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The State Of The UFC Middleweight Division: Post-UFC 77

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Twenty20Dollars

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In a preview article I wrote ahead of UFC 77 I forecasted that Silva v Franklin II would be nothing like the original meeting of these Middleweights way back at UFC 64. Well, I was half-right. It took Anderson Silva twice as long to dismantle his opponent as it did in the first fight, picking up the victory at 1:07 of the second round – a victory fashioned in much the same way as the first fight, with heavy reliance on his knees and clinch game. As the Cincinnati native crumpled to the ground in front of his hometown fans, not only did Rich Franklin lose the fight, he lost the chance to ever reclaim the Middleweight Championship as long as the strap is around Anderson Silva’s waist.

In the interest of healthy competition, it would have certainly livened things up a lot if Franklin was able to dethrone the current champion and set up the rubber match for 6 months from now. That would, at least, have been a six-month stay of execution for what is a very weak 185lb division. It’s obvious to see that this division is in serious need of a shake up. You’ve got a seemingly unbeatable champion who occupies a different plateau to that of the next best guy, Franklin, who has in turn already beaten the likes of Yushin Okami, Jason MacDonald and Evan Tanner.

The only fight out there, of the guys currently on the UFC roster, which might be of any interest to Anderson Silva would be Okami. First off, Okami holds a win over Silva from a couple of years back, a disqualification as a result of an illegal kick from Silva. Perhaps Silva could go on a Chuck Liddell-like quest, trying to avenge all the defeats from earlier in his career. Recent Zuffa signing Ryo Chonan fits into this category too.
An Okami v Silva rematch would be an interesting fight. Yushin Okami is a very difficult fighter to face, one who rarely engages his opponent unless it’s on his own terms. Okami could certainly be the first fighter in the UFC to take Silva beyond the second round. While it appears that he’s not the most entertaining fighter to watch, his record is very impressive, having only been finished once in his 26 fight career.

Another possible opponent for Silva would be the Dane Martin Kampmann, a very strong muay thai practitioner and solid in most aspects of the game. He is currently rehabbing a bad knee injury suffered in the lead up to a fight against Rich Franklin last June. He’s been solid in the UFC so far, holding wins over Thales Leites and Drew McFedries. It was interesting to note, however, that McFedries was dominating the stand-up aspect of their fight for large periods until Kampmann locked in a tight arm triangle for a submission victory. That would need to drastically improve before a potential meeting with the champ, one of the slickest strikers in all of MMA.
There are two fighters, though, both currently under contract to Zuffa who would represent a major threat to Anderson Silva. PRIDE’s Welterweight (183lb) Dan Henderson is one, but he seems content to stay in the Light Heavyweight division for now. A unification bout for the PRIDE and UFC Middleweight titles would be a marquee match up and I’m sure that this is the fight that Dana White and Joe Silva want next for Anderson. Another option would be to promote WEC Middleweight champ Paulo Filho to the main UFC roster. His solid jiu jitsu game would certainly give Silva something to worry about but his stand up definitely lacks the cutting edge of the champ and this fight could certainly go much the same way as Silva’s successful title defence against Nate Marquardt.

If not any of the names I’ve already mentioned, then who else is there? A lot of people were championing the name of Terry Martin, saying that his prodigious power would be too much for Silva. That, of course, was up until Chris Leben, a fighter Silva beat in 49 seconds, knocked him out. Perhaps Matt Lindland’s Olympic standard wrestling would neutralize Silva’s strengths, but probably not and he’d be left with the realization that, along with the losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Quinton Jackson, he’d have been defeated by three of the top pound for pound fighters in the world, in three different division in the space of a little over a year.
What about Denis Kang? Well Dana White and Zuffa had the opportunity to sign Kang to a contract after the acquisition of PRIDE but don’t seem to be enamoured by his obvious talents.

Where does all this leave Anderson Silva? He’s sitting pretty at the top of a very weak division, more talented in almost every aspect of the game than his nearest competitors. The division needs to be turned on its head, its needs some new blood or we’re going to be seeing Anderson Silva at the summit of the 185lb mountain for a long, long time. And hey, that’s okay with this writer to be perfectly honest.

Post #1   10/24/07 7:29:19PM   

ohiostate1016

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Exactly...

Right now, it does look like there is nobody left for Silva to beat in the current UFC MW division except Okami, a man he lost to before. But there's only one problem: Okami lost to Franklin, and Franklin by demolished by Silva twice.

I have no idea who they should put up against Silva next. Maybe someone could move down from 205 or up from 170. But who?

The obvious answer:



Who else? Ross Pointon!

Post #2   10/24/07 7:55:17PM   

MMA0922

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Okami won by DQ, is not like Anderson got beat up or something, he was dominating that fight... but he kicked Okami in the head (i believe) when okami was down... so he lost that fight.. but i dont think is a factor right now...

Post #3   10/24/07 8:33:55PM   

Twenty20Dollars

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well I think the rematch might be pretty good, since it said in okami's 26 fight career he has only been finished once!

Post #4   10/24/07 8:46:25PM   

ufc88

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anderson needs to fight either Hendo meaning hell have to move down or hughes or gsp meaning theyll have to move up.. i feel that if anderson is still the middleweight champion come march which is quite likely, the loser of the gsp fight if its him or matt hughes (i dont think serra will make it there) will move up for an immediate title shot against anderson. i think matt hughes is the guy who can do it. if not..... there are other fighters around who could put up a good fight - frank shamrock, paulo filho, etc

Post #5   10/24/07 8:47:01PM   

roman

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Posted by MMA0922

Okami won by DQ, is not like Anderson got beat up or something, he was dominating that fight... but he kicked Okami in the head (i believe) when okami was down... so he lost that fight.. but i dont think is a factor right now...


How do you know Silva was dominating the fight and you don't know what the DQ was for? Are you sure you watched it? I haven't seen it, but that just sounds fishy.

Post #6   10/24/07 9:05:34PM   

roman

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Yeah I just watched it, Silva was very dominate on his feet, but when Okami took him down he had a pretty good GnP game before that crazy weird kick happen. Very odd, u wouldn't think that was possible. Sucks for Silva.

The commentator was a jerk by the way, I really didn't like whoever that was.

Post #7   10/24/07 9:15:36PM   

GrandMaster313

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is it just me or did it look like in the last fight that Silva was almost toying with franklin the whole 1 round. The last 15 seconds of the round i swear i saw a different fighter than the first couple mins!!! it was like Silva just flicked a switch in his body and started punishing Rich with an all out Assault!!! He didn't doit in the first fight. I think he doesn't have respect for anyone's game in that division!
He is unstoppable until Dana brings someone else in!!

Post #8   10/24/07 9:50:42PM   

MMA0922

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well... you should watch it , (i dont know if they have it here in the MMA videos section), but i saw it on youtube ... and like i said he lost by DQ, when anderson kicked Okami in the head (the face) when Okami was down before that anderson got takendown, thats why he lost,
a weird think that happen there...
but the point is... yeah i wouldnt mind to watch a rematch

Post #9   10/24/07 9:56:33PM   

taporsnap25

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silva was totally toying with franklin the entire first round. why else would he have thrown spinning back fists and spinning rear heel kicks? rich franklin did not last twice as long as last time, silva let it last twice as long.

and that kick against okami was unreal, too bad it was illegal.

Post #10   10/24/07 10:17:38PM   

MMA0922

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oh sorry i didnt saw the last comment..

but Anderson Silva needs a real challenge, Henderson would be great (even that i think is not gonna happen he wants to stay in the LHW division, and that Pride belt is the only think that the UFC wants, i believe Henderson doesnt feel controllable with that), but anyways the UFC has to find someone that at least can give us a show against Silva, the guy looks unstoppable (you are not gonna put anyone just like that)

so let see what happens..

and with his last fight vs Franklin, Anderson was taking his time, he was waiting for Rich to make the first mistake, and he did pretty good.

Post #11   10/24/07 10:23:31PM   

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I think right now it's safe to say unless theres a better striker out there in the middleweight division i think Anderson Silva isn't losing that middle wight title for a long long time. He absolutlely toyed with franklin he waited fo franklin to hit him franklin connectedonce then it's was game over silva just cut through him.

But there is a fighter in my opinion that can beat anderson if he moves up to middleweight i believe GSP has all the tools to beat Silva i think he can stand his own in the striking game and i believe he could keep silva on the ground.

However we all know this won;t be for awhile if it ever does happen but it's something to think about





"I believe it's not a good fight for me style wise" rich franklin pretty much admitting he can never beat The Spider

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Post #12   10/25/07 2:16:25AM   

bullettdodger

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anyone can get caught though lest we forget that scissor kick take down submission that f'd silva over in pride

Post #13   10/25/07 6:27:38AM   

Branwest

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Silva and Franklin are the "cream of the crop" in the MW division. I wish Hendo would drop down and challenge Silva. I think their styles would make for an interesting fight. Hendo's wrestling and GnP vs. Silva's bjj, and Hendo isn't afraid to swing it out with anybody, as we've seen against Wandy, although he may quickly change his mind after getting hit a couple of times by Anderson.
Also, Paulo Filho should come from the WEC to the UFC. I know he's fighting Trigg next but he should be in the UFC.
Also, how come the UFC hasn't went after Denis Kang??

Post #14   10/25/07 12:12:22PM   

CornishMMA

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I see the top guys in contention as - Okami - Leben - Leites

Obviously Hendo would be at the top if he would just god damn well drop!!!

Then you have guys like Kampman and Mcfedries when they are back and maybe Cote/Grove/Lister/Belcher/Martin who could all get into contention with a few more wins, the division isnt as bad as it seems really

Post #15   10/25/07 12:27:32PM   
 
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