[Image via farm3.static.flickr.com, original via Yahoo Sports]
During much of the buildup to last night's match between Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem and "Emelianenko Killer" Fabricio Werdum, one question that frequently circulated was where this fight would land each man in the MMA rankings. Now that the dust has settled, the outcome is as bad as it could be for both men. After three rounds of inaction and stalemates, neither fighter can really be considered an equivalent counterpart to the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Overeem was slow, took way too many punches, and ran from Werdum's guard like a frightened cat, not even bothering to throw leg kicks at Werdum to rack up points.
Werdum committed the cardinal MMA sin of lying on his back and literally begging Overeem to dive into his guard.
Such a performance from two fighters coming off significant winning streaks damages "The Reem" more than anything else, as this should effectively kill any talk about Overeem challenging the UFC Champion — at least, for now. At the moment, Alistair hasn't leapfrogged Werdum in the MMA rankings, either. Instead, Fabricio has actually dragged himself down to Overeem's "lower Top 10" level.
With that in mind, here's how I think the MMA heavyweight division stacks up:
Of course, this will all change once (and if) the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finally shakes itself out. With Fabricio Werdum's embarrassing loss and Antonio Silva's winning streak being capped off with a thorough thrashing of Fedor Emelianenko, both fighters now switch places in the "Top 10," in relation to each other. If Overeem does manage to win the whole thing, that's pretty much the only solid argument I can see right now for placing him in the "Top 5" of the heavyweight division.
Overall, the fight was a letdown, but at least it makes the MMA rankings a bit clearer — Overeem and Werdum aren't as close to the top as many of us previously thought.
[McKinley Noble is a staff editor at GamePro and an MMA conspiracy theorist. Follow his Twitter account for crazy talk, 1990s movie references, and general weirdness. Or you could just stalk him on Google.]