Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

SILVA Scores For MMA’s Top 25 Featherweights

This is the 6th post in my series looking at the top 25 fighters of each division (as determined by the USA Today/MMA Nation consensus rankings) and predicting which fighters are most likely to rise or fall in the rankings based on SILVA scores. If a fighter’s SILVA score is high relative to his ranking, I generally will predict that fighter to move up in the rankings; if the SILVA score is low relative to his ranking, I generally will predict that fighter to move down in the rankings, or drop out altogether. This should be an interesting thing to put in a time capsule and see how right or wrong I was at the end of the year.

To see my analysis on all weight classes above featherweight, just click on one of the following links:

Before I get into the lists, I need to talk for a brief moment about Patricio Freire, who SILVA currently has as the second-best featherweight in the world, with a SILVA score of 92.44. In SILVA 1.1, the Fight Level statistic is determined by looking at the second-best win a fighter earned (according to Victory Score) in his last 10 fights (with a penalty applied if the fighter has at least two bad losses in the same period). Right now, Victory Score is still a flawed statistic that could use some improvements, but for most fighters it works pretty well. However, when Victory Score overrates a win over a certain opponent, and the fighter beats that opponent twice, it can cause problems.

This is the case with Freire, who has two wins over Wilson Reis, both of which are rated extremely highly by Victory Score. The result is a broken Fight Level, and subsequently, an extremely high SILVA score for Patricio Freire. This phenomenon can also be seen with Frank Mir. Mir now has two victories over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, wins that are overrated by Victory Score because Victory Score doesn’t handle declining fighters like Nogueira very well. The result is a very high Fight Level for Mir, and a SILVA score that places him #4 in the heavyweight division. In SILVA 2.0, I’ll be trying to refine the Victory Score statistic, but very soon, I’ll be tweaking the Fight Level statistic to look at the Victory Score of the second-best unique opponent, meaning that fighters like Freire and Mir can’t “double dip” for a broken Fight Level.

Now for the lists. First, I will list each of the top 25 featherweights according to the consensus ranking, and then I will list the same 25 fighters, but ranked according to their SILVA score.

  1. Jose Aldo – 100.40
  2. Chad Mendes – 80.26
  3. Hatsu Hioki – 73.69
  4. Pat Curran – 73.62
  5. Marlon Sandro – 52.59
  6. Diego Nunes – 65.24
  7. Dustin Poirier – 58.85
  8. Kenny Florian – 74.91
  9. Erik Koch – 74.50
  10. Bart Palaszewski – 63.65
  11. Mark Hominick – 43.06
  12. Chan Sung Jung – 34.41
  13. Manny Gamburyan – 43.55
  14. Hiroyuki Takaya – 56.74
  15. Patricio Freire – 92.44
  16. Tatsuya Kawajiri – 80.32
  17. Tyson Griffin – 47.18
  18. Joe Warren – 73.04
  19. Darren Elkins – 51.68
  20. Michihiro Omigawa – 49.01
  21. Bibiano Fernandes – 75.30
  22. Robert Peralta – 27.80
  23. Rani Yahya – 41.66
  24. Ricardo Lamas – 73.02
  25. Masanori Kanehara – 44.76

And here are the above 25 fighters, listed from highest SILVA score to lowest SILVA score.

  • Jose Aldo – 100.40 (1)
  • Patricio Freire – 92.44 (15)
  • Tatsuya Kawajiri – 80.32 (16)
  • Chad Mendes – 80.26 (2)
  • Bibiano Fernandes – 75.30 (21)
  • Kenny Florian – 74.91 (8)
  • Erik Koch – 74.50 (9)
  • Hatsu Hioki – 73.69 (3)
  • Pat Curran – 73.62 (4)
  • Joe Warren – 73.04 (18)
  • Ricardo Lamas – 73.02 (24)
  • Diego Nunes – 65.24 (6)
  • Bart Palaszewski – 63.65 (10)
  • Dustin Poirier – 58.85 (7)
  • Hiroyuki Takaya – 56.74 (14)
  • Marlon Sandro – 52.59 (5)
  • Darren Elkins – 51.68 (19)
  • Michihiro Omigawa – 49.01 (20)
  • Tyson Griffin – 47.18 (17)
  • Masanori Kanehara – 44.76 (25)
  • Manny Gamburyan – 43.55 (13)
  • Mark Hominick – 43.06 (11)
  • Rani Yahya – 41.66 (23)
  • Chan Sung Jung – 34.41 (12)
  • Robert Peralta – 27.80 (22)

POTENTIAL RISERS IN 2012

  • Patricio Freire: Despite what I said about Freire and his Fight Level above, it’s hard to ignore what he’s done as a professional mixed martial artist. Freire is 17-1, with his only loss being by split decision to Joe Warren, and many disagreed with that decision. With six wins by KO/TKO, and seven by submission, Freire clearly has a diverse skill set to go along with his impressive record. At this point, I really have to tip my hat to Bellator, which appears to have done a tremendous job of identifying and developing world-class MMA talent, because Freire is only the latest in a list of great fighters in that promotion.
  • Tatsuya Kawajiri: He’s 8-2 in his last 10 fights, and his only blemishes were against Gilbert Melendez and Shinya Aoki. Before that, his losses were to people like Eddie Alvarez and Takanori Gomi in his prime. There’s no shame in those losses. Kawajiri is a tough wrestler with good boxing, although he tends to get a bit sloppy at times trying to put on a war against good strikers like Alvarez and Gomi. If nothing else, Kawajiri is good enough to be ranked higher than the #16 featherweight in the world.
  • Joe Warren: Warren is ranked at both featherweight and bantamweight. Since he’s scheduled to take on Pat Curran in his next fight, I’ve decided to mention him here instead of the upcoming bantamweight feature. Warren may be just 7-2, but he fought tough opponents right out of the gate, and has clearly shown himself to be far ahead of the developmental curve in MMA. As long as he avoids a rematch with Freire, I anticipate a successful 2012 for Warren.
  • Ricardo Lamas: Lamas had a close call or two against Cub Swanson, but was able to survive and eventually win by submission. Lamas has been a SILVA favorite for a while now, and while I don’t think Lamas is championship material quite yet, I’ll at least say he’ll be a part of the title picture by the end of the year.

POTENTIAL FALLERS IN 2011

  • Hatsu Hioki: His SILVA score isn’t all that bad, but let’s face it – Hioki really beat George Roop by the skin of his teeth, and while he’s beaten some solid opponents, there’s nothing in his recent record that tells me he should be ranked #3 at all. Hioki is fighting Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144 in Japan, and while SILVA likes Hioki to win that fight, something about it just screams upset to me. If nothing else, I have little confidence that Hioki will still be in the top five by the end of 2012.
  • Marlon Sandro: Speaking of fighters who haven’t done enough to deserve their ranking, I really don’t see why Marlon Sandro belongs in the top five. Let’s see, he beat… Nazareno Malegarie? Masanori Kanehara? It’s really slim pickings as far as finding a marquee win is concerned. In that light, it makes a lot of sense that Sandro had to skate by Genair da Silva and was knocked out by Pat Curran. Sandro is almost a lock to collapse in the rankings in 2012.
  • Manny Gamburyan: Here is a case study in why I think subjective ranking systems – the way they’re executed – are inherently flawed. Gamburyan was in no man’s land from a rankings perspective until he scored an upset KO of former WEC champion Mike Brown. Based on that one win, Gamburyan rocketed up the rankings to #2, and was awarded a title shot against Jose Aldo. Since then, Gamburyan’s descent has been slow and steady, and in 2012, it will continue to be slow and steady.
  • Mark Hominick: Hominick’s status was artificially elevated by being given a title shot against Jose Aldo without truly earning it first (at least, I don’t consider a win over George Roop to be title shot material). Sure, Hominick is a very good striker, but he hasn’t been able to translate that into success against elite opposition yet. I’m not going to call the KO loss to Chan Sung Jung a sign of things to come, because I think Hominick fought very emotionally there, but I also don’t think Hominick can survive for long against truly world-class talent.
  • Chan Sung Jung: When you consider that I believe Mark Hominick to be overrated, it’s not hard to see why I would consider Chan Sung Jung to be overrated as well. Jung is unfairly penalized a bit by SILVA for losing a bad decision to Leonard Garcia, but he shouldn’t be the #12 featherweight in the world, and for the love of all that is good in the world, no, he shouldn’t be given a title shot against Jose Aldo.
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