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Sep
21

Anderson Silva’s Last Four Fights

After defending his title for a record 10 consecutive times it appears UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva is out of legitimate contenders to his throne. After all, he’s beat seemingly every top middleweight in the sport and two of them he’s beat twice.  But he’s not quite out of matchups. Here are four fights fans can enjoy watching and that would challenge Silva.

Chris Weidman

Undefeated and in both MMA and the UFC, Weidman is the most obvious choice for a match against Silva.  He also has probably the most dangerous style to match against Silva. With great wrestling and submission skills and a relentless work rate Weidman is a killer in top position. If Weidman could get Silva down he could submit him. Of course, just as easily “The Spider” could pull off a submission from the bottom.

Michael Bisping

Bisping always seems to pull up just short of a title shot, but he has enough of a resume built up that if the UFC gave him a title shot tomorrow it wouldn’t be surprising. Or even undeserving. A well-rounded fighter, he’s the one man in the division I can see outpointing the champ in a decision victory. Of course while he’s a good striker, muay thai practitioner, and ju-jitsu artist, Silva’s better at all three of those things.

Mark Munoz

Munoz was likely one win away from a title shot before being brutally beatdown by the aforementioned Weidman. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a fight with the champ and won’t get one. Munoz came into the Weidman fight looking vastly overconfident and underprepared. He won’t make that mistake with Silva. Munoz can’t match “the Spider” in the standup or submission game, but he has some of the most lethal ground-and-pound in the division. If he can walk through some heavy shots and use his superior wrestling to get  top position he can start his “Donkey Kong” attack. Seeing Silva get out of that would be one hell of a fight.

Jon Jones/Georges St-Pierre

Either match would be a great swansong for Silva. The fight between welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and Silva seems like more a reality right now, if you can believe Dana White. Logistically though, a fight between Silva and light heavyweight title holder Jon Jones makes more sense. GSP has a backlog of challengers to his welterweight throne, while both Silva and Jones are running out of possible matches in their division.

In pure physical sense Silva vs. Jones is a better matchup than Jones vs. St-Pierre. Silva is closer to Jones in body size than he is to GSP; he has fought at light heavyweight and GSP has only ever fought at welterweight. St-Pierre would have to put on quite a bit of weight to make 185 pounds which would make him slower. All Silva has to do to make light heavyweight is cut less weight. As a fan I would love to see Silva fight both GSP and Jones. But if it’s a choice between a catchweight fight with GSP and a title fight at 205 with Jones, I’ll take the title fight.

If Silva vs. Jones came to fruition it could be a classic. Their styles and strengths are very similar with a few exceptions. In a straight kickboxing match it’s impossible to say who would win, they are both such creative, quick, and accurate strikers. In the clinch I think Silva has the clear advantage. Jones main plus is his better wrestling skills. Jones probably wants to be in top position where he’ll hope his offensive ju-jitsu is better than Silva’s defensive ju-jitsu. Jones could use his length and his wrestling skills to score points and keep the fight where he wants it. But Silva is still very quick, and can strike from seemingly anywhere and end a fight in an instant. Of course so can Jones. That’s why this would be an amazing match up.

If Silva ended up fighting St-Pierre instead it would also be a dream matchup. The two best fighters of their generation going against each other? Arguably the two best pound-for-pound fighters of all time? GSP’s clear advantage would be his wrestling. He would have to use his added bulk to wrestle Silva to the ground and work from top position. Unfortunately, the added bulk would likely give Silva a standup advantage. Silva would want to keep it standing, using his kicks to keep his distance from St-Pierre and negate takedown attempts. Silva could also try to clinch when GSP goes for takedowns and utilize his brutal muay thai knees. This could be an incredibly interesting matchup because GSP is a very calculated fighter who comes into each fight with a specific game plan, while Silva seems to let fights go where they go. St-Pierre strategizes his entire fights around his opponent’s weaknesses while Silva waits until he spots an opening to attack. It could be one of the best fights ever. Of course, it could also be a bit a dud (Like the Matt Hughes-Royce Gracie fight).

So the situation isn’t as dire as the MMA community may think. There may be some other middleweights who emerge as serious contenders in the next year or two as well. But if that doesn’t happen and neither does a superfight between Jones or St. Pierre, give another shot to Sonnen. Or let Tim Boetsch have a crack at it. Even if one of those guys get dominated, they’ll make it entertaining.

Jul
26

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: July 2012 Edition

So, there are no changes this month. If anything with Anderson Silva’s performance at UFC 148 this list solidified it. With Bellator off the big news is that current UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz was unable to get healthy in time for this month’s pay-per-view. Instead, Renan “Barao” Pegado and Urijah Faber fought for an interim title. Barao’s big win over Faber may affect this list in the future.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 30-4)

After an unimaginable 10 straight UFC title defenses, Silva is the undisputed Greatest of All Time. He’s been a dominating run we’ll likely never see again. Chael Sonnen has been his most formidable foe but the Spider has now bested him twice, once in 2010 and once this year at UFC 148. After Sonnen soundly outwrestled him in Round 1, Silva refused to go to the ground in Round 2. Sonnen tried to bait him, Silva hit the wrestler with a huge knee and then quickly TKO’d him. Sonnen made one mistake and paid for it. That’s why Silva’s been such a dominating champion, if an opponent slips up once the fight is over.

Next Fight – TBA

2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 16-1)

For the first time as champ, Jones didn’t finish his opponent. Jones was smart to keep challenger Rashad Evans at arm’s length all fight, as he was the most complete fighter he’s faced yet. While it wasn’t the type of exciting fight we’ve been accustomed to from Jones, we did see something new – elbows as jabs! Bones methodically outstruck and outpointed Evans the whole fight and handily avoided all takedowns. Jones doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game and refuses to play to his opponent’s strength. If he keeps that up he’ll be almost unbeatable.

Next Fight – vs Dan Henderson @UFC 151  9/1/12

3. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – TBA vs Eric Koch

4. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. Last July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Urijah Faber. In October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight – TBA

5. Junior Dos Santos ↑ (UFC Heavyweight Champion Record 15-1)

At UFC 146 in May Junior Dos Santos successfully defended his heavyweight belt by thoroughly dominating Frank Mir. JDS was vastly superior to Mir in the stand-up game and Mir was unable to get the fight to the ground. Dos Santos boxing skills are superior to almost everyone in the division and seems almost impossible to takedown. He looks unbeatable at heavyweight at this point, but that is a division full of surprises.

Next Fight – TBA

Other fighters in consideration: Ben Askren, Carlos Condit, Benson Henderson, Cole Konrad, Gilbert Melendez

Jun
11

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: June 2012 Edition

So this is going to count for both May and June as no fighters on this list are fighting until July and I’m late on the May rankings anyway. With his first UFC title defense Junior Dos Santos enters the top five for the first time this year. With that Benson Henderson drops down to “In Consideration”. This is nothing against Henderson, who’s had an impressive UFC run recently, it’s just that winning and defending a title is more impressive than just winning one.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.

Next Fight – vs. Chael Sonnen @UFC148 7/7/12

2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 16-1)

For the first time as champ, Jones didn’t finish his opponent. Jones was smart to keep challenger Rashad Evans at arm’s length all fight, as he was the most complete fighter he’s faced yet. While it wasn’t the type of exciting fight we’ve been accustomed to from Jones, we did see something new – elbows as jabs! Bones methodically outstruck and outpointed Evans the whole fight and handily avoided all takedowns. Jones doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game and refuses to play to his opponent’s strength. If he keeps that up he’ll be almost unbeatable. 

Next Fight – TBA vs. Dan Henderson

3. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – vs. Eric Koch @UFC149 7/21/12)

4. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Urijah Faber. At the beginning of October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight TBA

5. Junior Dos Santos ↑ (UFC Heavyweight Champion Record 15-1)

At UFC 146 in May Junior Dos Santos thoroughly dominated Frank Mir in his first title defense. JDS was vastly superior to Mir in the stand-up game and Mir was unable to get the fight to the ground. Dos Santos boxing skills are superior to almost everyone in the division and seems almost impossible to takedown. He looks unbeatable at heavyweight at this point, but that is a division full of surprises.

Next Fight TBA

Other fighters in consideration: Ben Askren, Carlos Condit, Benson Henderson, Cole Konrad, Gilbert Melendez

May
3

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings:April 2012 Edition

There is a lot of movement this month as UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre drops off the list because of a year of inactivity. Former Bellator middleweight belt-holder Hector Lombard drops out of the “In Consideration” list because he vacated his belt to join the UFC. That means new UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson comes in at number five. New UFC interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit and Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren join the “In Consideration list”. Askren has defended his Bellator strap twice against as tough competition as you’d get outside the UFC. Henderson gets the nod over Condit at five here, because his list of downed opponents has a few higher ranked fighters.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.

Next Fight – vs Chael Sonnen @UFC148 7/7/12

 2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 16-1)

For the first time as champ, Jones didn’t finish his opponent. Jones was smart to keep challenger Rashad Evans at arm’s length all fight, as Evans is the most complete fighter he’s faced yet. While it wasn’t the type of exciting fight we’ve become accustomed to from Jones, we did see something new – elbows as jabs! Bones methodically out struck and outpointed Evans the whole fight and handily avoided all takedowns. Jones doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game and refuses to play to his opponent’s strength. If he keeps that up he’ll be almost unbeatable. 

Next Fight – TBA vs Dan Henderson

 3. Jose Aldo ↑ (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – vs Eric Koch @UFC149 7/21/12)

 4. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Urijah Faber. At the beginning of October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight – vs Urijah Faber @UFC148 7/7/12

 5. Benson Henderson ↑ (UFC Lightweight Champion, Record 15-2)

Next Fight -vs Frankie Edgar @UFC150 8/11/12

Benson “Smooth” Henderson narrowly edged out the tough Frankie Edgar in their title fight in February. Though earlier rounds probably should have gone to Edgar because of his takedowns, Henderson significant strikes were more significant all fight. In the final rounds he stuffed almost all of Edgar’s takedowns and continued his leg kick assault. Henderson has been on a tear since joining the UFC and just put away one of the toughest guys in all of MMA.

Other fighters in consideration: Ben Askren, Carlos Condit, Cole Konrad, Gilbert Melendez, Junior Dos Santos

Mar
8

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings:February 2012 Edition

There’s no movement in the top five this month, but Frankie Edgar is replaced on the “In Consideration” list by his vanquisher Benson Henderson. This will be the list for both February and March, because in none of the fighters on this list will be active in March.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.

Next Fight – vs Chael Sonnen @UFC147 6/29/12

2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 15-1)

In his title defense against Lyoto Machida, Jones had his biggest challenge yet. For the first time in his UFC career, he lost a round and had his chin tested. He didn’t shrink away from contact though; instead he thoroughly dominated his opponent in all aspects in Round Two before finishing Machida with a choke.

Next Fight – vs Rashad Evans @UFC145 4/21/12

 3. Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion, Record 22-2)

Since his title defense against Jake Shields in April of 2011, GSP has had to pull out of two events because of injuries. The UFC is scheduling an interim title fight and St-Pierre will meet the winner when healthy. It’s unfortunate that GSP will lose a year in his prime because of his health. It remains to be seen if he comes back the same fighter.

Next Fight – TBA

4. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – TBA

5. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Uriah Faber. At the beginning of October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight – vs Urijah Faber @UFC148 7/7/12

Other fighters in consideration: Benson Henderson, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez, Junior Dos Santos