Seventeen rounds are down with only five to go. They say drafts are won in the final rounds, so click below to check out round 17 and find out who is distancing themselves from the pack.
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To make a long story short, this is not a pound-for-pound top fighter list. What we’re doing is essentially pretending that every fighter in the world is suddenly declared a free agent with six new organizations selecting talent through a draft format.
The idea is to see how six different fans would construct their organization and which fighters they would select to help them execute their vision. Much like real world MMA, every promoter has their different philosophy with each organization establishing its own identity.
The results to round seventeen are available below.
17.1 Adam Morgan: Gray Maynard
Previous Picks: Georges St. Pierre (round 1), Kimbo Slice (round 2) and Jake Shields (round 3), Carlos Condit (round 4), Diego Sanchez (round 5), Matt Hughes (round 6), Josh Koscheck (round 7), Shinya Aoki (round 8 ), Matt Sera (round 9), Eddie Alvarez (round 10), Ben Rothwell (round 11), Thiago Alves (round 12), Karo Parisyan (round 13), Gina Carano (round 14), Cain Velasquez (round 15), and Tara LaRosa (round 16)
Analysis: This lightweight beast just schooled Frankie Edgar at his own game and Edgar was taken several rounds ago so I’m glad to add Maynard to my talented lightweight division. He is absolutely huge for a lightweight, has heavy hands and improved boxing, and of course has extremely good D-1 level wrestling that has adapted well to MMA. He trains with a fantastic team at Xtreme Couture and is young, talented, and will only get better. Maynard is a lightweight to keep an eye on and I’m more than happy to welcome him to my promotion.
17.2 Mike Huckaby: Semmy Schilt
Previous Picks: Chuck Liddell (round 1), Forrest Griffin (round 2) and Wanderlei Silva (round 3), Andrei Arlovski (round 4), Mirko Cro Cop (round 5), Rashad Evans (round 6), Tim Sylvia (round 7), Fabricio Werdum (round 8 ), Thiago Silva (round 9) , Seregi Kharitonov (round 10), Brian Stann (round 11), Renato Sobral (round 12), Roger Gracie (round 13), Shane Carwin (round 14), Brett Rogers (round 15), and Melvin Manhoef (round 16)
Analysis: Upon looking at my prospects for my last pick in a while I determined Schilt was the most necessary and best fit my roster as it stands. Schilt has been around battling the best in the world for over a decade and will take a fight with absolutely anyone. A superstar K-1 kickboxer and perhaps the best striker in the entire game of MMA, Schilt has taken Fedor to a decision and lasted three rounds with Josh Barnett. His ground game isn’t the best in the world but this shows he’s more than capable of hanging in there. He joins Arlovski, Cro Cop, Sylvia, and other bangers in my heavyweight division to put on a magical show.
17.3 Ram Maramba: Ricardo Almeida
Previous Picks: Quinton Jackson (round 1), Randy Couture (round 2) , Urijah Faber (round 3), Keith Jardine (round 4), Kid Yamamoto (round 5), Lyoto Machida (round 6), Frank Mir (round 7), Gilbert Melendez (round 8 ), Miguel Torres (round 9), Vladimir Matyushenko (round 10), Nathan Marquardt (round 11), Joachim Hansen (round 12), Ronaldo Souza (round 13), Mark Hunt (round 14), Jon Murphy (round 15), and Yoshihiro Akiyama (round 16)
Analysis: Ricardo Almeida, the middleweight division’s prodigal son. After a four year break Almeida returned to action this February, submitting Rob Yundt in just over a minute with a beautiful guillotine choke. Most fans only know Almeida from that fight, but a peek at his stellar 9-2 record shows top-10 wins in his career, including another guillotine win over my top dog at 185, Nate Marquardt. Not one to shy from a fight, the possible matchups with Jacare, Akiyama and a rematch with Marquardt are the best middleweight matchups not featuring Anderson Silva. After a few more tuneup fights, not much will stand in Almeida’s path for a shot at the title.
17.4 Matt Cava: Hermes Franca
Previous Picks: B.J. Penn (round 1), Anderson Silva (round 2) and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (round 3), Jon Fitch (round 4), Matt Lindland (round 5), Sean Sherk (round 6), Paulo Filho (round 7), Aleksander Emelianenko (round 8 ), Nick Diaz (round 9), Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (round 10), Yushin Okami (round 11), Tyson Griffin (round 12), Chris Leben (round 13), Chael Sonnen (round 14), Jeff Monson (round 15), and Demian Maia (round 16)
Analysis: Purple, pink or bleach blonde, I’ll take Hermes whichever color his hair is. Diesel BJJ skills + heavy hands thrown at weird angles = great combination. Franca may have terrible technique, but he sure can connect. Franca’s name has been forgotten somewhat but this is the same guy that delivered those vertebrae shaking knees to Sherk’s face at UFC 74. Leading to that title fight, he took apart King Fisher by TKO and subbed Nathan Diaz (at WEC 24). With Sherk already on my roster, it is a no-brainer to grab Franca. He has improved with age and experience – record of 18-6, with only one loss since 2005. The guy admitted to taking steroids to help him recover from an ankle injury – he did his time, I hope fans welcome him back.
17.5 Sam Caplan: Paul Daley
Previous Picks: Brock Lesnar (round 1), Fedor Emelianenko (round 2) and Josh Barnett (round 3), Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (round 4), Brandon Vera (round 5), Dan Henderson (round 6), Rich Franklin (round 7), Jason “Mayhem” Miller (round 8 ), Gabriel Gonzaga (round 9), Antonio Silva (round 10) , Robbie Lawler (round 11), Chris Horodecki (round 12), Frank Trigg (round 13), Frankie Edgar (round 14), Ricardo Arona (round 15) and Jake Rosholt (round 16)
Analysis: Daley is versatile in that he competes at lightweight and welterweight. What I really need right now is additional depth at 155-160 lbs. Daley may not yet be an established top ten lightweight, but if his ground game catches up with his striking, he’ll definitely break into the world’s elite at 155-160 lbs. I’m especially looking forward to a SAMMA showdown between Daley and Chris Horodecki. Can you say fight of the year?
17.6 Sam Cupitt: Mitsuhiro Ishida
Previous Picks: Frank Shamrock (round 1), Tito Ortiz (round 2), and Gesias “JZ Calvan” Calvancante (round 3), Takanori Gomi (round 4), Roger Huerta (round 5), Kenny Florian (round 6), Cung Le (round 7), Michael Bisping (round 8 ), Nate Diaz (round 9), Clay Guida (round 10), Joe Stevenson (round 11), Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (round 12), Yves Edwards (round 13), Stephan Bonnar (round 14), Tim Kennedy (round 15), and Nate Quarry (round 16)
Analysis: Sure he may not set the world on fire with his performances but who really wants the world on fire anyway and there’s also the very real possibility Ishida could take out the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix. At the start of the Dream GP I was pretty confident that JZ was going to take out the whole thing. Then after Aoki and his rubber guard decided to decision him out of the tournament, Morgan swooped in and stole old fancy tights before I could. I chalk that up to the craziness of MMA and the bad timing of Morgan’s draft pick coinciding with Dream 2.
The point in all this ranting being, the only way I can fully control the damage Aoki has done to my lightweight tournament is to grab the guy that could possibly beat him and win the tournament. Ishida is very capable of neutralizing anyone’s main strength. He showed this in his victory over the very talented Gilbert Melendez last New Year’s Eve. And before you guys say anything, yes I am aware that that now makes nine fighters for my 8-man lightweight tournament. I am simply going to relegate a couple to alternate status and besides, eight guys doesn’t make a division, so I may as well stack my lightweight division with some more quality talent. Ishida is just that.