Continuing with the series of in-depth divisional breakdowns that started yesterday with a look at the Bantamweight division (read it here), Featherweight division (read it here), the Lightweight division (read it here) and the Welterweight division, (read it here) we move on to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight division.
With the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the middle of one of its longest stretches of down time in months, (and with the summer season jam-packed with events), I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to take an in-depth look at all the divisions to clearly identify who is in the title picture, who isn't, who is building themselves into a contender and whose jobs are on the line.
The UFC is essentially an endlessly on-going tournament, with two brackets: One for match winners and one for match losers. Just about the only time that Joe Silva and Dana White match up a guy coming off a win with a guy coming off a loss is if the guy coming off a loss was fighting for a title. Otherwise, it's almost always winner vs winner and loser vs loser.
It's a pretty sensible way of doing things, ensuring that there will always be guys with a few wins in a row and others with a couple of losses in a row, opening up the chance for new blood to enter into the company.
So anytime you are looking at a division and trying to see what the future will hold, it's mandatory to know who are the fighter's on win streaks and who are the fighters on losing streaks. As such, I've been organizing each division by wins and losses for a few months now and throughout today I'll be posting up my take on each division based on this data. I'm not going to be doing an in-depth feature on the flyweight division, as there has only been two fights in the division thus far.
Therefore, we move on to the Middleweight division (185 pounds):
Fourteen Wins: Anderson Silva
Four Wins: Mark Munoz, Chris Weidman
Three Wins: Alan Belcher, Tim Boetsch, Rousimar Palhares, Ed Herman, Constantinos Philippou
Two Wins: Vitor Belfort, Nick Catone, Chael Sonnen, Rafael Natal, Ronny Markes
One Win: Francis Carmont, Andrew Craig, Nick Ring, Wanderlei Silva, Chris Camozzi, Riki Fukuda
One Loss: Court Mcgee, Jared Hamman, Tom Lawlor, Cung Le, Chris Leben, Aaron Simpson, Jason MacDonald, Alessio Sakara, Mike Massenzio, Brad Tavares, Brian Stann, Dongi Yang, Jason Miller, Michael Bisping, Clifford Starks, Michael Kuiper
Two Losses: Tim Credeur, C.B. Dollaway, Dustin Jacoby, Yushin Okami, Kyle Noke, Steve Cantwell
A pattern that is becoming fairly clear is that the champions are dominant, with only the lightweight division devoid of a champion on a double digit win streak thus far, and Anderson is the crown jewel fighter of the UFC. Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman lead the rest of the pack, although recent title challengers Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort have picked up where they left off. Sonnen will challenge Silva again this summer and Belfort might not be far behind, especially if he destroys Wanderlei Silva in quick fashion. Rousimar Palhares is a favorite of many because of his spectacularly violent submissions, but he has yet to get a signature victory in the division.
- Brian Stann vs Alessio Sakara, UFC on FUEL TV 2
- Francis Carmont vs Magnus Cedenblad, UFC on FUEL TV 2
- Rousimar Palhares vs Alan Belcher, UFC on FOX 3
- Mike Massenzio vs Karlos Vemola, UFC on FOX 3
- Jason MacDonald vs Tom Lawlor, UFC on FUEL TV 3
- Brad Tavares vs Dongi Yang, UFC on FUEL TV 3
- C.B. Dollaway vs Jason Miller, UFC 146
- Caio Magalhaes vs Buddy Roberts, UFC on FX 3
- Wanderlei Silva vs Vitor Belfort, UFC 147
- Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen, UFC 147
- Nick Catone vs Chris Camozzi, UFC on FX 4
- Constantinos Philippou vs Riki Fukuda, UFC 148
- Rich Franklin vs Cung Le, UFC 148
- Michael Bisping vs Tim Boetsch, UFC 148
Not a lot of big matches coming up in the division, having just had a handful of important bouts recently. Alan Belcher and Rousimar Palhares is a fairly important fight, with the winner cementing himself as a contender. Wanderlei and Vitor is a big fight, but I think Belfort would still need a couple of wins before getting another crack. I'd like to see the winners of those fights meet up. Rich Franklin returns to the division against Cung Le with the hopes of making one last run. It'll be tough to do, but a win over Le and a date with the winner of Bisping/Boetsch (a real possibility in my opinion) will make Rich one to watch going into the fall. Other fights that should attract some interest are Stann/Sakara and Philippou/Fukuda.
Mark Munoz, Chris Weidman, Ed Herman, Rafael Natal, Ronny Markes, Andrew Craig, Nick Ring
This should be pretty easy. Weidman and Munoz make a great fight. Both men are coming off four straight wins, both are powerful wrestlers first, with Weidman preferring submissions while Munoz likes to ground and pound. It'd be a great battle. Ed Herman has three straight and should take on the winner of Stann/Sakara in what will be a pretty big fight, especially if the favored Stann comes out on top in Sweden. Natal and Markes match up with two straight, and Craig and Ring both have a single victory. Those four could also be mix and matched.
Court Mcgee, Jared Hamman, Clifford Starks, Michael Kuiper, Tim Credeur, Dustin Jacoby, Kyle Noke, Steve Cantwell
Like the winners, most of the losers are booked up. Jared Hamman was booked against Kyle Noke, but had to withdraw because of injury. They could be matched up again. Court Mcgee and Michael Kuiper would be a nice fight, as both men had long winning streaks before dropping their last matches. Not much to say about the rest of the group's prospects.
There is a lot of middleweight action coming up, making it a division to watch for sure. Anderson won't be around forever and when he finally does concede the title the division is going to be full of would be kings. The jockeying for position has begun, and we should see a lot of good action in the next few months.
What do you guys think of Bisping/Boetsch? This fight broke the rules in terms of winner vs loser. Bisping did very well against Chael Sonnen and that might have earned him the chance to take on a winner. Boetsch is no picnic though, so it could be more of a curse than a blessing for the Brit.