Ranking MMA's Top 10 Welterweights Outside Zuffa Umbrella
The series continues with the welterweights in this edition, as many of the top 10 were seen in recent action.
With Bellator's welterweight tournament nearing it's end, we've gotten a good grasp of where the entrants stand, and how they stack up with the international talent featured by promotions such as KSW and M-1 Global.
Where does your favorite non-Zuffa welterweight stand?
#10. Lyman Good
One of the most talented strikers stateside at 170, Good (11-2) is a former Bellator welterweight champion, having lost his belt to Ben Askren.
With only two losses coming to Askren and Rick Hawn, Good has let most opponents feel the wrath of his strikes. With five wins by TKO, two by doctor stoppage, the karate specialist holds notable wins over Hector Urbina, Jorge Ortiz, Omar De La Cruz and Chris Lozano.
#9. Aslambek Saidov
One of the showcases of the KSW tournaments, Saidov (10-2) has shown to be one of the better contestants at 170 available in the Eastern hemisphere.
With his only losses coming to dangerous Attila Vegh and Vitor Nobrega, Saidov has virtually run through everyone else on his ledger.
With no upcoming bout scheduled, it's safe to say that opponents aren't lining up to face this guy.
#8. Dakota Cochrane
Cochrane, a product of the Premier Combat Center and training partner of the Ellenberger brothers, most recently scored the biggest victory of his career, a unanimous decision over former WEC champion Jamie Varner.
Having built his record to 11-1, Cochrane has shown a good submission game, anchored by a very good rear naked choke, having tapped out five of his opponents.
A bit small for 170, it's possible we'll see Cochrane drop a weight class in the near future.
#7. Rick Hawn
Hawn (11-1) burst on the MMA scene with an 11-fight winning streak, until running into Jay Hieron in the Bellator Season 4 welterweight finals, dropping a hotly contested split decision to Jay Hieron.
The former US Olympian judoka has finished seven of his opponents with strikes, and was due to compete in this season's welterweight tournament before injury forced him out.
With notable wins over Shonie Carter, Jim Wallhead and Lyman Good, Hawn has shown he is the real deal at 170 pounds.
#6. Rashid Magomedov
Magomedov is one of M-1's stellar welterweights, using crisp, heavy hands to finish half of his wins by way of TKO.
Most recently at M-1 Challenge 23, Magomedov put his skillset on display on the face of Rafal Moks, fighting off numerous leglock attempts to force the referree stoppage in the first round.
With notable wins over Moks, Igor Araujo and Shamil Zavurov, Magomedov has proven to be one of the very best international talents around at 170 pounds.
#5. Shamil Zavurov
Despite a split decision loss in 2009 to Magomedov, Zavurov (18-1) comes in ahead in the rankings due to what he's done since then. Thirteen straight wins, including four title fights, have seen the M-1 Welterweight champion's stock shoot through the roof.
A winner of 13 straight, the Sambo black belt has finished seven of his opponents in that stretch, three in the first round.
Along with his M-1 Welterweight championship, Zavurov is a three time world champion in combat sambo.
#4. Ben Saunders
Possibly the most talented fighter on this list, Saunders recent fallout from the UFC holds him back from a higher ranking on this list.
Since leaving the UFC, however, Saunders has finished all four of his opponents, and done so in dominating fashion. From former ROC Welterweight champion Elijah Harshbarger to his most recent opponent Luis Santos, nobody has had an answer for the violence Saunders brings to the cage with his Jeet Kune Do style.
I had the pleasure of watching Saunders dismantle Harshbarger cageside, and it is no exaggeration when I tell you that you could see the will to fight leave Harshbarger's body when Saunders swarmed.
Saunders is preparing now for the tournament finals, where he will meet Douglas Lima.
#3. Douglas Lima
Despite his ripe age of just 23, Douglas Lima has built an impressive record of 19-4, having won the AFL and MFC welterweight championships along the way.
With crisp striking and a very dangerous submission game, Lima has emerged as a top flight young welterweight fighter, holding notable victories over Kyle Baker, Ryan Ford and Terry Martin.
With his most recent victory over Chris Lozano, Lima has advanced to the Bellator tournament finals, where he will meet Ben Saunders.
#2. Ben Askren
As the reigning and defending Bellator welterweight champion, Askren has transitioned seamlessly from four time NCAA Divison 1 Wrestling All-American to the mixed martial arts game.
With notable wins over Dan Hornbuckle, Lyman Good and Nick Thompson, Askren has controlled his opponents with startling ease on his way to the top.
With his first defense upcoming against Jay Hieron, Askren has a chance to break through as one of the biggest stars outside of the Zuffa companies.
It also must be noted that Askren is an accomplished disc golf competitor, finishing in second place at the 2011 United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship.
#1. Jay Hieron
One of the rare cases where a champion isn't No. 1 in these rankings, it was a close call between Askren and Hieron. Hieron's track record, however, is more extensive than Askren's at this point.
Undefeated since a 2007 loss to Brad Blackburn, Hieron has beaten the likes of Delson Heleno, Jason High, Jesse Taylor, Joe Riggs, Brent Weedman and Rick Hawn during his most recent run.
Utilizing stifling top control and solid game planning (along with some beneficial judging), Hieron has separated himself from the pack like no other welterweight outside the Zuffa banner.
With a Bellator title fight upcoming against Ben Askren, the top dog will emerge this season.
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