Sunday, October 15, 2006

Power Rankings 10/15

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.


Tim Sylvia - Sylvia's next bout would be against Jeff Monson it looks like and Big Tim has already said he won't get taken down. We'll see. He's gone if he does get taken down though. Monson is monster on the canvas.

Jeff Monson - I'd love to see Monson take the belt from Sylvia. The grapplers get second son status sometimes but Monson is an Abu-Dhabi vet and can hang with or beat anyone on the floor. It would be one hell of a reach advantage for Sylvia though. Tim's sprawl will decided this one.

Brandon Vera - Rumor has it that Vera fights Mir next which will be a stern test and one that would most likely, if he wins, get him a title shot. Hell if either man wins he'll get a title shot i'd guess.....there's just no one else.

Arlovski - What now for Arlovski? I bet we see him in K1 for a bit until he can get a good streak going or until we get a new champ.

Cheick Kongo - Kongo and Vera look to be the guys who can make a run at the title next. I'd love to see Kongo vs Arlovski, who's with me?

Marcio Cruz - Cruz looked alright despite losing to Monson. Who next for Cruz? Mir?

Frank Mir - Can Vera make a name off the former champ? Can Mir actually make some sort of comeback? If he beats Vera he may well get a title shot.

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

Brad Imes - When will we see the big man again? Imes vs Sylvia would be fun to watch. If the Octagon doesn't collapse.

Dan Cristison - Lost to Mir but looked okay doing it, maybe gets another shot in the UFC. Cristison/Imes could be fun.

Light heavyweight

Chuck Liddell - Liddel destroyed Sobral easily but man I can't wait for the Liddell Ortiz rematch. My god that could be a war. Can Liddell stuff an Ortiz takedown? I'm thinking maybe some, but not all.

Tito Ortiz - Beat down and owned Shamrock but then that was kind of expected wasn't it. Ortiz/Liddell is going to be explosive.

Renato Sobral - At some point I want to see Sobral vs Ortiz but that wouldn't be until next year at the earliest....and will it be a title fight? Until then there are a few nice options for Babalu to fight. Griffin.....Rashad Evans...and Bisping would be interesting choices. Hamill possibly too.

Forrest Griffin - Who next for Forrest? Did someone say Babalu? C'mon Forrest let us see the groundgame. Stop trying to cater to the fans or UFC brass and do what you do best.

Michael Bisping - I'm surprised Bisping hasn't had a fight yet sine the TUF finale. I'm sure one day we'll see a Bisping/Hamill match which would be compelling indeed, i'd also like to see Bisping against the young guy Gouveia. You know, a warm up before he takes on some of the heavies.

Rashad Evans - Evans hasn't shown much improvement at all since TUF. His style is basically lay and pray and avoiding submissions. Still shows potential with his boxing but like I said, no improvement. He beatdown Lambert nicely but still it seems his only ground weapon is to get a mount and then do the deed, he showed nothing from any other position. He can control anyone but do we want another, more athletic, Matt Lindland? NO.

Matt Hamill - Tito's love child will get some action in the UFC and while wrestling/ground and pound is not my favorite style Hamill can do it very effectively. He beat a game Silverback Seth but Seth looked better than last time I saw him on the ground.

Seth Petruzzelli - Seth did alright for a guy who at last glance had hardly any groundgame going against an Olympic caliber wrestler. He was way to quick to slide into guard. C'mon work for top position and fall back to guard if need be. Too many guys take up jiu-jitsu and then become too complacent to jump to guard. Seth also needs to work on his hands but the potential is there because he is a pretty good striker already. Good at judging distances and moving away from danger.

Alessio Sakara - What next for Sakara? Petruzzelli? Jardine?

Stephan Bonnar - Things are getting ugly for Bonnar, he's not improving, he's losing and now tested positive for banned substances. AND HE STILL LOST?!? Get it together man.

Keith Jardine - Jardine looked slow, stiff and awkward against Wilson Gouveia but he should that he's tough and has good cardio which was enough. There really hasn't been much improvement though and my enthusiasm for Jardine is waning.

Wilson Gouveia - This guy looked really good. He dominated the first round and despite collapsing in the final two I believe he was the better fighter. If he works on his cardio he could go bigtime. He was comfortable and light on his feet and his kick boxing was better than Jardine's and Gouveia is a BJJ guy, we didn't even see that part of his game.


Anderson Silva - I don't know how good the groundgame is but you can see his standup is worldclass. What will happen when he lands flush on Rich's jaw? Okay so it was a knee that caught Ace flush either way it's a win. "And new UFC middleweight champion...." Who gets the first title defense? Swick? That could be a hell of a good fight.

Rich Franklin - The fight with Anderson Silva is going to be dangerous. The only knocks on Ace are his chin and lack of wins against credentialed fighters. This fight will test both of those things. So now Ace has to fight his way back to contention. Unless Dana White hands him a shot now which honestly would be just silly. I want to see Rich on the comeback trail, see him get fired up. Franlkin vs Marquardt still seems like a good fight.

Mike Swick - He looked like the better fighter against the Crow. Too bad Loiseau forgot to show up. Swick is pushing hard for a title shot and may well get it soon. I'm not sure what Silva winning the belt does to change things as far as whoever wins TUF 4 but Swick figures in there somehow. The standup fight in a Silva/Swick fight would be explosive, hell don't blink! For that reason and because Swick's stock is on the rise I expect him to get either the next title shot or the one after it.

Nate Marquardt - Nate has been waiting in the wings for a while since being tested positive for a banned substance. He's got legit credentials to make a title shot run and may deserve it more than Swick but I doubt it will happen just yet. Unless the UFC is just letting him work out his contract and then cut him loose i'd say he'll get a title shot next year or early next year. Be patient Nate, it's coming.

David Loiseau - I want Loiseau vs Spider Silva so bad I can taste it. Loiseau looked like he was seeing ghosts against Mike Swick and he was afraid to throw hands.......and feet. Loiseau/Leben could be fun.

Evan Tanner - What next for the former champ? I'd like to see him go against Leben at some point that would be a war! C'mon Evan Tanner, we need you.

Dave Terrell - Needs a fight, Marquardt would be a good one.

Chris Leben - Leben is going to be hungry after being dismantled by Silva. I still say bring on Riggs.

Dean Lister - Bring on Dave Terrell, what a grappling exhibition that would be.

Kendall Grove - The kid has heart, he's a taller Kenny Florian. Determination seems to be his great, and only, weapon.

Joe Riggs - Riggs is over-rated. He didn't deserve a shot at Hughes and he lost. I think he should be on TUF 4 myself. Can you say Riggs vs Leben??? Mmmmmm.

Jason McDonald - What an impressive with over Herman. I look forward to seeing more from the Canadian in the future.

Kalib Starnes - Kalib looked great on the show despite injuries, he's got a lot of skills. I'd like to see him fight Ed Herman. Starnes lost his last match but his opponent was solid. Kalib has real talent, watch out for him.

Ed Herman - Tough loss to the newcomer Jason McDonald but nothing to be ashamed of.

Rory Singer - Rory really choked on TUF so i'm not terribly impressed with him but he has some skills. I think he'll get beaten once or twice more and be out of the UFC.

Scott Smith - Smith vs Herman would be interesting.


Matt Hughes - Matt beat Penn because of patience and cardio but for those two rounds Penn looked like the better fighter. Truth be told Hughes didn't win so much as Penn lost when he gassed out big time. Next up, St. Pierre. The welterweights are deep and have some really spectacular fighters.

George St. Pierre - You can bet GSP's cardio will be where it needs to be and the fact that Penn made Hughes look thoroughly human only helps. Would Hughes have been as upset with GSP saying he was unimpressed by his (Hughes') performance against Penn if it weren't true?

Diego Sanchez - Diego looked his strongest against Karo at the end which speaks volumes for his cardio. He's a legit contender and will get the call after the Hughes/GSP bout.

BJ Penn - What now for the former champ? Does Penn drop down to lightweight now with losses to the champ and the number one contender? That would make a dynamite division just full to bursting. If so I want to see Penn/Sanchez first. Oh yeah. It would be after Diego gets a title shot of course, UFC won't risk a prime contender getting a loss before he gets the title shot.

Karo Parisyan - I was disappointed at the Karo that showed up against Diego. The standup looked to be a step backward from his last fight. Karo vs Koscheck would be fun.

Jon Fitch - Fitch is coming on strong. I'd like to see him and Diaz go at it.

Nick Diaz - That fight with Sherk was great, maybe a fight of the year contender. It may not have been as explosive as many but the technique in it was fabulous. Diaz always impresses me with his technique, whether boxing or grappling. The kid's game is just beautiful to watch. If only he'd keep his mouth shut and do the thing. He seemed to show class with Sherk at the end of the fight but no telling what happened after the decision was announced. Diaz has lost several tough, close decisions. Maybe you can fault him for not finishing them but that just seems picky when you see a young guy with the all around skills that Diaz has. He'll be champ one day mark my words. He could stand to be a little less defensive and go for some sub attempts.

Kuniyoshi Hironaka - He lost to Jon Fitch but looked composed, patient and skilled doing it. At least the groundwork. He might even deserve to be ranked higher here but his lack of notoriety in the states hurts him. I'd like to see more of Hironaka myself and am glad the UFC is bringing in more talent from outside the U.S.

Josh Koscheck - Josh's standup looked very good and very crisp, very light on his feet. He looks ready to make some serious noise.

Josh Burkman - What next for Burk? I'd like to see him against Kos.

Josh Neer - Neer looks like he can give just about anyone a good fight. I'd like to see a Fickett rematch with Neer rearranging his grill but that's just me.

Thiago Alves - Alves has ability he's just not using it.

Josh Haynes - Lost to Rory....good.


Sean Sherk - The new lightweight champ! He performed about as expected i'd say. He took every round but could not finish off Florian and probably looks worse today than Florian does. I'm sorry to say it looked more like lay and pray, more than ground and pound.

Spencer Fisher - Fisher beat a decent looking Dan Lauzon. Fisher looks to be next in line for a title fight and with his impressive all around game that would be fun to watch.

Kenny Florian - Florian is still progressing nicely on his standup. He consistently scored with kicks to Sherk's midsection but could not defend the takedown and despite several game sub attempts never was much of a threat. Great heart staying in there the whole fight though. I think he won some fans last night.

Jens Pulver - Jens needs at least one win against a top contender before getting a title shot.

Mark Hominick - C'mon UFC let's see Hominick vs Cummo or Pulver.

Joe Stevenson - Joe still needs some big wins to make a run at a title shot.

Yves Edwards - Got a beatdown from the very strong Stevenson. What next for Edwards who's 0-2 in recent UFC bouts? Sam Stout would be a good start.

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

Joe Lauzon - Bursting onto the UFC with a win against a former champ is a big deal. Lauzon might have been the beneficiary of a bad matchup for Pulver though. Pulver's a striker and wanted to keep things standing but Lauzon had a huge reach advantage. The next fight will tell us if Lauzon is for real or not. Oh, and get a decent nickhame man. J-Lo? Ughhhh. (shivers)

Jorge Gurgel - I was surprised that Jorge couldn't get a takedown on Hominick. Not one and by the 3rd he had a couple shots that he just couldn't take advantage of because of his wind. Surprising.

Dan Lauzon - Got some work to do but could see some fights.

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

Luke Cummo - Luke is rumored to be fighting Ross Pointon. Luke will have the advantage on the standup for sure and should be able to win this if he doesn't get caught with a haymaker. I'm still waiting for Cummo to get someone he can stand and trade with, maybe this will be it.

Melvin Guillard - In this the deepest weight class Melvin seems to have the ability to give just about anyone a run for their money on 'any given Sunday'. Raw power, explosive quickness, very good striking, uncanny's just not fair. Melvin vs Sherk would be worth watching, as would a fight against Fisher.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Well tonight is the night. At long last! I'm looking forward to these fights and the two main events will be electric, I can just feel it.

I think Rich Franklin will retain the belt but Spider is going to be his most dangerous opponent to date. Spider has fought more big name fighters than the champ has. With wins over Carlos Newton, Jeremy Horn and Hayato Sakurai on his resume his wins over Leben, Lee Murray and Jorge Rivera seem like small print footnotes. Look for Rich to use his footwork to good effect. On Countdown, Spider Silva says it is going to be a chess match. Yet it is and I give the edge to Ace because his knowledge and all round skill makes him so well suited to capitalize on mistakes by his foe. Rich by KO.

The lightweight title bout is a little harder to figure. I see Sherk taking this because he's just too powerful. He was too powerful at 170 and will be even more so now. I like Kenny and he's a tremendous underdog but it seems like he's yet another TUF guy coming on too early. He's looked good to be sure and I see a nice future for him but I don't see him beating Sherk tonight. Sherk by TKO.

I haven't seen Dan Lauzon fight so maybe I should keep my mouth shut but I don't see Spencer Fisher losing. Fisher should be fighting for the title I believe and will be shortly regardless. Spencer's game is beautiful to watch and his all around skill is utterly amazing. Fisher by TKO.

That's all the fights I feel informed enough to call tonight, sorry folks. Then again these three fights promise to be sensational. Damn, I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Final Chapter.

Tito finally put to bed this rivalry and the two managed to even come out of it looking classy and respectful. Well, assuming Shammy has enough sense to retire anyway. If anything I was surprised it took Tito so long to finish it. Hell, Shammy looked pretty good for a while.

The rest of the night seemed to be a showcase for Team Punishment. Matt Hamill beat a game Seth Petruzzelli. Classing ground n pound with a smidgeon of lay n pray. Seth really needs to work on his boxing and sprawl and was a little too quick to slip to guard rather than fight for dominant position. Yeah Hamill is a world class wrestler but you still have to try. The Silverback's takedown defense looked pretty good so I really think he could have had a chance to get Matt on his back at least once and I think the wrestler might just fold as a lot do in that spot.

Kendall Grove is the perfect protege` for Tito. A solid framework of heart and work ethic that the former champ can pour his knowledge and skills into. With him and Hamill, Team Punishment looks pretty damn solid. Kendall didn't look overpowering in any area other than relentlessness but at his age and with the tools he has he could be very dangerous in five years.

Jason McDonald had the upset of the night when he soundly beat a talented fighter in Ed 'Short Fuse' Herman. Not only that but out grappled a strong grappler. And a guy from Quest at that! This was the fight of the night, beating Hamill/Petruzzelli by a good margin. Each fighter showed that he could overcome adversity and reverse his opponent. On more than one occasion then getting reversed himself!

Having never seen the Canadian I half groaned when they said he was a submission fighter. Maybe Shammy fighting later that night had me thinking of his Lion's Den 'submission fighters'. Wow was that the wrong reaction. McDonald's jiu-jitsu was phenomenal. Honestly, Minotoro came to mind and that his high praise. When he came out of that roll with a triangle choke I swear I thought I felt urine trickling down my leg. (I just spilled my water thanks for the concern though.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Further Evolution of MMA

It's this humble writer's opinion that we are finally seeing in the game today the strikers standing up and (yes, pun intended) pushing their collective way to the forefront. For years grapplers have dominated MMA but finally we are seeing some strikers excel. And it's not just Chuck Liddell I am talking about here. A short list would include :

Tim Sylvia
Andrei Arlovski
Mark Hominick
Sam Stout
David Loiseau
Luke Cummo
and maybe, hopefully, Anderson Silva

Now it's not to say that strikers have never acheived anything in MMA. Not at all, but by and large it has been the grapplers. First the Jiu-Jitsu wave led by the Gracie clan. Then, and especially in America and the UFC, the wrestlers. BJJ was dominant for so long because of the lack of knowledge of submission moves but now that awareness has circulated they aren't as dominant, if you don't have some ground and pound to soften up your foe then against a decent fighter you just won't win. More recently the wrestlers have taken over with their ability to control their opponents body. At first they were susceptible to the submissions holds but now that they are training to recognize and defend they have, in my opinion, become the most dominant group. i.e. Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, GSP, Ed Herman, Randy Cout....okay let's just say Team Quest and stop there.

It's no surprise that the standup guys have borrowed from the grapplers, and more specifically the wrestlers to finally push themselves to a higher level. Liddell is the best but not the only example of this. Other high level examples would include Pride's Wanderlei Silva, Rampage Jackson (formerly of Pride) and Cro Cop.

Part of wrestling is controlling the level and that is what had been lacking in the typical strikers arsenal. Developing a strong sprawl is now fundamental to excelling in MMA. All the Muay Thai, boxing or Tae Kwon Do credentials in the world don't do a damn bit of good once you're underneath the next NCAA champ to hit the Octagon. It's just plain fact.

Defend the takedown. Keep things standing and then finally let the grapplers get a taste of what it's like to be out of their element. From the big picture vantage point it plays out like a chess game.....but who makes the next move? I don't know but I will be watching!

How to Beat : Current Champions

Tim Sylvia
Tim's style is straight up boxing. One two, one two. With his reach, knockout power and a pretty good sprawl that's all he's really needed.

How to beat him : Use leg kicks to soften up those long legs of his then when he's softened up and sluggish take him down and put him on his back, see how good his guard is, i'd bet not that great.

Biggest threat in the division : Might be Monson. The two are polar opposites in size and style. If Sylvia can defend the takedown then he'll knockout the Snowman at some point. But if Monson can use his low center of gravity to shoot in and grab a leg then he'll get Sylvia in a submission, just a matter of time.

I have to wonder if things would have been different if Andrei Arlovski had taken him to the ground and went for GnP or a sub attempt. Interestingly Andrei's kicking is good enough to wear out the legs of Sylvia he just didn't do enough in the regard. I think Andrei was too worried about how he wanted to win rather than if he could win.

Chuck Liddell
Chuck's preferred method is, gasp, to knockout his foe. He's willing to give his opponent a target to throw knuckles at so that he in turn can throw his own. And we know who hits harder, don't we? When things get slow he's more than willing to open up his hands, drop them a bit and even at times look to his corner; All with the intention of inviting his opponent to swing so he can counterpunch. Hey, it works.

How to beat him: Randy Couture proved you can beat him with more technical boxing and in the clinch but he also got KO'd twice trying to do it, so it's a gamble to be sure. If you were to fight the Iceman you'd want to take him down and neutralize his best weapon, that right hand, but it's proven a very difficult task to get him down and even more so to keep him down.

Biggest threat in the division: Coincidently it's his next opponent, Tito Ortiz. I think at this stage Tito has better takedowns than Randy so there is that chance he can get the champ down and we know what happens when Tito gets you down. I think it best to mixup standing and trading with shooting, make him wonder when the shoot is coming and use it to get some punches our kicks in then shoot. Easier said than done but not impossible, especially for Tito who has all the tools he needs already.

Anderson Silva
Well it's a good thing I procrastinated on this blog as long as I have or I would have Rich Franklin here instead of the Spider, and how foolish would that look. Then again we would be able to see if I was right. I wouldn't have been. I would not have said Silva would demolish Franklin in the clinch. No way, never.

Silva has great standup, hits hard and is very, very accurate with the strikes. Silva has pretty much every middleweight in the UFC at a disadvantage on the standup.

How to beat him: Take him down. Silva has his BJJ black belt from 'Minotoro' Nogueira so he's not pushover on the mat but I do think he's a little less dangerous there. Take him down, control him and pound on him and I think he can be beaten.

Biggest threat in the division: Tough call. There doesn't seem to be one guy that embodies the weaknesses that the Spider possesses like in the HW and LHW classes. Maybe Marquardt but I think more than him would be Franklin when he gets going on his comeback.

Franklin didn't work to attack Silva's areas of weakness, he wanted to beat him at his own game and we see that this was not effective. Franklin's GnP would be perfect for taking out the new champ.

Matt Hughes
While he has a complete game Matt sticks to his bread and butter as much as possible. Taking his man down and pounding on him until the referee steps in or until a submission opening arises.

How to beat him: Stuff the takedown attempts like BJ did and instantly you have Hughes scratching his head. Be quicker than the champ and use striking to your advantage and if it has to go to the ground be on top, test his guard.

Biggest threat in the division: BJ Penn & George St. Pierre. Both have the strength and grappling technique to defend teh takedown as well as have the quickness to give Hughes fits. Not to mention they both have superior striking skills as well. Hughes says he wants to KO someone so use his ego and try to get him to prove he can do it.

It would also be interesting to see Hughes versus Sanchez. They have similar styles so it would be a matter of who can dominate who. Interestingly Sanchez could be undefeated when they do finally meet up.

Sean Sherk
Sherk is a Matt Hughes clone but with faster hands and less of a submission game. He wants to take you down and beat on you with elbows and that's about it. His standup looks better than Hughes' albeit not as varied. Sherk relies on the old one two and little else.

How to beat him: Like any wrestler, put him on his back. Test his guard. In the GSP fight he was on his back and got beat down. Stuff the takedowns, ala GSP and you'll be in his head for sure. Then just use superior striking to pick him apart. No kicks though, please.

Biggest threat in the division: I think Spencer Fisher is the best lightweight in the UFC but his skillset actually plays into Sherk's hands. Sherk would most likely take him down pretty easily. Fortunately Fisher's guard is dangerous. Spencer's judo takedowns could counteract Sherk's wrestling ones but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Sherk isn't unbeatable by any means but at the lightweight level there doesn't seem to be anyone ideally suited to beat him. I'm not saying Fisher can't beat him just that he's not best suited for it. If BJ Penn comes back down to lightweight I think he could get the belt fairly easily.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why 'Spider' Silva is dangerous to Rich Franklin

The weakest part of Rich's game is his chin. In his only loss he got knocked out and I haven't seen his chin tested sufficiently since then to negate the image of him crumpling. Now add a little Muay Thai technician, ala Anderson Silva, and you have an interesting mix. Am I saying Rich is going down? No but the threat is real folks. Especially if he pops down to one knee after they touch gloves. Hahahaha sorry a little TUF humor there.

Rich has a lot going in his favor for this fight, don't get me wrong. Just the size disparity alone will be pretty obvious. I look at Silva and wonder how he can weigh 185lbs. I look at Rich and think the same thing but for the opposite reason. As long as they stand, and Rich says he's willing to throw hands with anyone in the middleweight division, the risk is that he could get caught and bam, we have a new champ. On the ground I give the advantage to Rich and his ground and pound would win over rather quickly i'd say.

Still I would hazard to say that Chris Leben's chin is a cut above Franklin's and he was.....sorry for this UFC fans but it is appropriate....rocked by Spider at least twice.