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Fightmania March Rankings

By on March 31, 2012

I’m not going to pretend that March was chock-full of huge MMA fights, but there was some good action. Bellator really stepped up, especially with their first show of the sixth season. Meanwhile, many UFC veterans and other decent names showcased their skills, with even the 50-year old Maurice Smith turning back the clock and getting a showcase victory.

Still, though: don’t get your hopes up. We had some good events and the return of TUF (two seasons, at that), but there wasn’t a lot going on in many of the weight classes this month.


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. Yuki Shojo

Of course, as we all know by now, the debacle that was McCall-Johnson will be “fixed” by making the two fight again, this time in June on FX. The fight itself was great, of course, but it’s hard to deny that some bitterness still exists with being denied the fourth round we should have gotten. And why? Because someone couldn’t read a judge’s handwriting?

Benavidez debuts in my flyweight rankings at the number two spot. I wouldn’t argue with you having him at the top spot, dear reader, but I’m not going to do that. He’s had one fight at flyweight, while McCall has had a history of success. I suspect they’ll settle it this fall, anyway. Da Silva fights in April against Lincoln De Sa, but here’s hoping he finds himself in the UFC sooner rather than later. The same goes for Montague, Yamaguchi and Shojo, of which only the latter has fought in the last eight months, as Shojo lost a majority decision in Shooto to Junji Ito. Gaudinot and Lineker will have what should be a memorable scrap at UFC on Fox 3 in May.


1. Dominick Cruz
2. Urijah Faber
3. Renan Barao
4. Miguel Torres
5. Scott Jorgensen
6. Brian Bowles
7. Masakatsu Ueda
8. Brad Pickett
9. Bibiano Fernandes
10. Zach Makovsky

The first live season of The Ultimate Fighter has put the spotlight back on Cruz and Faber, who will fight in a couple of months when the season concludes. Barao will face Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148, which is a strange step back from fighting a top 5 opponent in Scott Jorgensen. He was originally slated to fight Jeff Hougland, but that still would have been a big step back in competition.

Makovsky will face Eduardo Dantas in the Bellator cage in mid-April, while Ueda will fight Travis Marx in Bellator’s bantamweight tournament this year. Pickett faces the tough Damacio Page at UFC on Fuel 2 on April 14. Finally, Torres will attempt to make headlines in the cage and not on Twitter as he faces Michael McDonald on April 21.


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

Dropped out: Joe Warren (10)

All of the action here came from Bellator this month. Pat Curran absolutely demolished Joe Warren in brutal fashion and is a legitimate top five featherweight. I think he’s been more impressive than Hioki by far in recent fights. Meanwhile, Marlon Sandro moves up with a nice first round submission win over Roberto Vargas.

Poirier will face a tough task against new top 10 featherweight and fan favorite Chan Sung Jung at UFC on Fuel 3 in May. Nunes will face former lightweight Dennis Siver, who I still cannot fathom making 145 pounds, at UFC on Fuel 2.


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

Edgar and Henderson will do it again this summer, despite my pleas to see Henderson-Pettis again. Melendez will have a decidedly less exciting matchup awaiting him, as he will face Josh Thomson in May in what will hopefully be Melendez’s last Strikeforce fight. Thomson has had a nice career, but simply can’t stay healthy and can’t fight like he used to, and I don’t think Melendez is any more excited about this fight than I am.

Meanwhile, Miller and Diaz will clash in May on the UFC’s third Fox-aired event, while Aoki will come stateside to take on Alvarez in Bellator on April 20. The man who took Alvarez’s belt, Michael Chandler, will face Akihiro Gono in a non-title fight on May 4. Maynard will face Clay Guida in June.


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

Martin Kampmann nearly sneaks in, but I can’t really put him in based upon a fight he was losing before his opponent stupidly decided for a meaningless late takedown attempt that handed Kampmann a choke, and thus, the win. With the division largely held up by injuries, uncertainty and quasi-retirements, the only big fight coming up is Hendricks-Koscheck in May. I stuck myself a bit by keeping Koscheck in the fourth spot when he looked awful in his last fight, but I suspect Hendricks will fix that problem for me. Diaz is hoping to get off without a suspension for marijuana use when he meets with the NSAC next month.


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

Jacare won, but it was essentially a sacrifice as Strikeforce handed him Bristol freaking Marunde to toy with. He’s not going anywhere off of that, and I have him ranked higher than most media members, anyway.

Silva-Sonnen will meet again this summer, while Belfort will settle things once and for all with Wanderlei Silva after TUF: Brazil. Stann will face Alessio Sakara in April in a fun fight that he should win at UFC on Fuel 2. Bisping will face Tim Boetsch at UFC 148, and with Munoz on the shelf, the winner could be in position for a title shot if they look impressive enough.


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

Gustafsson will face Thiago Silva (who replaces an injured Lil’ Nog) in April. The long-awaited Jones-Evans fight also looms in April and is the biggest fight the division’s seen in a while. Shogun will supposedly meet Rampage in what could apparently be Rampage’s last UFC fight, although the date is undecided.


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

Junior dos Santos-Overeem in May is the big fight in this division. Velasquez and Mir will duke it out the same night, likely for the number one contender’s spot. Barnett and Cormier will complete the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix (!) in May. Carwin was reportedly hoping for a “mid-2012” return from injury, but with no announced matchup in sight, who knows?


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

Dropped out: Lyoto Machida (8)

I wanted to fit Benavidez, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the flyweight division, into the rankings. I couldn’t see dropping Henderson, so Machida had to go. I took the opportunity to flip-flop Hendo and Evans, as well.

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