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UFC Fight Night 36 Results: Updating the Middleweight Rankings

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2014

UFC Fight Night 36 Results: Updating the Middleweight Rankings

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    UFC Fight Night 36 was an important event for the middleweight rankings, as four of the top fighters in the UFC were in action. Those fighters were Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza, Gegard Mousasi and Francis Carmont.

    Those four men took the top two billings at the event, with the main event being Machida-Mousasi, while the co-main event was Souza-Carmont. When it was all said and done, Machida and Souza walked away winners via decision, boosting their stock in the now-crowded title picture.

    Let's take a look at the top 10 middleweights in the UFC in the aftermath of this fight card.

10. Francis Carmont

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Last Fight: Decision loss vs. Ronaldo Souza

    Next Fight: TBD

    Francis Carmont is a guy who has taken a lot of criticism going into his fight with Ronaldo Souza. He walked out of that fight with a little more respect, despite taking a loss.

    Carmont is going to be confused with Anderson Silva in terms of excitement anytime soon, but he is a rugged grinder that will give most of the division problems. He is a huge man at 185 as well, which gives him an advantage in any fight he takes.

    His stock was not hurt much by the Souza loss, so he should get another quality opponent in his next outing.

9. Mark Munoz

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    Last Fight: Knockout loss vs. Lyoto Machida

    Next Fight: TBD

    I think Mark Munoz is a tad overrated, but nonetheless, he is a top-10 fighter due to the shallowness of the upper end of the division.

    Munoz will always struggle against guys who are able to stay upright against him. We saw it against Lyoto Machida and Chris Weidman, and we will likely see it against most guys at the top end of the division.

    He doesn't have a fight right now, but one has to assume it's on the horizon. I think pitting him against Rich Franklin in his retirement bout would be a good pairing.

8. Gegard Mousasi

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    Casey Rodgers/Associated Press

    Last Fight: Decision loss vs. Lyoto Machida

    Next Fight: TBD

    How tough is Gegard Mousasi?

    The dude ate some nasty head kicks for dinner last night and asked for some dessert with it. However, toughness does not win fights, as he was outpointed by Lyoto Machida in a five-round striking battle.

    Mousasi was a good matchup for Machida, but he failed to win more than one round on the judge's scorecards. His stock doesn't get hurt much, and he moves from being ranked at 205 to ranked at 185.

    That ain't a bad deal.

7. Luke Rockhold

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Knockout win vs. Costa Philippou

    Next Fight: vs. Tim Boetsch at UFC 172

    The former Strikeforce champion is back on his feet after a dismal debut to his UFC campaign.

    Luke Rockhold, after getting blasted by Vitor Belfort, used a liver shot to get his first UFC win in a main event at UFC Fight Night 35. That was a classic performance by Rockhold, whom fans were eagerly awaiting to show up on the middleweight title scene.

    Now he has Tim Boetsch on the main card of UFC 172. A win over him wouldn't warrant a title shot, but it would certainly get his name in the mix.

6. Michael Bisping

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Alan Belcher

    Next Fight: vs. Tim Kennedy at TUF Nations Finale

    Michael Bisping's eye problems are behind him, and now he has his eye on rival Tim Kennedy at the main event in Quebec City. Things are looking up for a man whose been on the shelf for an extended period of time.

    Bisping is definitely in the title mix at this point, but he finds him behind a couple of Brazilians. However, a dominant performance or a finish of Kennedy could put Bisping ahead in line or in a top contender fight.

    He's been in the top 10 forever, so he will look to stay that way with his comeback fight.

5. Ronaldo Souza

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    Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Francis Carmont

    Next Fight: TBD

    Ronaldo Souza's conquest through the UFC middleweight division continued Saturday night with a decision win over Francis Carmont. He showed his trademark ground game, which was a big reason for him winning the fight.

    He is arguably a top-two guy when it comes to being next in line for a title shot. He has blasted through top competition with the UFC with ease, as his striking is greatly developed and his ground game is the same nastiness it's always been.

    We will see where he goes after this fight. It seems Lyoto Machida is ahead of him in line, so he may be a fight away from title contention.

4. Lyoto Machida

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    Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Gegard Mousasi

    Next Fight: TBD

    There is a good chance Lyoto Machida is the next title challenger when Chris Weidman-Vitor Belfort clears things up.

    Machida used his technical striking to outpoint Gegard Mousasi Saturday night, pushing his middleweight record to 2-0. That includes a brutal knockout of Mark Munoz in his middleweight debut, where he kicked his head all the way to Scotland.

    Machida may be a bigger threat at 185 than he was at 205.

3. VItor Belfort

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    Andre Penner/Associated Press

    Last Fight: Knockout win vs. Dan Henderson

    Next Fight: vs. Chris Weidman at UFC 173

    Vitor Belfort is coming for the title. In fact, he already has a date with the champion coming up for his next fight.

    Belfort has steamrolled the competition in his last three bouts. He has brutally knocked out Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson, showing that he is going to be a hazard to anybody he runs into going forward.

    If he beats Chris Weidman for the belt, he becomes the best middleweight in the world. Otherwise, he will stay in a holding pattern that keeps him a finger tips reach from glory.

2. Anderson Silva

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    Last Fight: TKO loss vs. Chris Weidman

    Next Fight: TBD

    Anderson Silva has not won in his last two bouts. Blame that on Chris Weidman and a broken leg.

    He is currently on the mend and trying to build back up his leg so he can participate in the UFC Octagon again. It will be a long road, as it was an incredibly serious injury, but if he does return, you can expect him to make a run back at the belt and take big fights.

    That being said, there's not much to speculate here. He's beaten most of the guys at 185 and will continue to be No. 2 at middleweight as long as Weidman is around.

1. Chris Weidman

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    Last Fight: TKO win vs. Anderson Silva

    Next Fight: vs. Vitor Belfort at UFC 173

    The king of the middleweight division is also the only man to hold two wins over Anderson Silva. So not only is he the best middleweight the UFC has, but he is also one of the best fighters in the world in any weight class.

    Now that Silva is not champion, the division is not cleared out like it was before. There are a ton of fresh, new matchups for Weidman to take for his title belt.

    First up is Vitor Belfort, who is proving to be like fine wine. He is getting better with age, and if you have too much of him, it could cost you your consciousness.

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