Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

SILVA Scores For MMA’s Top 25 Middleweights

This is the third of a series of posts looking at the top 25 fighters of a given weight class, as ranked by the USA Today/MMA Nation consensus rankings. Taking a look at each fighter’s SILVA score may give us an indicator of which fighters are likely to rise to prominence in 2012, and likewise, which fighters may be in for a rude awakening.

There are four new SILVA scores processed as a result of this project, and let’s just say a big splash was made. Hector Lombard now has the #2 SILVA score at middleweight (83.84), Alexander Shlemenko is #5 (74.80), and Mamed Khalidov is #10 (68.62). The one new SILVA score that wasn’t overwhelming was that of Thales Leites (52.99).

Here are the middleweights, first listed according to their ranking, and then according to their SILVA score.

  1. Anderson Silva – 98.95
  2. Chael Sonnen – 74.55
  3. Yushin Okami – 64.88
  4. Mark Munoz – 76.95
  5. Demian Maia – 63.56
  6. Vitor Belfort – 67.72
  7. Michael Bisping – 67.96
  8. Brian Stann – 60.30
  9. Luke Rockhold – 78.93
  10. Nate Marquardt – 64.58
  11. Ronaldo Souza – 73.57
  12. Hector Lombard – 83.84
  13. Alan Belcher – 54.49
  14. Tim Kennedy – 73.68
  15. Wanderlei Silva – 44.35
  16. Chris Leben – 54.83
  17. Mamed Khalidov – 68.62
  18. Rousimar Palhares – 74.67
  19. Jorge Santiago – 57.96
  20. Chris Weidman – 65.61
  21. Robbie Lawler – 57.25
  22. Alexander Shlemenko – 74.80
  23. Alessio Sakara – 38.09
  24. Thales Leites – 52.99
  25. Tim Boetsch – 56.73

And here are the above fighters, listed by their SILVA score, with their rank in parentheses.

  • Anderson Silva – 98.95 (1)
  • Hector Lombard – 83.84 (12)
  • Luke Rockhold – 78.93 (9)
  • Mark Munoz – 76.95 (4)
  • Alexander Shlemenko – 74.80 (22)
  • Rousimar Palhares – 74.67 (18)
  • Chael Sonnen – 74.55 (2)
  • Tim Kennedy – 73.68 (14)
  • Ronaldo Souza – 73.57 (11)
  • Mamed Khalidov – 68.62 (17)
  • Michael Bisping – 67.96 (7)
  • Vitor Belfort – 67.72 (6)
  • Chris Weidman – 65.61 (20)
  • Yushin Okami – 64.88 (3)
  • Nate Marquardt – 64.58 (10)
  • Demian Maia – 63.56 (5)
  • Brian Stann – 60.30 (8)
  • Jorge Santiago – 57.96 (19)
  • Robbie Lawler – 57.25 (21)
  • Tim Boetsch – 56.73 (25)
  • Chris Leben – 54.83 (16)
  • Alan Belcher – 54.49 (13)
  • Thales Leites – 52.99 (24)
  • Wanderlei Silva – 44.35 (15)
  • Alessio Sakara – 38.09 (23)

POTENTIAL RISERS IN 2012

  • Hector Lombard and Alexander Shlemenko: Now that we see just how highly SILVA thinks of each of these Bellator fighters, it’s hard not to get enthusiastic about what each might be able to accomplish in the UFC. The problem is that they’re not in the UFC, they’re in Bellator. I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen much of Shlemenko, but Lombard is an absolute tank at middleweight, and would represent an imposing test for anybody in his weight class, and that includes Anderson Silva.
  • Luke Rockhold: This one comes with two caveats. Caveat #1 is that SILVA 1.1 throws out fights against inexperienced opponents, meaning that Rockhold’s one loss – to a 1-1 Tony Rubalcava – isn’t factored into his SILVA score. However, given Rockhold’s win over highly-rated Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, he shouldn’t be downgraded too much because of this. It appears Rockhold will remain in Strikeforce for now, and as long as that’s the case, I’ll be favoring him to defend his middleweight title. Caveat #2 is this assumes Rockhold beats Keith Jardine on Saturday.
  • Rousimar Palhares: Palhares has serious submission talent, but in terms of being somebody the UFC can sell to potential pay-per-view buyers, Palhares comes up woefully short. If SILVA is to be believed, Palhares is going to do some serious damage to the middleweight division in 2012, meaning the UFC might have to start figuring out ways to make Palhares marketable.
  • Chris Weidman: Not only has Weidman accomplished a 65.62 SILVA score, he’s done it despite being only 7-0, and still only in his third year of professional fighting. Weidman has great wrestling and grappling abilities, and disposed of Tom Lawlor in just 2:07 at UFC 139. If you’re looking for a fighter to break into UFC title contention in 2012, Weidman might just be the guy.

POTENTIAL FALLERS IN 2012

  • Chael Sonnen: This is almost guaranteed to rile people up, but for a guy who proclaims himself to be the “true” UFC middleweight champion, Sonnen sure doesn’t win very consistently. Sonnen lost to Paulo Filho in the WEC by armbar, he lost to Demian Maia by triangle choke, and he lost to Anderson Silva by triangle armbar. Sure, Sonnen might out-strike and out-wrestle all of his opponents, but his submission defense is just too poor to win regularly at the highest level. Chances are good that Sonnen will get submitted again in 2012; maybe not by Mark Munoz later this month, but by somebody.
  • Yushin Okami: Okami is a solid fighter, but he doesn’t have the profile of a real #3 fighter in a weight class. Okami is 7-3 in his last 10 fights, which is respectable, but a lot of his wins are against underwhelming names like Lucio Linhares and Jason MacDonald. If Okami faces top ten opponents in 2012, he’s more likely to lose than he is to win.
  • Demian Maia: I’m a fan of Demian Maia, but when he fights, I often find myself rooting for him not to get knocked out. Maia has a win over Chael Sonnen to hang his hat on, but after that, there’s no real standout win. His second-best win is Jorge Santiago, and his third-best win is… Dan Miller? I’ll be rooting for Maia against Michael Bisping, but Bisping should be considered the favorite to win.
  • Brian Stann: This one is simple. Stann was over-ranked based on a win against an overrated opponent in Jorge Santiago (and I’m somewhat guilty of the overrating of Santiago myself). I just don’t think Stann has talent on par with the rest of the top ten.
  • Wanderlei Silva: Again, the potential risers and fallers are chosen relative to their ranking, and even though the legendary Silva has a somewhat recent win over Michael Bisping, he just loses too often for me to have any confidence in his future. The UFC 139 win over Cung Le was genuinely exciting, but Silva’s once-reliable chin has become far too fragile for Silva to enjoy consistent success in his career right now.
  • Alessio Sakara: What in the world is Sakara doing in the top 25?
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