Bowles - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

- vs. Dominick Cruz - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber - July 2, 2011

- vs. Eddie Wineland - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

- vs. Takeya Mizugaki - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki - November 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Ivan Menjivar - UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche - February 23, 2013

Comment: Faber is in a tricky spot now considering he's 1-2 in his last two fights. Another loss drops him into no man's land but on paper, you would imagine he should beat Ivan Menjivar. If not, where does he go from here?




4) Bibiano Fernandes (13-3)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: March 30, 1980

Currently Fighting With: ONE Fighting Championship

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Yoshiro Maeda - Win via technical submission (triangle choke) - DREAM 18 - December 31, 2012

- vs. Gustavo Falciroli - Win via decision (unanimous) - ONE FC: Pride of a Nation - August 31, 2012

- vs. Antonio Banuelos - Win via TKO (strikes) - Fight for Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 - December 31, 2011

- vs. Rodolfo Marques - Win via decision (unanimous) - Fight for Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 - December 31, 2011

- vs. Takafumi Otsuka - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Dream 17 - September 24, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Bibiano, as you can see in the video above, won in dominant fashion on New Year's Eve when he choked out Yoshiro Maeda. He'll be back in ONE FC sometime this year and he may emerge as the second best bantamweight in the world if he continues winning fights in Asia. The only issue is whether he can find a significant challenge in that part of the world, because so far, it certainly does not seem like he has.




5) Eddie Wineland (20-8-1)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: June 26, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Brad Pickett - Win via decision (split) - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

- vs. Scott Jorgensen - Win via KO (punches) - UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall 2 - June 8, 2012

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

- vs. Urijah Faber - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

- vs. Ken Stone - Win via KO (slam) - WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis - December 16, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: He may be under the radar but Wineland ended up having a great 2012 with wins over top bantamweights like Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett. Right off the bat, he's one of the top contenders in the UFC this year and could find himself in a spot for a shot at the interim-champion this summer or later.




6) Brad Pickett (22-7)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: September 24, 1978

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Eddie Wineland - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

- vs. Yves Jabouin - Win via KO (punch) - UFC on Fuel 5: Struve vs. Miocic - September 29, 2012

- vs. Damacio Page - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs. Silva - April 14, 2012

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 138: Munoz vs. Leben - November 5, 2011

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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Pickett's momentum came to a halt at UFC 155 when he was picked apart by Eddie Wineland. It was a strange fight to see unfold only because I cannot recall having seen him lose a fight like that before. Sure, Renan Barao finished him, but Pickett didn't seem like he ever had a chance to top Wineland.




7) Tyson Nam (12-4)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: October 6, 1983

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Eduardo Dantas - Win via KO (punch) - Shooto Brazil 33 - August 25, 2012

- vs. Chanti Johnson - Win via decision (unanimous) - CageSport 16 - October 1, 2011

- vs. Chuck Jordan - Win via TKO (strikes) - Sportfight: Brawl at the Barn - September 9, 2011

- vs. Chanti Johnson - Win via TKO (strikes) - Square Ring Promotions - July 29, 2011

- vs. Jesse Brock - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Sportfight: All In - January 28, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Marlon Moraes - WSOF 2 - March 9, 2013





8) Marcos Galvao (13-5-1)


Height: 5'3

Birthday: June 23, 1982

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Luis Nogueira - Win via TKO (elbows) - Bellator 73 - August 24, 2012

- vs. Travis Marx - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 68 - May 11, 2012

- vs. Ed West - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 65 - April 13, 2012

- vs. Alexis Vila - Loss via decision (split) - Bellator 55 - October 22, 2011

- vs. Chase Beebe - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 51 - September 24, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Eduardo Dantas - Bellator 89 - February 14, 2013

Comment: Galvao's title fight is official for Valentine's Day on Spike TV, when he'll fight a friend and former training partner in champion DuDu Dantas. Marcos is fresh off the tournament championship last summer and a $100,000 pay day.




9) Eduardo Dantas (14-3)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: February 3, 1989

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Tyson Nam - Loss via KO (punch) - Shooto Brazil 33 - August 25, 2012

- vs. Zach Makovksy - Win via submission (arm triangle choke) - Bellator 65 - April 13, 2012

- vs. Alexis Vila - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 59 - November 26, 2011

- vs. Ed West - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 55 - October 22, 2011

- vs. Wilson Reis - Win via KO (flying knee) - Bellator 51 - September 24, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Marcos Galvao - Bellator 89 - February 14, 2013

Comment: Dantas must be itching to get back in the cage and move on with his career. After all, the last time he was in a fight, he was knocked out by Tyson Nam in Brazil in August. He has yet to defend his Bellator championship and will have his first opportunity to do so in less than a month. He's needed some extra time to ensure his recovery from the knockout, the first time he's been finished. A lot of people will be watching intently to see how well he returns from the defeat. For those who love history, after his previous two defeats, Dantas went on a five-fight winning streak and a seven-fight winning streak. Can he start another streak in February?




10) Raphael Assuncao (19-4)


Height: 5'4

Birthday: July 19, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

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

- vs. Issei Tamura - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fuel: Munoz vs. Weidman - July 11, 2012

- vs. Johnny Eduardo - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami - August 27, 2011

- vs. Erik Koch - Loss via KO (punch) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

- vs. LC Davis - Win via decision (unanimous) - WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki - November 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured

Comment: Filling in on short notice to fight Mike Easton last month, Assuncao handed Mike Easton his first UFC loss. Making the victory even more impressive, Raphael fought with a broken arm following the first round.




11) Marlon Moraes (9-4-1)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: April 26, 1988

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Miguel Torres - Win via decision (split) - WSOF 1: Arlovski vs. Cole - November 3, 2012

- vs. Jarrod Card - Win via KO (punch) - XFC 17: Apocalypse - April 13, 2012

- vs. Chris Manuel - Win via decision (unanimous) - XFC 15: Tribute - December 2, 2011

- vs. Deividas Taurosevicius - Loss via submission (Arm-Triangle choke) - Ring of Combat 38 - November 18, 2011

- vs. Ralph Acosta - Loss via submission (rear naked choke) - World Extreme Fighting 46 - April 22, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Tyson Nam - WSOF 2 - March 9, 2013





12) Mike Easton (13-2)


Height: 5'5

Birthday: January 25, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

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

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

- vs. Jared Papazian - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller - January 20, 2012

- vs. Bryan Bloodworth - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Versus: Cruz vs. Johnson - October 1, 2011

- vs. Chase Beebe - Win via decision (split) - UWC 7: Redemption - October 3, 2009

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Talk about another top contender who suffered his first UFC loss, hello Mike Easton. Assuncao was all over him getting the better of the boxing, clinch and kept Easton's ground game at bay. Hopefully, the Washington D.C. fighter learns and improves after such a loss. It's his first 'L' in over five years, by the way.




13) Anthony Leone (12-5)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: May 27, 1987

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Zach Makovsky - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 83 - December 7, 2012

- vs. Claudio Ledesma - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 68 - May 11, 2012

- vs. Paul Gorman - Win via submission (armbar) - New England Fights: Fight Night - February 11, 2012

- vs. Brylan van Artsdalen - Loss via technical submission (guillotine choke) - XFE: Cage Wars 8 - July 29, 2011

- vs. Bill Jones - Win via decision (unanimous) - World Championship Fighting 11 - June 18, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Leone earned the biggest win of his career one month ago when he scored the upset victory against former Bellator champion Zach Makovsky in Atlantic City. The New York-based fighter ran into a career logjam in 2010 and 2011 when he lost four consecutive bouts (the first of which came by submission to Renan Barao in WEC), but he has been on a roll of late, winning four of his last five.




14) Luis Alberto Nogueira (15-3)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: April 10, 1985

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Francisco Nazareno Figueredo Jr. - Win via submission (Arm-Triangle choke) - Best of the Best: Para vs. Brazil - November 29, 2012

- vs. Marcos Galvao - Loss via TKO (elbows) - Bellator 73 - August 24, 2012

- vs. Hiroshi Nakamura - Win via KO (strikes) - Bellator 70 - May 25, 2012

- vs. Alexis Villa - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 65 - April 13, 2012

- vs. Zak Laird - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - Bellator 53 - October 8, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





15) Jimmie "El Terror" Rivera (11-1)


Height: 5'4

Birthday: 1990

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jesse Brock - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 83 - December 7, 2012

- vs. Joel Roberts - Win via decision (unanimous) - Ring of Combat 42 - September 14, 2012

- vs. Justin Hickey - Win via decision (unanimous) - Ring of Combat 41 - June 15, 2012

- vs. Jared Papazian - Win via decision (unanimous) - King of the Cage: Empire - February 3, 2011

- vs. Abel Cullum - Win via decision (split) - King of the Cage: No Mercy - September 17, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: With the turn around at the bottom of these rankings, Jimmie Rivera makes his first ranked appearance. The Tiger Schulmann fighter was last seen in the Bellator cage last year, picking up his tenth consecutive victory. Unfortunately, the promotion is not having a bellator tournament in season eight, so it's unknown when his next fight may be.





Closing Comments: Formerly ranked #1, Dominick Cruz was removed from the 411 MMA Rankings in both the bantamweight and pound-for-pound editions because his last fight took place on October 1, 2011. He is out thanks to an ACL injury and not expected back until well into next year. He'll be back when he officially signs to fight an opponent.

The same goes for Brian Bowles who was ranked #6 in our late-2012 bantamweight rankings. He has not fought since November 19, 2011 and is not signed to fight as of this week.





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