Warning! Personal Opinion Advisory!
Although the official New Year's End show has been dubbed UFC 108, the Las Vegas promotion finished out 2009 on a high note. Both December events were filled with exciting match ups that will play a role in upcoming championship talks.
The cursed month of January swiftly approaches, and if the injury plague is starting to die out, we should be in for a number of fights that have title implications involved.
That's the best the UFC can offer, as the next championship defense doesn't happen until UFC 111, where Georges St. Pierre looks to protect his crown.
Until then, the contenders will just have to keep putting in that hard work at the gym.
While there have been some slight changes to the lightweight order, one thing remains the same: B.J. Penn is the king at 155.
Penn dismantled the hype train of Diego Sanchez at the tracks, stuffing every takedown attempt. Before a clinch even happened, Penn was out-striking Sanchez while he continued to pressure him, something that the "Nightmare" wasn't used to.
Lightweight contenders, Frankie Edgar and Kenny Florian both threw their names into the hat of "Who's next for Penn." It appears that the UFC will wait until Gray Maynard's fight with Nate Diaz to determine who will be the next contender.
Noteworthy- Clay Guida (25-11), Kurt Pellegrino (14-4), and Terry Etim (14-2)
10-Jim Miller (15-2)
9-Nate Diaz (11-4)
8-Joe Stevenson (31-10)
7-Tyson Griffin (14-2)
6-Sean Sherk (33-4-1)
5-Diego Sanchez (21-3)
4-Gray Maynard (9-0-0-1 NC)
3-Kenny Florian (12-4)
2-Frankie Edgar (11-1)
1-B.J. Penn (15-5-1)
With the December events fading away in the gusts of the swirling winter winds, there will be no changes in the 170-pound pecking order, despite the fact that UFC 107 featured a bout with top contender, Jon Fitch.
The only way the lineup could of changed was with a Fitch loss, which was unlikely against Mike Pierce. Fitch did have some weaknesses in his attack, but ultimately showed us all why he is the consensus number two welterweight in the world.
Unfortunately, the month of January only offers a select few fights that will disrupt the current ranks.
Noteworthy- Paul Daley (22-8-2) & Ben Saunders (8-1-2)
10-Martin Kampmann (15-3)
9-Carlos Condit (24-5)
8-Mike Swick (14-3)
7-Paulo Thiago (12-1)
6-Matt Hughes (43-7)
5-Josh Koscheck (14-4)
4-Dan Hardy (23-6)
3- Thiago Alves (16-6)
2-Jon Fitch (21-3)
1-Georges St. Pierre (19-2)
Only slight changes in the dystopian landscape of the middleweight division this time around. December only featured one contender, but the biggest news was the departure of middleweight challenger, Dan Henderson.
With one of the biggest threats to Anderson Silva's crown out of the picture, the glum feeling returned to those who are desperately seeking a new king to worship.
You should welcome the feeble change though, as the rest of the 185-pound contenders are patiently plotting their schemes to solve the perplexing riddle of Anderson Silva.
Noteworthy- Rousimar Palhares (10-2)
10-Yushin Okami (23-5)
9-Patrick Cote (13-5)
8-Alan Belcher (15-6)
7-Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1)
6-Michael Bisping (18-2)
5-Chael Sonnen (24-10-1)
4-Demian Maia (10-1)
3-Vitor Belfort (19-8)
2-Nate Marquardt (29-8-2)
1-Anderson Silva (25-4)
Dan Henderson's recent move slightly affects the light-heavyweight standings as well. Although he wasn't in the title picture, one or two wins could have put him there, but his own personal journey clears the path for other hungry competitors.
Jon Jones dominating performance over Matt Hammill moves him up a spot, despite the fact that the fight is an official loss due to illegal strikes.
Contenders continue to drop out of the 205 title hunt, and another one will bite, and then bitterly swallow the dust on Jan. 2, as Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva square off.
However, not all contenders are lost, as Quinton Jackson announced that he will complete his UFC contract.
Noteworthy: Vladimir Matyushenko (23-4) & Luiz Cane (10-2-0-1)
10-Randy Couture (17-10)
9-Quinton Jackson (30-7)
8-Jon Jones (9-1)
7-Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (18-3)
6-Forrest Griffin (17-6)
5-Anderson Silva (25-4)
4-Thiago Silva (14-1)
3-Rashad Evans (18-1-1)
2-Mauricio Rua (18-4)
1-Lyoto Machida (16-0)
Memphis was lucky enough to witness two heavyweight fights that generated some dazzling fireworks.
The first of which was between Stefan Struve and Paul Buentello. Both put all technique aside, as they were content to trade blow for blow. In the end, Struve came out victorious, leaving both fighters as noteworthy on the board.
The second fight show-cased Frank Mir's return to championship form as he blasted Cheick Kongo with his under-estimated boxing. Eventually, Mir finished off the fight with a neck-wrenching guillotine choke.
This fight placed Mir in the front-running for a possible interim championship bout against Shane Carwin, as the champion, Brock Lesnar's return is still up in the air.
Noteworthy: Cheick Kongo (14-6-1), Stefan Struve (19-3), & Paul Buentello
10-Ben Rothwell (30-7)
9-Mirko Filipovic (26-7-2)
8-Randy Couture (17-10)
7-Gabriel Gonzaga (11-4)
6-Cain Velasquez (7-0)
5-Junior dos Santos (9-1)
4-Shane Carwin (11-0)
3-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1)
2-Frank Mir (13-4)
1-Brock Lesnar (4-1)