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 411mania » MMA » Columns

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411 MMA Rankings 12.10.13: Bantamweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 12.10.2013





Who would have guessed it? The full schedule for the UFC's first quarter of 2014 is nearly complete and the biggest fight set is in the bantamweight division. It's a good thing, too, because then we can stop relying on the 411 MMA Rankings to tell us who the #1 fighter is.

Welcome to the 411 MMA Rankings and our final bantamweight edition of 2013! This division has been pretty stable over the past 12 months and with the exception of the return of Dominick Cruz, the names atop the list below have almost remained identical since this time last year. But, what a big return Cruz's presence is.

Speaking of return, although he has since dropped weight, it's worth noting that former Bellator 135-pound champ Zach Makovsky will make his UFC debut this coming weekend. The flyweight will fight Scott Jorgensen on short notice, roughly two years since he was considered one of the top 10 bantamweights in the world. Keep an eye out for that Fox Sports 1 fight on Saturday.

Also this weekend, at UFC on Fox from Sacramento is a big 135-pound match-up pitting Urijah Faber against Michael McDonald. The winner will have a lockdown on the #3 role in the division as the best non-titleholder around. Meaning, yes, we could find ourselves in store for the billionth fight between Faber and Cruz at some point in 2014. Or a rematch between McDonald and Barao, or one between Barao and Faber. We need some more fresh blood here, don't you think?

Before you continue, just a quick word about the incredibly unfortunate passing of Shane Del Rosario last night. By most accounts from those who knew him, trained with him and considered him their friend or family, he was a nice human being who happened to kick ass for a living.

We may never know 100% what caused his heart to betray him, but if there's any possibility that it could have been prevented with any kind of specific medical attention/treatment (before it was too late), hopefully something positive can come from this and help fighters of the present and future.


Now, let's turn the page...





Rankings From One Year Ago
11.20.12


1. Renan Barao

2. Michael McDonald

3. Urijah Faber

4. Bibiano Fernandes

5. Brad Pickett

6. Mike Easton

7. Eddie Wineland

8. Tyson Nam

9. Marcos Galvao

10. Eduardo Dantas

11. Marlon Moraes

12. Raphael Assuncao

13. Zach Makovsky

14. Luis Alberto Nogueira

15. Ian Loveland





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 (31-1, 1 No Contest)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: February 27, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Eddie Wineland - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson - September 21, 2013

- vs. Michael McDonald - Win via submission (arm-triangle choke) - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Dominick Cruz - UFC 169: Cruz vs. Barao - February 1, 2014

Comment: Sweet, after waiting more than two years for this fight, the top two bantamweights in the world will square off in under two months. Dominick Cruz is back, Renan Barao has assumed the spot of UFC champ and hopefully, many of the questions will be settled in Newark.




2) Urijah Faber (29-6)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: May 14, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Yuri Alcantara - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Scott Jorgensen - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC TUF 17 Finale - April 13, 2013

- vs. Ivan Menjivar - Win via submission (standing rear naked choke) - UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche - February 23, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Michael McDonald - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Benavidez 2 - December 14, 2013

Comment: As is usually the case when one of their guys is fighting, Team Alpha Male will be on display this weekend on the latest UFC on Fox card. From the top of the card to the prelims, there will be four such fighters in action: Joseph Benavidez challenging 125-pound champ Demetrious Johnson, Faber vs. McDonald, Chad Mendes taking on Nik Lentz and Danny Castillo fighting Edson Barboza.

As Faber remains the face of the group, his co-main event slot opposite McDonald is perhaps getting most of the attention. Urijah is a legend of the sport as far as the lighter weight classes are concerned and we'd have to go back to 2008 to find the last time he lost to anyone other than a #1 fighter in a given weight class. So, if the pattern holds true, he will knock off the 22-year-old, right?




3) Dominick Cruz (19-1)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: September 3, 1985

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Demetrious Johnson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Versus: Cruz vs. Faber - October 1, 2011

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

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

- vs. Joseph Benavidez - Win via decision (split) - WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez 2 - August 18, 2010

- vs. Brian Bowles - Win via TKO (injury) - WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz - March 6, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Renan Barao - UFC 169: Cruz vs. Barao - February 1, 2014

Comment: He's BAAACK! Cruz was not only the best 135-pounder two years ago when he last fought, but he was considered one of the best five-or-so fighters in the world, regardless of weight class. Unfortunately, an ACL tear and problems in rehab have cost him two years of his prime. He'll return on Groundhog's Day-eve with the stiffest challenge of his career: Renan Barao. The obvious talk will revolve around whether Cruz will struggle in his return due to the immense time off and the questions surrounding his rebuilt knee. But, if he can come back and knock off the seemingly unbeatable Barao….2014 is starting off with a hell of a bang.

And yes, not everyone at 411 is sold on Cruz (2013 version) being the same as he was before the ACL injuries. Hence, the #3 placement.





4) Michael "Mayday" McDonald (16-2)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: January 15, 1991

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Brad Pickett - Win via submission (triangle choke) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via submission (arm-triangle choke) - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Urijah Faber - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Benavidez 2 - December 14, 2013

Comment: It's a hell of a story, the 34-year-old star against the 22-year-old looking to take his spot. McDonald is looking to continue building himself back up following the loss to Renan Barao at the beginning of the year. He impressively choked out Brad Pickett over the summer and will get a big opportunity this Saturday night. A win over Faber and Mayday almost automatically has to get the Cruz/Barao winner (the same goes for Urijah, by the way).




5) Bibiano Fernandes (15-3)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: March 30, 1980

Currently Fighting With: One Fighting Championship

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Soo Chul Kim - Win via decision (unanimous) - One FC: Total Domination - October 18, 2013

- vs. Koetsu Okazaki - Win via decision (unanimous) - One FC: Rise to Power - May 31, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: The new unified One FC bantamweight champion is Bibiano, as he remains unbeaten over the past three years. His first title defense next year should come against former Shooto champion Masakatsu Ueda, as he won the 135-pound grand prix this past spring.




6) Raphael Assuncao (21-4)


Height: 5'4

Birthday: July 19, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. T.J. Dillashaw - Win via decision (split) - UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields - October 9, 2013

- vs. Vaughan Lee - Win via submission (armbar) - UFC on Fuel: Nogueira vs. Werdum - June 8, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown




7) Takeya Mizugaki (19-7-2)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: December 16, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nam Phan - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Nght: Hunt vs. Bigfoot - December 7, 2013

- vs. Erik Perez - Win via decision (split) - UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann 2 - August 28, 2013

- vs. Bryan Caraway - Win via decision (split) - UFC on Fuel: Silva vs. Stann - March 3, 2013

- vs. Jeff Hougland - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Franklin vs. Le - November 10, 2012

- vs. Chris Cariaso - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

- vs. Cole Escovedo - Win via TKO (punches) - UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage - September 24, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: You have to love watching Mizugaki compete because year in and year out, the man never has an outright poor performance. Ever since he came to the U.S. as an unknown quantity to challenge then-WEC champ Miguel Torres in 2009, he has shown his fighting spirit without question. Over the weekend, he earned his fourth consecutive win in the UFC as he outclassed a game Nam Phan (also meaning he's 3-0 in 2013). Now, he prepares to turn 30-years-old next Monday; HAPPY BIRTHDAY~!




8) Marlon Moraes (12-4-1)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: April 26, 1988

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Carson Beebe - Win via KO (strikes) - WSOF 6: Burkman vs. Carl - October 26, 2013

- vs. Brandon Hempleman - Win via decision (unanimous) - WSOF 4: Spong vs. Deanda - August 10, 2013

- vs. Tyson Nam - Win via KO (head kick & punches) - WSOF 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson - March 23, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. TBA - WSOF - March 2014

Comment: Moraes continues to appear as the breakout fighter for WSOF after earning his fourth consecutive win in the organization at the end of October. He knocked out Carson Beebe and according to WSOF president Ray Sefo, the plan is for the Brazilian--->Floridian to compete for their new bantamweight title in March. There has been no word on who may be his opponent, but it would have to be someone out of left field for them to be considered the favorite.




9) Eduardo Dantas (15-3)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: February 3, 1989

Currently Fighting With: Bellator FMMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Marcos Galvao - Win via KO (punches) - Bellator 89 - February 14, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Dantas has a hefty schedule looking at him in 2014, as he has two known title contenders waiting in the wings. Rafael Silva and Joe Warren each won tournaments and now the 24-year-old just needs to complete the recovery process after injuring his ankle earlier this year.




10) Eddie Wineland (20-9-1)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: June 26, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson - September 21, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Yves Jabouin - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson - January 25, 2014





11) T.J. Dillashaw (8-2)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: February 7, 1986

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Raphael Assuncao - Loss via decision (spit) - UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields - October 9, 2013

- vs. Hugo Viana - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2013

- vs. Issei Tamura - Win via KO (knee) - UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz - March 16, 2013

- vs. Vaughan Lee - Win via submission (neck crank) - UFC on Fuel: Munoz vs. Weidman - July 11, 2012

- vs. Walel Watson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger - February 15, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





12) Bryan Caraway


Height: 5'8

Birthday: August 4, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Johnny Bedford - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen - April 27, 2013

- vs. Takeya Mizugaki - Loss via decision (split) - UFC on Fuel: Silva vs. Stann - March 3, 2013

- vs. Mitch Gagnon - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Dustin Neace - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - TUF 14 Finale - December 3, 2011

- vs. Marlin Weikel - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - CageSport 13 - February 19, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





13) Marcos Galvao (15-6-1)


Height: 5'3

Birthday: June 23, 1982

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Tim McKenna - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 108 - November 15, 2013

- vs. Shely Santana - Win via TKO (strikes) - Shooto: Brazil 40 - June 24, 2013

- vs. Eduardo Dantas - Loss via KO (punches) - Bellator 89 - February 14, 2013

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

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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Galvao returned to Bellator for his first fight since losing to buddy Eduardo Dantas back in February last month. He finished Tom McKenna in the first round and will look to get a spot in the upcoming season 10 tournament.




14) Iuri Alcantara (28-5, 1 NC)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: August 4, 1980

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Urijah Faber - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Iliarde Santos - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold - May 18, 2013

- vs. Pedro Nobre - No contest (illegal strikes) - UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping - January 19, 2013

- vs. Hacran Dias - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin 2 - June 23, 2012

- vs. Michihiro Omigawa - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes - January 14, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





15*) Jimmie "El Terror" Rivera (13-1)


Height: 5'4

Birthday: 1990

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Sidemar Honorio - Win via decision (unanimous) - WSOF 5: Arlovski vs. Kyle - September 14, 2013

- vs. Brian Kelleher - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 95 - April 4, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Arguably the top American bantamweight prospect, Rivera continues trucking along. He earned his 13th win last month with an impressive performance




15*) Tyson Nam (12-5)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: October 6, 1983

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Marlon Moraes - Loss via KO (head kick & punches) - WSOF 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson - March 23, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Cody Bollinger - WSOF 8: Johnson vs. Kyle - January 18, 2014

Comment: Nam needs a win…desperately.







Closing Comments: Erik Perez, Joe Warren, Mike Waston, Rafael Silva and Pedro Munhoz each received additional votes.

Brad Pickett was removed from our bantamweight rankings because he was dropped down to flyweight.






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