MMA Power Rankings -- HEAVYWEIGHT
Wednesday, July 11
Heading into May's heavyweight demolition derby, we thought that Junior dos Santos was the toast of the class, and Cain Velasquez was second best. Heading out, we took a violently scenic route to the same place. Dos Santos forecasted a second round knockout of Frank Mir and delivered in the headlining slot of the UFC 146 all-heavyweight extravaganza. In his first title defense he was poised, he was quicker, he was hungrier, and he was every bit as ferocious. As for his ground game? Who cares. At this point maybe when it's best left to conjecture.
And now the question becomes: Who's the man to challenge dos Santos? Well, we've sung this chorus before, but perhaps the one guy who had a better showing -- Cain Velasquez. Wasting little time with niceties, Velasquez immediately took Antonio Silva to the ground in the co-main event and exacted a thorough beatdown on the Strikeforce import. Velasquez cut open Bigfoot with a short, mean elbow that colored the canvas red. Was it a message to dos Santos, who had to fight over Silva's recently spilled blood? Probably not. But it might as well have been. The two are on a collision course to play back their November fight, the one that lasted barely a minute.
It was also the bout where we beheld a less-than-healthy Velasquez, so there are plenty of questions to be re-raised.
Otherwise, Daniel Cormier made a lot of believers with his five-round handling of Josh Barnett to close out the Strikeforce grand prix. As things shake out in the heavyweight division, he's the new name being talked about challenge the likes of dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Shane Carwin and, yes, his training partner Velasquez. But all that can wait for now. Cormier will undergo surgery to repair a broken hand and will be out for a couple of months.