Jorge Santiago vs. Top 10 UFC Middleweights

Liam WardContributor IFebruary 14, 2011

Jorge Santiago vs. Top 10 UFC Middleweights

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    I'm sure that most of you are aware that former Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago, has left the Japanese promotion in search of a wider audience. There have been recent talks about Santiago signing with the UFC, and while nothing is set in stone right now, I think that Santiago would be a great addition to their 185 lb roster.

    I think that Santiago is quite overlooked right now, although I do think that he is one of most well-rounded fighters in the middleweight division. He's got great Muay Thai and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

    In my opinion, the UFC 185 lb division is it's shallowest in terms of talent; therefore having a top ranked middleweight such as Santiago would only help to make the division more exciting and marketable.

    Without further ado, I present you with Jorge Santiago vs. the UFC's top 10 middleweights.

Alan Belcher

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    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    This is a very interesting fight for Jorge Santiago. He was actually knocked out a long time ago in the UFC by Alan Belcher. However, since then, he has improved greatly.

    In my opinion, it could be a very exciting fight. Belcher has good Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu skills ,but I think that Jorge has superior striking and a superior ground game.

    Overall, I think that Santiago has the skills and experience to win the rematch against Belcher.

    Winner: Santiago

Brian Stann

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    There have been rumors concerning a fight between Santiago and Stann, if the UFC eventually sign Santiago.

    In my opinion, this would be a great match-up, not only because of their ability to put on exciting fights, but also because Wanderlei Silva (Brian Stann's potential opponent) has recently stated that he does not want to fight Stann.

    So far, Brian Stann has shown to be a very good striker, most recently knocking out the iron-jawed slugger Chris "The Crippler" Leben. Santiago's chin has shown to be a little suspect, so I think Stann could definitely give him problems on the feet.

    However, I think that Stann's Achilles' heel lies in his ground game. Don't get me wrong, Greg Jackson has definitely helped to improve Stann's submission game (he recently submitted Mike Massenzio with a triangle choke), but if Jorge took him there, I'm sure that he could pull off the victory.

    Winner: Santiago

Michael Bisping

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    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Michael Bisping looks to be steadily climbing up the 185 lb ladder, with solid wins over Dan Miller and Yoshihiro Akiyama in recent times. If he beats Jorge Rivera in his next fight, then there is a chance for a potential match against Santiago.

    Although Michael Bisping is a very good striker, he has shown that he is susceptible to opponents who can throw with power. This is why I see Jorge Santiago as a bad match-up for Bisping.

    In many of his fights, Santiago has shown clear KO power in the stand-up department. Moreover, if Bisping tried to take this to ground, Santiago has very good Jiu-Jitsu, so I can't see Bisping winning it there either.

    Winner: Santiago

Wanderlei Silva

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Wanderlei Silva looks to be on the downside of his legendary MMA career. He also seems to be more susceptible to being KO'd, which is probably the reason why he is in such popular demand by other fighters (such as Brian Stann, Chris Leben, Nate Marquardt and Alan Belcher).

    Jorge Santiago has shown to be one of the best finishers at 185 lbs, with only two of 23 wins going the distance.

    Overall, this doesn't look like a great Match-up for "The Axe Murderer."

    Winner: Santiago

Vitor Belfort

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    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Although coming off of a swift knockout loss to "The Spider," Vitor Belfort is still one of the top middleweights in the world. His punches come with unprecedented speed and precision, and if he's got his opponent in trouble, his killer instinct is second to none.

    Jorge Santiago hasn't shown a great chin in his career, he was almost knocked out against Kazuo Misaki, and he was TKO'd by Mamed Khalidov in 2009.

    Santiago's best bet would be to try and take this fight to the ground, although Belfort's ground game is pretty top notch in it's own right; Belfort received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Carlson Gracie.

    In my opinion this is a bad fight for Santiago.

    Winner: Belfort

Demian Maia

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    Demian Maia is one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in MMA, and if there's anyone who can impose a grappling clinic on his opponents, it's him.

    If Santiago wants to win this fight, he must keep it standing and look for the finish.

    However, Maia has been very successful at getting his opponent onto the ground (watch his fight against Sonnen, and you'll see Maia literally throw him to the ground), and the chances are that he'd be able to take this one to the ground, too.

    Winner: Maia

Nate Marquardt

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    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Despite losing to Yushin Okami, I still believe that Nate Marquardt is one of the top 5 middleweights in the world. He has very good striking, but I think that his strong suit lies in excellent grappling abilities. Furthermore, Marquardt also boasts a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

    In my opinion, Marquardt's power poses a problem to Santiago's chin. I don't think Santiago is capable of knocking Nate out either; Marquardt's only knockout loss was to Anderson Silva in 2007.

    I think that Nate could take this fight on the ground or standing up.

    Winner: Marquardt

Yushin Okami

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    Okami poses a problem to most 185 lb fighters, due to the fact that he is a very big middleweight and that he is a very well-versed grappler with great control from the top position.

    Santiago holds an advantage in the striking, although Okami could probably take him down and keep him on the bottom. I don't think that Santiago has a great chance of submitting Okami from the bottom, either; Okami is yet to be submitted in his MMA career.

    Overall, I see Okami neutralizing Santiago by taking him to the ground and keeping him there.

    Winner: Okami

Chael Sonnen

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    Chael Sonnen has proved time and time again that he is one of the best wrestlers in MMA. If he can get you on your back, chances are that you're in for a long night.

    However, Sonnen has proved to be susceptible to submissions, particularly when he is fighting an opponent with good submission skills off of his back.

    Santiago's ground game is very good, and he has shown to be more than competent off his back; he submitted Jeremy Horn with a triangle choke back in 2007.

    I'd actually pick Santiago to pull off the upset in this fight by submitting Chael Sonnen.

    Winner: Santiago

Anderson Silva

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    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Anderson Silva is, in my opinion, the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. He is the most well-rounded fighter in all of MMA, and he can pull off a victory from just about anywhere.

    Jorge Santiago is a very dangerous fighter and entertaining to watch, but he is just nowhere near the level of Anderson Silva.

    Winner: Silva