MMA Power Rankings -- MIDDLEWEIGHT
Thursday, July 17
What a difference a week makes. After Anderson Silva brushed aside his arch-nemesis Chael Sonnen for the second (and last) time at UFC 148, the question of "who's next" got loud. One name that was bandied about was Mark Munoz, who was set to be in a title eliminator with Sonnen back in January before an injury forced him off the card. Well, he found himself in a similar spot in the headline showcase against Chris Weidman in San Jose. If he put an emphatic stamp on the Long Islander, he could feasibly get the next crack at the UFC's 185-pound belt.
Turns out Weidman is where all speculation goes to get ground into the mat. Weidman took Munoz to the canvas early and tried a multitude of submissions while dominating the first round on top. In the second, he timed a perfect right counter elbow that downed Munoz and set up the finish. None of Munoz's "Donkey Kong" ground and pound, as he calls it, this time around -- Weidman looked like the new class of the contenders, never absorbing a single significant strike in a completely one-sided bout. He very politely called out Silva for the title shot, but it's wait and see with Hector Lombard fighting Tim Boetsch in Calgary at UFC 149.
Lombard is the intrigue among die-hards. Here's a guy on a 20-fight winning streak that has reigned in Bellator for a long time. Now, he faces the elite. Only thing is, we're not sure just how elite Boetsch really is. Should he knock out the "Barbarian," we might not be that much closer to having a full gauge of what the heavy-handed Cuban-American is capable of. But it might be enough from a marketing standpoint to insert him into a title tilt against Anderson Silva, who hasn't lost in ages either.
Finally, Luke Rockhold looks like he's ever bit the menace of the 185-pound weight class we suspected he might be. Tim Kennedy was game and gave him some trouble in spots, but Rockhold controlled the action and kept him at range for most of the fight. Rockhold retains the Strikeforce strap, and it looks like they'll dial up the long-awaited rematch with Ronaldo Souza next.