411's Fighter of the Month 11.04.13: October 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 11.04.2013
Can Velasquez retained the UFC Heavyweight title, Steve Carl won the WSOF Welterweight title, Lyoto Machida won his debut at 185 and more! But who won 411's Fighter of the Month for October? Check out the full article to find out!
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
The Voting Larry Csonka
1) Cain Velasquez:
At UFC 166, Cain Velasquez battled Junior Dos Santos for the third time, and for the second straight fight it went five rounds and for those five rounds, Velasquez picked apart Dos Santos. JDS is obviously good, and against anyone else in the HW division I think he wins with little issue, but Cain is just on another level. This was a great performance by the champion, who proved why he is the best HW in MMA today.
2) Steve Carl: Steve Carl became the first ever WSOF Welterweight Champion when he defeated Josh Burkman at WSOF 6. Burkman was the favorite, and most thought he would walk through Carl due to the fact that Burkman destroyed Fitch. Much credit to Carl for overcoming the odds, which included a hospital stay weeks before the title bout. It is actually a very cool, feel good story.
3) Lyoto Machida: Lyoto Machida made the move to 185, and at UFC Fight Night 29 things escalated quickly as he took out Mark Munoz in three minutes of the first round. Machida was obviously good at 205, but could be even better at 185.
4) Gilbert Melendez: Gilbert Melendez defeated Diego Sanchez in a very fun fight at UFC 166. Diego Sanchez is NOT a contender anymore, despite what he says, but the one thing you can count on is that he comes to fight and takes a beating to make exciting fights. Melendez won this three round battle, and that was a very good rebound victory following the closely contested loss to Benson Henderson.
5) Marlon Moraes: The WSOF standout made quick work of Carson Bebe for his sixth straight victory.
1) Lyoto Machida:
"The Dragon" finally began his career at middleweight and provided an instant addition to his highlight reel in the process. He knocked Mark Munoz's block off with a ferocious head kick, leaving no questions about whether his power would transfer to the new weight. Now, there's talk about a potential fight with Vitor Belfort next year and you know what that means - Lyoto Machida is one fight away from a championship fight!
2) Gilbert Melendez: Gil is no stranger to amazing fights, hell, the man was a walking classic for much of his career in Strikeforce. Did he top the incredible fights with Josh Thomson last month? It's debatable, but it seems like many would say 'yes.' His three-rounder with Diego Sanchez may have been considered a one-sided fight, but then you see Melendez nearly finished late in the fight with a great punch. Was that the end of it for the former SF champion? Hell no, it wasn't. He collected his bearings and continued onward, handing Sanchez a clear unanimous decision loss.
3) Marlon Moraes: What can't this 25-year-old do? A top ten overall bantamweight, he's WSOF's top fighter in the division and he's done nothing but prove it every time he steps inside the cage. Most recently, he knocked out prospect Carson Beebe in just 32-seconds. Yes, more than two-minutes faster than when he knocked out Tyson Nam earlier this year. His striking is going to win him many more fights and thus far, look back and you'll see a string of opponents who leave their fight with him worse for year.
4) Cain Velasquez: Another 25-minutes and five rounds of pure dominance over Junior dos Santos, that's what Cain displayed in October. The undisputed number one heavyweight in MMA, Velasquez appears unbeatable and with a future fight likely against Fabricio Werdum, that is likely not to change anytime soon. As long as he can stay healthy, Cain may be holding onto the gold for a long, long time to come.
5) Will Brooks: The Chicago prospect avenged his only loss last month as he bested Saad Awad in a three-round battle in the Bellator tournament semifinals. Up next is a hell of a match-up for the $100,000 prize and a guaranteed title fight with Alex Sarnavskiy.
1) Cain Velasquez:
It takes a lot for a fighter to not win or defend a belt and take my top spot, and this month no one impressed more than Cain Velasquez as he firmly established his place as the best heavyweight in the world for several years to come. Seriously, demolishing Junior dos Santos again proves no one is even close to this guy, and no one is beating him any time soon.
2) Lyoto Machida: Impressive KO victory, impressive debut in a new weight class, Machida did everything right this month. His performance instantly has people talking about him fighting for the belt next year, and plenty of people think he'll rule the middleweight division.
3) Gilbert Melendez: Melendez won what is hands down the best fight of the year so far and reminded us why he's been one of the top guys in a stacked division for a long time.
4) John Dodson: The Magician returned with a bang after his failed bid for the flyweight title, and he's already got another fight scheduled and could well get another crack at the belt next year.
5) Marlon Moraes: Winning a fight in dominant fashion in under a minute is a big deal. Moraes is a hugely talented fighter and the UFC would do well to try and pick him up as soon as possible, he'd be a great addition to the bantamweight division.
1) Cain Velasquez:
Cain Velasquez cemented the top spot with his demolishing of Junior dos Santos for the second time. By winning the third match and the rubber match in their trilogy, he put all the doubts and the excuses of Junior dos Santos to rest. Cain has now put the loss to JDS two years ago behind him and continues to look like a heavyweight wrecking machine who could very well be the most dominant UFC heavyweight champion of all time.
2) Gilbert Melendez: Melendez definitely raised his stock in the lightweight division, going to war and coming out of his UFC 166 bout with Diego Sanchez with a win. Melendez's UFC debut left something to be desired, even more so considering that he fought very conservatively in order to try and outpoint Ben Henderson to a decision. It was a strategy that ultimately failed as he was unable to take home the title. Now Melendez puts that in the rear view mirror after picking up his first UFC win. He now looks like a very strong contender against the current champion in Anthony Pettis or a man he has two title wins over already in Josh Thomson.
3) Lyoto Machida: Middleweight has been a move the MMA world has thought Lyoto Machida should make for quite some time. It was a move even he was open to and said he could make. And it was a move that paid off at UFC Fight Night 30, as right off the bat he knocks off a top five ranked middleweight contender in Mark Munoz. The move down to middleweight was a rejuvenation after some disappointing performances at light heavyweight. Machida looked to be in vintage form, stopping Munoz with a head kick. He showed a lot of class by not adding extra punishment.
4) John Dodson: Dodson finally got the chance to fight on the main card of a UFC PPV, and he opened the show with a bang to put it mildly. Dodson beat an experienced flyweight and former champion in Darrell Montague and went against many critiques against the flyweights. Dodson continues to be one of the most fun and exciting UFC fighters to watch, and he's a flyweight that knocks people out.
5) Dong Hyun Kim: The Stun Gun picked up another win (his third in a row) against the highly touted and much hyped welterweight prospect in Erick Silva. Kim looked to be in rare form, picking up his first UFC knockout win in over five years. Kim has really been on a tear since the loss to Carlos Condit and has put away some very tough competition.
1) Steve Carl:
The number one spot goes to the a guy who makes an impact and to me that is making a name for yourself. For the most part if you are not in the UFC nobody gives you any credibility as a fighter whether its deserved or not. Steve Carl has been around for a little bit now and has amassed a very reputable 21-3 ledger. Of those three losses none of them were to Josh Burkman. That is right WSOF crowned its first champion and its none of there poster boys, not Marlon Moraes or Jon Fitch but Steve Carl. The one time Bellator and M-1 Fighter managed to Triangle choke and tap out and knockout the people's warrior in the 4th round to buck all expectations in the MMA community. Can he now face the barrage of press and expectations, IDK, but I do know that he opened some people's eyes to the illusion of the hype machine.
2) Lyoto Machida: a wicked impressive debut against Mark Munoz gets one of my favorite fighters a spot in the top 5. I did not think things would end in the first round like that but the method of feinting in and out en route to blasting Munoz was, so golly gee good on me. Plus The Dragon looked leaner, meaner and dare I say better at 185 then at LHW. His next bout goes against another under appreciated fighter in Gegard Mousasi next as he also returns to Middleweight, all in all maybe a Dragon Vs Spider match is within grasp.
3) "Smilin" Sam Alvey: The former TUF cast member can now add some gold to his mantle after this month. After a spirited but unsuccessful attempt his first time out to capture gold in the MFC, Sam has persevered and done it on his 2nd attempt. After losing to Elvis Mutapcic before his departure to the WSOF Sam Alvey rebounded with a win and rematch for the MFC's Middleweight title against previously unbeaten at 10-1, Jason South. Adding Gold to one's stock is always an accomplishment and though already having experience in both TUF and Bellator I do see bigger things in Sam sometime down the line at just 27. But for now he will have to settle on being the number three fighter of the month.
4) Diego Sanchez & Gilbert Melendez: Insert sentence about the crazy, bloody not that technical but super fun to watch in a Rock em Sock em Robots meets Hungry Hungry hippos kinda way.
5) Shinya Aoki: A successful drop down to featherweight in the books and now looking to prove his potential international dominance in a new weight class. Sure Shinya did not face the biggest of threats in his debut but has since stated he will make a go of it and with new challenges on the international level maybe he can garner new fans and world wide attention again after falling short in North America.
1) Cain Velasquez:
The Cain Train just keeps on rolling, as the UFC heavyweight champion again mauled Junior dos Santos to retain his heavyweight title and further distance himself from that flash KO loss on UFC's first network broadcast. Since losing the title, Cain has twice demolished Bigfoot Silva (in less than one round's worth of time, total) and twice beaten Junior dos Santos, winning all nine rounds of their fights (and likely leading on the tenth before he finished JDS). With potential fights with Fabricio Werdum and either Josh Barnett or Travis Browne looming, Velasquez can go a long way towards becoming the most dominant champion in UFC history, and utterly dismantling JDS a second time was certainly the first step in that direction.
2) Steve Carl: With a triangle choke early in the fourth round of a fight to crown the inaugural World Series of Fighting welterweight champion, Steve Carl managed to do three things with one submission hold - he beat Josh Burkman to become the WSOF welterweight champion, he destroyed Burkman's hopes of returning to the UFC, and he laid to rest any notion that he couldn't perform in a high-pressure fight after bowing out early from both Bellator tournaments he participated in. If not the massive man at the top of this list, Carl could've also earned himself the top spot in this month's rankings as well.
3) Lyoto Machida: With an impressive knockout of Mark Munoz, the Dragon has put his name into the discussion for future UFC middleweight title opponents. If Machida picks up another impressive win, I'd say he'll have a clear path to fighting the middleweight champion in the wake of next month's Weidman/Silva rematch - not bad for a guy that no one wanted to see get his rematch with Jon Jones.
4) Gilbert Melendez: Wow, what a fight! If Diego Sanchez had finished Melendez when he rocked him in the final frame of their fight, I doubt he would've earned this spot, because Melendez dominated the fight up to that point, and by showing the heart and composure to recover from a huge shot and still dominate the remainder of this fight, El Nino has earned his place on my list.
5) Marlon Moraes: I was originally going to give this spot to Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez, as Tito Ortiz' injury allowed them to have the main event slot that they should've always had at Bellator 106; however, when a competitor like Moraes continues to demonstrate such a mastery of his division every time he steps in the cage, I have no choice but to add Moraes to the list.
1) Cain Velasquez:
Cain has finally done it. He has removed the biggest roadblock that was in his way to becoming the undisputed, unquestioned Baddest Man on the Planet. Even after his destruction of Junior dos Santos at UFC 155, there was still a lingering thought in people's minds that a repeat of their first fight could be possible. Now that the third fight has happened and it played out similar to the second, there is no longer any doubt. While Junior's toughness and tenacity were on full display once again, there is not one person who can say he didn't get his ass kicked by Cain because he did and it was bad. With JDS in a position where he'll be lucky if he gets another title shot, there is nothing to stop Cain from becoming the greatest heavyweight champion in UFC history and he stands a good chance of becoming, in time, the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. Good for him. Have a cookie.
2) Lyoto Machida: Even thought Machida's first cut down to middleweight was not an easy one, you can't argue with the results. Very few people have beaten Mark Munoz. Even fewer have finished him, and no one has finished him with a head kick. The weight cut didn't appear to have an effect on Machida's speed or power so this bodes very well for his future at 185. If Machida can keep the momentum going and defeat Gegard Mousasi in February, he could be fast tracked to a title shot.
3) Steve Carl: He's not the champion that everyone wanted but congrats are definitely in order to Mr. Carl for becoming the very first champion in World Series of Fighting's short history. His fight against Josh Burkman was a great back-and-forth affair with one submission attempt after another. It could have been either man's fight but Carl was in control more times than not and he proved his skill and desire to be a champion by choking Burkman unconscious in the fourth round. Now he is a champion. Nice job. I hope you like the idea of fighting Jon Fitch.
4) Marlon Moraes: With Burkman's defeat at WSOF 6, Moraes becomes the de facto face of the company, scoring his fourth consecutive victory under the WSOF banner. The bantamweight has been one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the company and that continued to be the case with his 32 second destruction of Carson Beebe. I hope WSOF is planning on making a 135 championship soon because there is no one who deserves it more than Moraes. Hopefully he's still winning fights by the time they get around to making a new belt.
5) Gilbert Melendez: Another month, another Fight of the Year candidate, this time from Mr. Melendez and his exciting battle with the full-time Dream, part-time Nightmare, Diego Sanchez. Sanchez was particularly impressive in his ability to come back in the third round after Melendez had picked him apart over the first two. Still, Melendez got the win and in doing so he instantly inserted himself back into the lightweight title conversation. He stands a very good chance of getting the winner of the Anthony Pettis/Josh Thomson fight in December.
1) Cain Velasquez:
For the second straight fight, Cain Velasquez dominated, destroyed and humbled Junior Dos Santos for five rounds. While he didn't get the finish, Velasquez showed that there is no doubt that is the best heavyweight in MMA right now, and is making a case for the best all time at this rate.
2) Steve Carl: Steve Carl defeated Josh Burkman via technical submission at WSOF 6 to win the promotion's inaugural welterweight title. I had this for Burkman all the way, and not only did I think this was an upset, it was basically a miracle. Carl was in the hospital two weeks prior to the fight, and could barely train the final days heading into the bout.
3) Lyoto Machida: Lyoto Machida made a successful drop to middleweight and owned Mark Munoz in the first round via KO. Machida looks at home at 185, and could cause a lot of problems for a lot of fighters.
4) Marlon Moraes: Right now, Marlon Moraes is just about the only reason I watch World Series of Fighting. This young man continues to impress and I prove, and I cannot wait to see him fight again. His 32-second destruction of Carson Bebe was his fourth victory in WSOF, and sixth straight overall.
5) John Dodson: John Dodson's RD 1 KO of Darrell Montague was the rebound victory he needed. It gets him back on track for a title shot, and shows that the flyweights can finish in spectacular fashion.
Honorable Mention: John Dodson - (5 points)
5th Place - Marlon Moraes - (10 points)
4th Place - Gilbert Melendez - (18 points)
3rd Place - Steve Carl - (20 points)
Your first World Series of Fighting Welterweight Champion!
2nd Place - Lyoto Machida - (29 points)
Successfully debuted at 185 by taking out Mark Munoz!
411's Fighter of the Month for OCTOBER is
Cain Velasquez - (32 points)
Still your reigning and defending UFC Heavyweight Champion with another victory over Junior Dos Santos!
2013 Year-End Standings
Here are the standing after TEN months (through October 31st)
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 or the UFC (drug related), they lose any points accumulated thus far.
Cain Velasquez 27 pts
Jon Jones 27 pts
Demetrious Johnson -27 pts
Anthony Pettis - 27pts
Renan Barao - 24pts
Glover Teixeira 15 pts
Chris Weidman -15 pts
Jose Aldo- 15 pts
TJ Grant -15 pts
Georges St-Pierre -15 pts
Ronda Rousey -15 pts
Jacare Souza- 12pts
Fabricio Werdum 12 pts
Johny Hendricks - 12pts
Michael Chandler - 10pts
Benson Henderson -10 pts (Loses 5pts for his loss to Anthony Pettis)
Josh Burkman 10pts (Loses 5pts for his loss to Steve Carl)
Ben Askren - 9pts
Pat Curran - 9pts
Stipe Miocic - 9pts
Vitor Belfort - 9pts
Tarec Saffiedine - 9pts
Emanuel Newton - 9pts
Steve Carl 9pt
Chael Sonnen 7pts (Loses 5pts for his loss to Jon Jones)
Lyoto Machida 7pts (Loses 5pts for his loss to Phil Davis)
Cat Zingano - 6pts
Marlon Moraes 4pts
Junior Dos Santos - 4pts (Loses 5pts for his loss to Cain Velasquez)
Mark Hunt - 4pts (Loses 5pts for his loss to Junior Dos Santos)
Carlos Condit - 4pts (Loses 5pts for his loss to Johny Hendricks)
Travis Browne - 3pts
Cub Swanson - 3pts
Wanderlei Silva - 3pts
Chad Mendes - 2pts
Khabib Nurmagomedov - 1pt
Josh Barnett - 1pt
Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino 1pt
Bobby Lashley 1pt
Alexander Shlemenko - 1pt
Michelle Waterson - 1pt
Bibiano Fernandes - 1pt
Alexander Gustafsson - 1pt (Loses 5pts for his loss to Jon Jones)
Gilbert Melendez - 1pt (Loses 5pts for his loss to Benson Henderson)
Antonio Silva - 1pt (Loses 5pts for his loss to Cain Velasquez)
Rashad Evans 1pt (Loses 5pts for his loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira)
King Mo Lawal (-2pts.) (Loses 5pts for his loss to Emmanuel Newton)
John Dodson (-4pts.) (Loses 5pts for his loss to Demetrious Johnson)
As per the rules, Pat Healy was stripped of his three points, due to his failed drug test for marijuana at UFC 159.
Year-End Rankings Key:
UFC Contracted Fighters are represented in BLUE.
Bellator Contracted Fighters are represented in RED.