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L.A. Times January MMA Rankings

January 8, 2011 |  1:13 am

Heavyweight

1. Cain Velasquez

2. Junior Dos Santos

3. Fabricio Werdum

4. Fedor Emelianenko

5. Brock Lesnar

6. Alistair Overeem

7. Shane Carwin

8. Frank Mir

9. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

10. Antonio Silva

A serious shoulder injury suffered by Cain Velasquez in his fight with Brock Lesnar will keep him out for a significant portion of 2011. It is disappointing news considering the momentum Velasquez had coming out of the win over Lesnar. Alistair Overeem followed his K1 Grand Prix victory with a rapid obliteration of Todd Duffee. Duffee looked visibly nervous to fight the feared Dutch striker.

Light Heavyweight

1. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

2. Rashad Evans

3. Lyoto Machida

4. Quinton Jackson

5. Forrest Griffin

6. Jon Jones

7. Gegard Mousasi

8. Thiago Silva

9. Ryan Bader

10. Dan Henderson

Gegard Mousasi impressed by winning a kickboxing bout over professional kickboxer Kyotaro on New Year's Eve in Japan. In the most significant light heavyweight MMA bout of the past month Thiago Silva won a dominant decision victory over Brandon Vera.

Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva

2. Chael Sonnen

3. Yushin Okami

4. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza

5. Nate Marquardt

6. Demian Maia

7. Vitor Belfort

8. Michael Bisping

9. Hector Lombard

10. Robbie Lawler

Chael Sonnen's 2010 downward spiral continued into 2011. Sonnen pleaded guilty to money laundering in Oregon and was suspended by the UFC. It was yet another blow to Sonnen's now badly sullied reputation. Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva's middleweight title bout February 5 will be an interesting test of Silva's ability to deal with quick, precise boxing.

Welterweight

1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Jon Fitch

3. Jake Shields

4. Nick Diaz

5. Thiago Alves

6. Josh Koscheck

7. B.J. Penn

8. Martin Kampmann

9. Carlos Condit

10. Paul Daley

Georges St. Pierre made it look easy in a lopsided decision win over Josh Koscheck. Koscheck was able to keep the fight standing, but it proved to be a not particularly advantageous position for him. Jake Shields is next up for GSP and the Canadian will be the big favorite again in Toronto. Thiago Alves scored an impressive win over John Howard in Montreal. Alves' only losses since 2005 have come against the division's top two fighters.

Lightweight

1. Frank Edgar

2. Gray Maynard

3. Gilbert Melendez

4. Eddie Alvarez

5. Kenny Florian

6. Tatsuya Kawajiri

7. George Sotiropoulos

8. Evan Dunham

9. Jim Miller

10. Shinya Aoki

Gray Maynard moves into the number two position following a draw with UFC lightweight champion Frank Edgar. Maynard will immediately rematch Edgar to settle the 155 pound division's top fighter. Tatsuya Kawajiri moves up by controlling the tough veteran Josh Thomson. Shinya Aoki moves in the other direction after an embarrassing knockout loss in an MMA rules round to a kickboxer best known for crossdressing. Jim Miller enters the top 10 with his sixth consecutive UFC win. On the cusp of the top 10 is Anthony Pettis, who defeated Ben Henderson with the most spectacular kick in the history of MMA.

Featherweight

1. Jose Aldo

2. Diego Nunes

3. Michihiro Omigawa

4. Hatsu Hioki

5. Chad Mendes

6. Dustin Poirier

7. Bibiano Fernandes

8. Joe Warren

9. Marlon Sandro

10. Mike Brown

Following a chaotic month where four of the top six featherweight fighters lost, the 145 pound top 10 needed to be completely reworked. The division was already difficult to rank because there is a tricky mix of relatively untested fighters with gaudy records and well tested fighers with so-so records. Jose Aldo is clearly the king of the division with Diego Nunes, Michihiro Omigawa, Chad Mendes, Dustin Poirier and Mark Hominick angling for a title shot.

Bantamweight

1. Dominick Cruz

2. Urijah Faber

3. Joseph Benavidez

4. Brian Bowles

5. Miguel Torres

6. Scott Jorgensen

7. Takeya Mizugaki

8. Wagnney Fabiano

9. Masakatsu Ueda

10. Eddie Wineland

Scott Jorgensen hung in against Dominick Cruz but was able to mount little offense against the now UFC bantamweight champion. Cruz's speed-oriented style will present a unique challenge for all future challengers. Eddie Wineland won knockout of the night at the WEC's final show with a slam of Ken Stone.

--Todd Martin

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