Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rankings and Sengoku 4

Hey everyone! Good to be back! I took a little sabbatical there but now I'm back in full force as the MMA world is beginning to heat up again. I thought I'd dive back in with my revised P4P and divisional rankings so that way you folks are set for the big autumn in MMA that will be upon us shortly. Let's kick things off with the P4P list. Not much has changed but I'll give you the list anyway.

1. Anderson Silva: Silva already has Patrick Cote lined up in October. This fight is a joke and I won't acknowledge that it's even happening. So with that aside the one interesting fight that could line up while Yushin Okami (who is the true number 1 contender at 185) heals is if the WEC and UFC merge their 185 and 205 lb divisions as is being speculated. Then a possible fight with Paulo Filho could emerge. However, as former team mates they might not want to make this fight but with Filho moving on recently from Black House this fight could make sense. The one question mark is if Filho can get past Chael Sonnen at their upcoming WEC match in Sept. If Sonnen wins then that could be an interesting match for Silva as well.

2. Fedor Emelianenko: Fedor is fighting some no name Asian but the real fight looming is for his WAMMA title. The number one contender spot is up for grabs at Affliction 2 in Oct. between Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. Hopefully the winner of that fight will see Fedor early in '09 (possibly a Super Bowl weekend rematch against the UFC?) in what would be the biggest match Affliction could make for Fedor outside of Randy Couture (aka the Scorpion King 2... (shaking head in disgust)).

3. Georges St. Pierre: There really isn't much to say about GSP. He proved he is the next wave of MMA fighter against Fitch three weeks ago. He isn't the best at any one aspect of the game but when he puts his skills together he's better technically than anyone in MMA. The only reason he is not ahead of Silva and Fedor is the mental aspect. Silva and Fedor own the ring when they step into it. They are intimidating forces of nature that simply cannot be stopped right now. GSP is getting there but for now he sits narrowly behind the first two. He will really get a chance to prove who is the best all around technical fighter when he faces off against BJ Penn in Nov. or Dec.

4. BJ Penn: He has been dormant for a little while but his next fight against GSP can prove his P4P status as he moves up in weight and pits him against the only other fighter as technically gifted as Penn is.

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Unfortunately he will not fight anytime soon but a looming match up with Frank Mir should be a good one come Nov. or Dec.

6. Urijah Faber: He can possibly move ahead of Rodrigo depending on his performance against Mike Brown in Sept.

7. Miguel Torres: Nothing in the future for Torres right now but a big fight should be coming around Oct.

8. Takanori Gomi (up one): The Fireball Kid had a nice showing in Sengoku 4 earning the decision victory. Kind of moves up by default though with Fitch losing.

9. Forrest Griffin (up one): Has a bevy of opponents waiting for him to heal but the most likely candidate appears to be coming from the winner of Liddell v. Evans in a week.

10. Jon Fitch (down two): The only guy to survive five rounds of punishment from GSP. He is obviously not in the same class as GSP but my guess is he's still better than everyone else at welterweight which is why I kept him on the list.

Other's receiving consideration: Dan Henderson, Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Paulo Filho

* Depending on how Henderson, Liddell, and Filho perform this month any one of them can replace Fitch on the next list.

It's been a long time since my last divisional rankings came out and a lot has happened since then and since I don't have all day you'll get the Cliff's Notes version. Next time when I do these lists separately I can go more in depth.

1. Fedor Emelianenko
2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
3. Andrei Arlovski: Might even be able to move ahead of Rodrigo with a killer showing in Oct.
4. Fabricio Werdum: Has his chance to prove he's the real number 1 contender for Rodrigo's belt by beating Junior Dos Santos at UFC 90 (unless Couture plans on making his rumored final comeback to the UFC).
5. Josh Barnett: Will definitely move up big time if he can get past Arlovski in a couple months.

Light Heavyweight:
1. Forrest Griffin
2. Lyoto Machida: He's fighting Thiago Silva at UFC 89 trying to cement his number 1 contender status.
3. Quinton Jackson: Legal issues abound and switching camps is not going to help but until proven otherwise I can't move him out of the number three slot.
4. Chuck Liddell: He can move past Jackson with a good win next weekend.
5. Mauricio Rua: He should finally return this fall/winter to prove his loss to Griffin was a fluke.
* Dan Henderson falls off after moving down to 185

1. Anderson Silva
2. Rich Franklin: He's making a quick pit stop at 205 this weekend to test the waters. If he moves up he'll fall off this list but for now he stays on.
3. Paulo Filho: He can prove he belongs here against Chael Sonnen in a couple weeks.
4. Robbie Lawler: He beat the crap out of Scott Smith last month to keep his spot here.
5. Yushin Okami: He's healing and going through some contact issues but hopefully we'll see him return to the octagon soon for his deserved shot at Silva's title.

1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Jon Fitch
3. Thiago Alves: He will have to prove his number 1 contender status against Diego Sanchez at UFC 90.
4. Josh Koscheck: Hopefully we will see him back in Nov. or Dec. (possibly a match up against Jon Fitch?).
5. Diego Sanchez: He can catapult up this list with a win over Alves.
* Jake Shields looked great winning the EliteXC belt but Sanchez is a stronger all around fighter who's starting to get back on a roll. All bets are off in Oct. though as both men will fight.

Under 155 lbs:
1. BJ Penn
2. Urijah Faber
3. Miguel Torres
4. Takanori Gomi
5. Eddie Alvarez: He looked great in the DREAM lightweight tournament but unfortunately injury took him out of the finals (the semi finals and final took place on the same night). But he beat Joachim Hansen (the eventual winner) and Tatsuya Kawajiri (another top ten lightweight).

Now let's move on to the important results of World Victory Road's Sengoku 4.

- Ryan Shultz who had to be one of the favorites to win their Lightweight Grand Prix was KO'd in the first round of the tournament. Shultz is a veteran of the WEC and IFL with such names to his win list as Roger Huerta and Chris Horodecki and went to a draw with Gesias Cavalcante. This was a shocking upset.

- Frank Trigg won a decision and has really solidified himself as a borderline top 5 middleweight even at this late stage in his career.

- Takanori Gomi (as was mentioned earlier) won a decision keeping himself among the top names in the world amongst lightweights and P4P.

Ok folks, well I hope you weren't overloaded with information and I'll be back tomorrow (even though it's Labor Day, I'm always happy to work for my fans!) with my UFC 88 preview. Trust me, you won't want to miss it. It's going to be extra special considering this will be my first preview of an event I'm actually attending. Until tomorrow enjoy your Labor Day!

Soccer kicks and head stomps...

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