UFC 131 Results: Ranking the Top 10 Heavyweights in the UFC
Saturday's UFC 131 was a big event for the heavyweight division, as the main event between Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin produced a new No.1 contender to meet UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.
Meanwhile, the UFC added two more exciting heavyweights to the mix in the Fight of the Night between Dave Herman and Jon Olav Einemo. Herman was able to finish Einemo, but not before Einemo delivered some punishment.
Let's takes a look at where dos Santos and Carwin now stand in the UFC's heavyweight ladder.
10. Cheick Kongo
MMA Record: 15-6-2
Winless in three of his last four fights, Cheick Kongo's spot on this list shows hows much the UFC could benefit from a merge with the Strikeforce heavyweight division.
Kongo should probably be on a two fight winning streak, though, if he would have resisted grabbing on to the shorts of Travis Browne in his last fight.
Kongo's next opponent will be Pat Barry, who he will meet at UFC Live on Versus 4 in two weeks.
9. Mike Russow
MMA Record: 14-1, 1 NC
Mike Russow is currently on a 10-fight winning streak and the only loss of his entire career came against Sergei Kharitonov.
Despite winning his last fight against Jon Madesen back in March, Russow's next opponent remains undetermined at this time.
8. Brendan Schaub
MMA Record: 8-1
Since losing to Roy Nelson at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale, Brendan Schaub has run through all four of his UFC opponents.
In his last fight, Schaub scored a brutal knockout of MMA legend Mirko Filipovic. The win solidified Schaub as a heavyweight contender and earned him a fight against another legend, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, at UFC 134.
7. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
MMA Record: 32-6-1, 1 NC
The last time we saw Nogueira inside the Octagon, he was recovering from a knockout loss to Velasquez.
More than one year later, Nogueira is now scheduled to serve as a test for Schaub, a fast-rising heavyweight prospect. A loss for Nogueira at UFC 134 would be devastating, as it would mark his third in four fights.
6. Roy Nelson
MMA Record: 15-6
With lopsided losses to Dos Santos and Frank Mir in his last two fights, Nelson has showed that he will likely be nothing more than a gatekeeper in the UFC.
At this point, "Big Country" really has nowhere to go but down.
5. Frank Mir
MMA Record: 15-5
As lackluster as his last two wins were, Mir escaped with wins over Filipovic and Nelson without taking much damage at all.
Unfortunately, Mir is going to have to prove that he can handle to power of a fighter like Carwin or Brock Lesnar before he can be taken seriously as a contender.
4. Shane Carwin
MMA Record: 12-2
After going undefeated in the first 12 fights of his career, Carwin has now lost back-to-back bouts. Despite his loss to Dos Santos, Carwin did show that he can go three rounds, which is a moral victory of sorts.
Carwin is probably going to have to re-invent himself if he ever wants to be champion again, but his punching power always makes him a threat.
3. Brock Lesnar
MMA Record: 5-2
Battling another case of diverticulitis, Lesnar's future has become cloudy once again. Despite losing to Velasquez so decisively in his last fight, Lesnar has to be considered one of the top contenders in the division upon his return, as he holds wins over both Carwin and Mir.
Still, being forced to withdraw from a fight with dos Santos has to be a major disappointment for Lesnar, who would have earned a rematch with Velasquez had he defeated dos Santos.
2. Junior Dos Santos
MMA Record: 13-1
By destroying Carwin in a stand-up battle, dos Santos told Velasquez that he is going to have to take the fight to the ground in order to retain his belt when the two meet in their next Octagon appearance.
Dos Santos also shattered any doubt that may have remained that he was the No. 1 contender in the heavyweight division. In the process, dos Santos also kept his ground game a mystery for Velasquez, as we have not seen much of it since dos Santos has joined the UFC.
1. Cain Velasquez
MMA Record: 9-0
Velasquez is talented in all facets of the sport, but he will have his hands full in his next title defense against dos Santos.
Dos Santos has shown excellent takedown defense, which may mean Velasquez could be forced to stand with a fighter who has become recognized as the best striker in the division. However the fight goes, it is sure to be one of the most highly anticipated fights in MMA history.