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 411mania » MMA » Columns

411's Fighter of the Month 3.11.13: February 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 03.11.2013

How It Works
Each staff member picks five fighters and ranks them. I'll assign a point value to those rankings. Points are determined as:

1st - 5
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 2
5th - 1

The fighter with the most points is our Fighter of the Month and then new points are assigned that will go towards Fighter of the Year. Those points are:

1st - 15
2nd - 12
3rd - 9
4th - 6
5th - 3
6th – 1

The Voting
Larry Csonka
1) Ronda Rousey:
Ronda Rousey – arrive, arm bar, leave. That is all she does, and she does it well. Rousey won the first women's main event in UFC history; she retained her title and became an even bigger star by doing so. While I will not blow smoke like a lot of people and proclaim her the second coming of Christ and MMA's savior, Rousey's stock continues to rise and you cannot deny the results. She wins, she wins with a move everyone knows is coming, yet cannot stop.

2) Renan Barao: This month's votes for me feature some very dominant fighters. Look at this dude, Renan Barao. He defeated Michael McDonald via RD submission, retains his Bantamweight {INTERM} Title and takes his record to 30-1-1nc. He is also 7-0 under the Zuffa (WEC-UFC) banner now, and looking unbeatable. I really hope that Cruz is recovering well, and is 100% because that fight will be a great one.
3) Alexander Shlemenko: Alexander Shlemenko defeated Miguel Falcao via RD2 KO to win the vacant Bellator middleweight title. Shlemenko is considered by many one of the best non-UFC middleweights, and has now won 10 straight fights. The last time he lost was in 2010, to Hector Lombard. I had my doubts about Shlemenko, but was very impressed by his performance.
4) Jose Aldo: Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 via decision to retain the UFC Featherweight Title. Aldo has been dominating the Zuffa featherweights, now winning 15 straight WEC-UFC fights.
5) Emanuel Newton: Knocked King Mo the FUCK out.

Patrick Mullin
1) Jose Aldo
When you beat one of the top 10 pound for pound best fighters in MMA its gonna be pretty hard to top you. That's what Jose Aldo did when he successfully defended his championship against Frankie Edgar at UFC 156. While it was by no means easy, it was impressive as Aldo outstruck the former lightweight champion and showed why he's easily amongst the very best fighters alive today. Outstanding performance against a great opponent? Sign him up as fighter of the month.

2) Renan Barao: The interim bantamweight champion took on the top rated challenger to his title in Michael McDonald. While McDonald tried to fight valiantly, Barao proved too much for him and won every round before finishing McDonald in the third.
3) Antonio Silva: Kudos to Bigfoot for derailing the Overeem hype train and showing that TRT isn't a guaranteed win.
4) Emmanuel Newton: Newton was a -1200 underdog to King Mo and showed everyone why there's no such thing as a sure thing with his beautiful spinning backfist KO.
5) Eduardo Dantas: The Bellator bantamweight champion rebounded from an upset loss to Tyson Nam with an impressive win against his own mentor Marcos Galvao to retain his championship.

Jack McGee
1) Ronda Rousey:
I really do not think that t can be anyone else this month. Rousey was in a legit historic fight for MMA, she garnered a ton of media attention, and she won again with the arm bar. While some people going completely overboard with the hyperbole and such, it was a pretty big deal and Rousey is an even bigger star now.

2) Renan Barao: Renan Barao is a UFC Champion and finishes people! YAY! No, all kidding aside, Barao is a bad man and for the most part looked unstoppable in his fight with McDonald. He controlled things, never really looked in trouble and while Cruz is out, Barao's stock continues to rise.
3) Jose Aldo: Speaking of a bad man, Jose Aldo is also a bad man because he beat Frankie Edgar this month. Many criticized the victory because Aldo didn't finish Edgar. Please, enlighten me to all of the people that have finished Edgar in his career. I'll sit here and wait…
4) Urijah Faber: Urijah Faber defeated Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157 with an awesome back pack choke. But not only did Faber win, but the win allowed him to take the new main event spot at TUF 17 against Scott Jorgensen. The funny thing is that if Faber does win, he will be even closer to getting another title shot and that will make some cranky fans cry, which will make me smile.
5) Antonio Silva: While everyone was focused on Alistair Overeem winning and getting a title shot, Antonio Silva wrecked those plans with a TKO finish at UFC 156.

Jon Butterfield
1) Renan Barao:
Renan Barao underlined his status as the top bantameweight not called Dominick Cruz with a slick fourth round submission of fast-rising Michael McDonald. In a great month for Brazilian fighters, Barao pips Jose Aldo due to the finish, and gets my vote as Fighter of the Month. What's more, he's also the only 'Champion' on this list who still has a mouth watering fight to come... let's unify those belts, boys!

2) Jose Aldo: We all know that Jose Aldo is the top dog at 145, but if there were any doubts about his credentials as a 'UFC unbeatable', then yet another win over a top, top challenger must surely solidify his status as such. Frankie Edgar is the toughest challenge any UFC Champion faced in February, and Aldo passed the test. It wasn't as convincing as it might have been, but the bottom line is, Aldo rules.
3) Ronda Rousey: The face of women's MMA in the UFC, Ronda Rousey handled the ever-increasing intensity of the media spotlight, submitting a very game Liz Carmouche via her staple method of takedown, grapple/scramble, armbar. Carmouche put Rousey in trouble for the first time in her career with a crushing neck and face crank, but Rousey survived, got top position, and worked diligently for the inevitable tap. It was a very fun fight, and a good showcase for women's MMA.
4) Antonio Silva: 'Bigfoot' can feel somewhat unfortunate that he finds himself fourth on the list for Fighter of the Month when he achieved arguably the biggest upset of the whole period. Alistair Overeem was a huge favourite against Silva, but having failed to make the most of his clear superiority on the feet early on, Bigfoot made him pay for his overconfident and under-eager approach with a brutal third round KO!
5) Alexander Shlemenko: Undoubtedly the best middleweight in Bellator now Hector Lombard has moved on, the hugely-experienced Russian is a beast who disposed of the ever-dangerous Maiquel Falcao to claim the vacant throne - and what's more, he knocked him silly while doing so. A dangerous fighter, Shlemenko has the tools to succeed at an even higher level.

Jeffrey Harris
1) Ronda Rousey
No one should be number one on this list other than Rowdy Ronda Rousey. For all the controversy and hating on the UFC 157 main event, it was a resounding success. The fight did a bigger gate than a UFC heavyweight title fight with Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez at the same venue. Early reports indicate the show did a bigger buyrate than the stacked UFC 156 Super Bowl weekend card. Many were even rooting for Rousey to fail since she "doesn't like to get hit" and has a very outspoken personality. Others constantly complained of Dana White going back on his snicking claim that women would never fight in the UFC. When it came down to it, none of that mattered. A crowd at the Ronda Center were jacked to their feet with excitement for Rousey's title fight with Liz Carmouche after Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida stunk up the joint with their awful fight, a fight critics complain should've been the main event and gotten five rounds. Rousey is a trailblazer and she continues to shatter barriers. I'm declaring her not only Fighter of the Month, but Fighter of the Year already.

2) Jose Aldo: After being on the shelf a year, it was another impressive performance for Jose Aldo against a tough and game Frankie Edgar at UFC 156. Aldo proved to dominate with his crisp and impressive striking yet again that left Frankie Edgar and his fans befuddled and confused again why thinking you did "just enough to win" really is not "just enough." Aldo looks again to face more tough challenges as more top level lightweights are pursuing him and his featherweight belt, but I have a feeling Aldo will continue to dominate.
3) Renan Barao: Barao continued his long and impressive winstreak as the UFC hosted the first title fight in England in over five years as Barao defended his interim bantamweight belt against the hot, young prospect Michael McDonald. McDonald was 4-0 in the UFC going into this belt and was extremely confident ahead of time. Barao definitely looked like the smarter and more experienced veteran in the fight after likely giving away the first round, coming back and taking over the rest of the fight and submitting a young, tough challenger in the first round, handing McDonald his first submission loss of his career.
4) Antonio Silva: Bigfoot was far from the heavy favorite going into his fight with Alistair Overeem. The fight was considered more or less a formality on Overeem's road to becoming a UFC title contender after his misstep with the elevated testosterone drug test last year. Overeem took the first two rounds, but his arrogance and overconfidence got the better of them as he paid no respect to a big and powerful guy that hits like a truck in Bigfoot. Bigfoot didn't give up though as he dropped and humiliated Overeem in the last round and had Herb Dean having to drag a big and scary giant away from is fallen foe. Beware when a giant smells the blood of an Englishman.
5) Robbie Lawler: Before his fight with Josh Koscheck at UFC 157, I had all but written off Lawler as a relevant MMA fighter. Here he was coming back to the UFC after going an unimpressive 3-5 run in Strikeforce. So now he was cutting back down to welterweight and was older and facing one of the better fighters at welterweight in Josh Koscheck, a legit top 10 fighter. Early on the fight went how I expected. Though later into the first round Lawler saw an opening and put Koscheck out with some big bombs. While some complained it was a premature stoppage, you can tell Koscheck clearly got knocked out and was taking shots in a turtle position. Now Lawler has made a statement with his UFC return and has earned a new multi-fight deal as a result.

Jonathan Solomon
1) Ronda Rousey:
She sure showed them, didn't she? I'm referring to the minority of people who said she didn't deserve to be in the main event or that she was just plain overrated. After a ton of media focused their eyes on her and Liz Carmouche, the ladies delivered a spectacular one-round fight. Rousey faced the first adversity of her pro MMA career, survived and of course, won via armbar with 11 seconds in the round. WHO'S NEXT?!

2) Antonio Silva: Damn! Despite being on the losing end of the scorecards after two rounds, Bigfoot blasted Alistair Overeem in the third to win by knockout. With his emotions squirting everywhere, he shouted at the REEM and celebrated just like he finished Fedor Emelianenko again. The win earns him a rematch with Cain Velasquez and his first crack at the UFC championship.
3) Emanuel Newton: Despite all the advertising and hype, Emanuel Newton could not have cared less. He knocked out King Mo Lawal in the first round to show the world he's no joke. Definitely, you have to like his mix of wrestling and power and may be the man to challenge Attila Vegh for the Bellator gold.
4) Renan Barao: Michael McDonald is no slouch but Barao finished him with a chokehold to retain the interim bantamweight championship. Continued dominance from the Brazilian makes me wonder if Dominick Cruz (when healthy) is no longer the best 135-pounder.
5) Robbie Lawler: You can't have much of a better return to the UFC that finishing Josh Koscheck in the first round. Robbie Lawler looks tremendous at welterweight and earned himself a multi-fight deal with the UFC (lessening the hefty show money he was earning while under his Strikeforce deal).

Alex Rella
1) Ronda Rousey:
There was no doubt that Ronda Rousey was going to win at UFC 157, but it was an historic and great fight that gets her the top spot for me this month. She won the first women's MMA fight in the UFC, retained her title, and overcame a surprising challenge in Liz Carmouche. Rousey also shut up the dumb critics that were saying she didn't deserve the main event over Henderson and Machida.

2) Jose Aldo: Aldo picked up the biggest win of his career at UFC 156. Aldo beat one of the top pound for pound fighters and former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Aldo now has a fight coming up with Anthony Pettis and there have been talks have him moving up to lightweight afterwards. I wish he would stay at featherweight a little longer, but you cant blame him after dominating his division for so long.
3) Antonio Silva: This was just a huge upset. Everyone was looking past Bigfoot as we were all hoping Overeem would move back into the title picture. The first two rounds of the fight were trash, but Overeem kept disrespecting Silva's striking and finally got burned. Silva finally beat the crap out of him in the third for one of the nicest knockouts this year.
4) Alexander Shlemenko: Shlemenko has been waiting on the sidelines in Bellator since 2011, but he finally got a chance to cash in his title shot in February. He knocked out Falcao in brutal fashion to win the middleweight title. In my opinion he's the best middleweight not in the UFC today.
5) Renan Barao: Some people like to rip on interim titles, but sometimes they happen and Barao became a legit champion in my eyes this month when he defended his belt against Michael McDonald. Barao fought really intelligently to give the young challenger his first loss in the UFC and first submission loss. I'm looking forward to his next fight against Eddie Wineland.

Honorable Mention: Alexander Shlemenko - (5 points)

5th Place Emmanuel Newton - (6 points)

4th Place - Antonio Silva - (16 points)

3rd Place - Jose Aldo - (22 points)

Defeated Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 to retain his UFC Featherweight Title.

2nd Place - Renan Barao - (23 points)

Defeated Michael MacDonald at UFC on FUEL TV 7 via submission to retain his Interim Bantamweight Title.

411's Fighter of the Month for February - Ronda Rousey - (28 points)

 photo rouseyfotmufc157_zps3f4c1009.jpg

Ronda Rousey won, again, with the arm bar. Not sure if you know this, but, she's pretty good. !

2013 Year-End Standings
Here are the standing after two months…

RULE REMINDER: if a fighter ranked on the yearend list LOSES a fight they will lose 5 points. Also, after much discussion, if a fighter is suspended by an athletic commission, they lose any points accumulated.

  • Demetrious Johnson -15 pts
  • Ronda Rousey -15 pts

  • Anthony Pettis - 12pts
  • Renan Barao - 12pts

  • Tarec Saffiedine - 9pts
  • Jose Aldo- 9pts

  • Glover Teixeira - 6pts
  • Antonio Silva - 6pts

  • Ben Askren - 3pts
  • Emmanuel Newton - 3pts

  • Michael Chandler - 1pt
  • Alexander Shlemenko - 1pt

  • Year-End Rankings Key:

    * UFC Contracted Fighters are represented in BLUE.

    * Bellator Contracted Fighters are represented in RED.

    * Other Fighters are represented in MAROON.


    Year One (2009) Winner: Lyoto Machida

    Year Two (2010) Winner: Cain Velasquez

    Year Three (2011) Winner: Jon Jones

    Year Four (2012) Winner: Benson Henderson


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