MMA World Rankings

MMA World Rankings

UFC 92 (December, 2008)

205 lbs. Title – Forrest Griffin [1] vs. Rashad Evans [4]

  • MMA Records: Griffin (16-4); Evans (12-0-1)
  • Preview: Forrest Griffin is not your average fighter. He’s not an elite grappler, he’s not an elite striker, he’s not an elite wrestler and he’s not an elite athlete. Forrest Griffin is an elite warrior. He’ll out-work you in the gym and he’ll out-tough you in the cage. He’s a grinder. He’s also incredibly smart. He knows what it takes to be a champion. Rashad Evans is an elite athlete. He’s an elite wrestler. With his knockout of Chuck Liddell, he has become a feared striker. Rashad is also very intelligent. He knows how to win fights. It will be very interesting to see what strategies these two savvy fighters employ. Forrest needs to drag this fight the whole 5 rounds. Rashad needs to get a knockout. Both are equally likely. I’m leaning towards Evans though. He has 25 minutes to land one of his devastating kicks or punches. I think he’ll succeed in that task.
  • Result: Evans winner by 3rd round submission (Strikes)
  • Rashad’s power is what made the difference here. Forrest controlled the first 2 rounds but as soon as Rashad connected, Forrest fell and that was it. Rashad’s style has yet to be solved. His speed, power, footwork and wrestling present a formidable obstacle for anyone in the division. Forrest is an overacheiver. He has a ton of heart but he was physically out-classed against Rashad. Rashad rises to 1. Forrest drops to 2.

Heavyweight Interim Title – Rodrigo Nogueira [2] vs. Frank Mir [15]

  • MMA Records: Nogueira (31-4-1); Mir (11-3)
  • Preview: When someone asks you to define toughness, point your finger at Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The guy can’t be knocked out,  he can’t be submitted and he doesn’t wear down. He’s fought all over the world against the best of the best since the mid-90’s. He’s defeated everyone he’s stepped into the ring with except the almost mythical Fedor Emelianeko. I don’t see any possible way for Frank Mir to beat him. Nogueira by 2nd round TKO.
  • Result: Mir winner by 2nd round TKO
  • This was Frank Mir’s finest hour. You could almost see the smoke emanating from him. He was on fire. Never in my craziest dreams could I have seen this one. He dominated the boxing game and did what noone had ever done before, finish Rodrigo Noguiera.I will say that Nogueira appeared slow and worn down by the beatings he has endured over the years. He has aged seemingly overnight. I doubt we’ll ever see him near his prime again. Frank Mir, however, is riding incredibly high right now. Count me in as his newest fan. Mir rises to 2. Nogueira drops to 7.

205 lbs. – Quinton Jackson [2] vs. Wanderlei Silva [7]

  • MMA Records: Jackson (29-7); Silva (32-8-1)
  • Preview: Wanderlei Silva is a savage. There’s no other word that defines him so succinctly. It’s as if he just got done fighting ancient Greeks in the Trojan War and happened upon the 21st century. His style is timeless. He comes forward with windmill haymakers and doesn’t retreat untill somebody is knocked out. He’s done it twice already to “Rampage” Jackson in the past. I see it happening again in the short future. Rampage is as tough as they come but his style is tailor-maid for Silva. They are both brawlers but Silva throws the faster punches. Whether or not Silva gets the KO, this is guaranteed to be a knockdown, dragout slugfest.
  • Result: Jackson winner by 1st round KO.
  • Wanderlei’s game is very simple. Either he catches his opponent or they catch him. This time, he got caught. I think he would have been better served to go right at Rampage instead of taking time to feel him out. It gave Rampage time to pick his shots. Rampage drops to 3 (Because of Rashad’s rise). Wanderlei drops to 11.

HVY – Cheick Kongo [9] vs. Mustapha Al-Turk

  • MMA Records: Kongo (12-4-1); Al-Turk (6-3)
  • Preview: This is Mustapha Al-Turk’s UFC debut. He is an unknown. Cheick Kongo is possibly the best heavyweight striker in the world right now. He is also physically strong with improved wrestling and grappling. If he wins a couple more fights (including this one), he will likely get a title shot later this year.
  • Result: Kongo winner by 1st round TKO. Kongo rises to 6.

185 lbs. – Mike Massenzio [42] vs. C.B. Dollaway

  • MMA Records: Massenzio (11-2); Dollaway (7-1)
  • Preview: Massenzio and Dollaway are young wrestlers relatively new to the game. Who knows what skills they’ve developed since their last fights. What I do know is that whoever wins will officially become a contender.
  • Result: Dolloway winner by 1st round TKO. Dolloway debuts at 54. Massenzio drops to 55.

185 lbs. – Yushin Okami [10] vs. Dean Lister [27]

  • MMA Records: Okami (22-4); Lister (11-5)
  • Preview: You’re not going to find a Middleweight with more physical strength than Yushin Okami. He steps into the cage and imposes his will. He’ll take you 3 rounds and flat out wear you down. Dean Lister is arguably the best grappler in the world. Unfortunately, that is all he is. The term one-dimensional was made for Lister. Okami would be a fool to take him down. To be honest, this may be an ugly fight. It’s on the undercard for a reason. Okami is no doubt a top 10 Middleweight, but he needs more intriguing matchups to gain a fan-following.
  • Result: The fight went exactly as I thought it would. Dean wanted no part of the striking and it turned into a boring fight. Okami couldn’t do anything because Lister was being so defensive. I think it’s too late in Lister’s career to acquire a solid standup game. Okami took care of business and should be in line for a title later this year. Okami rises to 8. Lister drops to 30.

205 lbs. – Matt Hamill [23] vs. Reese Andy [41]

  • MMA Records: Hamill (4-2); Andy (7-2)
  • Preview: Matt Hamill is a very strong wrestler with decent boxing skills. Reese Andy is a very strong wrestler with hardly any boxing skills. This is a horrible matchup for Andy. Matt Hamill should cruise to a 1st or 2nd round TKO via punches.
  • Result: Hamill winner by 2nd round TKO. Hamill rises to 22. Andy stays at 41.

170 lbs. – Brad Blackburn [17] vs. Ryo Chonan [18]

  • MMA Records: Blackburn (13-9-1); Chonan (15-8]
  • Preview: This is a very interesting fight with two very interesting fighters. Blackburn has been incredibly inconsistent throughout his career. He holds big wins over Delson Heleno [32], Jay Hieron [19] and Chris Wilson [26] but at the same time, he’s lost 9 times. That being said, he seems to be entering his prime. He’s on a 3-fight win streak that includes wins over Heleno and Hieron. Ryo Chonan’s list of vicitms is eye-opening, considering he’s not well known to the public. He’s beaten top Middleweights Anderson Silva [1] and Joey Villasenor [21]; solid welterweight Roan Carneiro [30] (twice); and legends Carlos Newton and Hayato Sakurai [36]. I wish this fight was on the main card but it’s not. The fight itself is a toss-up. Blackburn is a highly explosive striker with solid wrestling and Chonan is a well-rounded striker with submission capability. An interesting fact is 3 of Chonan’s wins have come by stoppage due to a cut. My gut tells me, however, that Blackburn will get the 1st or 2nd round TKO with strikes.
  • Result: Blackburn winner by Unanimous Decision
  • If this fight would have gone 4 rounds, Chonan would have gotten the KO. Instead, Blackburn put the first 2 rounds in the bank before gassing in the 3rd and surviving until the decision. Chonan was sturdy and relentless throughout but Blackburn’s quicker punches scored him rounds 1 and 2. Blackburn rises to 16. Chonan drops to 27. 

HVY – Antoni Hardonk [32] vs. Mike Wessel

  • MMA Records: Hardonk (7-4); Wessel (6-0)
  • Result: Hardonk winner by 2nd round TKO. Hardonk rises to 27.

HVY – Dan Evensen vs. Pat Barry

  • MMA Records: Evensen (10-3); Barry (3-0)
  • Result: Barry winner by 1st round TKO. Barry debuts at 38

Future Fights That Make Sense

HVY

Frank Mir [2] vs. Brock Lesnar [3]

Cheick Kongo [6] vs. Antoni Hardonk [27]

Rodrigo Nogueira [7] vs. Randy Couture [8]

Pat Barry [38] vs. Eddie Sanchez [37]

Mike Wessel vs. Mark Burch

Mustapha Al-Turk vs. loser of Tom Egan vs. John Hathaway

205

Rashad Evans [1] vs. Rampage Jackson [3]

Forrest Griffin [2] vs. winner of Dan Henderson [10] vs. Rich Franklin [19]

Wanderlei Silva [11] vs. Matt Hamill [22]

Reese Andy [41] vs. Vinny Magalhaes

185

Yushin Okami [8] vs. Demain Maia [12]

Dean Lister [30] should get released

CB Dolloway [54] vs. Jason MacDonald [30]

Mike Massezio [55] vs. Nate Laughran

170

Brad Blackburn [16] vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida [19]

Ryo Chonan [27] vs. Paul Taylor [46]

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December 16, 2008 - Posted by | MMA Analysis | , ,

10 Comments »

  1. Griffin/Evans is hard to pick.
    I must say that I often fall to the idea that ‘fighter A has stopping power and fighter B doesn’t, so fighter A will probably win by stoppage,’ but I’m trying to liberate myself from that as I don’t know it to be true.

    With a guy like Forrest it seems that the probability of stopping him goes down over time. He gets to know his opponent, he wears them down, he might damage their leg and he typically is fresher/faster than his foes in the later rounds. Hard to ignore that Forrest has beaten two guys in his last two fights that are both more prone to stoppages than Rashad. Forrest has nice combos and has pretty great take down defense.

    But… it is hard to pick against Rashad as he has never lost. I still don’t think he’s been hit all that much, though I expected to see his chin tested against Chuck, that didn’t happen. Forrest will connect with his chin, he might not hit it that hard though. Rashad has KO’d with kick, with overhand right and has plenty GnP wins.

    Both have great mma tacticians training them. Rashad trains with a guy that has a win over Forrest. I’m still going to have to pick Forrest, narrowly.

    Burch/Hardonk
    Burch is in a great deal of trouble. He has no sub wins. He does have very early stoppages with strikes. If he manages to beat Hardonk standing then we’ll have a new contender for best HW striker.

    I hope to see some crisp leg kicks and imperceptible, lightning fast strikes from Hardonk.

    This is another fight where a KO is seemingly inevitable.

    Comment by Aas Gutú Adéli | December 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Gutu,

    I hate to admit it, but I fear this may turn out to be a situation where both guys are so even that they cancel out eachother and it becomes a boring fight. Also, they are very cerebral fighters and they may overthink their strategies. I’m hoping I’m wrong and pleasantly surprised.

    Burch is out of the fight. Mike Wessel is going to replace him.

    Comment by Kevin | December 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. That event sure didn’t go as I expected.
    I went 0 for 3 in picking the headliners.

    I do hope Mir leaps in ranking for proving us wrong.
    LHW will clearly again require some deep thought on your part.

    Again I ask for Hardonk/Kongo. The top strikers at HW both won by GnP.

    CB won by a move that I hate in the sport, he scored a pin then threw ineffectual rabbit strikes until the ref stopped it (at least that was how I saw it)

    Comment by Aas Gutú Adéli | December 29, 2008 | Reply

  4. Gutu,

    I didn’t see Mir winning at all. Incredible!

    LHW is pretty much interchangeable after Rashad, Forrest and Rampage in the top 3. Machida, Thiago and Luis Cane are all young bucks that could change the picture in 2009.

    Hardonk vs. Kongo would be very interesting. It could turn into a jiu-jitsu match!

    The way I look the CB fight is that it was Massezio’s fault to put himself in that postition. There’s virtually no escpaing it. Plus, in the no-rules days, Massenzio would have gotton destroyed.

    Comment by Kevin | December 29, 2008 | Reply

  5. Machida/Thiago vs Rashad Evans

    Chuck vs Wanderlei 2

    Rampage vs Forrest 2

    Couture vs Nog

    Mir vs Lesnar 2

    Comment by Giga Explosivo | December 29, 2008 | Reply

  6. Mir vs Nog is the biggest upset I’ve ever seen. I really think Nog underestimated his opponent, I haven’t bought into the past his prime hype… we’ll see after his next bout.

    Comment by Giga Explosivo | December 29, 2008 | Reply

  7. I think Machida would be Rashad’s toughest opponent right now.

    The crazy thing about Mir’s upset was that it wasn’t a fluke at all. He was on point all night. Very memorable.

    Comment by Kevin | December 30, 2008 | Reply

  8. I feel pretty confident that Machida would be anybody’s opponent right now.

    I’m pretty excited about Mir right now, we know he has a wicked ground game and he has hands that stopped the seemingly unstoppable Nog. And the guy is very fast…

    I do blame Massezio for getting into that position and I do despise turtling while presenting the back of your head and pressing your hands against the sides of your head as a defense. But there is still something mildly upsetting to me about a finishing move that is essentially a pin with little rabbit punches that don’t threaten to lose hip positioning. I fear there will be a time where a fighter doesn’t perceive that they’re in peril so they don’t improve position and the ref stops it… maybe I’d like to see people throwing bombs into the wrists and shoulders of the pinned opponent…

    Comment by Aas Gutú Adéli | December 30, 2008 | Reply

  9. I’m sick of seeing the turtling and having fighters get blamed for strikes to the back of the head when there isn’t much else to hit. It just seems that the “turtlers” exploit this rule in order to recover from a sure stoppage.

    Comment by Giga Explosivo | December 30, 2008 | Reply

  10. Sometimes guys turtle up because they want out of the fight. They’d rather have the referee stop it than tap out.

    Comment by Kevin | December 31, 2008 | Reply


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