Monday, March 9, 2015

Best Champions The UFC Needs

Without a doubt, the UFC holds the vast majority of talent in MMA. However, some legit rising fighters exist outside the UFC who should get a shot in the UFC. I've left off Jake Shields and Rouisimar Palhares, as I think more time needs to pass for either to get a shot back at the UFC. I just don't forsee Cyborg making 135 pounds in the UFC, so I left her off.

Here is a look at the top 10.

1. Ben Askren (14-0) the NCAA champ and Olympic wrestler has been devasting his last 4 bouts earning 3 TKO's and a 1st round arm triangle submission. The current One FC welterweight champ next defends his title against Bellator veteran Luis Santos (61-9). Askren had contract discussions with the UFC, but no offer was officially made and One FC offered Askren good money. With a few fights still on his contract, Askren won't hit the market in the near future. With the best wrestling at 170 and increasingly good submission skills, Askren can compete with anyone in the top 10 right now.

2. Marcin "Tybur" Tybura (11-0)- The Polish HW and BJJ black belt has 5 submissions and 4 TKO's on his resume. The M-1 HW Champ seems to be at his best when he throws a few punches, backs his opponent against the fence and works a takedown. From there, Tybura has a solid submission game from top position and uses ground and pound to set up submissions. Tybura's contract status with M-1 could be murky with a champions clause. Tybura hasn't fought since his 1st round submission of hot prospect Denis Smoldarev (11-1). With an aging HW division, the 29 year old Tybura would fit in well as he is in his prime.

3. Justin Gaeje (13-0)- The 26 year old former wrestler has been dominant as WSOF's 155 pound champion. He last defended the title with a close split decision win over Melvin Guillard in his most lackluster performance to date. Prior to that fight, he had 7 straight T/KO's including a 1st round TKO over JZ Cavalcante and 2nd round TKO's over Dan Lauzon and Nick Newell. Gaethje is on his 6th WSOF fight.

4. Shinya Aoki (37-6)- The insane submission specialist is One FC's current 155 pound champion. He last fought on NYE in Inoki Bom Ba Ye, submitting Yuki Yamamoto with a rare twister. He has won 7 straight since a TKO loss to Eddie Alvarez in Bellator. Aoki may be resistant to a move for the US based UFC, as he has gone just 1-2 stateside. Aoki has career wins over Rich Clementi, Kamal Shalorus, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Lyle Beerbohm and Joachim Hansen. At 31 years old and having been TKO'd 4 times in MMA and once in kickboxing, time is not on Aoki's side.

5. Patricio Friere (23-2)- Bellator's 145 pound champ has been on a tear since a narrow split decision loss to Pat Curran at Bellator 85. Winner of season 4 and 9's featherweight tournaments, Friere won a decision over Pat Curran for the title and defended by submitting Daniel Strauss. He also has KO wins over UFC vets Diego Nunes and Wilson Reis.

6. Will Brooks (15-1)- The tenacious wrestler won Bellator's season 9 LW tourney and followed it up with a split decision win over Michael Chandler, then TKO'd Chandler in the rematch. With 8 career Bellator fights, Brooks loyalty might be with the organization. Brooks next fights Dave Jansen at Bellator 136.

7. Jessica Aguilar (19-4)- The current WSOF 115 pound champion has won 10 straight since a questionable split decision loss to Zolia Gurgel in Bellator. Generally ranked #1-2 in the world at 115, Aguilar holds a split decision win over UFC 115 champ Carla Esparza which took place on 6/25/11 in Bellator. Aguilar holds decision wins over Megumi Fujii, Emi Fujino and Lisa Ellis in her career, with a sub over judo expert Alida Gray. Aguilar's solid grappling would give anyone in the 115 pound division trouble.

8. Vitaly Minakov (14-0)- Bellator’s reigning HW champion has not fought much lately. With a background in Sambo, he knocked out countryman Alexander Volkov to win the Bellator belt in November 2013 and then defended with a decision win over UFC vet Cheick Kongo in April. With crisp boxing to go along with black belt judo, Minakov would be a welcome addition. Questions have arisen due to the long layoff whether Minakov is injured or if he is dealing with contractual issues.

9. Marlon Moraes (14-4)- the WSOF 135 pound champ has won 9 straight fights, defeating former WEC champ Miguel Torres, TUF vet Cody Bollinger and Josh Hill(then 10-0). With Dominick Cruz's career likely over, Moraes would look good on the roster. The 26 year old is 1-2 fights into his new WSOF deal which is a multi-fight, multi-year deal.

10. Liam McGeary (10-0)- The new Bellator LHW champ just dominated Emanuel Newton for five rounds at BFC 134. The 6'6" McGeary had never been to decision before that fight, winning the Bellator LHW tourney with TKO's of Egidijus Valavicius and Kelly Anundson. He has 7 straight Bellator wins.

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