Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

SILVA Scores For MMA’s Top 25 Light-Heavyweights

Unlike the top 25 heavyweights, for whom I had all 25 SILVA scores, there are two fighters ranked in the top 25 at light-heavyweight in the USA Today/MMA Nation consensus rankings I did not have SILVA scores for. One of these is Renato “Babalu” Sobral, who checks in with a respectable SILVA score of 55.28.

The other is Ryan Jimmo, and I feel it important to apologize to Jimmo for not including his SILVA score earlier. In terms of the quality of his competition and the consistency with which he’s won fights, Jimmo has a very similar statistical profile to Alistair Overeem and Nick Diaz, two fighters who haven’t fought the best of opposition, but have won very consistently. Jimmo has a SILVA score of 78.92, good for 7th place in the light-heavyweight division. If Jimmo makes his way to the UFC anytime soon, he’ll certainly make his presence felt very quickly.

As with the heavyweights, I’ll first list them according to the consensus rankings, then by SILVA scores.

  1. Jon Jones – 93.88
  2. Dan Henderson – 74.57
  3. Rashad Evans – 89.92
  4. Mauricio Rua – 69.92
  5. Quinton Jackson – 81.93
  6. Lyoto Machida – 71.56
  7. Phil Davis – 85.14
  8. Forrest Griffin – 61.67
  9. Gegard Mousasi – 67.52
  10. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – 68.51
  11. Muhammed Lawal – 80.00
  12. Rafael Cavalcante – 61.20
  13. Alexander Gustafsson – 81.18
  14. Thiago Silva – 62.12
  15. Rich Franklin – 61.36
  16. Ryan Bader – 68.62
  17. Tito Ortiz – 26.05
  18. Vladimir Matyushenko – 61.09
  19. Renato Sobral – 55.28
  20. Stanislav Nedkov – 58.46
  21. Stephan Bonnar – 36.72
  22. Ryan Jimmo – 78.92
  23. Roger Gracie – 56.27
  24. Brandon Vera – 42.70
  25. Luiz Cane – 47.96

This second list ranks each of the above fighters by their SILVA score, with their rank in parentheses.

  • Jon Jones – 93.88 (1)
  • Rashad Evans – 89.92 (3)
  • Phil Davis – 85.14 (7)
  • Quinton Jackson – 81.93 (5)
  • Alexander Gustafsson – 81.18 (13)
  • Muhammed Lawal – 80.00 (11)
  • Ryan Jimmo – 78.92 (22)
  • Dan Henderson – 74.57 (2)
  • Lyoto Machida – 71.56 (6)
  • Mauricio Rua – 69.92 (4)
  • Ryan Bader – 68.62 (16)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – 68.51 (10)
  • Gegard Mousasi – 67.52 (9)
  • Thiago Silva – 62.12 (14)
  • Forrest Griffin – 61.67 (8)
  • Rich Franklin – 61.36 (15)
  • Rafael Cavalcante – 61.20 (12)
  • Vladimir Matyushenko – 61.09 (18)
  • Stanislav Nedkov – 58.46 (20)
  • Roger Gracie – 56.27 (23)
  • Renato Sobral – 55.28 (19)
  • Luiz Cane – 47.96 (25)
  • Brandon Vera – 42.70 (24)
  • Stephan Bonnar – 36.72 (21)
  • Tito Ortiz – 26.05 (17)


  • Phil Davis: Davis has already risen pretty far, going all the way up to #7 at light-heavyweight, but if SILVA is to be believed, Davis hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. I think Davis will lose to Rashad Evans later this month, but that shouldn’t damage his ranking at all. If Davis does lose to Evans, he’ll most likely bounce back with more wins against tough opponents, and launch himself right back into the title mix. And if Davis beats Evans… then it’s hard to deny him a title shot for too long after that, is it not?
  • Alexander Gustafsson: I think I can honestly say that I was a step ahead of the pack on calling Gustafsson’s rise in the light-heavyweight division (and definitely Johny Hendricks, but we’ll leave that for another post). Here’s a fighter with very good striking, strong takedown defense, and a strong ground game as well. Gustafsson is the complete package, and if his ascent at light-heavyweight is stopped, it will only be because he lost to one of the very best in the sport.
  • Muhammed Lawal: Time will tell if “King Mo” will make his way to the UFC, or stay in Strikeforce, but either way, Lawal will be a serious problem for anybody to deal with. I’ve said before that when I look for fighters who may become the superstars of tomorrow, I look for fighters who are ahead of the curve. Well, few fighters have been ahead of the curve more than Lawal, who made his professional MMA debut with a win over UFC veteran Travis Wiuff, and has followed it up with wins over Gegard Mousasi and Roger Gracie.
  • Ryan Jimmo: How can I not include Jimmo on this list now? There’s only so far Jimmo will be able to rise as long as he’s fighting in MFC, but Jimmo has taken on a lot of decent/good competition, and he beats that competition very consistently. The one concern I have with Jimmo is his tendency to go to decision, including a split decision win over Marvin Eastman, but when a fighter wins as much as Jimmo has been, eventually he has to be recognized as a serious threat to do some damage to the division’s upper echelon. EDIT: I now see that not only is Jimmo in the UFC, he will be fighting Karlos Vemola on a UFC on FX show on January 20th. I look forward to seeing how he does.


  • Mauricio Rua: It pains me to list “Shogun” here, because I’m a big fan of his, not least because he put on such a war against Dan Henderson at UFC 139 (while I was in attendance!) The big problem with Rua is his consistency, or lack thereof – half of the time, Rua looks unstoppable, and the other half of the time, he looks sluggish and lethargic. There’s no denying his toughness, but at 4-4 in his last eight fights, including an ugly win against Mark Coleman, it will be very difficult for Rua to stay near the top of the rankings.
  • Forrest Griffin: At this point, it’s only a matter of time before Griffin drops out of the top ten. Sure, Griffin looked fine at UFC 126 against Rich Franklin, but Franklin’s going downhill too. Meanwhile, at UFC 134, Griffin was stopped by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in very uninspiring fashion. Some have suggested that Griffin’s heart isn’t in the MMA game anymore, and if that’s the case… well, wasn’t heart what got Griffin to the top in the first place? Everything surrounding Griffin is trending downward, and eventually, his ranking will follow suit.
  • Stephan Bonnar: In most cases, it’s unlikely that a career resurgence at a late stage of a fighter’s career is anything sustainable, but there’s a compelling argument to be made that Bonnar has substantially improved as a fighter by his willingness to be less exciting in order to win. Still, look at Bonnar’s three-fight UFC winning streak, and I’m sorry, but I’m not blown away by Krzysztof Soszynski, Igor Pokrajac, and Kyle Kingsbury as the three men Bonnar has beaten. It’s possible that Bonnar really has improved, but logic dictates that it’s more likely Bonnar will regress in 2012.
  • Tito Ortiz: This one is almost too easy, but the entire justification for Ortiz’s being ranked at #17 is the shocking first-round submission win he pulled off over Ryan Bader at UFC 132. Both Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira promptly gave Ortiz a beating, and he’s now 1-6-1 in his last eight fights. If Ortiz doesn’t retire, he’s almost certain to take a beating again, and it’s only so long before Dana White decides that enough is enough.

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