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For the past three weeks we’ve seen top ranked heavyweights prove they still belong in the top ten. At UFC on Fuel TV 5 Stefan Struve put away the previously unbeaten Stipe Miocic with a pummeling of punches in the second round. The victory made the lanky Dutchman’s sixth in his last seven outings, all of which he earned by stoppage. On the UFC’s fifth FX card, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva returned to his winning ways after back-to-back loses by handing Travis Browne his first career loss. And at UFC 153 Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira shunned the retirement talk by making the much younger Dave Herman the 21st submission victim of his career. After a ten month layoff to recover from serious arm surgery, Big Nog returned to classic form to the delight of his hometown fans. 1. Junior dos Santos 2. Cain Velasquez 3. Alistair Overeem 4. Daniel Cormier 5. Fabricio Werdum 6. Frank Mir 7. Josh Barnett 8. Antonio Silva 9. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira 10. Stefan Struve *Shane Carwin is ineligible due to more than year of inactivity
Oh my god! Shocker, Anderson Silva is still the greatest middleweight in the world. In other news, previously #6 ranked Hector Lombard dropped off the list completely after losing one of the worst fights in MMA history. To fill the vacancy left by the catatonic Cuban, last month former welterweight contender Jake Shields successfully returned to the weight class by defeating Ed Herman. He now occupies the number 8 spot, which gives Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold a much-deserved boost. Lastly a note about Vitor Belfort. Since it is commonly believed that Belfort’s move to light-heavyweight was temporary, he remains amongst the elite at 185-pounds. 1. Anderson Silva 2. Chael Sonnen 3. Vitor Belfort 4. Chris Weidman 5. Alan Belcher 6. Luke Rockhold 7. Michael Bisping 8. Jake Shields 9. Tim Boetsch 10. Mark Munoz
Due to inactivity, long time UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre has unfortunately been dropped from the list. However, after his unification bout with interim champ and new #1 Carlos Condit, he’ll certainly return to the top ten, win or lose. Also absent is former Elite XC and Strikeforce titlist Jake Shields who moved back up to middleweight last month. As one moves up another moves down. In July, the multi-time middleweight King of Pancrase and one-time UFC title challenger, Nate Marquardt dropped down to 170 for his Strikeforce debut. He met the former Division I All American wrestler Tyron Woodley and after three exciting rounds of action he put “T-Wood” away with a series of elbows and punches, handing him his first loss and capturing the vacant Strikeforce belt in the process. Lastly, rounding out the top ten is another champion, Ben Askren, the unbeaten king of Bellator’s 170-pound division. 1. Carlos Condit 2. Nick Diaz 3. Martin Kampmann 4. Johny Hendricks 5. Nate Marquardt 6. Jake Ellenberger 7. B. J. Penn 8. Josh Koscheck 9. Jon Fitch 10. Ben Askren *GSP ineligible due to more than one year of inactivity
Bristol Marunde Marunde may have started off his professional career 3-5 but since then he’s gone 10-2 with his only two losses being to upcoming Bellator season 7 participant Jordan Smith and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. On the winning side of things, he picked up victories over UFC vets Shane Prim and Jay Silva to capture the Superior Cage Combat middleweight championship. Cameron Diffley The Vegas native is certainly inexperienced in MMA (3-0), but he may have more TUF experience than any of the other season 16 hopefuls. Diffley is a BJJ black belt under Ricardo Pires. He earned his black belt astoundingly in only 5 years and has numerous accolades in grappling competition. All of which lead him to serve as Forrest Griffin’s jiu jitsu coach for season 7 of the Ultimate Fighter. Sam Alvey “Smilin” Sam Alvey is a much-experienced fighter and veteran of Bellator Fighting Championships. Known for his toughness, Alvey has only been finished one time in his professional career, a submission loss in the 5th round of a championship fight against Gerald Meerschaert. Sam Alvey is also very big for a welterweight, having fought as high as 205 in the past. “Smilin” … Continue reading
Since our last visit to the lightweight division, there have been no changes to speak of in the top ten. Of course that is not to say there have not been big fights in the weight class. UFC 150 showcased three of the top 155-pounders in action. The co-main event of the August 11 pay per view event saw number 6 ranked Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone knock out his former training partner Melvin Guillard in the first round with a head kick and some follow up punches. And of course in the main event, Current champion Benson Henderson defended his belt against Frankie Edgar, the man he wrangled the belt from in February. The fight was close, as was the first, but this time many believed Frankie should have gotten the nod. The judges saw it differently however, though one judge gave it to Edgar 49-46, the other two gave it to Henderson 48-47. 1. Ben Henderson 2. Frankie Edgar 3. Gray Maynard 4. Gilbert Melendez 5. Nate Diaz 6. Donald Cerrone 7. Michael Chandler 8. Eddie Alvarez 9. Rick Hawn 10. Jim Miller
The featherweight division is in an awkward state at the moment. After the two most prestigious world championships in the division were postponed, and with the former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar finally coming to the division, the future looks brighter than the present.Since our last visit to the featherweight rankings nothing much has changed. With a quick knockout victory of Cody McKenzie, Chad Mendes ascends a rung on the ladder, and with the institution of MMABurner’s inactivity clause*, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire drops off the list for now. His vacancy has left the door open for fellow Bellator tournament winner and the last man that “Pitbull” defeated, Daniel Straus. Straus has won 4 straight since losing to “Pitbull” last year, including wins over UFC veteran Jason Dent (to capture the NAAFS Pro Series lightweight title) and former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro (to capture the Bellator season 6 crown). 1. Jose Aldo 2. Pat Curran 3. Chad Mendes 4. Chan Sung Jung 5. Ricardo Lamas 6. Hatsu Hioki 7. Erik Koch 8. Dennis Siver 9. Tatsuya Kawajiri 10. Daniel Straus *Fighters who are inactive for at least one year will be ineligible for MMA Burner’s rankings.
Saturday, Bellator champion and previously #5 ranked Eduardo Dantas fought under the Shooto Brazil banner and suffered the first knockout loss of his career at the hands of virtual unknown, Tyson Nam. Friday, Bellator concluded its 2012 Summer Series. In addition to the light-heavyweight final, the card also included the final of season 6’s bantamweight tournament. Previously #9 ranked, Luis Alberto Nogueira took on fellow Brazilian Marcos Galvao. Round one was close but in the second round, Galvao stopped Nogueira with punches and elbows. It was only the second time in “Loro’s” career that he had finished a fight inside the distance. Last month another Brazilian, Renan “Barao” extended his unbeaten streak to 30 when he outpointed former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber to capture the UFC interim bantamweight title. “Barao” has previously stated that he will wait for Dominick Cruz to return from injury to unify the belts. So, for better or worse we will not see the World’s #1 or #2 bantamweights in action until sometime next year. 1. Dominick Cruz 2. Renan “Barao” Pegado 3. Urijah Faber 4. Bibiano Fernandes 5. Michael McDonald 6. Brian Bowles 7. Marcos Galvao 8. Miguel Torres 9. Eddie Wineland 10. Brad … Continue reading
Marcos Galvao The red headed stepchild of Bellator’s 135-pound division now has a guaranteed title shot in his in his back pocket and a check for 100 grand in the other.Last year “Loro” was the victim of two of the most criticized decisions in recent memory. In April 2011, a non-title bout with Joe Warren and in October a semifinal tournament bout with Alexis Vila. As a consolation prize, he was given an automatic spot in the company’s season 6 tournament. In the opening round, he and Ed West put on a hell of a show, but Galvao walked away with the win. In the semis, he met nine-year veteran Travis Marx and once again picked up the decision victory. In the finals on Friday, Galvao put the tournament to rest in stellar fashion by knocking out Luis Nogueira in round two. It was only the second time in his career that Galvao was able to finish an opponent, and what better time to do it than in the tournament final. Now he is the number one contender for the belt worn by Eduardo Dantas. One of the added components of this contest is the fact that Galvao and Dantas … Continue reading
The three largest and most stable MMA promotions (UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator) have snatched up nearly all of the top talent in the world. But there are still a few great fighters that have managed to slip through the gaps. Marloes Coenen The former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion became collateral damage in the Zuffa/Golden Glory fallout. After her release from the company she moved up a weight class to headline the premier Invicta FC card against Romy Ruyssen. This was actually a rematch of a 2008 bout where Coenen won by rear naked choke in the second frame. She was also the victor this time around, picking up an easy unanimous decision. Thales Leites A former middleweight challenger, Leites has had only one loss out of seven fights since being dropped by the UFC. Matt Horwich was the man to do it, but Leites nullified the loss in March by submitting Horwich with an arm-triangle. Among his five other post-octagon matches, are victories over Dean Lister, Jeremy Horn and Jesse Taylor. He is also the only man to stop surging Swede Tor Troeng in the last 5 years. Ayaka Hamasaki/Naho Sugiyama I know this is a bit of a cheat, … Continue reading
Two weeks ago the first American based all female fight league, Invicta Fighting Championship held its sophomoric event. The card was stacked top to bottom with some of the best women in the sport, including two on this list. Ayaka Hamasaki, the Jewels 115-pound champion, made a successful North American debut, submitting Lacey Schuckman in the third. In the main event 2004 Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann extended her undefeated record to six by outpointing Strikeforce and Elite XC veteran Shayna Baszler in a three round affair. Coming up this weekend three more of the women’s pound-for-pound best will be in action at Strikeforce. Former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate takes on one of the few legends of women’s MMA, Julie Kedzie. And in the main event current champion Ronda Rousey defends her belt for the first time against the woman who became the inaugural Strikeforce women’s bantamweight titlist, Sarah Kaufman. 1. Jessica Aguilar 2. Ronda Rousey 3. Sarah Kaufman 4. Ayaka Hamasaki 5. Naho Sugiyama 6. Megumi Fujii 7. Miesha Tate 8. Tara LaRosa 9. Marloes Coenen 10. Sara McMann *Cristiane Santos and Zoila Gurgel are not eligible due to more than one year of inactivity. (Santos’ most … Continue reading
Justin Lawrence vs. Max Holloway Sporting a combined 10 fights, Lawrence and Holloway are two of the most inexperienced competitors on the entire UFC roster. Both are coming off of their first octagon win at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale. Even though Lawrence is dropping down from lightweight, Holloway still holds a significant height and reach advantage. The advantage he does have however is an impressive amount of boxing and kickboxing experience despite his young age. The outcome of this fight will hinge on the distance it is fought at, with Holloway favored at an outside range and Lawrence favored in close. Norman’s Prediction: Holloway will win, either by using his reach to keep Lawrence at bay and picking him apart or by taking him down and submitting him once he closes the distance. Izzy’s Prediction: This fight is going to come down to who has the better stand-up. At this point I believe the Black House product (Lawrence) will get the UD victory. John’s Prediction: Both fighters won their TUF 15 Finale fights, one with a Highlight KO and one with a dominating performance. Both have impressive stand up, and I see a striking match with a knockout finish. … Continue reading
The pound-for-pound list is by nature going to be populated by champions, and with the UFC at the moment having nine titleholders, more than they have ever had in their history, seven of them have made it into the top ten. George St. Pierre would have joined the list as well, but MMABurner.com has recently instituted a one year inactivity clause to the ranking system, in order to give new blood an opportunity in the spotlight. As the number of weight classes and the sport itself continues to grow, the available space for non-titlists is getting thinner and thinner. Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar comes in at number seven, just behind Ben Henderson, the man that edged him out last February to take the crown. The two will rematch this weekend at UFC 150. It will be Edgar’s sixth championship match in a row and his fourth rematch in his last five outings. The much-accomplished Dan Henderson takes the number nine spot. He will challenge the number two fighter Jon Jones next month in hopes of securing the only accolade that has eluded him over his illustrious career, a UFC championship belt. Finally, Joseph Benavidez rounds out the top … Continue reading