Shinya Aoki: Bad Scheduling or Bad Fighter?

nullFor quite a while we have heard about the great Shinya Aoki and his legendary submission skills.

Even I have been caught up in his hype, as I have him listed as one of my top 5 lightweights in the world.

However, I am growing tired of reports like this, where it says Aoki will take on Rob McCullough at Dream 17 in September. (

That will make Aoki’s last two opponents Rich Clementi and Rob McCullough.

McCullough used to be a champion in the WEC, but he still lost his way out of the company and was knocked out by Patricky Freire in his only Bellator appearance. He doesn’t strike me as a real tough lightweight opponent.

Clementi has been out of the UFC for a couple of years and has now lost three of his last four.

While I am impressed with Aoki’s submission ability, I haven’t forgotten that his last great test was against Gilbert Melendez last year in Strikeforce, and he failed miserably.

He put up little fight and was dominated by a legit lightweight contender for 25 minutes.

I like what Aoki can do, but I would like to see him fight in the states and consistently compete against the best in the world. Anyone can look like a beast against cupcake opponents, it is another thing to do it against the best.


Top 10 Lightweight Rankings

nullThe lightweight division is as impressive a group as any in MMA.

The top 10 list features a number of different styles and contenders, but each fighter could arguably beat everyone else on the list.

Still, here are my updated top 10 lightweight rankings.

1. Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) – Edgar holds on to the top spot as he still is the UFC champion. An injury kept him from facing Gray Maynard in their long-awaited trilogy fight, but those two should collide soon and be able to settle the score as to who deserves to be the champion.

2. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) – Maynard is still unbeaten but missed out on his opportunity to win the championship when he had Edgar beaten at UFC 125. Now, he will have to wait for a third shot at Edgar this fall where he can perhaps prove to the world that he is the top lightweight in the world.

3. Gilbert Melendez (19-2) – Melendez could legitimately compete for the UFC title, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so. Now that the UFC is tapping into Strikeforce, perhaps a champion vs. champion bout is in the near future. Until then, Melendez looks as if he will continue to tear up Strikeforce competition.

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MMA News & Notes for May 31

nullFollowing UFC 130, all seems to be quiet on the MMA front.

However, I was able to find some tidbits that you may be interested in.

– It appears that Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson are having another lovers’ quarrel. Like any media hungry respectable couple, the two have taken to their Twitter accounts (Here’s Tito’s and here’s Jenna’s) to hurl insults at one another. Tito accuses Jenna of cheating and Jenna accuses Tito of domestic abuse. Boy, if these two level-headed people can’t make it work out, what couple can? Any chance Ortiz uses this as a reason to pull out of his UFC 132 bout with Ryan Bader in hopes to get a lesser opponent?

– Quinton “Rampage” Jackson made us all a little uncomfortable by sexually harassing a female reporter on camera, again. The incident isn’t the first time that Rampage has been sexually aggressive toward a female interviewer. He is just begging to have a major lawsuit handed to him and the UFC. (MMAFighting)

– Dream “Fight for Japan” took place on Sunday and top lightweight, Shinya Aoki, added to his impressive record with a submission of former UFC contender, Rich Clementi. Aoki improves to 28-5 in his MMA career and the submission against Clementi came in the second round from a face lock. Aoki has now won his last three fights by submission. (Sherdog)

– Thiago Alves thinks he won his UFC 130 bout with Rick Story. Apparently Alves forgot about the first two rounds where he mounted little offense and spent a great deal of time on his back. Alves did have an impressive third round, but he didn’t finish the fight. Last time I checked, winning one round isn’t as good as winning two rounds. (MMAMania)


Your weekly MMA TV Schedule update

nullAnother Sunday night means another MMA on TV update for the week.

Here is a look at all the MMA events you can see on tv or the internet this week.

– On Wednesday, the ninth episode of The Ultimate Fighter will air on SpikeTV at 9 p.m. ET. The quarterfinals continue as both teams picked up a win in the opening two quarterfinal bouts.

– Also on Wednesday, following The Ultimate Fighter, UFC In The Moment: Rampage Jackson debuts at 10 p.m. ET on SpikeTV and then Countdown to UFC 130 follows at 10:30 p.m.

– On Friday, Titan Fighting 18 takes place in Kansas City. The card features former UFC stars Jens Pulver, Drew McFedries, and Rory Markham, among others. The card will air on HDNet Fights starting at 7 p.m. ET.

– On Saturday, UFC 130 takes place from Las Vegas. The main event is a light heavyweight contest between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Matt Hamill. The co-main event is a heavyweight clash between Roy Nelson and Frank Mir. The main card will air on PPV at 9 p.m. ET while two prelims will air on SpikeTV at 8 p.m. ET.

– Sunday has Dream 17 taking place in Saitama, Japan. The Bantamweight Grand Prix quarterfinals will be taking place at the event and also Shinya Aoki will face off with Rich Clementi. Caol Uno and Joachim Hansen will also be in action. Check listings for TV availability.


Top 10 Lightweight Rankings

nullFor the most part, rankings fighters in each division starts easy and ends tough.

That isn’t the case for my lightweight rankings.

Of any division in MMA, the lightweights are the toughest to sort through. The group is very top-heavy and even the distant contenders are hard to decipher.

Nonetheless, here is my top 10 list for the lightweights. Feel free to add your take on who should be in the top spots.

(If you need to go back and find my pound-for-pound, heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, or welterweight rankings, click on the links)

1. Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) – Edgar is the UFC Lightweight Champion and the lone lightweight in the world to clearly dominate the great B.J. Penn. Edgar will get his chance to put his stamp on the top spot when he faces Gray Maynard for the third time on May 28, but the fact that Edgar pulled out a draw at UFC 125 after that brutal first round is a testament to his abilities. Edgar’s speed, hands, and wrestling are a very impressive combination, especially for a man that could arguably fight at featherweight.

2. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) – Maynard has yet to lose and if he didn’t put everything he had into knocking Edgar out in the first round of their UFC 125 bout, he would be the champion today. Maynard was once just a wrestler, but is now showing strong striking ability. If he can put forth a full 25 minutes in May, he will become the champion and take over the top spot in my rankings.

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