The LHW Division: Who's Next in Line?

Pete DudekCorrespondent INovember 16, 2007

IconThe current Light Heavyweight talent pool in the UFC is enormous.  With the signing of Wanderlei Silva and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, the pool just gets bigger. 

With all this new talent and results of the months previous, how will UFC Matchmaker Joe Silva determine who gets the next shot at Quinton "Rampage" Jackson?  Let's break it down in terms of wins and losses for the some of the top contenders' past couple of fights:

Forrest Griffin (15-4): Loses to Keith Jardine, defeats Hector Ramirez & Mauricio Rua

Keith Jardine (13-3-1): Defeats Forrest Griffin, loses to Houston Alexander, defeats Chuck Liddel

Houston Alexander (8-1-0-1NC): Defeats Keith Jardine & Alessio Sakara

Ryoto “Lyoto” Machida (11-0): Win over Kazuhiro Nakamura & David Heath

Chuck Liddell (20-5): Back-to-Back losses from Quinton Jackson & Keith Jardine

Wanderlei Silva (31-7-1): Back-to-Back losses from Mirko Cro Cop & Dan Henderson

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (4-1): Back-to-Back wins off of Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Tito Ortiz (15-5-1): Loss from Chuck Liddell and draw against Rashad Evans

Michael Bisping (14-0): Win over Elvis Sinosic and Matt Hamill

Rashad Evans (10-0-1): Defeats Sean Salmon and Draw against Tito Ortiz

Stephan Bonnar (13-4): Back-to-Back wins over Mike Nickels and Eric Schafer


Here are some upcoming LHW bouts:

Houston Alexander v. Thiago Silva

Chuck Liddell v.Wanderlei Silva

Ryoto Machida v. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

Rashad Evans v. Michael Bisping 


Breaking it Down

Both Liddell and Wanderlei Silva are coming off of back-to-back losses. The winner of this fight will most likely not get a title shot, but make their way back up the ladder.

Evans and Bisping both have perfect records, but their last two performances have not showcased enough ability to warrent a title shot. With Bisping winning a controversial split decision and Evans last bout ending in a draw, neither fighter will have earned a title shot pending the outcome of their bout.

Bonnar is two wins off of his suspension and needs a few more to be considered for a title shot.

Griffin's submission victory over Rua opened a lot of people's eyes.  His loss to Jardine hurt his chances for contention and he'll need another impressive win or two to be given a shot.

Sokoudjou has his first bout in the UFC against Ryoto Machida and will need more than an impressive win to get a title shot.

Tito Ortiz came back after seven months off to take a draw to Rashad Evans.

The two most likely to recieve a title shot: Ryoto Machida and Houston Alexander.

Machida is 11-0 and quickly moving up the LHW ladder in the UFC.  However, he has only had one main card fight and the casual MMA fan may not know too much about him.

Alexander has been on fire his past two bouts, both ending in first round knockouts. However, he may need a few more fights under his belt before going for the Jackson's.

My prediction: If Alexander wins his fight against Thiago Silva, he will get the title shot.  If he loses, the winner of Machida vs. Sokoudjou will recieve the title shot. In the case where both Alexander and Machida lose their bouts, Griffin or Jardine will receive the shot at the belt.