Lightweightpalooza: The 60-something UFC/WEC fighters now joined by merger

In terms of sheer numbers, the lightweight class is certainly UFC’s deepest after the merger with WEC.

The UFC Web site lists 46 lightweights (for comparison: 53 welterweights, 41 middleweights, 35 light heavies and 29 heavyweights). That’s an inexact measure — the site doesn’t always keep up with every roster change — but it gives us a ballpark idea of who’s in the Zuffa umbrella.

The WEC site lists 21 lightweights. (Aside on lower weights: They have 22 featherweights and only 18 bantamweights. Will the UFC bucks and brand name lure more fighters from overseas? The rankings suggest they have plenty of room to grow at featherweight, with only five of the top 11 currently with WEC, but the bantamweight pool isn’t as deep.)

So if no one is dropped, the UFC will have 67 lightweights. Make it 68, with Marcus Davis dropping down from 170.

With the help of Sherdog’s trusty Fight Finder, I’ve tried to compile everyone’s resumes. Please do speak up if I’ve made a mistake in transcribing or otherwise made a mess of things. I’ve only taken fighters listed on the UFC and WEC sites, though there may be a couple of fighters who are in contract limbo and could bounce back in at any moment.

Rankings, of course, are from the USA TODAY/SB Nation consensus calculation.

CHAMPION

Frankie Edgar: 13-1 overall, 8-1 UFC. Wins over Penn (2), Sherk, Griffin. Loss to Maynard, his next opponent.

RANKED

2. BJ Penn: 15-7-1, 11-6-1 UFC. Had won five straight (incl. Stevenson, Sherk, Florian, Sanchez) at LW before losing twice to Edgar. Last four losses before Edgar had been at 170 or higher. Next fight at 170 vs. Matt Hughes.

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Colorado 1-0 Columbus: Squander, squander, squander

From the 10th minute to the 75th, the Colorado Rapids dominated the Columbus Crew, racking up double digits in shots. Funny thing, though — they only put a couple of those shots on frame, never seriously testing backup Columbus keeper Andy Gruenebaum aside from the well-taken goal, which left Gruenebaum with no chance. Random thoughts: – Crew sub Kevin Burns nearly earned himself quite a bit of play on SportsCenter tomorrow with a looping header from outside the box that clanged off the right post. – Burns’ shot was one of three great chances for the Crew, all in the … Continue reading Colorado 1-0 Columbus: Squander, squander, squander

‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Season 12, Episode 7: Kos gets a break, or three

[poll id=”4″]Dane Sayers, the last draft pick, reminds us that he’s part Native American. GSP and his fellow coaches have embraced his desire to show some Native American pride. GSP often calls him “Red Horse,” which Sayers says is his Indian name. Jean Charles Skarbowsky says Sayers is the real American, not Koscheck. “Koscheck didn’t ask his permission to come here.”

But Red Horse is clearly the underdog against Sako “Psycho” Chivitchian, and Dana White knows it.

“He knows Dane isn’t at the same level as most of these guys,” Dana says. GSP says they wanted Sayers to go last so they’d have more time to work with him.

But first, we see the jockeying for the “wild card” slot that demonstrates a couple of the problems with the format. Spencer Paige is the only GSP fighter to lose so far, and he’ll be in a cast for three months. Jeff Lentz says Aaron “English” Wilkinson, the only Koscheck fighter to suffer a controversial loss, is also injured.

The producers don’t follow up on that, but we see a tiff between Lentz and Wilkinson. The Englishman scoffs at Lentz’s drinking and tobacco-chewing: “I don’t think he fits the criteria,” Wilkinson says.

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2012 medal projections: Archery sweep is South Korea’s aim

You’ve seen the political projections. Now let’s get to the ones that matter. The Olympics happen every four years. (Think of the Winter Games as the midterms.) The competition is a little more honest than the typical U.S. election, and you don’t have to sit through insulting political ads. We’re going to go sport-by-sport through the Olympics and project winners in London. We’ll base it on past results. Like FiveThirtyEight.com, we’ll be able to update our projections based on recent data. In our case, though, that’ll be actual competition such as World Cups and World Championships, not polls. Another advantage … Continue reading 2012 medal projections: Archery sweep is South Korea’s aim

The actual cause for concern beneath the Brock Lesnar panic

In a whirlwind of a heavyweight title fight Saturday night, Cain Velasquez wrested the UFC heavyweight belt away from Brock Lesnar. No controversies in this one — Lesnar was gracious in defeat, and referee Herb Dean stopped it at exactly the right time. The reaction: Lesnar’s wrestling isn’t enough for him to succeed, the era of the colossal heavyweight might be over, Lesnar might not have a “fighter’s heart” and Dana White has to be fretting about business with his big-time draw defeated. And that’s just at Bloody Elbow, a reasonable MMA blog (and a great partner for USA TODAY). … Continue reading The actual cause for concern beneath the Brock Lesnar panic

‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Season 12, Episode 6: Choke! Choke!

Tonight, we’ll learn the rest of the opening-round matchups. We have two fights, which will leave just two guys remaining to face off next week.

But before we get to that, we have to watch Team Koscheck acting like a bunch of NFL wide receivers dancing after that fourth-quarter TD pass with their team down 31-7.

First, Koscheck tries to tell Michael Johnson he shouldn’t have won his fight. Johnson says the MMA equivalent of “scoreboard.”

The much-ballyhooed “Team Koscheck goes too far” shenanigans don’t start until Koscheck shows up at the house and wanders out to the balcony to continue feuding with Johnson. For some reason — and maybe USA TODAY will be able to ask about this — mature veteran Nam Phan is out on the balcony by Koscheck’s side.

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College hoops, dunks and generation gaps

Happened across (via a former Duke roomie’s Facebook feed) this compilation of “the best dunks in NCAA history.” I don’t want to be that guy who stumbles across a list of best guitarists and says, “How could you leave out Blind Elderberry Pie?! Jimi Hendrix just stole everything from him!” I will, however, point out the following: 1. Charging could’ve been called on about half these dunks. 2. This guy rounds up tons of clips of guys dunking on other guys, yet he misses Phil Henderson over Alonzo Mourning, showing us how to dunk over someone without charging: Yes, I’m … Continue reading College hoops, dunks and generation gaps