MMA Stock Report for April: Who Rose, Who Fell, Who Stayed the Same

Sean SmithAnalyst IApril 29, 2013

MMA Stock Report for April: Who Rose, Who Fell, Who Stayed the Same

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    The UFC had its busiest month ever in April, but the world's top MMA organization wasn't the only promotion to put on big fights over the past month.

    Bellator MMA also concluded its first season on Spike TV with a featherweight championship fight and two tournament finals. Additionally, Invicta FC featured multiple title fights on a single fight card for the first time in its short existence.

    Some fighters rose to the occasion, while others disappointed. This is the April 2013 stock report for the MMA fighters who competed in the past month's most important bouts.

Pat Curran

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    Pat Curran is quickly becoming one of the faces of the Bellator MMA promotion.

    Coming off of a split decision in his previous title defense against Patricio Freire, Curran needed to make a statement against Shahbulat Shamhalaev. Make a statement Curran did, as he caught Shamhalaev in a guillotine choke midway through the opening round.

    With two featherweight title defenses already under his belt, Curran will put his championship on the line for a third time against either Daniel Straus or Frodo Khasbulaev.

    Stock Report: Rising

Shahbulat Shamhalaev

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    Undefeated in 11 straight contests, Shahbulat Shamhalaev was expected to provide a difficult test for Bellator MMA featherweight champion Pat Curran.

    However, Shamhalaev was quickly trapped in a guillotine choke and suffered his first loss since being beaten by UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov under the M-1 banner in November 2009.

    It's now back to the drawing board for Shamhalaev, who will have to work his way through another Bellator MMA tournament in order to earn another title shot.

    Stock Report: Falling

Frodo Khasbulaev

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    After knocking out Marlon Sandro in the semifinals of a Bellator MMA featherweight tournament, Frodo Khasbulaev appeared to be a serious threat to champion Pat Curran.

    However, Khasbulaev did not appear nearly as threatening even in victory over Mike Richman in the tournament finals. Khasbulaev took Richman to a decision, while unsuccessful title challenger Shahbulat Shamhalaev had knocked Richman out in the first round prior to his shot at Curran.

    At 26 years old, Khasbulaev is still improving and could look much different by the time he gets his fight with Curran, but his most recent outing was not indicative of a contender capable of dethroning the current 145-pound champion.

    Stock Report: Falling

Mike Richman

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    Mike Richman came up short of winning a Bellator MMA tournament for the second time in April.

    In Season 7, Richman was knocked out by eventual tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev. With Shamhalaev out of the Season 8 tournament, Richman had a chance to sneak through a bracket that appeared to have a slightly weaker field.

    Instead, Richman was defeated in the finals by Frodo Khasbulaev. With the loss, it appears Richman will continue heading into Bellator MMA tournaments as an underdog.

    Stock Report: Holding steady

Doug Marshall

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    Doug Marshall is hardly the most technical fighter in the middleweight division, but his power makes him a threat to stop any opponent at any time.

    In the Bellator MMA middleweight tournament finals, Marshall stopped Brett Cooper in the first round, something not even middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko could do.

    As wild as he is, that knockout power why Marshall has a legitimate shot of dethroning the Russian titleholder when he takes him on in the near future.

    Stock Report: Rising

Brett Cooper

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    Brett Cooper won eight out of nine fights heading into the finals of a Bellator MMA middleweight tournament, and his only loss during that time came against middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko.

    Taking on a wild puncher like Doug Marshall, Cooper had a great chance to use his wrestling and earn a rematch with Shlemenko for the title.

    Instead, Cooper was knocked out in the first round and will have to enter another Bellator MMA tournament in order to earn his first shot at a championship in the organization.

    Stock Report: Falling

Michelle Waterson

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    After a narrow win over Lacey Schuckman in her Invicta FC debut, Michelle Waterson was offered a title shot against atomweight champion Jessica Penne.

    Penne was coming off of a win over accomplished Jewels champion Naho Sugiyama, so she was expected to hang onto her belt against Waterson.

    However, in one of the best performances of her career, Waterson submitted Penne in the fourth round to claim the Invicta FC atomweight title.

    Stock Report: Rising

Jessica Penne

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    Jessica Penne's stay as Invicta FC atomweight champion was short.

    After beating Naho Sugiyama to become the promotion's first-ever titleholder, Penne was dethroned by Michelle Waterson in April.

    Penne and Waterson traded round for round in a close fight until Penne was ultimately caught in an armbar and forced to tap.

    Stock Report: Falling

Barb Honchak

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    Barb Honchak met Vanessa Porto in the first-ever Invicta FC flyweight title fight.

    In what was her third Invicta FC appearance, Honchak defeated Porto by decision to claim the inaugural 125-pound championship.

    With wins in seven straight bouts, Honchak may even garner some attention from the UFC brass if she's willing to move up in weight and compete in their 135-pound division.

    Stock Report: Rising

Vanessa Porto

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    With a decision win over Tara LaRosa, Vanessa Porto was given a chance to compete in the first-ever Invicta FC flyweight title fight.

    Porto came up short on the scorecards against Barb Honchak in that championship bout, but it was to be expected. Against a common opponent in Roxanne Modafferi, Porto was knocked out, while Honchak picked up a submission win.

    Having a win over UFC signee Germaine de Randamie, Porto's future is still bright. If the UFC expands into other women's divisions, she may even find a home inside the Octagon at some point. 

    Stock Report: Holding Steady

Gegard Mousasi

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    Following the closure of Strikeforce, Gegard Mousasi was expected to make an impact on the UFC light heavyweight division right away.

    A scheduled bout with Alexander Gustafsson would have given Mousasi a chance to make that impact, but the Swedish contender was injured and forced out of the matchup. Instead, Mousasi met the relatively unknown teammate of Gustafsson, Ilir Latifi.

    Knowing a devastating knockout wouldn't have impressed many, Mousasi played it safe against his out-matched opponent and jabbed his way to victory.

    Stock Report: Holding steady

Ilir Latifi

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    Not much was expected from Ilir Latifi in his UFC debut. Taking a fight with Gegard Mousasi on very short notice isn't easy for anyone, let alone a fighter with little or no experience against high-level opponents.

    While he didn't do much offensively, Latifi took his lumps and earned a spot on the UFC roster by acting as a punching bag for Mousasi.

    If anything, Latifi is in a better spot now than he was before his bout with Mousasi.

    Stock Report: Holding steady

Urijah Faber

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    Urijah Faber refuses to fall out of title contention.

    With a win over Scott Jorgensen in April, Faber once again solidified himself as one of the top contenders in the bantamweight division despite having lost to champions Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao.

    It may take another win or two for him to get a rematch, but rest assured that Faber hasn't seen his last opportunity to claim UFC gold.

    Stock Report: Holding steady

Scott Jorgensen

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    It wasn't a shock that Scott Jorgensen lost to Urijah Faber earlier this month, but the defeat does put the 30-year-old bantamweight in a bad spot.

    Jorgensen has now lost three of his past four fights and hasn't picked up a win over a 135-pound contender in quite some time.

    A step down in competition is in order for Jorgensen, and he better win his next fight or he'll be at risk of being released from the UFC roster.

    Stock Report: Falling

Kelvin Gastelum

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    Kelvin Gastelum met one of the most hyped fighters in TUF history in his UFC debut.

    Though he was an underdog throughout the TUF 17 season, Gastelum completed his unlikely run by beating Uriah Hall to win a guaranteed UFC contract.

    Now moving to 170 pounds and an even more advantageous weight division, the 21-year-old Gastelum could be one of the most promising young fighters on the UFC roster. 

    Stock Report: Rising

Uriah Hall

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    Uriah Hall winning TUF 17 was seen as an inevitability almost immediately after his spinning heel kick to the head of Adam Cella was aired on television.

    The flashy striker did continue on to the competition's finals, but he fought on his heels against Kelvin Gastelum and missed out on a guaranteed UFC contract.

    While Hall will obviously get more chances to fight inside the Octagon, his ceiling suddenly looks much lower than it once did.

    Stock Report: Falling

Gilbert Melendez

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    Gilbert Melendez was already considered one of the best lightweights in the world heading into his UFC debut.

    Even though he lost to Benson Henderson in his first Octagon appearance, that has not changed.

    In taking Henderson to such a close decision, Melendez proved he's an elite 155-pound fighter and should find himself in another title fight soon. 

    Stock Report: Holding steady

Benson Henderson

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    Benson Henderson may not be dominating all challengers as lightweight champion, but he continues to win and is about to start breaking UFC lightweight records.

    With his win over Gilbert Melendez, Henderson tied B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar for the most consecutive lightweight title defenses inside the Octagon.

    Whether the majority was in agreement with some of Henderson's decision wins or not, he continues to cement himself into the UFC history books.

    Stock Report: Rising

Chael Sonnen

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    Chael Sonnen did what most expected him to do at UFC 159.

    The outspoken title challenger collected a paycheck after charging forward with aggression and then having no answer for the skill gap he faced against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. 

    Sonnen's next move is unclear, but he'll probably continue using his gift of gab to generate income, whether it be in fighting or as a commentator.

    Stock Report: Holding steady

Jon Jones

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    A win over Chael Sonnen didn't do much for an already great Jon Jones. Neither did his previous victory over another middleweight contender in Vitor Belfort.

    It's a shame to see such a great fighter having to take such meaningless bouts, but that should hopefully come to an end now that Sonnen is in Jones' rear-view mirror.

    Up next could be a title defense against either Lyoto Machida or Alexander Gustafsson.

    Stock Report: Holding Steady