UFC on Fox 10 Results: Updating the Heavyweight Rankings
In a clash of surging heavyweights, eighth-ranked Stipe Miocic outworked 12th-ranked Gabriel Gonzaga en route to a lackluster unanimous-decision win in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 10 on Saturday.
Miocic absorbed some stinging shots from a sharp and aggressive Gonzaga in Round 1.
Gonzaga slowed considerably in Round 2, and the well-conditioned Miocic exploited the Brazilian's shortcoming by cranking up the pace.
Extremely gassed, Gonzaga narrowly escaped a TKO on the ground in Round 3 from a persistent Miocic.
Because of the grinding nature of the bout, neither Miocic nor Gonzaga will see his name spike in the heavyweight rankings.
But two fellow world-ranked heavyweights, Alistair Overeem (No. 9) and Frank Mir (No. 10), will get their opportunities to leapfrog contenders in the rankings when they lock horns at UFC 169 on Saturday.
Here are the latest official UFC heavyweight rankings heading into UFC 169.
15. Brendan Schaub
Sitting at the bottom of the heavyweight rankings, Brendan Schaub bounced back from the two most devastating losses of his career with back-to-back wins in 2013.
Following successive KO losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ben Rothwell, Schaub responded by earning a unanimous-decision win over Lavar Johnson at UFC 157.
Seven months later, he choked out fellow The Ultimate Fighter 10 cast member Matt Mitrione at UFC 165.
Schaub, who sports a 6-3 record in the UFC, has yet to receive word on his next opponent.
14. Stefan Struve
Stefan Struve hasn't graced the Octagon since being told that he had a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart following his ferocious KO loss to Mark Hunt at UFC on Fuel TV 8.
But the 25-year-old Struve recently announced on The MMA Hour that he's gained clearance to spar and that a return to the UFC may soon be in the cards.
Before falling to Hunt, he had scored four straight wins in the UFC, two by TKO and two by submission.
13. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
There's not much 37-year-old Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira hasn't done in the sport.
But although he remains the only fighter in history to have won both Pride FC and UFC heavyweight titles, the submission ace has lost two of his last three fights by brutal submission.
Two fights after getting his humerus broken by Frank Mir, Nogueira got armbarred by Fabricio Werdum. Werdum's submission caused ligament damage to Nogueira's left arm, which required more surgery.
Nogueira doesn't have a 10th bout slated in the UFC, although the Brazilian has yet to hint that he's ready to call it quits.
12. Gabriel Gonzaga
He's won five of seven fights and holds a record 12 finishes in the UFC, but following Saturday's loss to Stipe Miocic, it's difficult to argue that Gonzaga will ever challenge for the belt again.
He tends to handle heavyweights outside the Top 10 (Ben Rothwell, Dave Herman and Shawn Jordan) but falters against ranked foes (Junior dos Santos, Travis Browne and Brendan Schaub).
If he wants to crack the Top 10 and become a legitimate contender, he has to beat a world-ranked heavyweight.
11. Roy Nelson
Consecutive setbacks to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in 2013 knocked Roy Nelson out of the heavyweight title picture.
Prior to those losses, he had strung together the three most significant wins of his career with successive knockouts of Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo.
Although "Big Country" has a 2-5 record against Top 15 heavyweights in the UFC, expect the 37-year-old Las Vegas native to land another high-profile opponent in his next outing.
10. Frank Mir
Like his UFC 169 opponent Alistair Overeem, former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir will enter Saturday's fight starving for a win.
He has dropped his last three fights, two by KO, while Overeem has suffered back-to-back knockouts in his last two outings.
Not long ago, Mir and Overeem were riding winning streaks and considered elite heavyweights. But a combined five losses later, both men find themselves on the cusp of expulsion from the UFC.
9. Alistair Overeem
A once coveted free-agent pickup, Alistair Overeem had two opportunities to realize his potential and punch his ticket to a UFC heavyweight title fight—and squandered both.
Instead of finishing what he started, Overeem allowed Antonio Silva and Travis Browne to storm back and finish him with strikes in back-to-back contests.
Just like his opponent at UFC 169, Frank Mir, the 33-year-old Overeem should fight like a man who is desperate for a win on Saturday.
8. Stipe Miocic
Stipe Miocic notched his second win over a world-ranked heavyweight on Saturday when he outworked Gabriel Gonzaga for a unanimous-decision win in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 10.
Before his win over Gonzaga, Miocic upset Roy Nelson at UFC 161 to offset the lone loss of his career, which came against Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel TV 5.
Miocic needs to beat a few more world-ranked heavyweights to get the leverage he needs to ask for a title shot. Perhaps Josh Barnett, Mark Hunt or Antonio Silva could make a suitable future opponent for the 31-year-old Cleveland native.
7. Mark Hunt
He didn't walk away with a win in either fight, but fan favorite Mark Hunt gained momentum in his last two bouts: a TKO loss to Junior dos Santos and a draw with Antonio Silva.
Prior to his last two outings, "The Super Samoan" reeled off four straight wins, three of which were knockouts.
The 39-year-old Hunt finally broke into the Top 10 rankings following his fight with Silva, but he now must sit on the sidelines until the broken hand he suffered in the fight heals.
6. Antonio Silva
Even though it ended in a draw, Antonio Silva seemingly got back on track in his "Fight of the Night" performance against Mark Hunt in the main event of UFC Fight Night 33.
However, Silva, who underwent testosterone replacement therapy prior to his fight with Hunt, tested for elevated levels of testosterone and was suspended for nine months.
"Bigfoot" will be eligible to fight again in mid-September.
5. Josh Barnett
Plans to get a quick crack at the UFC heavyweight belt that he held in 2002 ended abruptly for Josh Barnett when he suffered a vicious KO at UFC 168.
He pushed Travis Browne against the fence and shot for a double-leg takedown, which Browne stuffed. Browne then unleashed a number of elbows on Barnett's temple, rendering "The Warmaster" temporarily unconscious just a minute into the opening round.
The 36-year-old Barnett wants another crack at a Top Five heavyweight in his next bout, but he'll probably have to settle for a foe in the Top 10.
4. Daniel Cormier
Unbeaten in 13 fights, two-time Olympic freestyle wrestler Daniel Cormier has beaten the necessary contenders to deserve a shot at the belt.
For Cormier, though, a drop to light heavyweight had always been an option in case that his heavyweight title shot would have to come against his friend and training partner, champ Cain Velasquez.
Cormier will make his light heavyweight debut at UFC 170 when he squares off with another friend and his co-worker from UFC Tonight, former light heavyweight kingpin Rashad Evans.
3. Travis Browne
Scoring a swift KO of former UFC heavyweight champ Josh Barnett will prove more than just a feather in the cap of Travis Browne.
His KO of Barnett marked the Jackson's MMA stalwart's third straight KO in 2013. "Hapa" first knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga at The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale before doing the same to Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night 26.
Browne will next face Fabricio Werdum in a heavyweight title eliminator bout at UFC on Fox 11 in March.
2. Fabricio Werdum
Fabricio Werdum has yet to taste defeat in his second stint with the UFC, and because of his impressive three-fight winning streak, the 36-year-old Brazilian has positioned himself for another shot at a world title.
He has outclassed Roy Nelson, Mike Russow and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in his last three fights and will face the streaking Travis Browne in a heavyweight title eliminator at UFC on Fox 11 in March.
The submission wizard last tasted defeat when he lost a unanimous decision to Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce heavyweight belt at Strikeforce: Werdum vs. Overeem.
1. Junior Dos Santos
Cain Velasquez not only won his rubber match with former champ Junior dos Santos in their title fight at UFC 166, the American Kickboxing Academy star also handed the Brazilian his first career TKO loss.
"Cigano," the man who had knocked out Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 to snatch the heavyweight belt, got battered before being slammed, punched and finished late in Round 5 at UFC 166.
He took time off following his second loss to Velasquez, but according to his trainer Luiz Dorea, the 29-year-old Brazilian got back to training this month, per MMA Fighting.
Dorea said he hopes to land a fight for Cigano in May or June.
Champ: Cain Velasquez
Despite the fact that he defended his heavyweight belt for the second time and did so in impressive fashion, Cain Velasquez didn't leave his rubber match with Junior dos Santos at UFC 166 unscathed.
Less than two months after handing "Cigano" his first TKO setback, Velasquez underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
If the 31-year-old Velasquez recovers on time, fans can expect to see him attempt his third title defense in late 2014.