MMA World Rankings

MMA World Rankings

UFC 85 Preview

170 lbs. – Matt Hughes [2] vs. Thiago Alves [6]

Matt Hughes (42-6) is coming off a submission loss to GSP [1] in December. He may be the greatest Welterweight of all-time but the sport’s evolution is producing better fighters every day. At 34-years-old, he may only have a few more years to get back his title. Standing in his way is Thiago Alves (14-3), who is on a 5 fight winning streak that includes stoppages of Chris Lytle [15] and Karo Parisyan [8] in his last two bouts.  The 24-year-old kickboxer trains at, arguably the best camp in the world, American Top Team (ATT) in Florida. Since his loss to Spencer Fisher in 2005, he has gone 8-1 with 7 stoppage victories. A win here will put him in line for the GSP/Fitch winner. I can’t bet against Hughes in this one. I see him taking Thiago down and grounding and pounding his way to a TKO.

185 lbs. – Michael Bisping [31] vs. Jason Day [41]

Michael Bisping (15-1) is coming off a 1st round TKO of Charles McCarthy at UFC 83. This will be the 29-year-old’s 2nd fight at 185. He likes to brawl and is skilled in all areas of MMA. His two biggest strenghts are his heart and his cardio. Jason Day (17-5) has won 5 in a row and is coming off a 1st round TKO of Alan Belcher [49], also at UFC 83. The 29-year-old Canadian also loves to brawl and showed a good rubber guard against Belcher. His wrestling appears to be a weak spot so look for Bisping to take him down if necessary.

170 lbs. – Marcus Davis [12] vs. Mike Swick [13]

Marcus Davis (14-3) is on a roll, having won 11 staight fights. He is coming off a 1st round KO of Jess Liaudin in January. The 34-year-old is a former boxer (17-1-2 as a professional) who has stopped 12 of his 14 victims. He has vastly improved his grappling since starting his career 3-3. Mike Swick (11-2) is a 28-year-old training out of the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), in San Jose. This will be his 2nd fight at 170. In January, he won an uncharacteristicly cautious majority decision over Josh Burkman [14]. He is a very explosive striker (he won his first 4 UFC bouts in a combined time of 5 minutes 10 seconds) who will look to use his reach standing. This fight may end within the first minute and can go either way. Regardless of the outcome, the winner will take another step closer to the title.

185 lbs. – Nathan Marquardt [6] vs. Thales Leites [20]

Nathan Marquardt (26-7-2) is 29-years-old and trains at Greg Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is coming off an impressive guillotine/choke victory over Jeremy Horn [17] in February. “Nate the Great” began fighting pro MMA 10 years ago at the age of 19. He is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the sport. His only loss since 2003 was against Anderson Silva [1]. The blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) needs this victory to get another crack at him. Thales Leites (12-1) is a world-class BJJ blackbelt and one of the hottest prospect at 185 lbs. Since losing to Martin Kampmann [15] in 2006, he is on a 3 fight winning streak (all in the UFC) but hasn’t fought since August. The 26-year-old is taking a huge step up in competition and will climb high in the rankings with a win.  A 10-month layoff may mean he’ll start slow but, lucky for him, Marquardt is not a fast starter. This fight is too close to call. Leites has the slight edge on the mat while Nate has the slight edge standing.

HVY – Fabricio Werdum [8] vs. Brandon Vera [12]

This is possibly a #1 contender match for the Nogueira/Mir winner. Werdum (10-3-1) is coming off a victory over Gabriel Gonzaga [9] in January. The 30-year-old is the reigning Abu Dhabi (ADCC) Submission Grappling Champion at Heavyweight. He is one of the best grapplers of his era and has never been stopped, losing 3 decisions. His striking is underrated and he trains out of Chute Boxe in Brazil. Vera (8-1) is coming off a decision loss to Tim Syvia [5] in October. Prior to that loss, Vera (also 30-years-old) was 8-0 with 7 stoppages. He is the superior striker in this fight and will look to keep it standing. His grappling game isn’t bad either but it’s not at the level of Werdum’s. I see Vera keeping this fight on the feet and using his Kickboxing to get the stoppage.

185 lbs. – Martin Kampmann [16] vs. Jorge Rivera [34]

Martin Kampmann (15-2) hans’t fought since March ’07 due to injury. The 26-year-old trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. He is on an 8-fight win streak that includes a big victory over fellow prospect Thales Leites [19]. Leites is the only one of Kampmann’s 15 victim’s to last the distance.  “Hitman” is known as a striker but is equally good on the mat. A couple of wins will put him in line for a title shot. Jorge Rivera (15-6) is a 36-year-old veteran with 8 fights in the UFC. He is a striker who can’t afford another loss if he wants to challenge for the title. He is coming off his biggest win in years after KO’ing Kendall Grove in the 1st minute of their January bout. Unless Kampmann lost something after his injury, he’ll have no problem dispatching Rivera. 

155 lbs. – Thiago Tavares [32] vs. Matt Wiman [63]

Thiago Tavares (13-1) is a hot, young prospect at just 23-years-old. He is coming off a decision victory over Michihiro Omigawa in January. His only blemish was a close decision loss against Tyson Grifiin [16] in September. He is an expert BJJ practitioner with 10 of his 13 wins coming via submission. Matt Wiman (9-3) is on a 3-fight win streak (all coming in the UFC) but is taking a step up in competition with Tavares. The 24-year-old Wiman hasn’t shown elite skills in any area but he is solid both standing and on the mat. A win over Tavares would be huge for him and would set up another big fight. I don’t see that happening. I think Tavares will get him to the ground and set up a submission from there.

170 lbs. – Roan Carneiro [19] vs. Kevin Burns

Roan Carneiro (12-6) is 30-years-old and holds a blackbelt in BJJ. He has won several big time grappling competions. He is coming off the biggest victory of his career, a TKO of Tony DeSouza [23] in December. Kevin Burns (4-1) is a late replacement for Ryo Chonan [18]. He is a 28-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa. The former college football player holds a bluebelt in BJJ and is known for his cardio and endurance. This is a dangerous fight for Roan. Anything less than a stoppage over a guy making his UFC debut on short notice will look bad for a guy aspiring for a title shot.

205 lbs. – Jason Lambert [21] vs. Luis Cane [33]

Jason Lambert (23-7) is 30-years-old and coming off a devastating KO loss to Wilson Gouveia [20] in January. “The Punisher” is an expert ground-and-pound artist with an amazing 19 of his 23 victories coming by stoppage. He needs this victory to erase all memory of his loss to Gouveia. Luis Cane (7-1) is coming off a DQ loss to James Irvin [22] in December. Irvin could not continue after Cane illegaly kneed him to the face when he was down. The 27-year-old is an aggressive striker with 6 of his 7 victories coming by KO or TKO. He is also a Brazilian National Champion in BJJ. A victory over an established veteran like Lambert would legitamize his place in the 205 lbs. picture.

170 lbs. – Paul Taylor [40] vs. Jess Liaudin

This fight is a rematch. Taylor beat Liaudin by decision in 2003. Paul Taylor (8-3-1) is a 28-year-old from Walsall, England. He is a relentless fighter coming off a hard-fought loss to Paul Kelly [39] in January. He loves to throw down and will never quit. His last 2 fights have won the UFC’s “Fight of the Night” award. Jess Liaudin (12-9) is 34-years-old and coming off a KO loss to Marcus Davis [12] in January. The Frenchman had won 5 straight prior to that setback. He has an unorthodox but effective style that has stopped 11 of his 12 victims within the distance. This will surely be the last fight in the UFC for “The Joker” if he loses. His back is against the wall and so to perhaps, is Taylor’s. This is a must win for both fighters and I look forward to both of them leaving it all in the cage.

HVY – Eddie Sanchez [32] vs. Antoni Hardonk [42]

Eddie Sanchez (8-1) is 25-years-old and coming off a 3rd round TKO of Soa Palelei in December. He has tons of heart and none of his fights have gone the distance. His only loss was to Mirko Filipovic [7]. Antoni Hardonk (6-4) is a 32-year-old Dutch kickboxer who also holds a bluebelt under Rickson Gracie. None of his 6 victories have gone to decision. He has tremendous kickboxing skills but must improve his wrestling in order to compete at an elite level. I see Sanchez taking him down and getting a TKO or submission from there. In a thin Heavyweight division, a win will go a long way for either fighter.


June 2, 2008 - Posted by | MMA Analysis | , ,


  1. Sorry, but I have to disagree with your synopsis of Kevin Burns. Roan will most certainly have his hands full with someone who was in no hurry to get to the UFC. Once the initial chess match is over, Roan and anyone else that takes the time to watch the undercards will see a freakishly strong and well conditioned Kevin Burns do what he does best…win. I do believe that you have the referee stoppage correct…but Roan will only see that in the video the next day.

    Comment by Outlaw67 | June 3, 2008 | Reply

  2. Oh yeah,
    I dodn’t see any mention of Kevin Burns delivering the only loss Josh Neer experienced as an amateur…Roan has not fought a Josh Neer.

    Comment by Outlaw67 | June 3, 2008 | Reply

  3. Outlaw,

    Thanks for the info on Burns. I honestly didn’t know anything about him but, from what you say, he seems to be a good fighter (anyone with a win over Neer is solid.) But it will still be disappointing for Roan to lose to him. If only because Burns is a late replacement and a relative unknown. Burns is in a win-win situation. He’ll get exposure and noone expects him to win (at least those of us who’ve never seen him fight.)

    Comment by Kevin | June 3, 2008 | Reply

  4. Kevin,

    How does one contact you regarding advertising on your blog?

    If you are interested in a partnership with the Official Tickets and Packages Provider of the UFC, please email alexis [dot] morris [at]

    All the Best,


    Comment by Alexis Morris | June 3, 2008 | Reply

  5. Alexis,

    I sent you an email in regards to your inquiry. Let me know if it doesn’t get to you.

    Comment by Kevin | June 4, 2008 | Reply

  6. Hi Kevin,

    I like your rankings and I’ve got an inquiry regarding your blog.

    I was wondering if you could contact me at


    ~ Ricky Leone

    Comment by Ricky Leone | June 4, 2008 | Reply

  7. Ricky,

    I sent you an email. Let me know if there’s any problems.

    Comment by Kevin | June 4, 2008 | Reply

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