Strikeforce

Strikeforce

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On Sat., April 9, Gilbert Melendez (#3 Lightweight) will defend his Strikeforce Lightweight Championship against Tatsuya Kawajiri (#10), a man he defeated at PRIDE Shockwave 2006.

Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley takes place in San Diego, Calif. and airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. on Sat., April 9. Go here to view the complete card.

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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.

Strikeforce Challengers 15 went down on Friday night in Stockton headlined by Justin Wilcox vs. Rodrigo Damm. Wilcox walked away with an impressive stoppage win but held steady at #27 in the Lightweight Rankings. Strikeforce needs homegrown contenders if it wants to move in to pay per view, and “The Silverback” proved that he deserves a higher-caliber opponent and a big-show opportunity. The promotion has some fighters it needs to keep busy (*cough* Gesias Cavalcante *cough*) so it should be too hard to get it done.

On Sat., Bellator hosted a Lightweight Championship fight at Bellator 39. Champ Eddie Alvarez beat the challenger, Pat Curran, soundly, retaining his belt and his #11 Lightweight Ranking. Curran slipped from #30 to #33 and talking at the post-fight presser about dropping to Featherweight, where he competed before signing with Bellator. Unfortunately for Alvarez, it’s unlikely he’ll crack the top 10 unless one of the guys in front of him gets crushed by a lower-ranked fighter; with every other top 25 lightweight in the world now fighting under the Zuffa banner, it’s going to be tough to find an opponent with a ranking value high enough to help vault push Alvarez back into the top 10, where he arguably belongs.

The season four welterweight tournament rolled on with Lyman Good vs. Rick Hawn #76 to #42. Hawn took a controversial split decision, jumping from #76 to #42 in the Welterweight Rankings, while Good crashed from #37 to #65. Hawn will now face the winner of Jay Hieron vs. Brent Weedman in the tournament final. Also at welterweight, UFC vet Ben Saunders moved from #54 to #46 with a stoppage win over Matt Lee.

In a lightweight tournament semifinal, Patricky Freire destroyed Toby Imada with a barrage of strikes. Imada drops from #52 to #120 in the Lightweight Rankings following the loss. Freire will enter the rankings after the tournament final.

Go here to view the full results.

Also on Sat., Sarah Kaufman won her AFC debut against Megumi Yabushita at AFC 5: Judgement Day. FIGHT! will unveil our comprehensive women’s rankings later this year.

We entered the results from several other cards this weekend into our rankings database; go here to get the full results from Strikeforce, Bellator, AFC, KO Entertainment, Shooto Brazil 22, and Jungle Fight 26.

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(Eddie Alvarez took out Roger Huerta at Bellator 33.)

There are no major shows this weekend but the best lightweight outside of Zuffa will be back in action. But first, we’ve got the first Strikeforce show produced under Zuffa ownership.

Strikeforce Challengers 15 goes down Friday night in Stockton. The card is headlined by Justin Wilcox (#27 Lightweight) vs. Rodrigo Damm. A win here should graduate Wilcox to Strikeforce’s better promoted shows. The lightweight headliner is supported by Scott Lighty (#89 Light Heavyweight) vs. Lorenz Larkin,
Caros Fodor vs. David Douglas (#114 Lightweight), and James Terry (#41 Welterweight) vs. Josh Thornburg. Strikeforce Challengers 15 airs on Showtime at 11 p.m. EST, Fri., April 1.

On Sat., Bellator hosts a Lightweight Championship fight at Bellator 39. Champ Eddie Alvarez (#11 Lightweight) takes on challenger Pat Curran (#30), and the season four tournaments roll on with Lyman Good (#37 Welterweight) vs. Rick Hawn (#76), Toby Imada (#52 Lightweight) vs. Patricky Freire and Ben Saunders (#54 Welterweight) faces off with Matt Lee (#140) in a feature bout. The untelevised undercard boasts WEC vet Dave Jansen, UFC vets Matt Veach and Dan Cramer. Bellator 39 airs on MTV2 at 9 p.m. on Sat., April 2.

A host of other notables will compete this weekend on cards scattered around the globe. On Fri., Glover Teixeira (#35 Light Heavyweight) takes on Guto Inocente at Shooto Brazil 22. On Sat., M-1 Global vet Kenny Garner (#78 Heavyweight) takes on Danny Lockhart at AOF 12: Static and in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sarah Kaufman faces Megumi Yabushita in front of her hometown crowd at AFC 5: Judgement Day. A few provinces away, KO Entertainment will produce the first sanctioned MMA card in Ontario. The Reckoning features Jordan Mein vs. Josh Burkman (#113 Welterweight), Chris Horodecki (#86 Lightweight) vs. David Castillo, Dean Amasinger vs. Matt MacGrath (#172 Welterweight), and Antonio Carvalho (#51 Featherweight) vs. Tony Hervey.

Check back on Monday for full results and analysis of the impact this weekend’s fights had on the rankings.

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(Do you wanna be a f***in’ global magnate?)

Dana White dropped a bomb on the mixed martial arts industry and community Sunday when he announced that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce. The UFC President been critical of the promotion before (see: Strikefarce) and reversed course quickly before as well (see: Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture). But while those close to the company were talking openly about the purchase for weeks, White & Co. managed to keep a lid on the deal until today and his announcement left MMA fans and pundits momentarily speechless. That moment was fleeting as people started weighing in on issues ranging from whether or not there would be UFC vs. Strikeforce superfights and if the companies would exchange fighter contracts. While these are valid questions, the conversation is focusing too much on immediate implications while ignoring the underlying causes for and far-reaching consequences of the purchase. So I humbly offer my analysis of why this deal went down and what it means for the fight game.

White mentioned several times in the 20-plus minute long interview that if UFC is to seriously pursue it’s plan for global expansion it needs more fighters, more staff, etc. On it’s face, the deal seems to offer Zuffa little in this regard; Strikeforce has never promoted a show outside of America and while it does have a number of noteworthy fighters under contract, its roster is quite limited compared to that of UFC. What Strikeforce can offer is access to Japanese fighters and close ties to influential figures in the flagging Japanese MMA industry. It’s no coincidence that as Japanese MMA is crumbling – DREAM have yet to announce a show and World Victory Road all but announced the end of its Sengoku series – Zuffa acquires an American MMA promotion that has close ties to K-1 and DREAM promoter Fighting and Entertainment Group. White’s blunt, macho approach plays well in the Middle East and the America’s, but he acknowledges that working in Japan has been problematic. In Coker, Zuffa now has a representative who can smooth ruffled feathers in the Land of the Rising Sun, and it can use Strikeforce as a neutral advance party to establish a foothold for live events in Japan. Add in the fact that Strikeforce can bring marketable Japanese stars like Satoshi Ishii (#21 Heavyweight), Shinya Aoki (#4 Lightweight), Tatsuya Kawajiri (#10 Lightweight) to the table and Zuffa will be able to make a much softer landing in Nippon.

Another point that White stressed during the interview was that the UFC and Strikeforce would continue to operate separately, even negotiating against each other for the same fighters. While this may be true for the term of Strikeforce’s current broadcast agreement with Showtime, White will not hesitate to pull the trigger on any decision that serves UFC’s short, medium, or long-term goals. If we learned anything from Zuffa’s ownership of WEC, it’s that the company will tolerate brand confusion among consumers as long as it serves a purpose. To test the market for sub-155# weight classes, for example, or produce shows in tertiary markets that can’t support UFC shows, or tie up air time on cable channels that are interested in broadcasting MMA. But at the end of the day, UFC is such a dominant brand that a majority of fans never really knew what WEC was, just as many fans of “UFC fighting” don’t know what a Strikeforce is or what it does. It’s naive to think that we’re more than a few years away from eulogizing Strikeforce as Zuffa transfers the fighters and staff it wants to UFC and retires the brand to the realm of nostalgic t-shirts.

The greatest long-term consequence of the dealt may be the disappearance of the MMA middle class, so to speak. There will be countless local shows, an amalgam of regional promotions airing on HDNet Fights, Bellator, and UFC, exponentially larger than any of its competitors, if you can really call them that. Fans are already speculating about the future of marquee fighters like Nick Diaz (#6 Welterweight), Paul Daley (#10 Welterweight), and Josh Barnett (#6 Heavyweight), and Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson (#2 Light Heavyweight), each of whom ran afoul of the UFC while under its employ. But no amount of personal animosity will prevent White & Co. from making a deal if the money makes sense, and frankly, everyone has a price. When the UFC is the only big show in town, a lot of fences will be mended. Either that or there will be a lot of people left out in the cold.

The purchase should also eventually allow Strikeforce’s world class talent to compete under the UFC umbrella. Dream matchups for Gilbert Melendez (#3 Lightweight), Ronaldo Souza (#3 Middleweight), Gegard Mousasi (#8 Light Heavyweight), Mo Lawal (#11 Light Heavyweight) as well as Fabricio Werdum, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, DREAM Heavyweight Champion, and K-1 Grand Prix Champion Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva, and Fedor Emelianenko – #2, #3, #4, and #9 respectively in FIGHT!’s Heavyweight Rankings – can be made on UFC cards and seen by millions world wide. Soon enough, there won’t be discussions about whether or not Melendez or Overeem can hang in the Octagon, because the proof will be in the pudding.

Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce probably left a number of fighters, managers, and fight promoters with a queasy feeling. MMA’s monolithic entity just got bigger by subtraction, removing it’s largest competitor from the field for the second time in the last five years. But if White’s statements about how his personal problems with M-1 Global and Showtime won’t prevent Zuffa from having healthy relationships with them is any indication, we might be witnessing the start of an era in which the UFC President picks his public battles more judiciously. With guys like Lorenzo Fertitta, former WEC exec Reed Harris and Strikeforce honcho Scott Coker playing diplomat to White’s gunslinger, the Baldfather will be free to act as the charismatic, fan-friendly face of the organization and Zuffa will be able to make deals with anyone, regardless of prior history or personal animosity. Agents, managers, and fighters will lose a lot of leverage when negotiating deals, but fans are always of two minds about fighter pay; every fan wants a fighter get his or her due, but only a small number of us get behind fighters when their contract disputes keep us from getting the fights we want to see.

Of course this is all speculation and only time will tell how the deal will shake out and what effect it will have on the sport. But based on the UFC’s recent history and current trajectory, it’s safe to assume that we’ll be seeing more fights in more places (both geographically and in terms of video delivery). We may see a further homogenization of the sport but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Excepting Major League Baseball’s outfield walls and the trapezoidal international basketball lane, all of the major sports are played in spaces with identical dimensions. Consistent rules, venues and branding are essential for the sport’s continued rapid growth and the continued disintegration of Japanese MMA and Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce set the stage for that.

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(Props to Middle Easy.)

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(Hendo celebrates. Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com)

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.

Multiple belts were up for grabs in Columbus, Ohio and Moscow on Saturday and eight welterweights started their pursuit of another in Lemoore, Calif. There was a lot of movement in our rankings so lets get to it.

The biggest card of the weekend was Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Hendo. The card, which featured a championship fight at Light Heavyweight as well as a Women’s 135-pound title tilt, was held in conjunction with the annual Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. In the main event, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante defended his title against PRIDE great and UFC veteran Dan Henderson. The challenger came in as a favorite and took the belt by TKO, creeps up from #3 to #2 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings while “Feijao” slips from #12 to #14. Strikeforce now has a popular, recognizable American champ at #205, setting up possible challenges from former champs Gegard Mousasi (#8) and former Henderson training partner Mo Lawal (#11).

Strikeforce Women’s 135-Pound Champion Marloes Coenen defended her title with a fourth round submission victory over Liz Carmouche. Carmouche had the fight won on the scorecards before getting finished and will likely place well when FIGHT! publishes its women’s rankings later this year.

Adrift in the division and having increasing difficulty finding opponents, Tim Kennedy moved from #28 to #25 in the Middleweight Rankings after submitting KO artist Melvin Manhoef, who fell from #73 to #78. If Kennedy isn’t going to get a rematch with Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo Souza (#3) anytime soon then Strikeforce needs to give him a quality opponent and fast. The promotion has depth at 185 with “Mayhem” Miller (#18), Siyar Bahadurzada (#21) – if they can ever get his visa issues sorted out – Robbie Lawler (#24), and Luke Rockhold (#32). If they have to reach outside of the organization, Paulo Filho (#16), Denis Kang (#17), Tom Watson (#31), and Matt Horwich (#38) are out there. Bottom line, keep your guys busy, Strikeforce.

The other noteworth match ups on the card took place at lightweight, where perennial “Challenger” Billy Evangelista took on new Strikeforce signee Jorge Masvidal. “Gamebred” outlasted Evangelista, jumping from #65 to #42 in the Lightweight Rankings, while Evangelista fell from #70 to #100. On the undercard, UFC vet Jorge Gurgel vaulted from #162 to #76 with a quick submission win over unranked Billy Vaughn.

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Across the country in Lemoore, Calif., Bellator 35 kicked off the promotion’s fourth season with four welterweight tournament qualifier match ups and a 125-pound, non-title super fight between Bellator Women’s 115-Pound Champion Zoila Frausto and Karina Hallinan. Again, when FIGHT! publishes our women’s rankings later this year, Frausto will likely be at or near the top of the heap at 115 pounds.

Jay Hieron was and is the highest-ranked fighter participating in the tourney, but he actually slipped a spot in the Welterweight Rankings, from #18 to #19, after taking a controversial submission victory over Anthony Lapsley. This is due to guys leapfrogging him in the top 20. His value remains unchanged, but he’ll need strong performances against highly-ranked fighters to gain ground. Lapsley actually moved up one spot, from #71 to #70, again because of the movement occurring around him.

Inaugural Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good held on to his #40 ranking following a decision win over former unranked Chris Lozano. Lozano entered the rankings at #92 after the fight.

Former Bellator tournament finalist Dan Hornbuckle lost an unpopular decision to Brent Weedman, falling from #60 to #105, while Weedman climbed from #92 to #47 with the win. In the final quarterfinal bout, judoka’s Rick Hawn and Jim Wallhead kickboxed to a decision with Hawn entering the rankings at #76 following his win.

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(Gugenishvili defeats Grishin. Photo courtesy of M-1 Global.)

Two belts were on the line in Moscow at M-1 Challenge XXIII. M-1 Global Welterweight Champion Shamil Zavurov dispatched challenger Tom Gallicchio early, moving from #34 to #23 in the Welterweight Rankings with the win, while Gallicchio falls from #57 to #73. In the other title tilt, M-1 Heavyweight Champion Guram Gugenishvilli took out Maxim Grishin and jumped from #36 to #22 in the Heavyweight Rankings. Grishin slid from #41 to #58.

Several other noteworthy fighters, including two UFC vets, competed on smaller stages this weekend. Jens Pulver headlined Chicago Cagefighting Championship and took a split decision from unranked Wade Choate and continued to slide in the Featherweight Rankings, falling from #74 to #81. At Bantamweight, Chase Beebe moved from #63 to #55 with a win over unranked Steve Kinnisen. Felice Herrig also picked up a win on the card and will likely place well when we publish women’s rankings later this year.

In Liverpool, England, OMMAC 9: Enemies was headlined by Zelg Galesic, who moved from #67 to #41 in the Middleweight Rankings with a win over previously unranked Lee Chadwick. Chadwick entered the rankings at #140 following the loss.

At the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, Keith Jardine put away Aron Lofton, moving up to #54 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings with his win over Aron Lofton – Lofton slipped to #110. Former boxing champ Holly Holm made a successful pro MMA debut on the card as well.

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The UFC’s fight week ends early but there is still a full slate of fight cards this weekend from Strikeforce to Bellator to M-1 Global and regional cards in the US and UK.

Taking a spot traditionally occupied by the UFC – and last year, the WEC – Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Hendo is the combat sports centerpiece of this weekend’s Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. The card is anchored by a title fight pitting Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (#12 Light Heavyweight) against former multi-divisional PRIDE champion and multi-divisional UFC title challenger Dan Henderson (#3). The other marquee fights are a title fight between Strikeforce Women’s 135-Pound Champion Marloes Coenen and Liz Carmouche and a 185-pound match between Tim Kennedy (#28 Middleweight) and Melvin Manhoef (#71). The main card will be broadcast at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Go here to view the full card.

Across the country in Lemoore, Calif., Bellator kicks off its fourth season with four welterweight tournament qualifier match ups and a non-title super fight between Bellator Women’s Champion Zoila Frausto and Karina Hallinan. The welterweight matchups are: Former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good (#40 Welterweight) vs. Chris Lozano, Dan Hornbuckle (#60) vs. Brent Weedman (#92), Jay Hieron (#18) vs. Anthony Lapsley (#71), and Rick Hawn vs. Jim Wallhead. The event will air live on MTV2 at 9 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. PST. Go here to view the full card.

Also on Sat., M-1 Challenge XXIII will see two champions defend their titles in Moscow as M-1 Heavyweight Champion Guram Gugenishvilli (#36 Heavyweight) faces challenger Maxim Grishin (#41) and M-1 Global Welterweight Champion Shamil Zavurov (#34 Welterweight) will defend his belt against Tom Gallicchio (#57). You can watch the action free on M-1Global.com starting at 11 a.m. EST / 8 a.m. PST. Go here to view the full fight card.

Several other noteworthy fighters will compete on smaller stages this weekend as Jens Pulver (#74 Featherweight), Chase Beebe (#63 Bantamweight), and Felice Herrig compete at Chicago Cagefighting Championship and Zelg Galesic (#65 Middleweight) headlines OMMAC 9 in Liverpool, England. Check back on Monday for full results and analysis of how the weekend’s fights effected our MMA fighter rankings.

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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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(Silva dominates Fedor en route to a doctor’s stoppage. Photo by Esther Lin.)

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.

Predictably, the Strikeforce World Grand Prix – Heavyweight Tournament is already shaking up FIGHT!’s Heavyweight Rankings. Go here to get the full results from M-1 Global & Strikeforce Present: Fedor vs. Silva and read on for a full analysis of how the fights affected our rankings.

In the evening’s main event, former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko was stopped for the second straight fight, this time by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Without being inside Fedor’s close circle of confidants, it’s impossible to know if his skills are slipping, injuries are catching up with him, or if he’s just losing interest in the fight game, but his era is now definitively over, and younger fighters like Silva will benefit from the exposure of the Grand Prix. Emelianenko falls from #2 to #9 in the Heavyweight Rankings after doctor’s stopped the bout after the second frame, while Silva vaults from #10 to #3.

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(Kharitonov connects with Arlovski’s ever-weakening chin. Photo by Esther Lin.)

In the other feature bout, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski suffered his third knockout loss in his last four fights, this time at the hands of Sergei Kharitonov. Arlovski brought a bigger name into the bout but Kharitonov brought a stronger ranking – Kharitonov climbs from #16 to #11 while Arlovski falls from #26 to #35.

In other heavyweight action, Strikeforce prospects Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson duked it out, with Del Rosario coming away with the victory. Del Rosario jumps from #31 to #17 with the win, while Johnson falls from #34 to #51. Grizzled MMA vet, and brother of Strikeforce/Dream/K-1 Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem (#4 Heavyweight), Valentijn Overeem overcame K-1 great Ray Sefo with ease on Sat. night. Overeem enters the rankings at #59, while Sefo enters at #79. And in the third Grand Prix alternate bout of the night, Chad Griggs moved from #58 to #47 with his win over unranked prospect Gian Villante.

In a pleasant twist, Strikeforce stocked the undercard with solid prospects and big-show veterans rather than it’s usual lineup of amateurs and regional jobbers. Amusingly, John Salgado entered the Light Heavyweight Rankings at #205 after his loss to unranked Igor Gracie. In the sub-155 weight classes, which Strikeforce has failed to embrace in any meaningful way, Josh LaBerge entered the Featherweight Rankings at #21 after his win over Anthony Leone, who has competed most recently at 135 pounds, and so enters our rankings at #55 in the Bantamweight Rankings. Also at featherweight, Kevin Roddy enters the rankings at #91 following his loss to unranked Jason McLean.

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