Top 10 Heavyweight Rankings

nullEach week I will post my rankings for a respective weight class or my pound-for-pound top 10.

This week is the heavyweights, which has seen its stable significantly improve over the last few years.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 heavyweights in MMA.

1. Cain Velasquez (9-0): The UFC Heavyweight Champion has a great combination of wrestling and striking and he has been quick to finish some of the top guys in the sport, including Brock Lesnar. His speed and agility are tough for most opponents to deal with and his strength is on par with anyone despite having only a 245-pound frame.

2. Junior dos Santos (12-1): I was having trouble with the next in line as each remaining fighter seems to have some clear negatives against them. Junior has torn through the UFC, winning all six of his bouts, but he has yet to face an elite-level competitor. Dos Santos clearly has the punching power and striking ability, but the question with him is his takedown defense. He has yet to face a truly great wrestler in the UFC, but that issue will be addressed when he takes on Brock Lesnar at UFC 131.

3. Shane Carwin (12-1): Now I know many of you are saying “Wait, Lesnar beat Carwin. How is he ranked ahead of him?” Well, Carwin had Lesnar beat in that fight and simply gassed. Until then, Carwin was as dominant as any heavyweight I have seen in quite some time. Carwin has very powerful hands and a wrestling background that makes it tough for opponents to get the fight to the ground. With his clear weakness exposed in his conditioning, I expect that to improve greatly as he makes a run back toward the title starting at UFC 131.

4. Brock Lesnar (5-2): Lesnar is a physical specimen and a great draw for the UFC, but his last two fights exposed his inexperience and inability to respond well when he gets hit. Lesnar is a very intimidating fighter, but he has lost that luster in the cage and now his opponents don’t fear him. The blueprint to beat him is pretty simple: stuff his takedowns and out-strike him.

5. Alistair Overeem (34-11): Overeem is on a nice run as he has won his last six fights and not lost since 2007. The Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion is an elite-level kickboxer, which has allowed him to win his last six fights by finish, but Overeem has not been tested by some of the best. His next fight is with Fabricio Werdum, which should show if he has the well-rounded skills it will take to become the top heavyweight in all of MMA.

6. Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1): Had Werdum not beaten Fedor Emelianenko last June, I don’t know that anyone would have him in their top 10 rankings. Werdum is a very poor striker, but one of the best submission fighters in the division. Prior to locking in the triangle on Fedor, Werdum was taking a pretty good beating. This is a guy that was handled quite easily by dos Santos and also had a lackluster loss to Andrei Arlovski in 2007. While I give Werdum credit for wins over Fedor and Antonio Silva, I still wouldn’t consider him a threat to beat any of the UFC’s best.

7. Frank Mir (14-5): Mir has been a hard guy to figure out as well. He has been a hot-and-cold fighter over the past few years, but has continued to show improved striking to go along with his submission skills. Mir’s problem is that he is unable to get better strikers on the ground and unable to stay off his back against better grapplers. Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin tore right through Mir and I would have no reason to believe anything would be different if Mir fought them again.

8. Antonio Silva (16-2): At first Silva appeared to be more of a side-show act with his “Bigfoot” moniker, but he has shown some impressive skills over the last year. He legitimately was the better fighter against Fedor last Feburary and he also topped Arlovski and Mike Kyle in the last year. Silva lost a decision to Werdum, but I think he would have a chance to win a rematch if it plays out in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

9. Roy Nelson (15-5): Nelson is kind of like Homer Simpson where he can take a lot of punishment and stay standing. But, Nelson has one-punch power in his hands and underrated ground skills, which have allowed him to establish himself as a contender in the UFC. Despite losses to Arlovski and Jeff Monson, Nelson has looked good in the UFC, beating Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve by KO. He also went the distance with dos Santos, which nobody else has been able to do in the octagon.

10. Fedor Emelianenko (31-3): I thought about keeping Fedor off the list entirely, but the man still had one of the greatest runs in MMA history. Fedor was beating Werdum until he got caught in a submission, but his size was too much of a factor in his loss to Silva. At around 230 pounds, Fedor may cut down to light heavyweight, which would be a smart move. Unlike early in the 2000’s, where heavyweights were smaller and more about striking, today’s heavyweights have the total package and the size to boot, which has caused problems for Fedor.


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