Browsing all articles tagged with Gilbert Melendez
Jan
6

Strikeforce to Limp Another Year

In a somewhat surprising recent press release Strikeforce announced it had renewed its Showtime deal for 2012. Strikeforce promises up to eight events and to retain its marque fighters. They also promise to “put on some really amazing events”, which seems unlikely when they’ve lost so many fighters that they’re giving Keith Jardine a title-shot (against current middleweight champion Luke Rockhold). It’s really hard to see the positive for any players involved in this deal.

Matthew Tosh flickr

This is bad news for the UFC. Dana White has said the UFC is going to stop cherry-picking the elite talent from Strikeforce. So, instead they’re going to have the few remaining top talents in Strikeforce go to waste, laboring another year in crumbling organization? UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre have nearly run out of opponents. Those weight classes could use an infusion of some new contenders. Light-heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones ran through four top-ten opponents in 2011. Right now, there are only three fighters who can realistically be considered a top contender for his belt. And one of them just left Strikeforce.

This isn’t really good news for Strikeforce. Sometime last year, Bellator overtook Strikeforce as the number two North American promotion. Of Strikeforce’s five men’s weight classes, only two have champions. The other three divisions lost their belt-holders to the UFC. Apparently, after the current heavyweight tournament is over that division will be disbanded. But does anyone care about the SF championship anymore? Let me state this again, Keith Jardine is getting a title fight. Jardine who lost his last four fights in the UFC and should have lost his only fight in Strikeforce (it was a Draw on a terrible decision). Defending your belt against him means nothing.

Which is why keeping world-ranked fighters like Gilbert Melendez, Luke Rockhold, and Daniel Cormier in Strikeforce for another year, amounts to a waste of year for them. Sure, they won’t be thrown to the lions right away like they would be in the UFC, but no one in Strikeforce gets them closer to a UFC title-shot. They’re losing valuable experience and a year in their prime by being forced to stay in Strikeforce. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but Luke Rockhold would benefit more by fighting on a UFC undercard against someone like Demain Maia or Vitor Belfort than by defending his Strikeforce belt.

Strikeforce began as an admirable attempt to stage world-class fights outside of the UFC. At the time it was needed, because the UFC stranglehold on the sport could have killed its momentum. Because of Strikeforce, the UFC had deliver quality, it had to continue to increase its presence on cable, and it had to treat its fighters fairly. But now, Strikeforce is just a part of UFC and an increasingly less relevant one. Like a fighter past their prime, Strikeforce should have ended before it got embarrassing to watch. Or it should have been turned into a minor league. Instead MMA fans get to watch a year of a formerly important organization become a joke.

Jan
1

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings:December 2011 Edition

I apologize that these rankings are late, but I thought it was necessary for a separate December and January rankings with the recent and upcoming fights. There is also some movement in the top five again. Jon Jones goes up to number two with his second title defense and Georges St-Pierre loses a place because of inactivity. Later this month Jose Aldo defends his featherweight title against unbeaten Chad Mendes, which may have an effect on this list.

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 – TBA

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 – TBA

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. 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. 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 vs. Urijah Faber.

5. Junior Dos Santos (UFC Heavyweight Champion, Record 14-1)

In just over one minute Cigano stopped the previously undefeated Cain Velasquez and took his belt. He avoided Velasquez’s takedown attempt and rocked him with a heavy shot. Dos Santos is always a threat to knock someone out and is undefeated in the UFC. After easily beating the most complete fighter in the division it’s hard to imagine him giving up the belt anytime soon.

Next Fight – TBA vs Alistair Overeem

Other fighters in consideration: Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez

 

Nov
20

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings:November 2011 Edition

Compared to September and October, November has been a slow month for UFC title fights. The UFC Heavyweight championship was the only title on the line and was also the only one to change hands recently. Junior Dos Santos took Cain Velasquez’s belt away with basically one big punch. Because of this Velasquez obviously drops off the list and Dos Santos comes in at number five. Dominick Cruz moves up to number four as his domination of the bantamweight division becomes more and more impressive.

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 – TBA vs. Chael Sonnen

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

GSP was not able to dominate Jake Shields the way he dominated his six previous challengers. However he once again held off a red-hot challenger by not playing into their game and exploiting their weaknesses. It may not have been exciting but it was the smart move. He still looks unbeatable in the Welterweight division.

Next Fight – vs. Nick Diaz @UFC 143 2/4/12

3. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 14-1)

Jones proved he was for real in his first title defense. He beat Rampage Jackson thoroughly and in all aspects of the fight. He kept Rampage at range with varied striking, forced him to defend from submission attempts, and was never predictable. His critics say he’s never been tested; the truth is no one has been able to find a chink in his armor. Jones is so good in so many ways and is always improving. Right now his only weakness is his ego.

Next Fight – vs. Lyoto Machida @ UFC 140 12/10/11

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 Uriah Faber. At the beginning of this month 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 vs. Uriah Faber

5. Junior Dos Santos ↑ (UFC Heavyweight Champion, Record 14-1)

In just over one minute Cigano stopped the previously undefeated Cain Velasquez and took his belt. He avoided Velasquez’s takedown attempt and rocked him with a heavy shot. Dos Santos is always a threat to knock someone out and is undefeated in the UFC. After easily beating the most complete fighter in the division it’s hard to imagine him giving up the belt anytime soon.

Next Fight – TBA

Other fighters in consideration: Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez

 

Oct
28

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: October 2011 Edition

It has been a busy month in MMA. Three UFC champions defended their belts and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was scheduled to defend his before an injury delayed his match this weekend. In other organizations Bellator is gaining steam while Strikeforce looks like more and more of a lame duck each month. With the elite fighters abandoning Strikeforce for the UFC, the Bellator roster is starting to shape up as the second best in North America.

There is a bit of shakeup in the rankings with Jose Aldo dropping from the Top-5 to the “In Consideration” rankings and Dominick Cruz replacing him at the five spot. Aldo has looked lackluster in his two UFC title defenses while Cruz has continued to look solid.

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 – TBA

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

GSP was not able to dominate Jake Shields the way he dominated his six previous challengers. However he once again held off a red-hot challenger by not playing into their game and exploiting their weaknesses. It may not have been exciting but it was the smart move. He still looks unbeatable in the Welterweight division.

Next Fight – TBA vs.  Carlos Condit

3. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 14-1)

Jones proved he was for real in his first title defense. He beat Rampage Jackson thoroughly and in all aspects of the fight. He kept Rampage at range with varied striking, forced him to defend from submission attempts, and was never predictable. His critics say he’s never been tested; the truth is no one has been able to find a chink in his armor. Jones is so good in so many ways and is always improving. Right now his only weakness is his ego.

Next Fight – vs. Lyoto Machida @ UFC 140 12/10/11

4. Cain Velasquez (UFC Heavyweight Champion, Record 9-0)

After the reigns of the hulking Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar, Velasquez proved that winning in the UFC required more than strength, power, and wrestling top-control. When Velasquez defeated Lesnar he proved that he was better all-around fighter than Brock and that he could contest with anyone in any aspect of a fight. There are a few UFC Heavyweights in his same class, but he’ll be a hard guy to take a belt from.

Next Fight – vs. Junior Dos Santos @UFC on Fox 11/12/11

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 this month 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

Other fighters in consideration: Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez

Sep
27

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: September 2011 Edition

Yet again, the top of the rankings remain the same. Jon “Bones” Jones looked dominant in his win but he’s far away from a ruling his weight class the way Silva or St-Pierre do. One month after entering the “In Consideration” rankings “Dangerous” Dan Henderson leaves it as he leaves Strikeforce.  Cole Konrad gains entry based on his spotless record.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 28-4)

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 – TBA

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

GSP was not able to dominate Jake Shields the way he dominated his six previous challengers. However he once again held off a red-hot challenger by not playing into their game and exploiting their weaknesses. It may not have been exciting but it was the smart move. He still looks unbeatable in the Welterweight division.

Next Fight – vs.  Carlos Condit @ UFC 137 10/29/11

3. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 14-1)

Jones proved he was for real in his first title defense. He beat Rampage Jackson thoroughly and in all aspects of the fight. He kept Rampage at range with varied striking, forced him to defend from submission attempts, and was never predictable. His critics say he’s never been tested; the truth is no one has been able to find a chink in his armor. Jones is so good in so many ways and is always improving. Right now his only weakness is his ego.

Next Fight – TBA vs. Rashad Evans

4. Cain Velasquez (UFC Heavyweight Champion, Record 9-0)

After the reigns of the hulking Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar, Velaszquez proved that winning in the UFC required more than strength, power, and wrestling top-control. When Velasquez defeated Lesnar he proved that he was better all-around fighter than Brock and that he could contest with anyone in any aspect of a fight. There are a few UFC Heavyweights in his same class, but he’ll be a hard guy to take a belt from.

Next Fight – vs. Junior Dos Santos @UFC on Fox 11/12/11

5. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 19-1)

Aldo may have gutted out a win against his most game challenger yet, but he did not look like his usual self in his first UFC title defense. His ground game and cardio were terrible, especially in a the final round where he allowed the challenger Mark Hominick to stay in top-position for the final few minutes. Hominick ground-and-pounded away while Aldo just laid there. He wasn’t his usual exciting self in the standup either, relying on more technical striking. He may have mashed up Hominick’s face and won his first UFC title defense, but he didn’t look anything like the dominant WEC champion he once was.

Next Fight – vs. Kenny Florian @UFC 136 10/8/11

Other fighters in consideration: Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez