The LHW Division: The Year in Review Part 1 of 2

Pete DudekCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2007


Icon2007 has been the most electrifying year to date for the Light Heavyweight Division.  The highly coveted championship belt has changed hands for the first time in two years; Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's stunning first round knockout of Chuck Liddell saw to that. 

This did not occur until May of this year.  Events before and after Liddell's loss have affected the division for the year to come.

The year's first event featured a bout between Rashad Evans and Sean Salmon that ended early in the second round, with a knockout fitting for a highlight reel.  Since then, all Evans has done is draw against Tito Ortiz and defeat Michael Bisping in a split decision.  He is working his way up the Light Heavyweight ladder, but will not receive his title shot any time soon.

Michael Bisping was undefeated until his split decision loss to Rashad Evans, at which point Bisping had announced his decision to change weight classes to Middleweight.

The biggest impact on the division has been the abundance of upsets.  The first one came at the hands of Kieth Jardine's first round knockout over Forrest Griffin, giving him his first loss inside the octagon.  The next upset was Jardine's loss to UFC newcomer Houston Alexander.  Houston latter took out Alessio Sakara in less than two minutes, only to be dismantled by Thiago Silva in the first.  

However none of these upsets compare to the evening of September 22nd.  This was the night in which Keith Jardine rebounded off his loss by defeating former champion Chuck Liddell via split decision, and Forrest Griffin took down Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, thought by many to be the top Light Heavyweight in the world, in the third round.

One of the biggest impacts of that night is Chuck Liddell's next opponent: Wanderlei Silva.  This fight has been years in the making. With both fighters sporting back-to-back losses, both Liddell and Silva need a win. 

The biggest outcome of that night has to do with Griffin.  The bout with Shogun solidified his position as one of the top ten in the world and earned him a coaching position on the upcoming season of "The Ultimate Fighter," as well as giving him a title shot against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

MMA-The_LHW_Division_The_Year_in_Review_Part_2_of_2">Read more about the LHW Division in Part Two of Pete's Analysis