Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

SILVA Scores For MMA’s Top 25 Bantamweights

This is the seventh and final post in my series on using SILVA scores to predict which fighters are likely to rise in 2012, and which are likely to fall. I was hoping the USA Today/MMA Nation consensus rankings, which this analysis is based on, would be updated after tomorrow evening’s UFC on Fox event, because then I would have been able to write this post prior to the first rankings update of the year. Too late, as the rankings were updated today. As a result, I’ll be looking at the new bantamweight rankings, not last month’s rankings.

First, I’m going to list the top 25 fighters according to their rank, and then I’m going to list the same 25 fighters according to their SILVA score.

  1. Dominick Cruz – 83.55
  2. Urijah Faber – 57.92
  3. Joseph Benavidez – 75.10
  4. Brian Bowles – 73.52
  5. Scott Jorgensen – 62.40
  6. Demetrious Johnson – 53.52
  7. Renan Barao – 71.87
  8. Miguel Torres – 60.51
  9. Bibiano Fernandes – 75.30
  10. Masakatsu Ueda – 76.56
  11. Takeya Mizugaki – 42.91
  12. Brad Pickett – 54.64
  13. Michael McDonald – 65.16
  14. Zach Makovsky – 64.51
  15. Eduardo Dantas – 75.18
  16. Wagnney Fabiano – 64.34
  17. Antonio Banuelos – 41.33
  18. Eddie Wineland – 38.10
  19. Alexis Vila – 76.14
  20. Damacio Page – 32.58
  21. Joe Warren – 73.04
  22. Masakazu Imanari – 45.74
  23. Marcos Galvao – 33.70
  24. Raphael Assuncao – 48.06
  25. Yves Jabouin – 44.59

And here are the above 25 fighters, listed according to their SILVA scores:

  • Dominick Cruz – 83.55 (1)
  • Masakatsu Ueda – 76.56 (10)
  • Alexis Vila – 76.14 (19)
  • Bibiano Fernandes – 75.30 (9)
  • Eduardo Dantas – 75.18 (15)
  • Joseph Benavidez – 75.10 (3)
  • Brian Bowles – 73.52 (4)
  • Joe Warren – 73.04 (21)
  • Renan Barao – 71.87 (7)
  • Michael McDonald – 65.16 (13)
  • Zach Makovsky – 64.51 (14)
  • Wagnney Fabiano – 64.34 (16)
  • Scott Jorgensen – 62.40 (5)
  • Miguel Torres – 60.51 (8)
  • Urijah Faber – 57.92 (2)
  • Brad Pickett – 54.64 (12)
  • Demetrious Johnson – 53.52 (6)
  • Raphael Assuncao – 48.06 (24)
  • Masakazu Imanari – 45.74 (22)
  • Yves Jabouin – 44.59 (25)
  • Takeya Mizugaki – 42.91 (11)
  • Antonio Banuelos – 41.33 (17)
  • Eddie Wineland – 38.10 (18)
  • Marcos Galvao – 33.70 (23)
  • Damacio Page – 32.58 (20)

Now is a good time to remind everybody that SILVA is NOT a ranking system. Ranking systems are descriptive in nature – their purpose is to describe what a fighter has done. SILVA is intended to be more predictive in nature; that is, trying to figure out how good a fighter really is, and how that fighter will perform in the future. SILVA is, of course, still very flawed, and I’m still working on it, but it’s also gotten better over time, and I’d like to think that, for a completely objective system, it’s pretty good.

Still, SILVA doesn’t correspond to the consensus rankings at all here. After Dominick Cruz, SILVA is all over the map. I’ll do my best to sort things out with my analysis below.

POTENTIAL RISERS IN 2012

  • Alexis Vila: Once again, SILVA is giving lots of love to Bellator fighters. Vila skated by Marcos Galvao, and lost to Eduardo Dantas, but also delivered a first-round KO of the very tough Joe Warren. At 11-1, Vila has both a quality “strength of schedule” and the quantity in terms of winning percentage. That’s something not common in the bantamweight division, and even though Vila is 40 years old, I wouldn’t expect him to fade away anytime soon.
  • Bibiano Fernandes: Fernandes is the other fighter to beat Joe Warren, and he did it by submission in just 42 seconds. And while Fernandes is just 11-3 overall, it’s hard to hold a grudge against him for losing to Urijah Faber and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto in his second and third professional MMA fights, respectively. I expect good things from him in 2012.
  • Eduardo Dantas: The scary thing about Dantas, from my perspective, is that if he wins his next fight, his SILVA score will rise above that of Dominick Cruz. It’s scary for me because it will be a very tough thing to explain, but Dantas is the only fighter to beat Alexis Vila, knocked out Wilson Reis with a flying knee, and his only loss is against the very tough Masakatsu Ueda. Oh, and he’s 22 years old. If there’s a super prospect at 135 pounds in terms of guys who might rise up the rankings, it’s Dantas.
  • Not Masakatsu Ueda: But Ueda has the second-highest SILVA score! Unfortunately, as long as he’s fighting in Shooto, there’s a ceiling to how far he can rise in the rankings. If Ueda ever makes his way to the UFC (or Bellator!), he could break his way into the top five, but for now, #10 is probably as high as he’s going to get.

POTENTIAL FALLERS IN 2012

  • Scott Jorgensen: Jorgensen is 7-1 in his last eight fights, but his best win is Brad Pickett, and his last fight against Jeff Curran wasn’t particularly inspiring. Curran used to be very good, but Jorgensen really should beat him decisively at this point in their respective careers, and Curran had a bit too much success against him for me to be confident in Jorgensen’s future. Jorgensen is a solid fighter, but I don’t think he can maintain his status as a top five fighter.
  • Miguel Torres: Torres has been fighting for a long time now, and wasn’t particularly inspiring in his last fight against Nick Pace, or his previous fight against Demetrious Johnson. Torres is skilled for sure – he has good boxing and very good jiu-jitsu – but as an observer, it seems that those skills are eroding just a little bit. Once the bantamweight division develops a little more, I think Torres is going to get left behind.
  • Urijah Faber: Sometimes, SILVA completely disagrees with what makes sense to me. I hate it every time. This is one of those times. Urijah Faber is ranked #2 in the consensus rankings, and that makes very good sense to me, as he gave Brian Bowles a good whooping back at UFC 139. Still, SILVA thinks Faber isn’t a championship-level fighter, rating him as only the 15th-best fighter at 135 pounds. I completely disagree, and I think Faber would beat most of the fighters SILVA has rated above him, but I would be chickening out if I didn’t mention Faber here.
  • Takeya Mizugaki: Since the UFC merged with the WEC, I’ve thought that Takeya Mizugaki was probably the most vulnerable transfer. Mizugaki is 4-4 in his last eight fights, and the wins were against Cole Escovedo, Reuben Duran by split decision, Rani Yahya, and Jeff Curran by split decision. Not the most inspiring list. I don’t necessarily think we’ll see Mizugaki crash and burn, but he’s almost certain to be ranked lower than #11 by the end of 2012 as far as I see it.
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