Minor Leagues

Minor Leagues

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At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.

Two noteworthy MMA cards were held in England on Saturday night – the first, BAMMA 5, saw top-10 welterweight Paul Daley enter the cage in Manchester opposite Yuya Shirai in what was meant to be a BAMMA Welterweight Championship bout. But Daley came in over weight, as he has done on multiple occasions, and the fight became a non-title affair. After that, the only thing riding on the fight besides the purse was a likely April title fight versus Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz (#?). Daley did what Daley does, knocking Shirai out in the first round, and preserving his Strikeforce contendership as well as his #10 spot in FIGHT!’s Welterweight Rankings. Shirai stayed put as well, holding steady at #75.

In the evening’s other marquee fight, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez took on The Ultimate Fighter veteran James McSweeney in a 220# catchweight affair. Rodriguez said that he would begin competing at 205 pounds, then said he’d make the full cut when the fight purse warranted it, but he has yet to make it to light heavyweight – or even 15 pounds over that limit – in two attempts. Rodriguez took the decision from McSweeney with superior grappling, climbing from #73 to #64 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings. McSweeney falls from #89 to #91 with the loss.

At Middleweight, Alex Makhonin enters the rankings at #92 with his win over UFC veteran Xavier Foupa-Pokam, who fell from #152 to #155. In the only other ranked fight, Jean-Francois Lenogue enters the Middleweight Rankings at #150 after his loss to unranked Claudio Henrique Da Silva. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

While BAMMA was entertaining crowds in Manchester, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 40 took place down south in London. Rosi Sexton bested Roxanne Modafferi in the main event, but FIGHT! isn’t ready to roll out our women’s rankings just yet. The only ranked action took place at Featherweight and Welterweight, where Ashleigh Grimshaw and Charlie Leary entered the rankings at #96 and #186, respectively. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

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(Photo courtesy of Maximum Fighting Championship.)

On this side of the Atlantic, MFC 28: Supremacy was held at the River Cree Resort & Casino near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. At the top of the card was a Light Heavyweight Championship match between homegrown MFC fighters Ryan Jimmo and Dwayne Lewis. Jimmo stopped Lewis with vicious ground and pound, creeping up from from #25 to #22 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings. Lewis falls from #50 to #61.

Also at 205#, former MFC Light Heavyweight Champion Emanuel Newton defeated UFC vet Rodney Wallace, earning a lift from #38 to #25 in the rankings, while Wallace crashes from #43 to #71.

More than a year after a public dust up with MFC owner Mark Pavelich, UFC vet Drew Fickett made his promotional debut, besting fellow UFC vet Matt Veach, who stepped up on short notice to replace MFC Lightweight Champion Antonio McKee. Fickett actually slipped from #36 to #37 Lightweight Rankings after the fight, while Veach dropped from #139 to #141. Fickett’s fall has more to do with other lightweights moving ahead of him than it does with his performance.

Also at lightweight, Curtis Demarce fell from #90 to #150 in the rankings after losing to unranked Richie Whitson and Garrett Nybakken enters the rankings at #213 following his second straight MFC loss, this time to unranked Dan Ring.

Thomas Denny re-enters the Welterweight Rankings at #103 following a draw with Sheldon Westcott, who enters the rankings at #102. In the only only rankings action, Paapa Inkumsah enters the Welterweight ranking at #203 after his third loss in three qualifying fights.

No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

In the only other rankings-relevant fights on Saturday night, UFC veteran Rodney Wallace“>Gerald Harris dropped a decision to unranked James Head at XFN: Harris vs. Head in Oklahoma City, Okla. Harris drops from #65 to #118 in the Middleweight Rankings with the loss. In the other marquee fight, Mike Budnik climbed to #77 in the Featherweight Rankings with a win over unranked Jonny Carson.

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(Beerbohm weighs in at a previous Strikeforce event.)

At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.

On Fri., Feb. 18, Strikeforce Challengers 14 went down in the Austin, Tex. area, as did one of Strikeforce’s few lightweight prospects, Lyle Beerbohm. UFC, WEC, IFL, and MFC veteran Pat Healy leapt from #75 to #30 in the Lightweight Rankings following his decision win over the formerly unbeaten Beerbohm, who falls from #24 to #73 with the loss.

Former WEC Welterweight Championship contender Carlo Prater has struggled of late but he pulled out a catchweight win over welterweight Bryan Travers. Prater moves from #175 to #107 in our lightweight poll while Travers falls from #100 to #165 in the Welterweight Rankings.

Also at Welterweight, unranked Ryan Larson defeated Erik Apple; Apple falls from #135 to #182 at 170.

Ryan Couture notched his second win in two professional fights (this time over unranked Lee Higgins) and will enter our Lightweight Rankings after his third bout. David Douglas defeated Nick Gonzalez in another catchweight bout; Douglas drops from #106 to #108 in the Lightweight Rankings, while Gonzalez sits tight at #99 in the Featherweight Rankings with the loss.

In the only other ranked bout of the evening, Ousmane Diagne moved from #204 to #167 in the Lightweight Rankings with his win over unranked Aaron Franco. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

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(Loiseau weighs in before his bout with Mario Miranda.)

Farther west, in Lemoore, Calif., 22 fighters threw down in the square cage at Tachi Palace Fights 8: All or Nothing. Two belts were up for grabs and both changed hands. Read on for full analysis of how the results effected our rankings.

In the main event, UFC veteran David Loiseau picked up the TPF Middleweight Championship belt with a cut stoppage win over IFL vet and Lemoore regular Leopoldo Serao. Loiseau climbs from #136 to #91 in the Middleweight Rankings with the win, while Serao falls from #71 to #120 with the loss.

In the co-main event, Darrell Montague took the TPF Flyweight Championship from Ulysses Gomez with a unanimous decision win. In what was likely a top contender bout, WEC veteran Ian McCall defeated the man many considered to be the best flyweight in the world, Jussier Da Silva. The fight highlighted the problems with subjective rankings and opinion polls – while Da Silva was undefeated and held a signature non-title win over former Shooto Flyweight Champion Shinichi Kojima, he was beaten soundly by an unheralded fighter who went 1-2 while fighting as a Bantamweight in the WEC. When FIGHT! publishes its official Flyweight Rankings later this year, all four fighters will likely figure in the top 10, and fighters below 135 pounds can be assessed objectively.

John Gunderson‘s plan for making a return to the UFC hit a snag on Friday when he was felled by Dominique Robinson. Robinson climbs from #128 to #72 in the Lightweight Rankings while “Guns” falls from #117 to #177. In another lightweight battle, this one contested between two UFC veterans, Fabricio Camoes knocked out Steve Lopez with a head kick. Camoes moves from #57 to #46 in the poll, while Lopez enters the rankings at #154 following the loss.

Edgar Garcia climbs from #103 to #86 in the Welterweight Rankings with a win over unranked Mike Moreno. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

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Strikeforce wasn’t the only important event on this weekend’s docket. Read on for a recap of big name fighters who competed on regional cards this weekend and what impact those fights had in our rankings.

At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.

Tim Sylvia spent 2010 rebuilding his career, notching wins in freak shows, against major league journeymen, and on regional cards. His first fight of 2011 was in place of Todd Duffee, who bowed out of the booking in favor of getting knocked out by Alistair Overeem on New Year’s Eve. Sylvia didn’t fare any better at TFC 16: Sylvia vs. Wagner, where one-time TUF contestant Abe Wagner finished “The Maine-iac” with a flurry of punches at 0:32 of round one. Wagner vaulted from #92 to #59 in FIGHT!’s Heavyweight Rankings with the win, while Sylvia crashes from #21 to #42. It’s important to remember that rankings values are absolute and cumulative, so even with the loss, Sylvia has accumulated a stronger rating than Wagner over the course of his career.

In other televised action, Jason High moved from #61 to #49 in the Welterweight Rankings with his win over regional draw Rudy Bears, who falls from #113 to #139. Also at 170 pounds, Rich Clementi served as a case study in the perils of taking your opponent lightly as he showboated in a dominant position before getting choked out by unranked Aaron Darrow. Clementi falls from #116 to #176. Drew McFedries rounded out the UFC-veteran portion of the card, crawling back from #73 to #61 in the Middleweight poll with a TKO victory over unranked Gary Tapasua. At 155 pounds, Drew Dober maintained his position – #48 – with a win over unranked Bobby Cooper, while Alonzo Martinez climbed from #146 to #120 with his win over unranked Deryck Ripley.

No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

Across the river from Ottowa in Gatineau, Quebec, Wreck MMA: Strong & Proud hosting a handful of UFC veterans. Recent Bellator signee Joe Riggs loves to stay active, but his new employer probably isn’t excited for him to take a loss on a regional card before the start of season four. Riggs falls from #45 to #89 in the Middleweight Rankings with his loss to unranked Jordan Mein. Also at Middleweight, the much-vilified Kalib Starnes jumped from #81 to #60 with a win over Matt MacGrath, who fell from #140 to #158. And in his final fight before a previously announced retirement, Mark Holst enters the Welterweight Rankings at #155 after his win over Markaile Wedderburn. Wedderburn fell from #186 to #193 with the loss.

No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

In Vegas, recent M-1 Global signee Vinny Magalhaes submitted Robert Scott at MMA Xplosion: International Team Challenge to move from #76 to #64 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings. Scott enters the Heavyweight Rankings at #97, where he will stay unless he continues to compete at 205 pounds. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

And round Utah way, Showdown Fights hosted a featherweight bout between Stephen Siler and Cole Escovedo. Escovedo came out on top and moved from #39 to #34 in the Featherweight Rankings, while Siler entered the rankings at #91 following the loss. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

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Antonio McKee is a very good fighter, but not as good as he thought he was.

Following his split-decision undercard loss to Jacob Volkmann (#25 Lightweight) at UFC 125: Resolution, reigning MFC Lightweight Champion Antonio McKee (#42 Lightweight) will return to Edmonton on Feb. 25 to defend his belt against recent signee Drew Fickett (#35 Lightweight) at MFC 28: Supremacy. The card will be headlined by a Light Heavyweight Championship bout between Ryan Jimmo (#22 Light Heavyweight) and Dwayne Lewis (#48).

“No one – and I mean absolutely no one – gets an easy ride in the Maximum Fighting Championship,” MFC Owner & President Mark Pavelich declared in a press release. “McKee wants to claim he’s still the man in the lightweight division. Then go prove it against one of the hottest fighters on the planet. And Fickett says he’s coming to the MFC to choke out everyone. Great, now go do it against the champion who has lost only once by submission in 12 years.”

MFC 28: Supremacy will air live on HDNet at 10 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. PST on Fri., Feb. 25. VIP, Row 1 and Row 2 tickets are available exclusively through the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024. All other tickets will go on sale Fri., Jan. 14 via Ticketmaster Canada.

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(Fickett finishes Prater at Shine Fights 3. Photo by Keith Mills.)

It’s not quite Dana vs. Tito, but the biggest hatchet in Maximum Fighting Championship’s history has been officially buried. This week the promotion announced the signing of UFC veteran Drew Fickett (#35 Lightweight), a fighter MFC Owner & President Mark Pavelich called out in a press release after Fickett allegedly committed to and then withdrew from an MFC fight in 2008.

Fickett, a 31-year-old with more than 50 fights to his credit, went 4-3 in the UFC between 2005 and 2007. But Fickett’s potential was capped by substance abuse, and he spent most of the last three years picking up small checks on local and regional cards. In 2010 he re-emerged as a 155er and returned to the national stage in Sept. when he choked out Dennis Burmudez, Carlo Prater and Charles Bennett in one night to win Shine Fights’ Lightweight Grand Prix.

“I’m surrounded by good people and I’m away from the b.s. and the partying,” Fickett was quoted in the press release. “It’s made me want to fight.” Fickett will make his MFC debut at MFC 28: Supremacy against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

MFC 28: Supremacy will air live on HDNet at 10 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. PST on Fri., Feb. 25. VIP, Row 1 and Row 2 tickets are available exclusively through the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024. All other tickets will go on sale Fri., Jan. 14 via Ticketmaster Canada.

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Maximum Fighting Championship has signed a 205-pound title fight for MFC 28: Supremacy, its first card of 2011. The yet-to-be-scheduled event will be headlined by a title fight featuring Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo (#21 Light Heavyweight) and Dwayne “D-Bomb” Lewis (#48)

Both fighters are homegrown products of Canada’s premier MMA promotion; Jimmo has fought eight times for MFC since his 2007 debut, while Lewis has fought for the promotion 13 times over roughly the same period. Lewis is coming off victories over UFC vets Mike Nickels and Razak Al-Hassan, while Jimmo’s recent hit list includes UFC vets Marvin Eastman and Wilson Gouveia.

“The fans want to see these two settle the issue of who is the best light heavyweight in the MFC, so this is it. It’s time to make it happen,” said MFC Owner/President Mark Pavelich is quoted by the press release. The bout announcement is an interesting turn of events considering that the last time Pavelich issued a statement about Jimmo, it was to express frustration over the fighter’s refusal to face Glover Teixeira in a title fight. After a replacement was found, Teixeira withdrew reportedly due to issues with his visa, which resulted in another stern public statement from Pavelich.

The MFC Light Heavyweight Championship has been held by Victor Valimaki, Roger Hollett, Emanuel Newton, Trevor Prangley, and has never been successfully defended by any of its holders.

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(Todd Duffee looks to score a win on a smaller stage.)

After being dormant for nearly two years, Kansas City, Kansas’ Titan Fighting Championships will return to Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 28, 2011 with a card headlined by UFC veterans Todd Duffee and Drew McFedries.

The TFC 16 main card will be broadcast live on HDNet at 10 p.m. EST, Jan. 28, and will feature co-headline bouts between Duffee (#49 Heavyweight) and TUF veteran Abe Wagner (#90) and Drew McFedries (#71 Middleweight) against unranked, one-time Strikeforce vet Gary Tapasua.

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(Water? Check. Protein powder? Check. Hemp protein? Check. Whole mackerel? Check.)

Each week FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

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(Video courtesy of UFC.)

From minor leagues to the big show, titles are up for grabs this weekend. Here’s a run down of the fights taking place around the globe that will have an impact on FIGHT!’s rankings.

Fri., Dec. 10

On Fri., M-1 Global will award belts for its vacant welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight championships in Moscow. Spaniard Abner Lloveras (#50 Welterweight) takes on Shamil Zavurov (#63) for the 170-pound strap, Magomed Sultanakhmedov (#47 Middleweight) fights Rafael Moks (#52) for the Middleweight crown, and Tomasz Narkun (#38 Light Heavyweight) faces Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (#47) for the Light Heavyweight title. M-1 Challenge XXIIwhich will stream live on Fightmagazine.com at 11 a.m., Fri., Dec. 10 – also features UFC vet Luigi Fioravanti in a middleweight bout as well as a women’s MMA bout between Cindy Dandois and Yana Kunitskaya.

Also on Fri., UFC veteran Victor Valimaki headlines TFC 12: Devastation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Sat., Dec. 11

After six weeks of listening to Josh Koscheck talk while they filmed the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Georges St-Pierre will register his official response in his preferred venue – the Octagon. UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 pops off live on pay per view from the Bell Centre in Montreal, and is headline, of course, by top-ranked welterweight St-Pierre’s defense of his title against Koscheck (#5). The main card is rounded out by a welterweight bout between Thiago Alves (#10) and John Howard (#40) – who we featured recently on video – a heavyweight fight between Stefan Struve (#26) and unranked Sean McCorkle, and lightweight matches featuring unranked Charles Oliveira vs. Jim Miller (#7) and Joe Stevenson (#17 ) vs. Mac Danzig (#117). Go here to view the full fight card.

Several former UFC fighters will appear together on the “MMA Global Invasion” in Punta Cana, Costa Rica on Saturday. Keith Jardine (#51 Light Heavyweight), Paul Buentello (#54 Heavyweight), Eliott Marshall (#33 Light Heavyweight), Jeff Curran (#35 Featherweight), Terry Martin (#71 Middleweight) and Dean Lister (unranked due to inactivity) all take on unranked opponents. In the only other scheduled bout, flyweight prospect John Dodson takes on John Moraga – both men are currently unranked but FIGHT! will unveil Flyweight Rankings in 2011.

In Brazil, Shooto is putting three titles on the line Sat. night. Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas and Luiz Alberto Nogueira will battle for the Shooto South America Bantamweight title, Carlos Alexandre Pereira and Leandro Silva will scrap for the Shooto South America Middleweight title, and Michael Willian Costa and Lincon de Sa survived the tournament to vie for the vacant Shooto South America Strawweight title. FIGHT! is currently tracking the development of the strawweight division in Shooto Brazil and Japan, where results from top Shooto promoter Sustain are entered into our rankings database. We hope to have sufficient data to roll out Strawweight Rankings in 2011.

The only other rankings-qualified action this weekend will come at Victory Fighting Championships 33 in Omaha, Nebraska, where Bellator veteran Nik Mamalis (#36 Bantamweight) will take on EliteXC and M-1 vet Josh Rave. FIGHT! Full-Time Fighter winner Drew Dober (#48 Lightweight) will also appear on the card.

Check back on Sunday for full results and analysis of the impact the fights had on our rankings.

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At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.

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(Dan Lauzon looks to return to the big stage.)

On Thurs. in Rhode Island, UFC and Affliction vet Dan Lauzon re-emerged on the regional circuit to take on Wai Kru fighter Damien Trites at “Snow Brawl.” Lauzon score a quick submission win over the unranked Trites and moved from #103 to #93 in the Lightweight Rankings. “The Upgrade” will likely need to string together a few wins before returning to the national stage. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

XFC XIII popped off in Tampa, Fla. on Fri., where unranked Jarrod “Wild” Card defended his XFC Featherweight Championship belt against Bellator vet Luis Palomino. Palomino won the fight, and the belt, and moved from #64 to #59 in the Featherweight Rankings. American Top Team’s Mario Rinaldi was stopped by unranked Christopher “Beast Boy” Barnett and after a period of inactivity, re-enters the Heavyweight Rankings at #97. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

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(Rob Emerson weighs for one of his UFC appearances.)

On the other side of the state, Art of Fighting hosted AOF 10: Blackout in Jacksonville, Fla., where UFC veteran Rob Emerson fought Eric “It’s A Wrap” Reynolds to a split decision. “The Saint” moved from #130 to #117 in the Lightweight Rankings, while Reynolds fell from #129 to #143 in the same poll. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

Up the coast in New Jersey, Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat hosted its 33rd event featuring a slew of prospects from 125 on up. The promotion will likely figure prominently in our Flyweight Rankings when they are launched in 2011, but the lightest ranked guy to fight on Friday’s card was Bantamweight Marcos Galvao, who moves from #42 to #35 with a win over unranked Ryan Vaccaro. M-1 vet George Sheppard falls from #133 to #156 in the Lightweight Rankings with his loss to unranked Joseph Aviles. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

Two WEC vets were in action on Sat. but not in Las Vegas. Jeff Curran headlined XFO 37: Road to Glory in Lakemoor, Ill. The UFC, Pride, WEC, IFL, and Bellator vet bested David Love by decision in the main event. Curran, who last appeared in a qualifying bout at Bantamweight (#39) was reassigned to Featherweight, where he was installed at #35. Longtime Midwest journeyman Love enters the Featherweight Rankings at #73. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

South of the equator, #20 middleweight Paulo Filho co-headlined Bitetti Combat 8 in a bout against Yuki Sasaki. Glover Teixeira headline the card, squaring off with Spanish M-1 vet Daniel Tabera. Filho won a decision over Sasaki but dropped a spot, from #19 to #20 in the Middleweight Rankings. Sasaki slips from #106 to #109. Teixeira also won by decision, and also lost his position in the Light Heavyweight Rankings, slipping from #29 to #30, while Tabera stays put at #95. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

Across the pond, the UK was poised for a huge night until inclement weather forced the cancellation of BAMMA 5. But that still left cards in Liverpool, where Olympian MMA Championships crowned heavyweight and bantamweight champions, and London, where UCMMA crowned featherweight and bantamweight champions and staged its first women’s MMA bout.

In Liverpool, Neil Wain took the OMMAC Heavyweight Championship with a win over unranked Martin Thompson and moved from #90 to #76 in the process. In an undercard bout, Iche Ihiekwe notched his third qualifying bout and entered the Lightweight Rankings at #95. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

In London, David Lee secured the UCMMA Featherweight Championship, moving from #85 to #81 with the win. In other featherweight action, Tom Dixon entered the rankings at #89 after his loss to unranked Mike Wood. At welterweight, Charlie Leary entered the rankings at #145 following his loss to Warren De Reuck. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

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