Fighters to Keep an Eye on in 2010: Middleweights
The middleweight division, much like the lightweight and welterweight divisions, is ruled by one fighter and one fighter alone, Anderson ?The Spider? Silva.
Silva has been so dominant that he has even ventured into the light-heavyweight division on two occasions to truly test his abilities; both ventures resulting in successful first-round decimations of the competition.
After ?The Spider? though, things become a little foggy because overall, the middleweight division is arguably the weakest division in the entire sport. One needs to merely look at the current Strikeforce title holder, Jake Shields, to see that.
While Shields is a very skilled and talented fighter he is nothing more than a welterweight who moved up to take advantage of a weak division and claim a title.
Even though the middleweight division as a whole is in a period of stagnation, there is some good up-and-coming talent waiting in the wings for the opportunity to right the divisional ship.
At age 35, Aaron Simpson is far from being your typical up-and-coming fighter with their whole career ahead of them. For Simpson the time is now if he is going to make any serious waves within this great sport.
In Simpson?s last fight at UFN 20, he was able to squeak out a close split-decision victory over an always tough and impressive Tom Lawlor. While the fight did show some chinks in the armor of Simpson, it also highlighted Simpson?s incredible toughness and heart; two attributes that can never be overlooked in the fight game.
With only seven fights thus far in his career, Simpson is not quite yet ready to test the shark infested waters of the upper echelon but with his powerful wrestling base and some more work on his striking he will be there soon enough.
In order for Simpson to truly have a big year and make an impact within the division he will need to continue to display that heart and determination that he had at UFN 20 and also fight with a sense of urgency.
Simpson needs to make the most of every opportunity that he is granted within the Octagon because he has a much smaller window of opportunity due to his age.
Ronaldo ?Jacare? Souza?Strikeforce
By no means is Jacare flying under the radar of the MMA community. As arguably the best pure grappler in MMA today Jacare is a dangerous opponent for anyone within the middleweight division.
In his last bout, Jacare submitted the always tough but over-the-hill Matt Lindland at Strikeforce: Evolution. While Jacare winning via submission was not surprising in the least, the striking that he displayed en route to the victory was.
It was very obvious watching the fight that training with the likes of Anderson Sivla, Lyoto Machida, and the Nogueira brothers has vastly improved the striking of Jacare.
It currently looks as if the newly acquired Dan Henderson will be getting the first crack at Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields, so Jacare will have to wait for his opportunity.
As long as Jacare can continue his striking evolution and his winning ways it will only be a matter of time before he has the Strikeforce gold wrapped around his waist.