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Fantasy Lightweight Tournament


With the brief lull in MMA action, what better time to get the crazy debates going with some fantasy tournaments in each of the weight divisions.  We will be looking to crown "The Donís Fantasy ChampionsĒ in seven weight classes.  While we know that the UFC will never go back to a tournament format or co-promote with any other organization, our minds and keyboards are not bound by such politics.

Over the next seven days we will look at each weight division and hold 8 man fantasy tournaments in each class.  We will seed the fighters one through eight in a bracket formula and look at who will win each fight and why. 

These types of predictions/projections usually spark great debates among the MMA fans.  First of all itís difficult to decide which eight fighters will participate and then choosing winners really causes the fun and debates beginÖ  so bring it on!!!

The seedings are based primarily on rankings from our good friends at with a few minor variations in several weight classes.

The quarter- and semi-final bouts would be three rounds with the final bout being a five round affair.  The seedings are in parenthesis below.




Today we will look at the Lightweight division and the seedings/match-ups are as follows:


(1) Frankie Edgar  vs.  (8) Ben Henderson

(4) Gray Maynard  vs.  (5) BJ Penn

(3) Shinya Aoki  vs.  (6) Eddie Alvarez

(2) Gilbert Melendez  vs.  (7) Kenny Florian


Round 1 Match-ups:


Edgar vs. Henderson Ė This is a match-up that may happen if Edgar and Henderson win their upcoming bouts.  Edgar has risen to the top of the lightweight ladder with two straight wins over former champion BJ Penn while Henderson owns the final WEC lightweight belt and will be severely tested upon arriving in the UFC.  Henderson has displayed well rounded skills and a lethal guillotine choke but his level of competition often comes into question. Edgarís lightning quick constantly moving striking style befuddled Penn in both bouts and would need to be his formula against Henderson as well.  In a three round bout Edgar would likely be able to steer clear of the attack from Henderson and earn a less than crowd pleasing decision.  If it was five rounds it may have a different outcome. But in this case Edgar earns the decision.


Edgar over Henderson by unanimous decision.


Maynard vs. Penn Ė Styles make fights and while I think Maynard will be too strong for Edgar in their upcoming title bout, Penn is a bad match-up for Maynard.  Maynard will likely be stronger than Edgar but the difference in speed and striking will allow Penn to settle into his game and work his superior striking against Maynard. The takedown shots from Maynard also will not be as quick as Edgarís allowing Penn to use his tremendous flexibility to avoid the takedown attempts from Maynard.  In a straight stand-up game it will be advantage Penn and The Prodigy will earn a unanimous decision.


Penn over Maynard by unanimous decision.


Aoki vs. Alvarez -- This would be a rematch of their Dream tournament bout which was won quickly by Aoki.  Since that time Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez has shown the world the recipe for defeating Aoki.  Melendez was able to out-strike the Japanese star and when he did use his wrestling to score a takedown he was able to stay busy with his ground and pound to avoid the grappling of Aoki.  Aoki remains dangerous any time the fight goes to the ground and will even pull guard if needed.  Alvarez has the tools to defeat Aoki but Aoki has also proven capable of dispatching Alvarez.  This one comes down to who can impose their will and the thought here is that Alvarez has evolved his game and would study the Melendez plan and carry it out to perfection.  Alvarez will have the power and killer instinct to stop Aoki with his ground and pound in the second half of the fight.


Alvarez over Aoki by ground and pound TKO in round 3.


Melendez vs. Florian -- Another great lightweight match-up between the Strikeforce lightweight champion and the former two-time UFC lightweight title contender.  Melendez has demonstrated solid well-rounded skills during his title run and reign while Florian has been to the edge of being champion but has fallen short on both occasions.  Florian had difficulty with the wrestling prowess of Maynard and would discover similar problems handling the style of Melendez.  El Nino should be able to hold his own in the stand-up game and then control the bout from top position once the fight hits the mat.  This would be a hard fought by clear unanimous decision for Melendez.


Melendez over Florian by unanimous decision.



Round two Match-ups:


Edgar vs. Penn Ė As we said earlier styles make fights and while we liked Penn over Maynard and Maynard over Edgar, this one does not bode well for The Prodigy.  Edgar simply has Pennís number, is in his head, or whatever trite phrase we want to use to say Frankie Edgar canít lose to BJ Penn.  The first fight was close and many, including myself, thought Penn won the contest but the second fight was no contest, Edgar started off fast and frustrated Penn throughout, to the point where it looked like BJ was just trying to finish the fight and not be stopped.  The outcome is no different for three rounds than it was for five, Edgar by decision.


Edgar over Penn by unanimous decision.


Alvarez vs. Melendez Ė Another bout that has been talked about a lot lately due to the disputes between the two organizations (Bellator and Strikeforce) as to which group is dodging the other.  The only ones not making noise here are the actual fighters. Itís a great match-up between two well-rounded fighters who have climbed to the top of their respective organizations.  Alvarez will hold the edge in the striking game while Melendez will hold the grappling/wrestling advantage. Once again, who can impose their will earn the victory.  The thought here is that Alvarez would be able to lure Melendez into a stand-up battle which will lead Alvarez to a very close decision.


Alvarez over Melendez by split decision.





Frankie Edgar vs. Eddie Alvarez --  The quick accurate striking of Edgar will challenge the powerful stand-up game from Alvarez.  Edgar has proved to be elusive to even the top level strikers in the division while Alvarez has demonstrated the ability to impose his striking prowess against some of the quicker lightweights in the world. Edgar would likely frustrate Alvarez in the early going but we will assume Alvarez has the gas tank to go full speed for five rounds and as the fight progresses Alvarez will take control of the fight.  Edgar would likely remain elusive enough to avoid being stopped but Alvarez should be able to impose his will in the championship rounds and earn a razor thin split decision to capture The Donís Fantasy Lightweight Title.


Alvarez over Edgar by split decision to win The Donís Fantasy Lightweight Title.

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