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Fightmania April Rankings

By on April 30, 2013

josh thomsonAlthough it was a slow month for major events outside of the UFC, with just one Bellator event at the beginning of the month and not much else of note to discuss, there was a UFC every weekend in the month of April, leading to some movement in the rankings.

As always, these rankings are subjective. To read a rather extensive explanation of my methodology, check out the rankings manifesto.

FLYWEIGHT DIVISION (125 LBS.)

1. Demetrious Johnson
2. Joseph Benavidez
3. John Dodson
4. Ian McCall
5. Jussier Da Silva
6. Darrell Montague
7. Louis Gaudinot
8. John Lineker
9. John Moraga
10. Yasuhiro Urushitani

Although Benavidez was in action, knocking out Darren Uyenoyama at UFC on Fox 7, Uyenoyama was not ranked, and there’s nowhere for Benavidez to go until he fights Johnson again, anyway. That was the only fight involving these ten in April.

There are finally some bouts scheduled for the flyweights, though: Johnson and Moraga meet in a title bout at UFC on Fox 8. Meanwhile, Da Silva will fight in May on UFC on FX 8 against Chris Cariaso. John Lineker will fight on the same show, facing the debuting Azamat Gashimov. Urushitani was cut from the UFC after his losses against Benavidez and Lineker, but will face Rey Docyogen in One FC on May 31.

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 LBS.)

1. Dominick Cruz
2. Renan Barao
3. Urijah Faber
4. Eddie Wineland
5. Michael McDonald
6. Brad Pickett (7)
7. Scott Jorgensen (6)
8. Bibiano Fernandes
9. Raphael Assuncao
10. Eduardo Dantas

Faber and Pickett both won this month, although Faber can’t move past either of the top two, both of whom have beaten him recently, even with a win over Jorgensen. Pickett skips past Jorgensen with his win over Mike Easton and Jorgensen’s loss to Faber. Yes, Tyson Nam- who knocked out Dantas last summer- is not on the list, because Dantas has a much more impressive resume, despite the upset loss in August.

We’ll have to wait until mid-June to see Barao defend his interim strap against Wineland. In the meantime, we only have Bibiano Fernandes’ One FC 9 bout against Koetsu Okazaki to look forward to in the month of May.

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 LBS.)

1. Jose Aldo
2. Pat Curran (3)
3. Chad Mendes (4)
4. Frankie Edgar (2)
5. Dennis Siver
6. Ricardo Lamas
7. Chan Sung Jung
8. Cub Swanson
9. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire
10. Dustin Poirier

Both Curran and Mendes move up a spot with convincing wins over Shahbulat Shamhalaev and Darren Elkins, respectively. I still feel Edgar is a top-notch fighter at either lightweight or featherweight, but he hasn’t proven as much as Curran or Mendes in the division, despite his good showing against Aldo, so the moves feel right to me.

The biggest fight in this division, between Aldo and lightweight standout Anthony Pettis, won’t take place until UFC 163 on August 3rd. Also this summer, Lamas and Jung will face off at UFC 162 in July, the same night when Swanson and Siver will fight in one of my most-anticipated bouts of the summer.

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (155 LBS.)

1. Benson Henderson
2. Anthony Pettis (3)
3. Gilbert Melendez (4)
4. Gray Maynard (2)
5. Michael Chandler (6)
6. Josh Thomson (NR)
7. Eddie Alvarez (8)
8. Nate Diaz (5)
9. Donald Cerrone
10. Pat Healy (NR)

Dropped out: Jim Miller (7), Joe Lauzon (10)

The only people who don’t move here are Cerrone and Henderson, who won another title defense, this time against Melendez. Melendez impressed me in defeat, though, and moves up to the #3 spot. I still think Pettis is better, although whether his future is in the lightweight or featherweight division I suppose rests upon his fight with Jose Aldo in August.

Thomson jumps into the top ten in a big way after a great victory over Diaz, who drops three spots. Alvarez benefits from Diaz and Miller dropping, the latter after being submitted by Healy, who debuts in the tenth spot. Lauzon drops out to accommodate him.

Maynard will face TJ Grant in May at UFC 160 to decide the next contender for Henderson’s belt, on the same night that Cerrone faces KJ Noons. In June, Chandler will face Dave Jansen in Bellator.

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170 LBS.)

1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Johny Hendricks
3. Carlos Condit
4. Nick Diaz
5. Rory MacDonald
6. Demian Maia
7. Jon Fitch
8. Nate Marquardt
9. Martin Kampmann
10. Jake Ellenberger

The welterweight division was the exception to all of the action this month. As such, there’s nothing happening here. It’s not going to change anytime soon, either, with nothing of note happening until June, when Fitch makes his World Series of Fighting debut against Josh Burkman. In July, Ellenberger and McDonald will face off at UFC on Fox 8. Then, Maia will face Josh Koscheck in August. There’s no date set yet for St. Pierre’s title clash with Hendricks.

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185 LBS.)

1. Anderson Silva
2. Chris Weidman
3. Vitor Belfort
4. Yushin Okami
5. Mark Munoz
6. Luke Rockhold
7. Michael Bisping
8. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
9. Brian Stann
10. Constantinos Philippou

Though Bisping defeated Alan Belcher by unanimous decision in a pretty one-sided fight, he doesn’t move past Rockhold, who I simply think is a better fighter. Rockhold will get a chance to prove my point when he faces Belfort in May. Also in May, Philippou will face Jacare at UFC on FX 8.

The big event for this division, though, is UFC 162. That’s when Silva defends his title against Weidman. Also, Munoz will face Tim Boetsch as he attempts to rebuild his momentum.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205 LBS.)

1. Jon Jones
2. Lyoto Machida
3. Rashad Evans
4. Dan Henderson
5. Alexander Gustafsson
6. Phil Davis (8)
7. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
8. Chael Sonnen (6)
9. Gegard Mousasi
10. Glover Teixeira

Davis moves up two spots and occupies Sonnen’s old spot after a win over Vinny Magalhaes. Magalhaes isn’t an elite opponent, but Davis showed much improved striking, particularly in the form of a quick, stinging, accurate jab, which helps bolster my confidence in him. Sonnen’s plans are not clear at this point, so he’ll stay ranked as a light heavyweight for now.

Teixeira will face James Te Huna at UFC 160 in late May, as Te Huna steps in for Teixeira’s original opponent, Ryan Bader. UFC 161 in June will feature four of these men in action, as Shogun takes on Lil’ Nog and Evans faces Henderson. There are rumblings that Gustafsson will meet Machida to determine a new number one contender in the division, but nothing has been set officially yet.

HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 LBS.)

1. Cain Velasquez
2. Junior dos Santos
3. Fabricio Werdum
4. Daniel Cormier
5. Antonio Silva
6. Alistair Overeem
7. Josh Barnett
8. Frank Mir
9. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
10. Roy Nelson

I thought long and hard about this month’s heavyweight rankings, and specifically, the places of Mir and Nelson. Mir lost, sure, but to the number four fighter on this list. He’s already beaten both the men ranked below him (and Nogueira, he’s beaten twice). Can I really drop him or move Nelson up on the strength of a win over a non-top ten opponent, as respected as Cheick Kongo may be?

Nope, I can’t. So things stay the same this month, although Mir’s grip on his spot is more tenuous than before. Sure, he’s only lost to dos Santos and Cormier in recent fights, but he hasn’t looked great, even in his victories. He’s looked slow at times. He’s supposed to be faster and more technical than his bigger, stronger opponents, but now only one of those is true.

UFC 160 on May 25 features a few of these guys. Dos Santos faces Mark Hunt for a title shot, while, Velasquez will defend his title against a fighter he already beat the crap out of in Bigfoot Silva. June will bring Werdum and Nogueira facing off. Overeem’s next fight hasn’t been announced, and Barnett is still apparently a free agent.

POUND-FOR-POUND (No Limit)

1. Anderson Silva
2. Jon Jones
3. Georges St. Pierre
4. Jose Aldo
5. Dominick Cruz
6. Demetrious Johnson
7. Frankie Edgar
8. Benson Henderson (9)
9. Cain Velasquez (8)
10. Lyoto Machida

Henderson moves up a spot after his successful, though close, fight with Melendez. Jones isn’t going to pass up Silva just by brutalizing a guy Silva has already beaten twice at middleweight, however.

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