One thing that is good about the Zuffa owned MMA promotions is that when there is a card, more often then not there are some fairly significant matchups involving top 25 fighters from the various weight classes. After a card, I always find it interesting to see who shook up the rankings a bit and who managed to maintain their spot. So what did UFC 138 have to offer? Check it out below.
Middleweight - #4 Mark Munoz vs #13 Chris Leben - Some people didn't buy Munoz at #4 because he earned it with his decision win over Demian Maia which some found to becontroversial.But on Saturday, with the performance he put on against #13 Chris Leben, it is very hard to deny him a spot in the top 5. He's now riding a 4 fight win streak, is 12-2 overall. Beyond that, he is 7-1 at Middleweight, with the one loss coming via Split Decision(that admittedly should not have been split, Okami won fair and square) to Yushin Okami in a fight where Munoz certainly had his moments.
As for Leben, well, he more then likely stays at #13, because losing to #4 when you are #13 isn't exactly a result that justifies dropping you in the rankings.
I would not say this makes Munoz the #1 contender, but he is certainly in a place where his next fight should be for a title shot. I say if Bisping beats Miller in December(Here's hoping he doesn't) then you make that #1 contender match...if not, maybe they can wait and book him against the Anthony Johnson vs Vitor Belfort winner.
Bantamweight - #8 Brad Pickett vs #11 Renan Barao - Since he lost his professional debut, Barao was riding a 27 unbeaten streak with 26 wins and 1 no contest heading into this bout. #8 Brad Pickett was certainly the stiffest test of his entire career.
Renan Barao passed with flying colors, landing a picture perfect knee strike and followup punches that dropped Pickett before finishing things off with a rear naked choke. He will very likely move up into the #8 spot and push Pickett down.
Barao is certainly in high contendership status right now. The plan initially was for the Faber-Bowles winner to get a rematch with Cruz....but Cruz may not be coming back until late March-April, so there is time to have a fight in between there for the winner. So him vs Faber-Bowles in a true blue #1 contender match in like early Feb makes a lot of sense. If not, if the winner of that fight is locked for the next shot, give Barao someone like the winner of Torres-Pace, Jorgensen, or Benavidez.
Welterweight - #11 Thiago Alves vs unranked Papy Abedi - This was a huge opportunity for Abedi to get a huge win in his debut and blast up the rankings, but it wasn't meant to be. With the win, Alves secures his place right where he is at.
Alves will almost have to fight a top level opponent in his next bout, he got the impressive win, he did some damage control on his status in the division, and now he has to fight th top guys again. It seems that Jake Ellenberger might be next, that makes a ton of sense.
Light Heavyweight - #19 Cyrille Diabate vs unranked Anthony Perosh - Diabate had initially earned his top 25 spot by defeating Luiz Cane in his debut, he was then derailed by Alexander Gustafsson before rebounding against Steve Cantwell to keep his ranking. Perosh took an extremely short notice fight at heavyweight against Cro Cop and was rewarded for stepping up with a UFC contract, win or lose.
A lot of people expected Perosh to get knocked out, but that wasn't the case. He got things done, outgrappling Diabate on his way to a rear naked choke victory in the 2nd round. This win will have to result in Perosh jumping into the top 25 while Cyrille and a few others all get pushed down.
Perosh is(or should be) officially in the top 25 Light Heavyweight rankings now, and I'm not sure who they could give him that is about on his level ranking-wise but isn't tied up or too high up for him. Perhaps a Brandon Vera or Stanislav Nedkov? Not sure, Rich Franklin perhaps...but he is the type of guy that warrents more of a big name matchup.
Lightweight - Unranked Terry Etim vs unranked Edward Faaloloto - Neither of them were in the top 25, and Etim absolutely ran through Faaloloto. This was set up to be his successful return match and it was. He definitely should get a top 25 type opponent in his next fight.
Prelims - As usual, preliminary action didn't involve very many top 25 combatants, #17 Michihiro Omigawa maintained his spot in the rankings by winning a decision against Jason Young. For his next fight, I'd like to think that he gets another pretty winnable matchup to sort of maintain his status...but after that, rematches with Nam Phan and Hatsu Hioki are more then appealing to me.