MMA Power Rankings -- WELTERWEIGHT

Updated: March 5, 2012, 11:15 AM ET
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Monday, March 5
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The headlining fight between Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann that went on in Australia had a winner treads water/loser sinks into the abyss type of feel to it. Neither could afford to lose this fight in the scheme of title contention. Yet one had to lose, and it ended up being the more dominant fighter Alves, who made a huge blunder late in the third round that cost him the decision. Having Kampmann hurt, Alves went for a takedown and ended up giving his neck. He got choked out, in a situation where choking couldn't hurt more.

In the shifting sands welterweight division, Kampmann makes his move back up, while Alves -- now having lost four of six fights -- ships out. Meanwhile the action above is either fast and furious, or slow and patient, depending on the coupling. Consensus No. 1 welterweight Georges St. Pierre is sidelined as he recovers from ACL surgery, and interim titleholder Carlos Condit is in wait-and-see mode on that matchup. Nick Diaz is temporarily suspended for a second marijuana violation and awaiting his official hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, while Jake Ellenberger is lobbying for Condit. And so now is Kampmann, who was the last man to beat Condit back in 2009. In a short time, Condit has become a bull's-eye for a lot of mean marksmen.

The one fight we know for sure is happening is Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks, which goes down in May. This, too, is loosely being tabbed a title eliminator. There are a lot of contenders right now at 170 pounds, and until GSP comes back or Condit opens his schedule up, they'll be turned on each other to sort it out. Drama. It's what the welterweights are all about.