(Photo by Daniel Herbertson 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.
There are few things less satisfying than fights which end in draws. Fighting is the most elemental form of human competition and its appeal lies in the fact that the results are (ideally) absolute and incontrovertible. A win or a loss proves something about the winner or loser. In most cases, draws prove only that the judges observing the bout don’t understand the sport enough to declare a winner. But the main event draw at UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch – after which most informed viewers would have given a decision victory to Jon Fitch – proved one thing that I’ve known all along. FIGHT!’s Super Computer knows what it’s doing.
After BJ Penn‘s knockout win over Matt Hughes, “The Prodigy” was reassigned from the Lightweight Rankings, where he was still a top-five fighter after consecutive decision losses to Frankie Edgar, to the Welterweight Rankings, where he was immediately installed at #2. Some of our readers cried foul, but the reality is that Penn had quality wins at welterweight and his only losses there were to top ranked fighters (Hughes and Georges St-Pierre). Even though Fitch clearly outstruck Penn, Penn had better luck with Fitch on the ground than say, Ben Saunders did. It wasn’t the kind of lopsided demolition that proved Penn incapable of hanging with top welterweights, and afterward, the fighters flip-flopped, with Penn dropping from #2 to #3 in the Welterweight Rankings and Fitch climbing from #3 to #2.
In other welterweight action, Chris Lytle moved from the cusp of title contention to the back of the line following his loss to journeyman Brian Ebersole, an adopted Aussie who made his Octagon debut on Sunday. Lytle fell from #11 to #29 with the loss, while Ebersole climbs from #43 to #17 with the win.
In the night’s other marquee fight, Michael Bisping finished Jorge Rivera and was rewarded with a top 10 ranking for his trouble. Bisping climbed from #13 to #8 in the Middleweight Rankings following the win, while Rivera falls from #14 to #32. The UFC’s Marshall Zelaznik mentioned that the Octagon might travel to the UK in June and that would be a perfect time to book Bisping with a top middleweight contender so that he can put to rest all talk about whether or not he deserves a title shot.
Also at 185 pounds, Kyle Noke leapt from #42 to #22 with his submission win over Chris Camozzi, who fell from #37 to #70 following the loss. In the only other middleweight bout, Riki Fukuda lost a bogus decision to unranked Nick Ring and fell to #94.
At lightweight, native son George Sotiropoulos fell short opposite Dennis Siver, who frustrated the Aussie’s takedown attempts, effectively short circuiting Sots’ entire strategy. Siver jumps from #19 to #7 in the Lightweight Rankings with the win, while Sotiropoulos falls from #5 to #16. In another 155-pound bout, Ross Pearson slugged it out with Spencer Fisher, moving from #39 to #25 with the decision win, while Fisher fell from #53 to #73. In the only other lightweight action, Curt Warburton entered the rankings at #76 following his win over unranked Maciej Jewtuszko. Former lightweight Zhang Tie Quan was reassigned to Featherweight following his win over Jason Reinhardt and takes up residence at #40 in the Featherweight Rankings.
Alexander Gustaffson had a bit of a coming out party at James Te Huna‘s expense, finishing the Maori warrior quickly and leaping from #39 to #13 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings. Te Huna falls from #22 to #44. Anthony Perosh, a man who Te Huna once defeated, leap frogged his country man, rising from #72 to #38 with submission win over Tom Blackledge. “The Hippo” benefits from the fact that several of his fights took place at heavyweight, which gives him a stronger value relative to his peers when he moves down a weight class.
At heavyweight, Mark Hunt won his first MMA bout in five years with a KO of Chris Tuchscherer. Hunt climbs from #76 to #55 in the Heavyweight Rankings with the win, while Tuchscherer slips from #89 to #100.