Here are my thoughts on Saturday’s fights:
Mark Munoz is probably as deserving a title challenger as there is in the middleweight division, but that doesn’t mean he has the perfect resume. In any event, I expect Chael Sonnen to get the next title shot, which means that Munoz will probably have to win one more fight if he wants to challenge Anderson Silva. Under normal circumstances, I would anticipate that Munoz would fight Vitor Belfort, but Belfort is already slated to fight Anthony Johnson at UFC 142 in Brazil. My best guess at this point is that Munoz will fight Michael Bisping, assuming that Bisping beats Jason “Mayhem” Miller, but that’s completely a guess.
Chris Leben is a very good fighter, but he’s just not a championship level fighter. Against fighters like Yoshihiro Akiyama and Aaron Simpson, Leben generally wins tough battles, but when he has to face tougher competition like Brian Stann and Michael Bisping, he falls short. With that said, I can’t help but admire his perseverance in doing whatever he could to win before the damage he took knocked him out of the fight.
I was seriously impressed with Renan Barao. I picked Barao to beat Brad Pickett, but I envisioned a very tough, back and forth fight that would go to decision. Watching Barao hurt Pickett early, take his back extremely quickly, and choke him out was a real pleasure, not because of any animosity towards Pickett, but because it showed just how talented Barao is. I’d like to see Barao win one more fight before recommending him for a title fight against Dominick Cruz, but he’s clearly one of the top guys in the bantamweight division now.
- Papy Abedi showed some talent, landing quite a few punches in the first round against Thiago Alves, but then Alves showed why he’s considered a top 10 welterweight fighter. I find the decision to have Abedi debut against Alves a very curious one, and hopefully he’ll be given more suitable opponents in his next few fights.
- I still don’t know why Edward Faaloloto is in the UFC. The UFC may list his record as 5-3, but according to Sherdog’s Fight Finder, he’s 2-3, and neither of his wins were against opponents with any meaningful MMA experience. Terry Etim took him out in very short order, and that should be taken as a sign that Faaloloto should get some seasoning on the regional circuit, and prove that he really does belong in the UFC.
- Anthony Perosh beating Cyrille Diabate was a true upset, but it also exposed how weak Diabate is on the ground. Don’t get me wrong, Perosh was very strong there, but Diabate seemed like he was just trying to survive as long as possible, as opposed to making actual attempts to sweep Perosh or get back to his feet.
SILVA impact of UFC 138
SILVA was 8-2 predicting UFC 138 fights. Here is how each fighter’s SILVA score was affected:
- Phil De Fries: 30.45 -> 55.50 (+25.05)
- Anthony Perosh: 5.92 -> 21.21 (+15.29)
- Renan Barao: 68.88 -> 71.87 (+2.99)
- Chris Cariaso: 37.98 -> 40.51 (+2.53)
- Mark Munoz: 75.98 -> 76.95 (+0.97)
- Che Mills: 48.58 -> 49.12 (+0.54)
- Thiago Alves: 75.83 -> 75.97 (+0.14)
- Michihiro Omigawa: 56.84 -> 56.04 (-0.80)
- Terry Etim: 50.17 -> 49.33 (-0.84)
- Jason Young: 44.11 -> 39.85 (-4.26)
- Chris Leben: 60.29 -> 54.83 (-5.46)
- Brad Pickett: 60.65 -> 54.64 (-6.01)
- Vaughan Lee: 19.85 -> 13.77 (-6.08)
- Cyrille Diabate: 50.83 -> 44.40 (-6.43)
- Chris Cope: 12.36 -> 5.33 (-7.03)
- Justin Edwards: 40.05 -> 32.95 (-7.10)
- Papy Abedi: 48.93 -> 39.37 (-9.56)
- Rob Broughton: 37.85 -> 27.95 (-9.90)
When a fighter has relatively few fights against experienced competition, SILVA is less confident about its rating for that fighter. Therefore, when that fighter wins (especially against a higher rated opponent), SILVA is likely to increase that fighter’s rating by a very large amount. That’s why Phil De Fries got such a boost from beating Rob Broughton. In addition, Broughton represents the second quality win of De Fries’s MMA career, which means a huge boost to his Fight Level.
Terry Etim and Michihiro Omigawa dropping in SILVA despite winning is a big reason why I’m calling this version of SILVA “1.1” instead of saying it’s a finished product. SILVA looks at a fighter’s last ten fights in order to estimate how good that fighter is. For Terry Etim, beating Edward Faaloloto knocks a better win out of that ten-fight window, and same for Michihiro Omigawa beating Jason Young. It’s not a point of strength for my system, and hopefully future versions of SILVA will be able to better address this problem.