MMA Light Heavyweight Rankings released their latest rankings. Here are their rankings for the top light heavyweights in the sport.

Jon Jones’ destruction of Shogun Rua at UFC 128 signaled the end of the PRIDE years and heralded the rise of a new fighter who could dominate the division for years to come. Instead of speaking about potential challengers for the title, fans and journalists have been left trying to figure out who in the world could possibly present a stiff challenge for Jones. It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype train, but so long as Jones maintains the maturity he’s displayed thus far, he’ll be fine.
Will he be the first true mainstream superstar to come from the world of MMA? That remains to be seen. For now, he’s content with simply evolving. Oh, and ruling the light heavyweight division with an iron fist.

1. Jon Jones
Jones utterly dominated former champion Shogun Rua at UFC 128 in Newark which lands him atop this poll without any debate. Now comes a fight with Rashad Evans. What? He’s fighting Rashad Evans? It’s true. The former teammates had a falling out and will now square off for the light heavyweight strap sometime this fall.

2. Rashad Evans
Evans, a long time Greg Jackson student, has left the Albuquerque, NM camp and set up shop in Florida to prepare for newly crowned champ Jon Jones. Thought to be heading down to middleweight should Jones win the belt, Evans had a change of heart when “Bones” announced he’d fight his then teammate on national television.

Check out the full rankings.

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UFC 104 Picks & Predictions

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to pay per-view today with UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun, which features five fights on the main card. Here is a breakdown of each fight and who I expect to win.

Light Heavyweight Championship – Lyoto Machida (15-0) vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (18-3): Machida has quickly emerged as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world due to his style of fighting. Machida has brought a true karate style to the octagon and made it look like a dominant way of fighting. His last two fights have been impressive victories over Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans to win the UFC title. Machida likes to counter-strike, which works well in this fight as Rua likes to push the pace and be the aggressive fighter. Rua has gotten better with each fight inside the cage, but today’s fight doesn’t bode well for him. Machida has quicker strikes and should be able to pick Rua apart to score a TKO victory in the third round over a gassed Rua.

Heavyweight Bout – Cain Velasquez (6-0) vs. Ben Rothwell (30-6) – The co-headliner features two heavyweight contenders. Velasquez is being groomed to be a threat to Brock Lesnar’s heavyweight title. The Mexican born fighter has used his wrestling background to dominate his opponents and use ground-and-pound striking to quickly end fights. His last fight, a decision win over Cheick Kongo, Velasquez was able to get Kongo to the ground and dictate the pacing of the fight. Velasquez was hit with some big punches in the fight and was tested for the first time, but passed the test. Rothwell was a former IFL heavyweight champion and has faced some tough opponents, but doesn’t have a real marquee win in his lengthy career. Rothwell can win with a big punch, but Velasquez is likely to get this fight to the ground, where he will control Rothwell and earn a decision or TKO victory.

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