Thursday, March 30, 2006

New Talent for the UFC

the following are some fighters that i could see the UFC bringing in to their ranks, guys who would make a splash as it were. not being a part of the UFC i do not know anything about the money and obligation aspect of things and so i cannot say that these guys are are likely to come just that it would make good sense. i think with the bringing back of bj penn and royce gracie te UFC has shown a willingness, maybe a even a newfoundone, to bring in guys to compete in addition to cultivating the younger talent that they have been working on from the TUF shows.

This guy is a true showman. I've only seen some of his fights but I can't think of too many people who are as fun to watch for fans as this man. His fight against Rampage Jackson is one of my all time favorites. He's a jiu-jitsu guy who shows a mastery of grappling as well as a good standup game, if not a punishing one. Sakuraba is just exceedingly clever and is a tough warrior. Sakuraba isn't young at 37 or so but i'd bet he's got enough in the tank to shake things up in the UFC ranks easily. He's not a champion in Pride as far as I know so why not pack it up and come to the states. I know he would be a fan favorite in no time. I believe he goes about 190 so he'd probably have to drop to 185 but I can see him giving Rich Franklin all he can hanlde and then probably a little more!

At middlewieght or light heavyweight Rampage would be a contender. Rampage is known for his slams and his power, for those of you not in the know, on these over seas fighters but he has a pretty good all around game. He can use his knees knows some submission defense has a good sprawl and he's beaten the Iceman. Nice resume topper there. Jackson is a nother guy that would just blow up over here in the US. I've heard rumors to this effect already.

Cro Cop has been kicking ass in Pride for a long time but can he bet Fedor? He's lost his only chance thus far and if he were to lose again he might be better off coming to America and showing his skills. At either light heavyweight or heavyweight he would come in and be number one contender and quite possibly take the belt from whoever he faces. He's that good.

At 6'6 250 pounds this guy is huge. His brother is the reigning heavyweight champ in Pride so there's little room to move up for Aleksander. He's another guy that would be a title contender immediately in UFC and a showdown with Andrei Arlovski would be HUGE.

I have seen very little of Herring other than when he KO'd that Japanese guy who kissed him right before their fight but rumor has it he could come to the UFC and he would be a top contender immediately and it could be quite a homecoming for the 6'4 250 pounder.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Power Rankings 3/5/06

Okay here are the Following the Flow Power Rankings. The fighters in each class are listed in a rough ranking with comments on the side. This isn't a pure talent level ranking system as that is not the only factor in determining who gets a title shot. Drawing ability is an important part of the decision making process on who fights who.


Arlovski - Arlovski may be the best all around fighter in the UFC and physically is a monster. The second fight between he and Sylvia I suspect will end much like the first though I will go out on a limb and say knockout for AA.

Tim Sylvia - Tim gets another chance to take back a belt that he once had. I don't see it happening to be honest but I suppose there is a chance. This should be a nice little boxing clinic though.

Paul Buentello - I think we'll see the Headhunter against Sylvia or Mir pretty soon. Personally I think Sylvia would be the better fight. Lots of hands but that reach would be hard to deal with. Ass. Silva would be another nice fight.

Jeff Monson - Hell he might get a title shot if the UFC doesn't come up with some better talent. Looks like he will be facing Cruz, who beat Mir, soon in a grapple to the death showdown. Cool.

Marcio Cruz - a consummate grappler who will be tested against Monson and we can see not only what he has but guage if Mir came back too early or ir Cruz is the real deal.

Frank Mir - A crushing loss to an fellow grappler will knock Mir down a peg or two. Both in ego and in these rankings.

Assuerio Silva - A poor debut puts this guy below any other legit contenders but he is still better than 90% of the other heavyweights that the UFC can muster.

Brandon Vera - He's more suited for LHW but with the dearth of talent in this division he's a player. Mir or Sylvia would be a big jump up in competition so maybe he gets a shot at Ass. Silva or Monson. Silva would be best for Vera, if he gets in trouble he can try and take it to the ground. Monson would probably maul him because of the strength disparity.

Tom Murphy - With the dearth of contenders here Murphy might just have an opportunity at some big time names.

Brad Imes - Faces Gabrial Gonzaga, he of the most boring fight ever. My money is on Imes and I hope Gonzaga is willing to do some work this time.

Wesley Correira - I want to see more Cabbage. He's not on par with the division heavies but the next tier would be fine. Buentello, Vera...

Light heavyweight

Chuck Liddell - Liddell vs Sobral at UFC 61 i'm guessing.

Renato Sobral - Babalu deserves the next title shot and i'd like to see that rematch. Sobral isn't the same kid he was when he lost the first time. If Griffin wins it will be interesting to see who fights Liddel. I would hope Renato would get the shot. Rumor has it he's fighting Marvin Eastman next. Wha?! Shonie Carter wasn't available? Jeez. Deserves a title shot gets a can. S'okay Renato we know you're the man.

Tito Ortiz - I hope Ortiz doesn't turn UFC into WWE. He should have a good win against Griffin but Forrest is tricky so we'll see. Liddell/Ortiz 2 does look like a heck of a fight.

Ken Shamrock - I don't think he's going to beat Tito so look for him to face someone like Babalu or one of the TUF guys, if he doesn't retire like Randy.

Forrest Griffin - I think Griffin has a shot at beating Tito. Forrest has the better standup and if he can keep Tito up with good sprawl or good knees he can pick him apart. If not then he has an outside shot at a submission. I don't see a knockout happening at all. Another thing to consider is that Griffin has been training with some of the heavies in the UFC so there is no telling where he is ability-wise right now.

Stephan Bonnar - I suspect if Griffin loses to Ortiz we'll see Griffin/Bonnar 2. In the meantime it's Bonnar against fellow TUF alumn Jardine in what should be a standup battle until and unless Bonnar gets worried then to the ground and submission win.

Alessio Sakara - I'm not sure where to put this guy but I am intrigued and want to see more. Looks like he'll be fighting Dean Lister soon which means we'll see more of his groundgame and sprawl. If they're there this guy could go far.

Rashad Evans - Still waiting to see who is first test will be. Hoger would be a good choice. Booya! I nailed that one. Evans hasn't beaten anybody who looked decent so this could be a stiff test for him. Evans has great grappling, he's quick and strong and shows potential with his boxing. If he loses does he bulk up to HW?

Sam Hoger - I think this guy could very well be a title contender one day, there's potential is all i'm saying. Set to fight Rashad Evans and that could be an interesting fight. If Hoger wins it will push him into the lower upper half of the division. If he loses he could be gone for a looong time. He could surprise Evans.

Keith Jardine - I hope Jardine found a ground game or else Bonnar will submit him if things get rough in the striking game.


Rich Franklin - There's a chance we'll have a new champ, honest. Not a big chance mind you but a chance. Personally I think Franklin will pick the Canadian apart with his footwork. I pretty much hit that one 'on the button'. Marquardt will be next barring something bizarre or someone being brought it in.

Nate Marquardt - I suspect that this will be the next contender for Franklin's title. His hands might not be a quick as Loiseau's but maybe a little heavier. He's got a few KOs on his record but 2 are with knees. Being a black belt in jiu-jitsu and training Muay Thai for years (according to an interview) I think Marquardt's all around game is better than the Crow so this could be a dangerous fight for Franklin.

David Loiseau - Loiseau gets bumped down a little after losing to the champ but he showed a lot fo toughness and heart and drew out Franklin's first decision win so he doesn't fall far. I see Loiseau/Marquardt looming large in the future and I can't wait. Chris Leben would be another good choice for a fight.

Jeremy Horn - I don't know if Horn and Franklin would fight each other. I could see Marquardt against Horn for a title shot but it probably won't happen that way. Horn against Evans would be a great fight. Come one UFC make it happen! Dude, I SO called this one. Joe Silva, call me brother!!! I can do this stuff all night long like Lionel Ritchie. And I can type!! Hell i'll be your secretary if need be, no skirts. Yes that's a firm rule.

Evan Tanner - Tanner against Horn. Two cagey veterans with UFC Good stuff right? Sorry Evan I have to take Horn on this one, you know how it is.

Chris Leben - Leben is ready for a stiffer test. Rumor has it that he'll be fighting Riggs, presumably at 185 pounds. I'll take Leben.

Joe Doerksen- Doerksen doesn't seem to be a contender but would be a stiff test for just about anyone in the division.

Mike Swick - So he does have a ground game!

Joe Riggs - Fresh off beating Nick Diaz, Riggs deserves another fight soon. I personally don't think he's ready to be an upper echelong guy yet. Chris Leben huh? This will be a brawl and could get ugly. Thank you UFC!

Nate Quarry - I'd like to see Quarry back in the octagon. He fell quite a bit in my rankings but he never was a true top contender so I guess that is what happens. Doerksen would be good or one of the two veterans, Tanner and Horn. Okay maybe someone else for starters. Swick? Prangley?

Robbie Lawler - I'd like to see Ruthless back fighting. He's so damn quick. Lawler vs

Trevor Prangley - Another guy who has been around but not beaten anyone of note.

Dave Terrell - The kid could have a future. He beat Matt Lindland but lost to Evan Tanner. Still a loss to Tanner isn't so bad.

Chael Sonnen - Hasn't been anyone of note and I expect him to get beat by Trevor Prangly, again.

Scott Smith - Dude gets a crack at the big show against Terrell. Should be a decent matchup, they seem about even


Matt Hughes - I think Hughes will pound out Gracie in short order but Gracie is no stranger to being the underdog.

George St. Pierre - I'm taking GSP over Penn but it's hard. I nailed this one too. It's kind of a shame that Karo loses the number one contender slot without losing fight but Rush did take out Penn so this is the reality of the situation.

Carlos Newton - Rumor has it...okay I guess Newton said it...that he's coming back against a TBD opponent. Penn or Diaz maybe? Kind of soon for Penn though since he just fought.

Karo Parisyan - Who does Karo fight if not the champ? BJ Penn maybe? That would be interesting. MMAWeekly has it rumored that he'll be fighting Nick Thompson. Hell i'll just be happy to see Karo fighting. God it's me again...please tell me Karo has been working some standup...

BJ Penn - What now for the former champ? A drop down to lightweight or a shot at Parisyan? Maybe a shot at Gracie if when he loses to Hughes?

Diego Sanchez - Diego whould get a shot at someone higher up than him. Parisyan, Penn or Sherk. Okay I don't have Sherk ranked higher but he is a more proven warrior.

Sean Sherk - Hmmm he deserves a fight somewhere. A rematch against Karo who he's beaten twice would be nice. Fighting Nick Diaz soon that will be interesting.

Josh Koscheck - Fights Ansar Chalangove soon, that will be a stiff test for the TUF guy.

Josh Burkman - He's looked real impressive in his wins but then again so did Quarry. Next fight is John Fitch who I know nothing about but I will take Burkman for the hell of it. He has looked good.

Nick Diaz - He's lost two in a row but to decent fighters, even though Riggs was on a big skid. Not to mention he apparently knocked out Riggs in the E/R after their fight so who knows what happens. I love Diaz's ability but I hate his attitude and that is a common feeling as far as I can tell. Looks he might be fighting Sean Sherk who's been the forgotten man lately. This will end up on the ground but I have to take Diaz either way. Diaz might try to keep this standing and pound out a decisive victory to ensure he stays in the UFC. He's got to be on thin ice even if he doesn't really understand.

Joe Stevenson - A great groundgame and excellent takedowns. Will be taking on Josh Neer and I expect a win from "Daddy".

Drew Fickett - I flat out don't like this guy. Good job Burkman! He faces Thiago Alves next. C'mon Thiago deliver unto 'the master' a Brazillian buttwhooping of the highest order.

Kit Cope - Work on that ground game man. If he gets another shot I think Diaz (if he isn't kicked from the UFC) would be interesting. Wait wait wait....Joe Riggs in a standup war! Yeah baby!

Melvin Guillard - I hope he sticks around the UFC until he can improve, he's got amazing potential. I saw his fight against Josh Neer and he was lighting up Neer. He looked powerful and quick...which is a nice combination to have.

Thiago Alves - A good striker who got caught by Spencer Fisher but was holding his own until then. I'd like to see him against Guillard or Cummo.


Jens Pulver - Lil Evil was the reigning champ so it will be interesting to see if he comes back to reclaim the title.

Mark Hominick - A win over one-time champ Edwards puts him right here. But will Pulver come back?

Yves Edwards - Edwards was shocked by Hominick so maybe his next fight is Stout? Take it out on another Canadian eh?

Sam Stout - Right about here I would think. I think he would lose to Stevenson so Edwards would be a better matchup.

Spencer Fisher - He lost but he took the fight on ultra short notice and had to cut a lot of weight so he doesn't drop much. That and there aren't really any proven guys behind him.

Kenny Florian - I guess he kind of stays still after not fighting.

Duane Ludwig - Ludwig against Edwards would be a nice fight.

Luke Cummo - I want to see Cummo fighting and soon! Him and Ludwig would be a nice fight or maybe Fisher. He's set to fight Jason Von Flue which should be good. Jason is the underestimated guy who just keep winning. I think Cummo gets him though, he's just too focussed and too dedicated.

Hermes Franca - A Jiu-Jitsu wiz who hopefully we'll see in UFC again.

Marcus Davis - Another TUF guy who could get a call. He would be good against Cummo. That would be a nice standup battle.

Melvin Guilliard - Not sure if this is do-able or not but it could allow him some breathing room for away from the welterweights but then again with so many people coming down here maybe he'd be better at 170.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Next Generation Fighters

...or as I think of them First Generation MMA fighters. What I am talking about is guys who excel standing and on the ground. When you have that ability the fights become more of a chess match and you see guys weighing their relative strenghts against opponents relative weaknesses. Not to take anything away from Matt Hughes or Diego Sanchez but there really isn't much chess there. You know what they are going to do....can you stop them? Hughes might be getting the short end of the stick here since his striking is hardly ever called upon but then that's the point isn't it? I don't blame the guy for sticking to his bread and butter but neither can I applaude his diversity. Similary is Chuck Liddell. Don't get me wrong I am not trying to say Chuck is a striker and that's all he is but the fact is his greatest non-striking skills are his ability to stay off the mat (i.e sprawl) and to get back off the mat. Not exactly excelling I would say. So here is my list of the guys who can do the job wherever it needs to be done.

Rich Franklin
Probably the benchmark for these guys. Yes he'll stand and trade with you. Trade his darting away from your shots for your eating his hammer hands! If it goes to the ground though Ace goes right to work on submissions and he can ground and pound as well. He even does that stand over a guy and pound on a guy ala Ken Shamrock....hell he did it to Ken Shamrock! And this guy is a workout warrior so ever round he's going to be bringing it. Oh and every round you have to stand up against him for at least a little bit. Hahahahahahaha

Nick Diaz
The guy has a serious attitude problem and to be honest I am not sure I want him polluting the pure thing we have right now in MMA. I do hope he gets his head on straight though because he is a very good all around fighter at a young age. He rolls well, boxes well, has at least some knockout power and is aggressive. Teach the kid some honest respect and the world could be his in a few years.

Andrei Arlovski
Okay so he's the heavyweight champ at 6'3 245, has the punching power you would expect from a guy that size, has like no body fat and has some of the best footwork in MMA?! Damn right it's not fair. He's a lot like Franklin and just like him the chink in his armor, so some proclaim, is a weak chin which may or may not be true but what's not open for debate is the all around skill he brings to the table. The Sylvia fight was probably the best display of that with a nice punch that knocked the big fella down and then finish with the ankle lock. Really it's too bad that Mir lost his fight because I was looking forward to seeing the two roll.

Forrest Griffin
Does the 'hillbilly' get too much publicity for too little accomplishment? Maybe.....maybe even probably but does he have an all around game? Definitely. Maybe more than anyone else. Griffin can box (some), can take a punch (many), works in the clinch (well), has some nice takedowns and is really more of a grappler! He took it to Elvis who is pretty much a veteran grappler, if not a great one. The Bonnar fight really showed some great flashes though. How about when he threw Bonnar off of him, against the fence and then through what could have been a vicious right hand. It looked tentative to be honest but if he had but some mustard on that and meant the Sportscenter theme. The guy has a mountain of potential.

David Loiseau
I agonized over this one, really. From what I have seen his ground game consists of really good defense and some ground & pound which makes it debatable on whether he belongs in this group but as he did beat Evan Tanner on the ground I feel obligated to throw him in there.

Brandon Vera
From what little I have seen the guy has a good standup game and is supposed to be better on the ground so I am taking a little bit of a chance on him. He looks well rounded though.

Stephan Bonnar
He's got Golden Gloves boxing trophies, can eat a punch or three and is a jiu-jitsu guy so yeah he fits. He's not as fluid as Griffin nor as good at takedowns but he can win standing or with a sub so he belongs. I do have some questions though, like can he ground and pound and can he knock someone out? If he doesn't have those things maybe he doesn't belong, we'll see.

The kid shifts fluidly from striking to takedown to grappling and it looks seemless. He seems to have an nice array of punches and kicks but does he have KO power? That's about the only possible hole in his game I can see. As far as transitioning smoothly fron one thing to the other i'd say he's right up there with Rich Franklin and Andrei Arlovksi with Griffin a half-step behind.

Honorable Mention (more to follow)

Nathan Marquardt
Spencer Fisher
Christ Leben