|16||Thales Leites||27||MFC/Bitetti Combat||15|
Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.
Not that the fans can really object since Maia was pretty low on our wish list for Silva opponents after #2 Dan Henderson (signed with Strikeforce), #3 Chael Sonnen (injured), #4 Vitor Belfort (surgery), and #5 Nate Marquardt (lost to Sonnen). But it is what it is and fans will just have to have faith that Silva and Maia will not put on a five round spinning back ankle tap vs butt scoot exhibition ala Silva vs #16 Thales Leites at UFC 97.
Meanwhile Henderson will challenge for #7 Jake Shield's Strikeforce middleweight belt at Strikeforce in Nashville on CBS on April 17. This is something of a sad course of events as Shields is really a blown up welterweight that few take seriously at middleweight.
To top it off, Shields' contract is up after this fight and he's openly flirted with the UFC in the press. Dana White has even hinted that he might sign Shields coming off a loss to Henderson. Certainly, the UFC welterweight division would be a better home for Shields.
#8 Yushin Okami will face Lucio Linhares on the untelevised undercard of UFN 21 on March 31. Okami is about as far from a title shot as it's possible for a fighter with a 7-2 UFC record to be, despite owining a (DQ) win over the champ.
They have finally announced the long-awaited bout between #11 Yoshihiro Akiyama and #12 Wanderlei Silva for UFC 116. The fact that Akiyama is making his second fight in a row on a lucrative Brock Lesnar card makes me wonder if he doesn't have some heavy duty PPV participation or something.
#10 Jorge Santiago avenged his non-title loss to Mahmed Khalidov at Sengoku Raiden Championship 12 but he seems to be in more of a career limbo than ever with the seeming collapse of WVR's once fairly promising middleweight division.
Based on the premise that all MMA rankings are subjective but that it’s still useful and informative to know who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA, we collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites to produce our consensus rankings. We compile the top MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 25 points for a first place ranking, 16 for a 10th place ranking, 1 for a 25th place ranking. A formula is used to "normalize" the data so all fighters are awarded points from those lists that do not include a full 25 fighters. This formula ensures that each ranking site awards the same number of total points regardless of how many fighters they choose to rank. Each fighter’s total is divided by the number of possible points to determine their standing in the Consensus Rankings.USAT/SBN March MMA Consensus Rankings: Heavyweight