This post is going to examine the participants of the top five UFC on Fuel fights, share my thoughts about each man’s performance, and use their new SILVA scores to explore what may be next. Time for me to do my best Joe Silva impersonation.
Jake Ellenberger def. Diego Sanchez by Decision (Unanimous)
I speculated that if Diego Sanchez wanted to win this fight, his only way to do so would be to win a decision based on striking volume. He got the memo, but too late, as his third-round barrage against Ellenberger merely caused him to lose a 29-28 decision. Ellenberger’s striking power looked great as always, but the sequence that led to him taking so many strikes at the end of the fight is a troubling sign for how he might fare against some of the elites of the welterweight division.
Still, Ellenberger’s win causes him to move to #6 in SILVA at welterweight (81.03), and I think the appropriate thing would be for him to challenge Carlos Condit for the interim welterweight title. Sanchez drops to #28, one spot above Matt Hughes, and if Hughes decides to fight again, I think there’s a good chance the UFC tries to match him up with Sanchez, as it attempted for UFC 135 last September.
Stefan Struve def. Dave Herman by TKO (Punches), 3:52 round 2
My thoughts on Dave Herman before this fight were that he has dynamic but wild striking, and that for all the offense he generates, he eats too many strikes himself. Well, he out-struck Stefan Struve for the better part of two rounds, but his porous striking defense came back to bite him, as Struve tagged him with an uppercut and finished him on the ground shortly afterwards. I thought it would be Struve who would suffer the knockout, and Struve didn’t look particularly good, but he was able to survive long enough.
Struve edges upward in SILVA to 55.36, good for #25 in the heavyweight division. An appropriate next test for him might be Cheick Kongo, a fighter who will force Struve to find a way to deal with a good striker. This assumes Kongo gets past Mark Hunt at UFC 144. Herman drops to 56.09, #22 in the heavyweight division. There aren’t too many fighters I can think of who might make for a good matchup; the closest in SILVA who would make sense is Ben Rothwell, but Rothwell is scheduled to take on Brendan Schaub at UFC 145.
Ronny Markes def. Aaron Simpson by Decision (Split)
I don’t think there were any winners in this fight, least of all the fans. Sure, the first round was exciting, but after that, it was a lot of clinch warfare. Markes won the second and third rounds, and it looked like his massive physique (for a middleweight) had a lot to do with his success in the wrestling game. Since Markes has only one loss on his record, the potential is there for him to do some damage to the upper echelon of the division, but I want to see him turn his wrestling and strength into real offense before I’m willing to get behind a Markes title run. As for Simpson, this fight confirms that he’s merely a mid-tier UFC middleweight with limited upside.
Markes rockets up to #13 at middleweight in SILVA, with a score of 67.21. Perhaps the winner of the upcoming fight between Costa Philippou and Court McGee would make for a good opponent. Simpson is now #38 with a SILVA score of 52.71. His closest match in SILVA is Riki Fukuda, who might make sense as an opponent, assuming he gets past Steve Cantwell at UFC 144 in Japan.
- Stipe Miocic took out Phil De Fries in short order, and has confirmed his status as a top prospect in the heavyweight division. Now at #14 in the heavyweight division, it’s time to test him against one of the other young fighters SILVA thinks highly of. Matt Mitrione might just be the right guy.
- De Fries drops to 47.48 in SILVA, but I think SILVA still overrates him. A match against a similarly overrated fighter (by SILVA), Ednaldo Oliveira, makes sense to me.
- I’m glad to see T.J. Dillashaw earn a SILVA score by defeating his second experienced opponent in Walel Watson. It was a truly dominating performance by Dillashaw, who checks in at bantamweight with a SILVA score of 42.13. A close match for him in SILVA is Jared Papazian, who I think would represent a nice step up in competition.
- Watson lived up to his anemic 18.38 SILVA score, and that just declined to a more anemic 14.15. If he isn’t cut from the UFC, maybe he could fight Alex Soto?