This was on the LA TIMES Website
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
By Todd Martin, Special to The Times
6:04 PM PST, March 1, 2007
It was a turbulent month for MMA rankings, particularly following Pride's Second Coming show. Three top five fighters were upset, and two of them were upset by fighters from a different weight class. The trend is likely to continue in 2007 as UFC signs top fighters from other organizations and matches them against UFC's best.
HEAVYWEIGHT (206-265 LBS.)
1. FEDOR EMELIANENKO 15-0 in Pride, and he certainly hasn't earned that record against soft opposition.
2. MIRKO CRO COP Croatian's style is custom made for the U.S. audience, and he became a star almost instantaneously upon arrival.
3. ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA The skills of "Minotauro" are undeniable, but he lacks compelling future matchups in Pride.
4. JOSH BARNETT Did an excellent job on commentary at Pride's Second Coming show.
5. TIM SYLVIA This is the most important year of his career. Wins over Randy Couture and Mirko Cro Cop could turn him into a genuine star and pay-per-view draw.
6. FABRICIO WERDUM Will be joining training partner Cro Cop in UFC, but he faces stiff competition in his first fight against Andrei Arlovski.
7. BRANDON VERA "The Truth" is in a state of limbo as he waits for his long-term contract situation to be resolved.
8. ANDREI ARLOVSKI A win over Werdum would provide a natural back story for his inevitable fight with Cro Cop.
9. SERGEI KHARITONOV Won at Second Coming, but didn't look particularly impressive.
10. JEFF MONSON A fight with Aleksander Emelianenko would settle debate over who belongs in this spot.
RISING: TONY BONELLO Undefeated Australian fighter holds submission victories over four Pride or UFC veterans.
FALLING: JAMES THOMPSON "The Colossus" followed important victory over Hidehiko Yoshida with another setback against powerful novelty Butterbean.
LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT (186-205 LBS.)
1. CHUCK LIDDELL A lot of the luster is now off dream match with Wanderlei Silva. 2. MAURICIO SHOGUN Recent turbulence in the division has created distance between the top two and the rest of the division.
3. DAN HENDERSON New Pride 205-pound champ has the wrestling skill to give problems to anyone in the division.
4. RICARDO ARONA Arona's only question mark is his recent inactivity (one fight in last fourteen months).
5. ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA His shocking loss to Sokoudjou is likely to be remembered as just a bad night.
6. WANDERLEI SILVA Silva, on the other hand, has suffered back-to-back brutal knockouts that may temper the ruthless aggression that is his greatest asset.
7. TITO ORTIZ The next opponent for Ortiz could be an interesting indication of what long-term plans UFC has for him.
8. RENATO SOBRAL He's likely still wondering what could have been if he didn't charge powerful counter-striker Liddell.
9. QUINTON JACKSON "Rampage" doesn't want a rematch with Chuck Liddell – yet.
10. RASHAD EVANS Some question his skill in part due to his status as an Ultimate Fighter, but he passed all tests thus far.
RISING: LYOTO MACHIDA Undefeated Brazilian with wins over some of UFC's most well-known fighters will have the chance to make a name for himself against Forrest Griffin.
FALLING: FORREST GRIFFIN Loss to Keith Jardine was a major setback, and he needs to re-establish himself against Machida.
MIDDLEWEIGHT (171-185 LBS.)
1. ANDERSON SILVA His fight with Travis Lutter demonstrated his sub-par takedown defense, but he impressed with his ground skill.
2. PAULO FILHO Dan Henderson's victory over Wanderlei Silva is likely to delay Filho's opportunity to fight for Henderson's 183-pound title.
3. MATT LINDLAND Lindland scored a victory over Carlos Newton at an IFL show and now prepares for Fedor.
4. RICH FRANKLIN Franklin is at a critical point in his career. Many champions never recover after losing their titles, while some come back more motivated than ever.
5. DENIS KANG American Top Team star sports a 6-1 record in Pride.
6. MIKE SWICK Fight with Yushin Okami at UFC 69 will be a major test. An impressive performance could net him title fight with Anderson Silva.
7. NATHAN MARQUARDT Marquardt looks to have the next title fight against Anderson Silva, and he could give Silva major problems.
8. FRANK TRIGG Trigg returns to the top 10 with wins over Jason Miller and Kazuo Misaki, but it remains to be seen if he can stay.
9. KAZUO MISAKI Misaki is 4-4 in Pride and 5-5 in his last 10. The quality of his victories is the only thing keeping him in this discussion.
10. YOSHIHIRO AKIYAMA Akiyama needs to return to action to maintain his spot, and it's not clear where he will be fighting.
RISING: JOEY VILLASENOR His victory over David Loiseau shouldn't have been too much of a surprise given his high-caliber skills.
FALLING: TRAVIS LUTTER Mike Goldberg: "Michael Jordan-esque in his grappling skills is Travis Lutter." Joe Rogan: "No. No he's not."
WELTERWEIGHT (161-170 LBS.)
1. GEORGES ST. PIERRE St. Pierre signed a contract extension with UFC and will likely hold his title for a long time to come.
2. MATT HUGHES Hughes admitted to improper preparation for St. Pierre, a problem for him in the past.
3. DIEGO SANCHEZ His fight with Josh Koscheck should be an exciting war between two men that don't like each other and can't afford the loss.
4. JON FITCH Inexplicably, he has again been left off the main card at UFC 68.
5. B.J. PENN Sources indicate that coming out of Ultimate Fighter season five Penn will be viewed as a much bigger star – and a bad guy.
6. KARO PARISYAN "The Heat" needs to find a way to get into the title picture, and the money that comes with that status.
7. JOSH KOSCHECK He has dominated the majority of every fight he's been in except one, and he will have the opportunity to avenge that loss to Sanchez.
8. JAKE SHIELDS Shields is one of the best fighters signed by Bodog Fight.
9. CARLOS CONDIT Condit will take on solid veteran John Alessio in important WEC fight.
10. THIAGO ALVES Alves sneaks into the top 10 with very impressive recent showings in UFC.
RISING: MARCUS DAVIS Winner of seven straight is due for a step up in competition.
FALLING: DREW FICKETT Highly talented young fighter has lost two of three, and desperately needs to reverse that trend in a very deep division.
LIGHTWEIGHT (155-160 LBS.)
1. KID YAMAMOTO There is no ideal new number one, but Yamamoto grabs the spot with a 9-0 record in K-1 and wins over Genki Sudo and Caol Uno while giving up weight.
2. GILBERT MELENDEZ "El Nino" is an appropriate nickname for this undefeated action fighter.
3. VITOR RIBEIRO Ribeiro could do real damage in UFC or Pride.
4. NICK DIAZ Diaz scored his biggest victory to date with an electrifying performance against Takanori Gomi.
5. TAKANORI GOMI Gomi's inconsistency was never more apparent than in the first round of his fight with Diaz. Still, his raw skills make it highly likely he will move back up.
6. TATSUYA KAWAJIRI Often forgotten in discussions of the best lightweights in the world, Kawajiri could defeat anyone in this division on any given night.
7. HAYATO SAKURAI Impressive performance against Mac Danzig was in stark contrast to uninspired performance against Matt Hughes in his last fight in America.
8. SEAN SHERK UFC's lightweight title needs to be defended against high caliber opposition in order for it to gain credibility.
9. SHINYA AOKI Unintimidating look belies great submission skill.
10. HERMES FRANCA Will likely need to utilize his submission ability to take Sean Sherk's title.
RISING: JOACHIM HANSEN Hansen returned to his winning ways against Jason Ireland, and just barely missed the top 10.
FALLING: MITSUHIRO ISHIDA Losing to Takanori Gomi isn't a strong mark against anyone, but the speed and decisiveness of the loss hurt him.
POUND FOR POUND 1. Fedor Emelianenko. 2. Georges St. Pierre. 3. Chuck Liddell. 4. Mirko Cro Cop. 5. Mauricio Shogun. 6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. 7. Anderson Silva. 8. Dan Henderson. 9. Matt Hughes. 10. Kid Yamamoto.