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411 MMA Rankings 04.08.14: Heavyweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 04.08.2014





Welcome to the 411 MMA Rankings, our weekly dose of MMA math-filled argumentative noise. This week, we will check out the heavyweight division and see where things stand before the storm of fights in the coming weeks.

It's been two months since we last unveiled these (don't worry, we'll be doing another set before the end of the month thanks to all the activity) so this is the first set since Alistair Overeem knocked off Frank Mir. The legendary UFC veteran amazingly did not make it onto the list this week, a first for the 411 MMA Rankings. Quietly, he's amassed a four-fight losing streak and his future in the octagon is murky at best.

Speaking of one-time big name heavyweight fighters, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, widely recognized as the second best heavyweight of all-time, returns to action this weekend. He'll meet Roy Nelson in Abu Dhabi for the main event of a UFC Fight Night show and at this point, that match-up is a complete toss up.

Days ago, we saw (some of us, at least) Bellator champion Vitaly Minakov retain his gold by defeating Cheick Kongo and the undefeated Russian continues in the mold of his countryman Alexander Shlemenko, their middleweight champion. The current Bellator tournament will continue this week on Spike TV so expect plenty of knockouts on Friday.

The big spotlight in this division will shine on network television later this month as Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne lock horns on Fox. On the line is the right to challenge UFC champion Cain Velasquez later this year and either potential match-up is interesting in its own way. We have the submission specialist in Werdum and the knockout artist in Browne, lets all hope this month we don't see a repeat of Werdum/Overeem in Strikeforce and we can all rest easy.

Who do you have winning the big heavyweight fight on Fox this month?


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Rankings From One Year Ago
02.19.13


1. Cain Velasquez

2. Junior dos Santos

3. Daniel Cormier

4. Antonio Silva

5. Fabricio Werdum

6. Alistair Overeem

7. Josh Barnett

8.Frank Mir

9. Stefan Struve

10. Roy Nelson

11. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

12. Mark Hunt

13. Travis Browne

14. Stipe Miocic

15. Cheick Kongo





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


Heavyweight Division



1) Cain Velasquez (13-1)


Birthday: July 28, 1982

Height: 6'2

Weight: 242

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Junior dos Santos - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 166: Velasquez vs. JDS 3 - October 19, 2013

- vs. Antonio Silva - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Silva 2 - May 25, 2013

- vs. Junior dos Santos - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2 - December 29, 2012

- vs. Antonio Silva - Win via TKO (punches) - UFC 146: dos Santos vs. Mir - May 26, 2012

- vs. Junior dos Santos - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos - November 12, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





2) Junior dos Santos (16-3)


Birthday: January 30, 1984

Height: 6'4

Weight: 243

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Cain Velasquez - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC 166: Velasquez vs. JDS 3 - October 19, 2013

- vs. Mark Hunt - Win via KO (spinning heel kick and punches) - UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Silva 2 - May 25, 2013

- vs. Cain Velasquez - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2 - December 29, 2012

- vs. Frank Mir - Win via TKO (punches) - UFC 146: dos Santos vs. Mir - May 26, 2012

- vs. Cain Velasquez - Win via TKO (punches)- UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos - November 12, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Stipe Miocic - UFC Fight Night: JDS vs. Miocic - May 31, 2014

Comment: JDS is a heavy favorite against Miocic next month and while a win doesn't push him back into title contention as long as Cain remains champion, you must win the fights you're expected to.




>

3) Travis Browne (16-1-1)


Birthday: July 17, 1982

Height: 6'7

Weight: 255

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Josh Barnett - Win via KO (elbows) - UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2 - December 28, 2013

- vs. Alistair Overeem - Win via KO (front kick) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Gabriel Gonzaga - Win via KO (elbows) - UFC TUF: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen Finale - April 13, 2013

- vs. Antonio Silva - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC on FX 5: Browne vs. Silva - October 5, 2012

- vs. Chad Griggs - Win via submission (arm triangle choke) - UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans - April 21, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Fabricio Werdum - UFC on Fox - April 19, 2014

Comment: Less than two weeks until the first big heavyweight fight of 2014 with Browne and Fabricio Werdum squaring off to decide the next championship contender. The Hawaiian has been red hot with a series of knockout wins against Gabe Gonzaga, The Reem and Josh Barnett. As long as he can stay away from Werdum's lethal submission game, it stands to reason that Travis is the man to win.




4) Fabricio Werdum (17-5-1)


Birthday: July 30, 1977

Height: 6'4

Weight: 242

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 wins:

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

- vs. Mike Russow - Win via TKO (punches) - UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin 2 - June 23, 2012

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

- vs. Alistair Overeem - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum - June 18, 2011

- vs. Fedor Emelianenko - Win via submission (triangle choke) - Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum - June 26, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Travis Browne - UFC on Fox - April 19, 2014

Comment: The horrifically boring fight with Overeem notwithstanding, since the summer of 2010, Werdum has looked great. He conned legendary Fedor Emelianenko into going to the ground before choking him out. He battered Roy Nelson for three rounds in his return to the UFC. Then, most recently, he has finished Mike Russow and Big Nog. Perhaps none of them were more dangerous than Browne's kickboxing is going into this fight. If Fabricio can stave that off and score another win, it's easily the best run of his career.




5) Stipe Miocic (11-1)


Birthday: August 19, 1982

Height: 6'4

Weight: 245

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Gabriel Gonzaga - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Thomson - January 25, 2014

- vs. Roy Nelson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson - June 15, 2013

- vs. Stefan Struve - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fuel: Struve vs. Miocic - September 29, 2012

- vs. Shane del Rosario - Win via TKO (elbows) - UFC 146: dos Santos vs. Mir - May 26, 2012

- vs. Phil De Fries - Win via KO (punches) - UFC on Fuel: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger - February 15, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Junior dos Santos - UFC Fight Night: JDS vs. Miocic - May 31, 2014




>

6) Josh Barnett (33-7)


Birthday: November 10, 1977

Height: 6'4

Weight: 240

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Travis Browne - Loss via KO (elbows) - UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2 - December 28, 2013

- vs. Frank Mir - Win via TKO (knee) - UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2 - August 31, 2013

- vs. Nandor Guelmino - Win via submission (arm-triangle choke) - Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine - January 12, 2013

- vs. Daniel Cormier - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier - May 19, 2012

- vs. Sergei Kharitonov - Win via submission (arm-triangle choke) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov - September 10, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





7) Alistair Overeem (37-13)


Birthday: May 17, 1980

Height: 6'5

Weight: 266

Birthday: May 17, 1980

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Frank Mir - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber - February 1, 2014

- vs. Travis Browne - Loss via KO (front kick) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Antonio Silva - Loss via KO (punches) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Brock Lesnar - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

- vs. Fabricio Werdum - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum - June 18, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





8) Mark Hunt (9-8-1)


Birthday: March 23, 1974

Height: 5'10

Weight: 264

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Antonio Silva - DRAW - UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot - December 7, 2013

- vs. Junior dos Santos - Loss via KO (spinning heel kick and punches) - UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Silva 2 - May 25, 2013

- vs. Stefan Struve - Win via TKO (punches) - UFC on Fuel: Silva vs. Stann - March 3, 2013

- vs. Cheick Kongo - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

- vs. Ben Rothwell - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage - September 24, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





9) Vitaly Minakov (14-0)


Birthday: February 6, 1985

Height: 6'3

Weight: 249

Currently fighting with: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Cheick Kongo - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 115 - April 14, 2014

- vs. Alexander Volkov - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 108 - November 15, 2013

- vs. Ryan Martinez - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 97 - July 31, 2013

- vs. Ron Sparks - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 96 - June 19, 2013

- vs. Vladimir Starcencov - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 79 - November 2, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Minakov retained the Bellator heavyweight title with a decision win over Cheick Kongo over the weekend. While it may not have been as dominant as his previous fights, Vitaly outclassed Kongo on the ground and took advantage of the Frenchman's inability to do much off his back. The current heavyweight tournament continues this Friday on Spike TV with the eventual winner meeting Minakov later this year.




10) Antonio "Minotauro" Rodrigo Nogueira (34-8-1, 1 NC)


Birthday: June 2, 1976

Height: 6'3

Weight: 231

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Fabricio Werdum - Loss via submission (armbar) - UFC on Fuel: Werdum vs. Nogueira - June 8, 2013

- vs. Dave Herman - Win via submission (armbar) - UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar - October 13, 2012

- vs. Frank Mir - Loss via submission (Kimura) - UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida - December 10, 2011

- vs. Brendan Schaub - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami - August 27, 2011

- vs. Cain Velasquez - Loss via KO (punch) - UFC 110: Nogueira vs. Velasquez - February 20, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Roy Nelson - UFC Fight Night - April 11, 2014

Comment: Big Nog will be 38-years-old in June and unfortunately, every time he fights, the narration revolves around retirement. Win or lose, how long can he continue and do you want to see him fighting in 2014 and potentially beyond?




11) Roy Nelson (19-9)


Birthday: June 20, 1976

Height: 6'0

Weight: 264

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Daniel Cormier - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 166: Velasquez vs. JDS 3 - October 19, 2013

- vs. Stipe Miocic - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson - June 15, 2013

- vs. Cheick Kongo - Win via KO (punch) - UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen - April 27, 2013

- vs. Matt Mitrione - Win via KO (punch) - UFC Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale - December 15, 2012

- vs. Dave Herman - Win via KO (punch) - UFC 146: dos Santos vs. Mir - May 26, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - UFC Fight Night - April 11, 2014

Comment: Nelson tries to avoid a three-fight losing streak as he takes on the legendary Minotauro in Abu Dhabi this weekend.




12) Soa Palelei (20-3)


Birthday: July 12, 1977

Height: 6'4

Weight: 264

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Pat Barry - Win via KO (punches) - UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot - December 7, 2013

- vs. Nikita Krylov - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis - August 31, 2013

- vs. Sean McCorkle - Win via TKO (strikes) - Australian Fighting Championship 4 - December 7, 2012

- vs. Bob Sapp - Win via TKO (strikes) - Cage Fighting Championship 21 - May 18, 2012

- vs. Joe Kielur - Win via TKO (strikes) - AFC 3 - April 14, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Ruan Potts - UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva - May 10, 2014





13) Alexander "Drago" Volkov (20-4)


Birthday: October 24, 1988

Height: 6'7

Weight: 235

Currently fighting with: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Mark Holata - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 111 - March 7, 2014

- vs. Vitaly Minakov - Loss via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 108 - November 15, 2013

- vs. Richard Hale - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 84 - December 14, 2012

- vs. Vinicius Queiroz - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 80 - November 9, 2012

- vs. Brett Rogers - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 75 - October 5, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Mighty Mo - Bellator 116 - April 11, 2014

Comment: The former Bellator champion will compete in the tournament semifinal for the current season this Friday against Siala-Mou Sililiga, a match-up where Volkov is the big favorite.




14) Damian Grabowki (19-1)


Birthday: May 12, 1980

Height: 6'1

Weight: 240

Currently fighting with: M-1 Global

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Kenny Garner - Win via submission (arm-triangle choke) - M-1 Challenge 44 - November 30, 2013

- vs. Tadas Rimkevicius - Win via TKO (strikes)- M-1 Challenge 39 - May 23, 2013

- vs. Stav Economou - Win via decision (split) - MMA Attack 3 - April 27, 2013

- vs. Dave Huckaba - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 67 - May 4, 2012

- vs. Eddie Sanchez - Win via submission (Kimura) - MMA Attack 2 - April 27, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown




15) Jared Rosholt (9-1)


Birthday: August 4, 1986

Height: 6'2

Weight: 240

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Walt Harris - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC TUF 18 Finale - November 30, 2013

- vs. Jason Walraven - Win via KO (punch) - C3 Fights: Summer Slamfest 2 - August 2, 2013

- vs. Richard White - Win via TKO (strikes) - C3 Fights: Fighting for "Moore" Than Money - June 7, 2013

- vs. Bobby Brents - Win via decision (unanimous) - C3 Fights: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Weekend - April 27, 2013

- vs. Richard Odoms - Win via decision (unanimous) - Legacy FC 17 - February 1, 2013

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown






Closing Comments: Frank Mir, Brendan Schaub, Marcin Tybura, Sergei Kharitonov, Gabriel Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo received additional votes.

Antonio Bigfoot Silva is no longer eligible while he is serving a suspension for failing a drug test.

Stefan Struve was removed from our rankings because it has been over a year since he last competed.





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