June 26, 2012
The ULTMMA50 is intended to be a snapshot look at the 50 best prospects in mixed martial arts. The rub in narrowing down the list to only 50 prospects is because unlike the NFL or MLB drafts potential MMA fighters come from all corners of the globe. In 2012 more than ever big time MMA prospects are being scouted on six different continents.
The ULTMMA50 is a pound for pound listing with all 50 fighters ranked worthy of a UFC or Bellator roster spot. The ULTMMA50 2012 edition will be the fourth incarnation of the list since ULTMMA.com went live in August 2009. Current UFC fighters Renan Barao, Phil Davis and Chris Weidman all made the ULTMMA50 prior to being signed to exclusive deals.
The goal of the ULTMMA50 is to give fight fans a preview of what prospects are making noise on the local MMA scene before they ink long term deals with the UFC, Bellator or the Ultimate Fighter. After months of research and our day to day tracking of prospects for the last four years the 2012 edition of the ULTMMA50 is finalized
All is fair in love, war and fight promoting. The second weekend of May was earmarked by the World Fighting Federation for their "big city" debut. 100 miles south of Phoenix, the WFF has cornered MMA market in Tucson since their debut in 2009. About a month before the WFF's scheduled May 12th event, Phoenix based Rage in the Cage casually announced an event for the month of May. The date for RITC 159 would be Friday May 11th.
With six months to prep for their Metro Phoenix debut the WFF carefully selected the venue and slow played the matchmaking of the card. The result of WFF's effort was a main event featuring WEC vet Edgar Garcia and a co-main event that booked an underrated member of the famed Power MMA fight team in Brandon Tierney.
The pound for pound debate in prize fighting is the ultimate chicken or the egg debate of the sporting community. There are no winners and there are no right answers when the process of ranking fighters regardless of weight comes up. Created as a way to quantify the greatness of boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in the 1940s, several decades later combat sport pundits and fans are no closer to coming to a agreement.
In August 2009 when ULTMMA.com went live after many months of behind the scenes work, the first edition of our pound for pound prospect ranking, the ULTMMA50, was also released. With names of current UFC stars Phil Davis, Rory MacDonald, and Chad Mendes plastered among the other 50 unsigned MMA prospects, the ULTMMA50 attempted to apply the pound for pound debate to a vast pool of prospects not yet in the major leagues.
April 2010 saw ULTMMA.com release version 2.0 of the ULTMMA50 (aka The ULTMMA50 2010). One year later in April 2011 the 2011 edition of the ULTMMA50 is live and gives the MMA community a snapshot of 50 MMA prospects with the potential to make some noise in the UFC and Strikeforce in the coming months.
In August 2009 ULTMMA.com released the first edition of the ULTMMA50. The ULTMMA50 is a snapshot in time of the pound for pound top 50 unsigned prospects in mixed martial arts. At the time light heavyweight prospect Phil Davis (8-0) was a mere 4-0 in his young MMA career. Based mostly on his impressive wrestling credentials, four time All American and 2008 national champion at Penn St., the 24 year old Davis sat at number three on the ULTMMA50. 16 months later it has become clear that Davis without a doubt should have been number one.
Davis stepped into the UFC's world famous Octagon for the first time on February 6, 2010. In a fight that harkened back his wrestling roots Davis grounded former WEC 205 pound champion Brian Stann in an impressive three round decision. The remainder of 2010 could not have played out better for Davis as he grabbed three more wins in the UFC and went from the untelevised undercard to a main card slot at UFC 123 in November.
In 2011 Davis will continue to hone his craft as he trains with the Alliance MMA gym, American Kickboxing Academy and jiu-jitsu with Lloyd Irvin. From five star prospect at the beginning of the year to generally recognized as a top 15 fighter in his weight class by the end of 2010, Davis's stock has shot up faster than projected. Now in the deep waters of the UFC's 205 pound division, Davis will look to repeat one of the most impressive prospect to UFC fight streaks in recent memory over the next 12 months.
ULTMMA.com caught up with the ULTMMA 2010 prospect of the year Phil Davis to talk about his life outside the UFC, review his 2010 fights, among a host of other topics.
If mixed martial arts was a living, breathing entity it would still be a few months away from its 18th birthday. Unfit to vote or buy a pack of cigarettes the sport of MMA is rather infantile when compared to other contact sports like football or hockey, and even younger when plopped next to its combat sports cousin; boxing.
Due to the sport's rapid growth spurt over the past five years in North America, one of the fundamental elements of MMA's long-term health may have been overlooked. In 2010 there is not a clear cut system for overseeing amateur MMA fighters, promoters, or events. Amateur MMA is governed differently on a state by state basis.
In California, an experiment has taken place over the past 13 months with a regulatory body called the California Amateur MMA Organization (CAMO) overseeing amateur MMA in the state. Born from the ashes of the defunct EliteXC promotion, CAMO is the brainchild of former EliteXC matchmaker JT Steele who along Jeremy Lappen (also of EliteXC) were appointed by the CSAC to regulate amateur MMA in the Golden state.
ULTMMA.com sat down with the president of CAMO JT Steele to discuss amateur MMA in 2010, the origins of his organization, and other topics in regards to improving the current amateur MMA system.
X-1 World Events returned to the Blaisdell arena with a stacked card full on Hawaiian island locals as well as few select mixed martial arts prospects. The main event saw Honolulu legend Falaniko Vital (28-9) submit Kala Hose (7-4) with a Ezekiel choke in the fourth round.
ULTMMA.com sat cageside with renowned island photographer Uriah Walker, of "knownphoto", to capture all the action.
One of the top mixed martial arts promotions in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is Supreme Warrior Championship out of Frisco. The 11th installment of SWC took place inside the Frisco Convention Center and featured a five fight card of pro fights.
In a event filled with local Texas fighters, SWC 11 was highlighted by the performance of Oklahoma prospect Lewis McKenzie (10-3). McKenzie was booked versus Davis Sylvester (5-3) in the night's main event.
ULTMMA.com sat cageside with top Texas photographer Mark B. Henry to capture all the evening's action.
For more information on and photos from Mark B. Henry visit http://www.markbhenry.com
In sports the art of projecting and evaluating young prospects is the great race outside of the field of play. Big time dollars are spent 365 days a year for scouts to comb through thousands of athletes in the hopes of landing the next superstar and/or diamond in the ruff.
For MMA, a sport still years away from its 25th birthday, prospect seeking is still in its infant stages.
The ULTMMA50 is a pound for pound listing of the top 50 unsigned prospects in MMA. To celebrate the release of the 2010 version ULTMMA.com reached out to a small panel of MMA experts for their opinion on a few of the more pressing issues that both local and national MMA promotions face when evaluating talent.
The first ever Xtreme Kombat League featured a mix of UFC veterans and regional MMA prospects. ULTMMA.com was cage-side with ace Michigan photographer Chris Jones who captured all the night's action through his lens.
For more information on and photos from Chris Jones visit www.production7.com
By ULTMMA Staff March 2010
The next round of ULTMMA prospect rankings features a mix of three and four star prospects in the five main weight classes currently promoted in the UFC (265, 205, 185, 170 & 155). At heavyweight England's Rob Broughton (14-5-1) is fresh off an amazing one night run at ZT Fight Night. The one night big man tournament saw Broughton submit one time UFC fighter Neil Wain (6-2) and knockout former Pride star James Thompson (15-12) in the second round.
The 27 year old Broughton has now won four straight and is newest heavyweight prospect to hit the UK MMA scene.
In Texas, welterweight Mikel Bronzoulis (8-1-1) resume continues to impress. After fighting current WEC fighter Kamal Shalorus (6-0-1) to a five round draw in April 2009, Bronzoulis recently TKO'd Ultimate Fighter Season 11 cast member Cleburn Walker (9-3) at a local MMA event in November.
A native of Houston Bronzoulis got into the MMA game late in his athletic career. Now 31 years old, Bronzoulis has not suffered a loss since his debut fight back in October of 2007.
One of the top prospects on the East Coast, lightweight Jeff Lentz (6-1) goes in 2010 following a very active 2009 campaign. The New Jersey product began the year with six straight wins over the course of just eight months. The first loss of Lentz career came at the hands of WEC vet Anthony Morrison (14-7), a fight which he showed flashes of his potential throughout all three rounds.
At just 21 years old Lentz is a four star prospect due to his athleticism and his very successful amateur MMA background.