The hosts of The Hammer MMA Radio have been contributing to the UFC’s Official Fighter Rankings since its inception earlier this year. While the UFC themselves have confirmed that these rankings may not necessarily impact their matchmaking, the three of us still put a lot of thought into our selection process at the conclusion of each event. Following each event we will be breaking down our thought process on a few of the relevant divisions right here at Last Word On Sports.
You can find our updated Rankings, as well as the overall UFC Rankings at http://www.ufc.com/rankings both updated on the Monday following every UFC event.
UFC on Fuel 9: Mousasi vs. Latifi
Greg Persson: With three featherweight bouts this past Saturday in Stockholm, the division was put on notice. Diego Brandao finished Pablo Garza with an arm triangle placing him on the shortlist to enter the top ten. Brandao’s loss to Darren Elkins last year however, remains a barrier. Brandao will need at least one more high profile victory in order to break through. A top ten fighter should be next for Brandao assuming that scheduling works out – perhaps Dustin Poirier or Erik Koch.
Akira Corassani was also victorious defeating Robbie Peralta but faces a longer road to the top ten than Brandao, as Peralta is his most notable win to date. Corassani will need at least two, and quite possibly three more wins depending on the competition, to enter the conversation.
Heavily-hyped striker Conor McGregor arrived with a bang, TKOing Marcus Brimage. He is already being touted as a title contender, but as was seen with Wonder Boy Stephen Thompson, hype trains can be easily derailed in the UFC. Though no changes were made to the The Hammer MMA Radio’s rankings, Brandao seems destined to make an appearance.
Steve Jeffery: Two of the Top Ten Ranked UFC Bantamweights fought last Saturday night, and as expected, Brad Pickett and Mike Easton delivered a Fight of the Night performance. Pickett was our #5 Ranked Bantamweight going into the fight with the #9 Ranked Easton, and put on a better performance than his split decision victory would indicate.
Unfortunately for “One Punch”, the five fighters above him in the Rankings include the UFC Bantamweight Champion, the UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion, the last two title contenders, and the man who beat Pickett four months ago, Eddie Wineland. As a result even this victory wasn’t enough to move Pickett any further up the rankings. It will likely take a win over Urijah Faber or Michael McDonald for Pickett to get back into title contention at this time.
Also, even with a loss it’s hard to move Mike Easton any further down the list from his #9 spot. The man below him, Ivan Menjivar, recently lost to Easton so “The Hulk” keeps his place in the rankings at this time. This does show that Bantamweight Top Ten is wide open for a guy like TJ Dillashaw right now if he can continue his winning streak.
Steve Jeffery: Rarely has there been a UFC main event that had so little impact or title implications involved. Originally scheduled to feature our #1 Ranked Light Heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson vs. our #9 Ranked Light Heavyweight Gegard Mousasi (the overall Rankings have Mousasi at #10), a last-minute injury took Gustafsson out of the fight entirely.
Instead, the well-travelled Gegard Mousasi had his first ever UFC fight against an almost completely unknown training partner of Gustafsson. Ilir Latifi had nothing to lose and everything to gain by main-eventing in his home country against one of the top fighters in the world, and he did just as well as you would expect. Actually, he may have exceeded expectations by just getting knocked around by a bored opponent in a lackluster, one-sided decision.
Latifi probably earned himself another fight in the UFC by doing them such a huge favor, but Gegard Mousasi didn’t do much to raise his stock any higher, and certainly not enough to surpass the #8 Ranked Phil Davis ahead of him.
The Hammer MMA Radio has featured interviews with some of the biggest names in MMA over the years, including Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Sean Sherk, Mark Coleman, Rory MacDonald, Brendan Schaub, Mark Bocek, Nate Diaz, Mark Hominick, Martin Kampmann, Johnny Hendricks, and many more, all of which are archived at http://www.thehammermma.com.
Hammer MMA Radio continues to bring unparalleled, independent coverage of all things MMA to fans of the sport and they always bring you straight goods and the last word, and we at LWOS are pleased to be partners with them.
You can follow Steve Jeffery on twitter @SteveJeffery and the site @lastwordonsport.
Photo Credit: Michael Dunn, Wiki Commons