Miskai <> Henderson
Silva > Franklin > Okami > Silva
Marquardt > Kampmann > Leites > Marquardt
Lawler > Trigg > Miller > Lawler
Takimoto > Yoon > Manhoef > Santos > Takimoto
Anderson Silva maintains his status at the head of the division, but with Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin moving up to 205 who are the de facto challengers? How did the Dream Grand Prix shake the division up? What upcoming fights at 185 are of consequence?
- With Rich Franklin moving up to 205 and Yushin Okami hurting his hand, Patrick Cote emerged as the number one challenger for Anderson Silva's belt. It's not as egregious a choice at first glance. Since his loss to Travis Lutter at the Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale, Cote has rattled off 5 victories over mid-level opponents. With Okami unavailable and the UFC wanting to buildup Michael Bisping as a challenger, Cote ends up as a solid choice as fodder for the champ.
- While the Dream Grand Prix ultimately failed to deliver an exciting finale thanks to a flukey upkick, it did give Gegard Mousasi the opportunity to continue build his case as a top 10 fighter. With his quick work over Brazilian Jiu Jitsu superstar Ronaldo Souza and K-1 striker Melvin Manhoef, Mousasi added to his list of victories over credible competition. A rumored fight with Vitor Belfort will add to that list, but the best possible matchup is a meeting with the hated Yoshihiro Akiyama.
- In a bout that seemingly only serves as a place holder, top contender Yushin Okami will face off with jiu-jitsu specialist Dean Lister. It was no secret that Okami was next in line for a title shot until he broke his hand in training. I have to wonder why they just don't hold off on booking Okami and have him wait for Silva in January or February? Silva enjoys fighting every 3-4 months, and with Okami fighting in late December, a resulting Okami/Silva rematch would have to wait until late February/early March at the earliest.
- Frank Trigg's recent comments would suggest that he's posturing for a fight with Silva. At this stage, however, Trigg would be more fitting in a fight with Strikeforce champion Cung Le or a rematch with EliteXC title holder Robbie Lawler. Since a convicing win over Kazuo Misaki at Pride 33, Trigg has lost to Lawler and holds victories over below-average fighters Edwin Dewees, Makoto Takimoto, and Falaniko Vitale. Trigg would be better served taking a step, and not a leap, up in competition.
- Barring a repeat of the first nine minutes of their initial bout, Paulo Filho will add a nice mix to the UFC's 185 division if he gets by Chael Sonnen. Despite back-and-forth talk, it sounds like neither Filho nor Silva are interested in fighting each other. This still leaves Filho with the laundry list of fighters Silva has used to wipe the canvas with in his run through the Octagon. If Joe Silva wanted to get saucy, an excellent fight could be had with Nate Marquardt. Fights that better introduces Filho to the UFC audience without much risk of ruin could be had with a Jason MacDonald or Nate Quarry.
- The upcoming main event for UFC 89 is a solid bit of matchmaking from Joe Silva. Michael Bisping takes a large step up from the dregs of the division to fight thick-skulled brawler Chris Leben. If the UFC wants to get aggressive with his career path, Bisping is probably only 2-3 fights away from a title shot and a fight with Leben is good use of one of those fights. Leben will never be an elite guy in the division. He has a modicum of talent in all aspects of the game, but refuses to do the little things necessary (holding his hands up, less loopy punching) to maintain success. Still, he can take a lot of punishment while always being a threat to land a KO blow. Assuming he gets by Leben, I would like to see Bisping fight Patrick Cote (assuming a loss to Silva) or Martin Kampmann.
Experimental Power Rankings
Ranking is determined by the following algorithm:
RatingPlus = ((Beatwins - Beatlosses)/(Beatwins + Beatlosses + Ambiguous Losses) + 1 / 2) + (Beatwins / TotalFighters)