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Fightmania April Rankings

By on May 1, 2012

April saw big bouts in multiple MMA promotions, with the UFC’s light heavyweight title bout between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans being the highest profile of them all. Not far behind was a Bellator battle between top ten lightweights Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki. How did these and other scraps affect the Fightmania MMA rankings? Read on to find out.

FLYWEIGHT DIVISION (125 LBS.)

1. Ian McCall
2. Joseph Benavidez
3. Demetrious Johnson
4. Jussier Da Silva
5. Yasuhiro Urushitani
6. Louis Gaudinot
7. John Lineker
8. Darrell Montague
9. Mamoru Yamaguchi
10. Dustin Ortiz (NR)

Dropped out: Yuki Shojo (10)

Nothing going on here in April. Shojo drops out because he will now be fighting at 115 pounds. Yes, 115 pounds. Where does it end? 105 pounds? 95 pounds? Let’s make a 45 pound class and let kids fight, for God’s sake!

Fortunately, business will pick up here soon. This weekend, Dustin Ortiz (who took Shojo’s spot) takes on Josh Robinson, while Darrell Montague will face Taylor McCorriston at Tachi Palace Fights 13 on May 10. Gaudinot and Lineker will scrap at UFC on Fox 3, while McCall will rematch Mighty Mouse on June 8 so that the UFC flyweight tournament can get moving again.

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 LBS.)

1. Dominick Cruz
2. Urijah Faber
3. Renan Barao
4. Scott Jorgensen (5)
5. Brian Bowles (6)
6. Michael McDonald (NR)
7. Miguel Torres (4)
8. Brad Pickett
9. Eduardo Dantas (NR)
10. Bibiano Fernandes (9)

Dropped out: Masakatsu Ueda, Zach Makovsky

There was a lot of great action at 135 pounds in April, and it’s reflected in the changes here. In Bellator, it was all about established names dropping bouts as Ueda lost to Travis Marx and Makovsky lost his bantamweight title in decisive fashion to the young Dantas. Dantas enters the mix at number nine as a result. Meanwhile, McDonald showed why he’s so highly regarded this early in his career with a startling knockout of Torres, who drops three spots. I suspect McDonald will earn himself a spot in the top three by the end of the calendar year.

Of course, the top two here will face off on July 7, following he first live season of The Ultimate Fighter. Barao will face Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148, which is a strange, hopefully brief respite from elite competition after a win over Scott Jorgensen. Jorgensen will take on Eddie Wineland on June 8.

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 LBS.)

1. Jose Aldo
2. Chad Mendes
3. Pat Curran
4. Hatsu Hioki
5. Kenny Florian
6. Marlon Sandro
7. Dustin Poirier (8)
8. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire
9. Dennis Siver (NR)
10. Diego Nunes (7)

Dropped out: Chan Sung Jung (NR)

Marlon Sandro won a fight in a second straight month as part of Bellator’s featherweight tournament, slipping by Alexandre Bezerra with a split decision victory. He’ll face Daniel Straus on May 11 with the tournament championship and a shot at the title on the line. Meanwhile, Dennis Siver enters the featherweight top ten with an impressive win over Diego Nunes during his debut at 145 pounds. Nunes drops to tenth and Chan Sung Jung drops just outside of the top ten with Siver’s entry.

Poirier will give Jung a chance to re-enter the fold at UFC on Fuel 3 in May. Meanwhile, Jose Aldo has his next dance partner- Erik Koch (13-1), most recently seen defeating Jonathan Brookins way back in September. They’ll face off in Canada in July. Hioki, who didn’t feel ready to face Aldo just yet, will take on Ricardo Lamas in June.

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (155 LBS.)

1. Ben Henderson
2. Frankie Edgar
3. Gilbert Melendez
4. Gray Maynard
5. Anthony Pettis
6. Jim Miller (7)
7. Michael Chandler (8)
8. Eddie Alvarez (9)
9. Nate Diaz (10)
10. Donald Cerrone (NR)

Dropped out: Shinya Aoki (6)

Aoki once again looked first confused, then dazed when he couldn’t convince Alvarez to play “crank the limb” on the mat with him and was ultimately battered to a referee stoppage as a result. Aoki is simply too one-dimensional to be on this list, as I think most, if not all, of these fighters would defeat him if given the chance. His exit allows Donald Cerrone to rejoin the group at the back of the line.

Edgar and Henderson fight again this summer. Melendez will face Josh Thomson in May in what will hopefully be Melendez’s last Strikeforce fight. Meanwhile, Miller and Diaz will clash in May at UFC on Fox 3. Michael Chandler takes on Akihiro Gono in a non-title fight on May 4, while Maynard will face Clay Guida in June. Donald Cerrone will scrap with Jeremy Stephens in what should be a barn burner on May 15.

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170 LBS.)

1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Carlos Condit
3. Nick Diaz
4. Josh Koscheck
5. Johny Hendricks
6. Jon Fitch
7. Jake Shields
8. Nate Marquardt
9. Jake Ellenberger
10. BJ Penn

Nothing happened this month, but that changes in May when Koscheck takes on Hendricks. If Koscheck doesn’t look significantly better than he did in his last fight, he’ll be in serious trouble. Diaz is busy fighting with the Nevada Athletic Commission, while St. Pierre continues to wait for his body to heal in anticipation of a showdown with Condit. Jon Fitch has a tough, but winnable fight against Aaron Simpson scheduled for July.

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185 LBS.)

1. Anderson Silva
2. Chael Sonnen
3. Vitor Belfort
4. Mark Munoz
5. Yushin Okami
6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
7. Hector Lombard
8. Luke Rockhold
9. Brian Stann
10. Michael Bisping

Stann carved through Alessio Sakara, but faces Hector Lombard in August in Lombard’s UFC debut. That’s a fan service bout if I’ve ever heard of one, and should be a very memorable fight. There’s also Munoz vs. prospect Chris Weidman in July to look forward to, as well as Belfort facing Wanderlei Silva at the conclusion of TUF: Brazil. Bipsing fights Tim Boetsch in July, while Okami tries to get back on the horse against Luiz Cane in August. Also, there’s this fight you may have heard about in July between some guy named Anderson Silva and another dude named Chael Sonnen. All in all, a huge summer is coming up for the middleweight division.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205 LBS.)

1. Jon Jones
2. Rashad Evans
3. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
4. Dan Henderson
5. Lyoto Machida
6. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
7. Gegard Mousasi
8. Ryan Bader
9. Phil Davis
10. Alexander Gustafsson

Jones defeated Evans with relative ease, though he wasn’t able (or maybe willing) to put him away within the 25-minute time limit. Evans gave a strong performance and still belongs in the second spot, in my view. Meanwhile, Gustafsson was impressive in some respects against Thiago Silva, but was too hittable for my liking. I think he needs a decent amount of development yet, and I don’t think he proved himself to be better than the man a spot higher than him, Phil Davis.

Next up for Jones is Henderson, which will go down at some point this year. Shogun will not face Rampage as previously speculated, but Thiago Silva at UFC 149 in July. In August, Machida takes on Bader in a must-win fight for both, but Machida in particular.

HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 LBS.)

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

All the action here happened outside of the cage, as Overeem was forced to withdraw from his fight with dos Santos due to elevated testosterone levels that he blamed on an anti-inflammatory medication that he took for an injury. Mir will gladly step in for him in what is a decidedly less exciting matchup. Therefore, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva will face Velasquez, which I think is a pretty good fight. In Strikeforce news, Barnett and Cormier will finally complete the epic odyssey that was the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in May. Still no word on a return for Carwin, though Nogueira is training and wants to fight in 2012.

POUND-FOR-POUND (No Limit)

1. Anderson Silva
2. Jon Jones (3)
3. Georges St. Pierre (2)
4. Frankie Edgar
5. Jose Aldo
6. Dominick Cruz
7. BJ Penn
8. Dan Henderson
9. Joseph Benavidez
10. Ian McCall (NR)

Dropped out: Rashad Evans (10)

I moved Jones up for a number of reasons:

-Better opponents in his last several fights than St. Pierre,
-More dominant performances in those fights than St. Pierre, and
-The troubling recent inactivity due to injury that has stalled GSP’s momentum (to a lesser extent than the other two factors).

Meanwhile, Ian McCall moves up to take Evans’ place. Yes, he’s the number one flyweight in the world, yet ranked lower than Benavidez on the P4P rankings. That’s because Benavidez was the number two fighter in the world for years at 135 pounds, which was clearly ten pounds heavier than his best weight.

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1 comment
  1. Topher says:

    Just one question about your P4P. Didn’t BJ Penn say he was retiring? I don’t feel like it would make sense to have a guy on that kind of list who seems to have very little love left for the game.




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