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411 MMA Rankings 6.10.14: Heavyweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 06.10.2014





Cain Velasquez is returning from injury, Antonio Silva is serving a suspension for elevated testosterone and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is fresh off a devastating defeat. It may seem like groundhog day in the world of MMA, but this is just another week in the life of the heavyweight division.

It's not all doom and gloom and testosterone replacement therapy, thankfully. After all, we'll get to watch Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt square off in Japan on the first day of autumn. Plus, we can remember when Fabricio Werdum shocked the world by submitting Fedor Emelianenko years ago. What's to say he cannot do the same against the modern dominant heavyweight in Velasquez when the two lock horns in Mexico City later this year?

Now, there are also plenty of heavyweights without star status who are piling up wins. From Stipe Miocic to Soa Palelei and Alexander Volkov, talent is rising to the top.

As for Nogueira, 10 years ago, the legendary competitor was preparing to fight Heath Herring in the quarterfinals of the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix and before the year was out, would have two clashes with Fedor. That was a long, long time ago. Since he returned to the United States and made his UFC debut in 2007, he has amassed a 5-5 record and has not won consecutive fights since 2008. All of those losses came by either submission or knockout and his loss in 2011 to Frank Mir resulted in a broken arm. The man is now 38-years-old and is still considered one of the most genuinely nice and pleasant people involved in the sport. There has never been a taint of steroids or elevated testosterone levels with him, unlike many of his peers, and he remains key to the careers of fighters today as a coach, mentor and training partner.

I don't want to see Minotauro fight again, even if it were against an overmatched journeyman. I don't know anyone who gets excited at the thought of another Nogueira fight and unless you happen to be an insanely nationalistic Brazilian, I cannot see why any person would be enthralled with that possibility. UFC president Dana White pushed hall of fame fighter Chuck Liddell to retire after one two many knockouts. The difference there was the personal relationship between White and his buddy Liddell. While it would be great to see White or Lorenzo Fertitta or Joe Silva or even his brother Antonio Rogerio Nogueira step up and talk him out of wanting to compete, you cannot force a grown man to do anything (unless you're the IRS) -- see Pulver, Jens. But, the UFC can refuse to book him in another fight, even at risk of seeing him jump to Bellator or a small-time operation.

Hopefully, it does not come to that and Big Nog can spend a day this summer being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame early in his retirement from the sport he was so masterful in.

Yes, I have stepped off my soap box for the week.

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Rankings From One Year Ago
04.19.13


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. Mark Hunt

10. Roy Nelson

11. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

12. Stefan Struve

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

Comment: We now have a date for when we will see the champion back in action. Cain Velasquez is booked to defend his championship against top contender Fabricio Werdum less than two weeks before Thanksgiving in Mexico City at Arena Ciudad de Mexico.




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:

- Unknown

Comment: JDS had been scheduled to return to the octagon last month against Stipe Miocic, but a hand injury forced the former champion to withdraw from the bout. There has been no update as to when we can expect the big man back.




3) Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1)


Birthday: July 30, 1977

Height: 6'4

Weight: 242

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 wins:

- vs. Travis Browne - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Werdum vs. Browne - April 19, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: With his masterful performance against Travis Browne two months ago, Werdum has effectively earned the first title fight of his long professional career. That itself is an amazing fact, that through 24 pro fights across the world, he has never competed for a major heavyweight championship. Perhaps, it's fitting that it will happen off four of the most impressive fights of his career. From his return to the UFC against Roy Nelson to his finishes of Mike Russow and Big Nog and his five-round be a town of Browne, he's clearly the second best heavyweight in the world right now.



>

4) Travis Browne (16-2-1)


Birthday: July 17, 1982

Height: 6'7

Weight: 255

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Fabricio Werdum - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Werdum vs. Browne - April 19, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: The best thing (or the worst, depending on your perspective) about Travis Browne we learned in April was the man can take a beating like few others. By all rights, he should never have lasted the full 25-minutes with Fabricio Werdum, he was battered and exhausted. But, he did. It was not a close fight by any stretch and a big eye opener as it was the first time we Browne was severely outclassed in a fight.




5) Stipe Miocic (12-1)


Birthday: August 19, 1982

Height: 6'4

Weight: 245

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Fabio Maldonado - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC TUF Brazil 3 Finale - May 31, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Fabio Maldonado was overmatched in the heavyweight division and Stipe Miocic made it clear to anyone who watched their fight two weeks ago in Sao Paulo. It was a fight rearranged due to Junior dos Santos' injury and as easy a fight as any professional fight may be. It took Stipe just 35-seconds to finish the bout and odds are he should be matched up against JDS before the end of the year.



>

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

Comment: While Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva is still suspended due to his positive drug test (elevated testosterone levels), he's eyeing Josh Barnett as his next opponent later this year. For what it's worth, Barnett is not booked and both men are coming off losses.




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

Comment: It's been an interesting year for "THE REEM" as Alistair Overeem won a potentially "loser leaves town" fight with Frank Mir in February and then left the Blackzilians camp in Florida. He had been part of their group for about two years but decided he needed a change to help his career. As such, he has since joined Greg Jackson/Mike Winkeljohn's team in New Mexico and is currently recovering from April's elbow surgery. As for his next fight, he hopes to compete in Japan this September, though it is not official yet. If he finds himself back in Japan, it would be his first fight there since he knocked out Todd Duffee in 19-seconds on New Year's Eve in 2010 on a K-1 Dynamite!! show.




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:

- vs. Roy Nelson - UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Nelson - September 21, 2014

Comment: Oh. My. God. Mark Hunt has signed to fight Roy Nelson in Saitama, Japan this September. Yes!




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




10) Roy Nelson (20-9)


Birthday: June 20, 1976

Height: 6'0

Weight: 264

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - Win via KO (punch) - UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Nelson - April 11, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Mark Hunt - UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Nelson - September 21, 2014

Comment: "Big Country" ended his two-fight losing streak with a first-round knockout of Big Nog in Abu Dhabi two months ago. Amazingly, of Nelson's victories, he has not won a fight by any other way than KO/TKO since 2007!!! That fight came in the IFL when he defeated Shane Ott by unanimous decision. Since then, he has won 11 fights and all of those are due to his striking prowess.

Speaking of knockouts, Nelson is going to headline the UFC's return to Japan this September when he takes on former Pride FC star Mark Hunt.

Yes!




11) Alexander "Drago" Volkov (22-4)


Birthday: October 24, 1988

Height: 6'7

Weight: 235

Currently fighting with: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Blagoy Ivanov - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 120 - May 17, 2014

- vs. Mighty Mo - Win via KO (head kicK) - Bellator 116 - April 11, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: The former Bellator champion won the season 10 tournament and went through the field finishing each of his three opponents. Perhaps most impressive, he choked out submission artist Blagoy Ivanov on the Bellator pay-per-view last month. The Russian's second Bellator tournament win means he will now challenge current champion Vitaly Minakov for the gold in a rematch, likely in the fall on Spike TV.




12) Soa Palelei (21-3)


Birthday: July 12, 1977

Height: 6'4

Weight: 264

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ruan Potts - Win via KO (punches) - UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva - May 10, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Jared Rosholt - UFC Fight Night: Te-Huna vs. Marquardt - June 28, 2014

Comment:Palalei remains undefeated in the UFC with his third win by knockout coming one month ago against Ruan Potts. The Australian fighter will return to his home region when he fights Jared Rosholt later this month in New Zealand. He has not lost a fight since 2010 when he challenged Daniel Cormier in Australia, meaning he is on an active 11-fight win streak.




13) Jared Rosholt (10-1)


Birthday: August 4, 1986

Height: 6'2

Weight: 240

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Daniel Omielanczuk - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Nelson - April 11, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Soa Palelei - UFC Fight Night: Te-Huna vs. Marquardt - June 28, 2014

Comment: The former three-time All-American Division-I wrestler at Oklahoma State is set to take on knockout artist Soa Palelei this month in New Zealand and his toughest test to date as a professional fighter. The lone loss of Rosholt's pro career stands as a knockout loss suffered in 2012 against Derrick Lewis (who ironically, just made his UFC debut in April with a TKO win over Jack May).





14) Brendan Schaub (10-3)


Birthday: March 18, 1983

Height: 6'3

Weight: 231

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Matt Mitrione - Win via submission (d'arce choke) - UFC 165 - September 21, 2013

- vs. Lavar Johnson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 157 - February 23, 2013

- vs. Ben Rothwell - Loss via KO (punches) - UFC 145 - April 21, 2012

- vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - Loss via KO (punches) - UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami - August 27, 2011

- vs. Mirko Cro Cop - Win via KO (punch) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Andrei Arlovski - UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov - June 14, 2014

Comment: Schaub is back in action this weekend after eight months off since he last fought -- submitting Matt Mitrione in Toronto. Now, he's set to challenge former UFC champion Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski in his return to the octagon. Arlovski is 4-1 with one no contest since 2012 and has not been finished since 2011 against Sergei Kharitonov. He last competed in his native Belarus back in November, defeating Andreas Kraniotakes by second-round TKO.



15) 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





Closing Comments: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva is not eligible in the 411 MMA Rankings while he is serving a suspension for a failed drug test. Once his suspension concludes in September, he will become eligible again.





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