IN THIS POST
- Carlos Condit
- Pat Curran
- Frankie Edgar
- Rashad Evans
- Bibiano Fernandes
- Demetrious Johnson
- Tatsuya Kawajiri
- Ian McCall
- Gilbert Melendez
- Alistair Overeem
Rashad Evans – SILVA score: 88.74
Evans has a lot of great victories throughout his career, mixed in with a few lackluster performances. He’s a very talented athlete with skill in all areas, but he’s also not the most precise striker, and can be out-pointed (as Jon Jones did) or even knocked out (as Lyoto Machida did). I think Evans could maximize his talent by mixing in his wrestling with his striking more, similar to how Georges St-Pierre fights, but it could be that his merely above-average striking simply holds him back from being a champion in the UFC.
Pat Curran – SILVA score: 85.73
Part of the reason it’s hard to find compelling challengers for Jose Aldo in the UFC is that a lot of talented featherweights don’t fight there. Case in point: Pat Curran, who knocked out Marlon Sandro with a highlight-reel head kick to win one of Bellator’s tournaments, and followed up with a brutal KO of Joe Warren to become their featherweight champion. To illustrate my point about talented featherweights outside the UFC, consider that many believe Curran will lose to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, and that Daniel Straus, Bellator’s latest tournament winner, is also a serious threat to win the title.
Carlos Condit – SILVA score: 85.55
Condit is on a five-fight winning streak, and the fighters he’s beaten are Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy, Dong Hyun Kim, and Nick Diaz. That’s not a bad run right there. I definitely think Condit loses to a healthy Georges St-Pierre, but as I said in the last post, whether or not St-Pierre will be fully healthy is an open question.
Frankie Edgar – SILVA score: 85.09
Two things about Edgar make him such a difficult fighter to beat. One is his wrestling base, which is good enough to keep Edgar on his feet even against bigger, more powerful opponents. The other is his superior conditioning – when Edgar goes into the later rounds of a fight, he can maintain a high pace. So what happens when he takes on a bigger opponent with an equally good wrestling base and conditioning, like Benson Henderson? He goes down. I like Henderson to beat Edgar again in their upcoming fight, and get Edgar thinking about a run at 145 pounds.
Gilbert Melendez – SILVA score: 83.47
As much as I would love to see Melendez escape Strikeforce and challenge for the UFC title, I’m not sure he would be successful in such a challenge. Yes, Melendez has built a record of wins over great opponents like Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Josh Thomson, and Jorge Masvidal, but his most recent fight against Thomson seemed to expose him a little bit. If you’re skating by Josh Thomson (who I think is badly underrated), what does that say about your ability to beat somebody like Benson Henderson?
Tatsuya Kawajiri – SILVA score: 81.35
Should Kawajiri’s SILVA score really be higher than Chad Mendes? When Kawajiri is at his best, he’s a tough wrestler with good striking offense, but porous striking defense. Don’t worry: since Kawajiri has started fighting much weaker competition lately, his SILVA score will decline even if he keeps winning. And by decline, I mean plummet. Sorry, but you have to fight opponents better than Donald Sanchez and Drew Fickett if you want to stay near the top of the SILVA ratings.
Demetrious Johnson – SILVA score: 72.52
I’ve harped on this before, but Johnson built a reputation for being a good wrestler by taking down Miguel Torres repeatedly. Of course, everybody takes down Torres repeatedly, and Johnson couldn’t win the wrestling exchanges against Brad Pickett or Dominick Cruz. He stands a better chance at flyweight, but against future opponent Joseph Benavidez? I don’t like his chances.
Alistair Overeem – SILVA score: 71.59
Early versions of SILVA hated Overeem, rating him as a slightly above-average heavyweight by UFC standards. Then I switched to SILVA 1.1, and Overeem was rated in the top five. Now, with SILVA 2.1, Overeem is somewhere in the middle, and rated below Fabricio Werdum, who he beat in June last year. Of course, there’s an argument to be made that Werdum won that fight, and let’s face it, Overeem’s winning streak is just not that impressive, even with his most recent win against a badly faded Brock Lesnar. Sorry Alistair, but you still have a lot to prove.
Bibiano Fernandes – SILVA score: 66.72
For a while, it looked like Fernandes was going to sign with the UFC. Unfortunately, that fell through, which is too bad, because Fernandes represents the kind of talent the UFC bantamweight division needs. Keep in mind that, because the bantamweight division is relatively thin, a SILVA score of 66.72 rates among the top fighters there. Here’s hoping that Fernandes and the UFC get a deal done, because I’d love to see him compete at the highest levels of the sport.
Ian McCall – SILVA score: 39.58
As thin as the bantamweight division is, the flyweight division makes it seem like it’s completely flush with world-class talent. Since the UFC just recently started promoting flyweights, it will take time for the division to build itself up. In the meantime, fighters like Ian McCall will rate with a SILVA score of 39.58, which seems way off, but the vast majority of flyweights will probably rate below him. I really need a longer list of flyweights before I can pass judgment on McCall’s SILVA score.