While 2010 may have been the year of the rise of lighter weight classes, with the attention that the WEC has gotten, and the performances of Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo.
But it seems as though 2011 is destined to be the year of the Heavyweight in MMA. Between the pride-esque "tournament" that Strikeforce is hosting, Brock Lesnar/Junior Dos Santos coaching on TUF and the inevitable show down between Cain Velasquez and the #1 contender to be, 2011 will see some of the biggest HW fights in the short history of the sport.
That said, after all is said and done, we still will be left without a true way of knowing who the #1 HW in all of MMA is. In any other weight class, the UFC champion is unquestionably the number 1 fighter, and, with an exception to LW or FW, the UFC holds the top 5 fighters in each weight class.
But HW...its all different. Fedor, Werdum and Overeem all have a claim to the top spot in the HW food chain, or at least as the number 2.
And with Strikeforce hosting this "epic" tournament, I'm sure the winner will come out with a very legitimate claim of being the best HW in the business.
But, unlike many fans out there, I am under a different impression. I think that the UFC, not Strikeforce, holds the best HW's in the world. Yes, there has yet to be a tournament of the magnitude and fighters that Strikeforce is having, but will that really tell us who the best HW in the world is? Maybe.
But I think we should have our own tournament. A "Fantasy HW Grand Prix" if you will. It will include the top 8 HW's from both Strikeforce, as well as the top 8 HW's from the UFC.
The way the Brackets are set up, the Top 4 HW'S (top 2 from UFC, top 2 From Strikeforce) have the opportunity to make it to the final 4, with the top from each promotion (Velasquez, Fedor) having a chance to fight each other in the Finals.
The brackets are as follows:
(the Numbers in front of the name are the promotional rankings, and the number in the parenthesis are the USA TODAY / SB Nation Consensus MMA Rankings)
- UFC #1 Cain Velasquez (#1) vs. Strikeforce #8 Sergei Kharitonov (#30)
- UFC # 4 Shane Carwin(#6) vs. Strikeforce #5 Josh Barnett (#11)
- Strikeforce #2 Fabricio Werdum(#4) vs. UFC #7 Brendan Schaub (#13)
- Strikeforce #3 Alistair Overeem(#8) vs. UFC # 6 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (#9)
- UFC #2 Brock Lesnar (#2) vs. Strikeforce #7 Andrei Arlovski (#16)
- UFC #3 Junior Dos Santos (#5) vs. Strikeforce #6 Brett Rogers (#12)
- Strikeforce #1 Fedor Emelianenko(#3) vs. UFC #8 Roy Nelson (#14)
- Strikeforce #4 Antonio Silva(#14) vs. UFC #5 Frank Mir (#7)
What I will do (if anyone has read this far along) I put up a new poll every couple of day, until we have the official #1 Heavyweight crowned.
Time for the voting
UFC #1 Cain Velasquez (#1) vs. Strikeforce #8 Sergie Kharitonov (#30)
Pro's for Cain:
- Striking. He's been able to KO/TKO 8 of 9 opponents, with a mix of brutal ground and pound and crisp kickboxing. Although it might sound cliche, Cain really has improved his stand-up every time we have seen him in the Octagon.
- Wrestling. Brock Lesnar took him down, and Cain stood right back up. He was able to take Brock, and every other fighter he has faced down, and he probably possesses the best wrestling in this Tournament. Plus he trains daily with Daniel Cormeir, who probably has the best wrestling credentials in all of MMA.
- Grappling. He's never been subbed (or lost for that matter), and he works everyday with grappling wiz Dave Camarillo as well as guys like Jon Fitch, so odds are he knows his way in and out of most subs. Will that help him if he ever faces a guy like Werdum? Maybe not. But Kharitonov doesn't grapple like Werdum.
Pro's for Sergei:
- Striking. Sergei has made a living off of guys standing and trading with him. His style is very basic boxing and he doesn't have great head movement, but he hits harder and crisper then most guys he's faced.
- Experience. Although some might say that it really isn't an advantage over Cain, since Cain has fought for the biggest promotion and headlined PPV's already, but Sergei has much more experience then the young UFC champ. He's fought most great HW's throughout the past few years including fellow tourament participants Overeem, Werdum, and Nogueira.
There you have it.