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L.A. Times February MMA Rankings

February 16, 2012 |  8:14 am


1. Junior Dos Santos

2. Alistair Overeem

3. Cain Velasquez

4. Fabricio Werdum

5. Daniel Cormier

6. Frank Mir

7. Josh Barnett

8. Antonio Silva

9. Fedor Emelianenko

10. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

In the month’s most meaningful heavyweight bout, Fabricio Werdum showcased excellent striking to defeat a game Roy Nelson in the semi-main event of UFC 143. It puts him in the mix for the next title shot against the winner of the Junior Dos Santos-Alistair Overeem UFC heavyweight title match at UFC 146 in May.

Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones

2. Rashad Evans

3. Dan Henderson

4. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

5. Lyoto Machida

6. Quinton Jackson

7. Gegard Mousasi

8. Thiago Silva

9. Forrest Griffin

10. Rich Franklin

Rashad Evans took care of business, scoring a solid but unspectacular win over the formerly undefeated Phil Davis at UFC on Fox 2. That means Evans will get his long awaited title shot at former friend Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 145 in Atlanta. The fight should be one of the most ordered pay-per-view events of the year.


1. Anderson Silva

2. Chael Sonnen

3. Yushin Okami

4. Mark Munoz

5. Vitor Belfort

6. Michael Bisping

7. Nate Marquardt

8. Hector Lombard

9. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

10. Rousimar Palhares

It was an eventful month in the middleweight division, with plenty of noteworthy performances both good and bad. Chael Sonnen won a close decision over Michael Bisping to earn another title shot at longtime UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva. While Sonnen got the decision, he looked flat and didn’t convince many of the threat he presents to Silva. Bisping by contrast looked generally sharp and improved his stock even in defeat. Vitor Belfort scored a satisfying submission win over Anthony Johnson. Johnson finds himself out of the UFC after unprofessionally missing weight for a third time, this time by a whopping 12 pounds. Demian Maia falls out of the top 10 after a lackluster decision loss to Chris Weidman. Taking his place is another submission ace, Rousimar Palhares. Palhares submitted Mike Massenzio in just over a minute in Brazil.


1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Carlos Condit

3. Jake Ellenberger

4. Johny Hendricks

5. Nick Diaz

6. Jon Fitch

7. Jake Shields

8. Josh Koscheck

9. B.J. Penn

10. Martin Kampmann

Nick Diaz appeared on the cusp of superstardom, but a disappointing decision loss to Carlos Condit and drug test failure for marijuana took him back down to Earth. There was criticism of Condit’s strategy against Diaz, but Condit fought a smart fight and deserved the win. While Nick Diaz is out of the immediate title picture, the welterweight division remains strong. Jake Ellenberger won his sixth straight fight against Diego Sanchez and is close to a title fight. Johny Hendricks has also maneuvered himself into that picture and will fight fellow contender Josh Koscheck at UFC on Fox 3.


1. Frank Edgar

2. Gilbert Melendez

3. Ben Henderson

4. Gray Maynard

5. Jim Miller

6. Clay Guida

7. Shinya Aoki

8. Anthony Pettis

9. Nate Diaz

10. Eddie Alvarez

Headlining UFC 144 in Japan next weekend is a UFC lightweight title fight between Frank Edgar and Ben Henderson. The pace should be frenetic and oddsmakers have the bout close to even. Jim Miller defeated Melvin Guillard via rear naked choke to put himself back in the title picture. He will fight Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC on Fox 3, with the winner likely next in line for a title fight. As for Guillard, the loss to Miller was another disappointing blow for a fighter with a world of talent but a huge vulnerability in the submission game.


1. Jose Aldo

2. Dustin Poirier

3. Hatsu Hioki

4. Tatsuya Kawajiri

5. Chad Mendes

6. Diego Nunes

7. Erik Koch

8. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

9. Joe Warren

10. Pat Curran

Jose Aldo continued his reign as 145 kingpin with a stoppage win over Chad Mendes in the first round. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a lot of competition out there in one of the weakest divisions in the sport. Dustin Poirier scored another impressive win over Max Holloway and is a top contender, as is Japanese star Hatsu Hioki who struggled in his UFC debut.


1. Dominick Cruz

2. Joseph Benavidez

3. Urijah Faber

4. Demetrious Johnson

5. Miguel Torres

6. Renan Barao

7. Brian Bowles

8. Bibiano Fernandes

9. Michael McDonald

10. Scott Jorgensen

It doesn’t appear it will be much longer before Renan Barao is challenging for the UFC bantamweight title. Barao handily defeated Scott Jorgensen and continues his move up the ranks. Another top prospect Michael McDonald will have the stiffest challenge of his career when he faces former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres at UFC 145.

--Todd Martin

Photo: Junior Dos Santos, right, is the No. 1 heavyweight in the world. Cain Velasquez, left, is No. 3. Credit: Jason Redmond / Associated Press.