Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

SILVA Scores For MMA’s Top 25 Lightweights

Do not fret… there will be actual, honest to goodness fight previews for this Saturday’s UFC show very soon.

In this post, I’m going to continue my series of looking at SILVA scores to predict which fighters are likely to rise in 2012, and which fighters are likely to fall. To do this, I’ve been taking the USA Today/MMA Nation consensus rankings for each weight class, and listing each fighter in the rankings twice. The first list shows who the general MMA blogosphere thinks are the top 25 lightweights in the world. The second list shows what SILVA thinks of the same 25 fighters. Fighters whose ranking is well above SILVA are identified as potential fallers, and fighters ranked well below SILVA are identified as potential risers.

I’ve already done this for the heavyweight, light-heavyweight, middleweight, and welterweight divisions; if you’d like to take a look at what I had to say about each of those, just click on any of the respective links.

Here’s the list of the top 25 lightweight fighters in MMA, according to the consensus rankings, and listed with their SILVA scores:

  1. Frank Edgar – 92.44
  2. Gilbert Melendez – 82.06
  3. Gray Maynard – 84.33
  4. Ben Henderson – 84.39
  5. Shinya Aoki – 85.85
  6. Clay Guida – 65.41
  7. Jim Miller – 77.70
  8. Donald Cerrone – 68.83
  9. Michael Chandler – 86.48
  10. Anthony Pettis – 59.71
  11. Eddie Alvarez – 75.05
  12. Joe Lauzon – 52.30
  13. Nate Diaz – 52.33
  14. Gleison Tibau – 58.03
  15. Melvin Guillard – 57.77
  16. Dennis Siver – 71.61
  17. Sean Sherk – 75.30
  18. Evan Dunham – 69.55
  19. Rafael dos Anjos – 42.98
  20. Sam Stout – 46.59
  21. Matt Wiman – 59.61
  22. George Sotiropoulos – 54.46
  23. Josh Thomson – 77.42
  24. Jorge Masvidal – 45.98
  25. Mizuto Hirota – 50.20

Here are the above 25 fighters, but listed according to their SILVA scores, with their rank in parentheses:

  • Frank Edgar – 92.44 (1)
  • Michael Chandler – 86.48 (9)
  • Shinya Aoki – 85.85 (5)
  • Ben Henderson – 84.39 (4)
  • Gray Maynard – 84.33 (3)
  • Gilbert Melendez – 82.06 (2)
  • Jim Miller – 77.70 (7)
  • Josh Thomson – 77.42 (23)
  • Sean Sherk – 75.30 (17)
  • Eddie Alvarez – 75.05 (11)
  • Dennis Siver – 71.61 (16)
  • Evan Dunham – 69.55 (18)
  • Donald Cerrone – 68.83 (8)
  • Clay Guida – 65.41 (6)
  • Anthony Pettis – 59.71 (10)
  • Matt Wiman – 59.61 (21)
  • Gleison Tibau – 58.03 (14)
  • Melvin Guillard – 57.77 (15)
  • George Sotiropoulos – 54.46 (22)
  • Nate Diaz – 52.33 (13)
  • Joe Lauzon – 52.30 (12)
  • Mizuto Hirota – 50.20 (25)
  • Sam Stout – 46.59 (20)
  • Jorge Masvidal – 45.98 (24)
  • Rafael dos Anjos – 42.98 (19)

This is definitely the wildest ranking so far, in the sense that the SILVA scores don’t align with the rankings at all. With that said, here are the fighters I think are most likely to rise and fall in 2012:


  • Michael Chandler: If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this process, it’s that I really need to start covering Bellator events. Now, I’ll be honest… when SILVA spits out a rating such as Chandler’s, I shudder a little bit, because I’m put in a situation where I have to defend SILVA’s rating. The fact of the matter is that Chandler has defeated an excellent opponent in Eddie Alvarez, is undefeated, and has a similar statistical profile to other successful SILVA favorites, such as Daniel Cormier. As usual, I’ll stand by SILVA, and say that Chandler’s win over Alvarez was no fluke, and to expect him to be a force in the lightweight division for years to come.
  • Josh Thomson: I think Thomson’s real ability as a fighter is somewhere between what SILVA thinks of him and what the consensus rankings think of him. Regardless, he makes the potential risers list, and deserves it, because he’s a well-rounded fighter who, on top of being 1-1 against Gilbert Melendez, has wins against very tough fighters in Gesias Cavalcante and Pat Healy.
  • Sean Sherk: This goes completely against the 9-year rule, but the 9-year rule is really something I need to revisit anyway. This also assumes that Sherk actually competes in 2012, which is no guarantee, as he has dealt with numerous injuries recently, and has only fought once since May 2009. That’s why you shouldn’t bet the farm on a Sherk resurgence, but if he actually competes a couple times in 2012, he’s a real candidate to get back into the top ten.


  • Clay Guida: Before Guida’s loss to Ben Henderson, he had won four fights in a row. Those fights were against Anthony Pettis (59.71 SILVA), Takanori Gomi (42.06), Rafael dos Anjos (42.98), and Shannon Gugerty (unknown, but it’s probably not that great). Clay Guida is a good fighter who deserves to be ranked in the top 25, but he simply hasn’t done enough to justify being ranked #6 in the world. When Guida has been tested against legitimate top ten talent, he’s fallen short every time, so I believe it’s only a matter of time before the consensus ranking corrects itself, and Guida falls out of the top ten.
  • Nate Diaz: What’s really interesting about this is that the rankings haven’t been updated to reflect Diaz’s win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 141, but his SILVA score has. SILVA thinks #13 is too high for Diaz, so it will definitely think whatever Diaz’s new ranking is will be too high. Diaz’s actual fighting ability is probably better than SILVA’s opinion of him, but Diaz is 5-5 in his last ten fights, and part of maintaining a high ranking is being able to earn the judges’ favor. Diaz just hasn’t been able to do that consistently.
  • Joe Lauzon: A lot of the fighters I’ve identified as potential fallers in 2012 have been ranked too highly because the fighter they recently beat was also ranked too highly. Such is the case with Joe Lauzon, who was the beneficiary of Melvin Guillard’s hype when Lauzon beat him last October. Don’t get me wrong, the Guillard win was seriously impressive, but most of Lauzon’s UFC career has featured either wins against fringe UFC opposition, or losses to mid-level UFC lightweights like Sam Stout and George Sotiropoulos. I like watching Lauzon fight, but he’s a lock to fail to maintain that #12 ranking.

2 responses to “SILVA Scores For MMA’s Top 25 Lightweights

  1. Howard Morton January 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Shinya Aoki would get schooled in the ufc.

    Michael Chandler versus Eddie Alvarez would be one hell of a rematch.

    I expect Ben Henderson to beat Frankie Edgar. If he does would he be rated number 1 by SILVA?

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