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 immediately following every UFC event.
UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen
Greg Persson: UFC 159 saw the third women’s fight in the organization’s history when Sarah McMann took on German kickboxer Sheila Gaff. The undefeated McMann came into the fight ranked 6th by The Hammer, with Gaff holding the #9 spot. The fight went as expected with McMann using her superior wrestling to dominate the outmatched Gaff eventually locking in a crucifix and finishing the fight.
Though McMann’s performance was impressive she remained at #6 just below Alexis Davis, who will face Rosi Sexton next month. Gaff’s lackluster performance inspired the Hammer to drop her below Sexton into the number 10 spot.
McMann’s movement up the rankings seems inevitable however it was deemed best to wait until the Davis/Sexton fight at least to assess whether she should move past Davis, as both McMann and Davis have similar victories on their recent resume.
Greg Persson: For the lightweights, Pat Healy’s submission victory over #6 ranked Jim Miller shook things up, much like Josh Thompson’s knockout of Nate Diaz did last week. Healy enters the top ten ahead of Miller at #6 with Miller dropping to #7 and Donald Cerrone, TJ Grant and Joe Lauzon sustain collateral damage, each falling another spot on the list respectively.
Rafael Dos Anjos exits the top ten in the same fashion as Khabib Nurmagomedov just did, becoming another victim of the Strikeforce invasion. The Strikeforce lightweights continue to show their ability to hang with the best the UFC has to offer, and this coupled with the WEC invasion just two years ago has made the lightweight division the most competitive division in the UFC right now.
Steve Jeffery: A surprisingly lackluster co-main event between Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher delivered an unsurprising result. Bisping (ranked #7 on our list) consistently beat Belcher to the punch, continuing his streak of beating everyone that he faces with the exception of top contenders.
While Bisping looked solid last weekend, he’s also coming off of a crushing loss to Vitor Belfort, and a win over an unranked (in our eyes) Alan Belcher just isn’t enough to move him any further up the list quite yet. On the other hand, both Costa Phillipou (#6) and Luke Rockhold (#5) have fights lined up in May, and could very well fall below “The Count” with respective losses.
As for Alan Belcher, “The Talent” may have lost his fight after being unable to continue following an eye poke, but he wasn’t looking great even up until that point, and certainly was performing at a level beneath his usual standard. He remains unranked by The Hammer MMA Radio, and it seems our contemporaries agree, as he also fell out of the consensus Middleweight Top 10.
Steve Jeffery: Roy Nelson (#7) smashed Cheick Kongo (Unranked) this past weekend at UFC 159. While Nelson was the favorite going into the fight over the unranked Kongo, most didn’t expect a knockout win like what occurred. Kongo may have been knocked out before, but not often.
No matter how impressive the finish was, the win wasn’t quite enough for us to move Nelson past our #6-ranked Alistair Overeem, who still remains positioned right above him. What this win does do for Nelson is guarantee him a highly ranked opponent in his next fight, and it will likely be Daniel Cormier or Mark Hunt if Dana White gets his way.
Cheick Kongo on the other hand looks to remain outside of the Top Ten for the foreseeable future. His recent record has been inconsistent, and he is showing a lack of ability to beat the higher ranked opponents that would get him anywhere near the title picture. Unfortunately for the 37-year old Kongo, he may be running out of time.
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, Johny Hendricks, and many more, all of which are archived at http://www.thehammermma.com.
The 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.
Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? Find more info at our “Join Our Team” page.
photo credit: Vimeo, CC