- DO HEAVYWEIGHTS NEED TWO WEIGHT CLASSES?

November 24, 2008
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by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
There were many questions going into the heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture. Experience vs. inexperience. Legend vs. rookie.

But the biggest question that was raised prior to the fight between Couture and Lesnar was the giant size difference between the former NCAA heavyweight wrestling champ and the now former UFC heavyweight champion heading into the fight.

Lesnar cut weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit, while his opponent, Randy Couture, weighed in at 220 pounds, and it is assumed that Lesnar actually walked into the bout anywhere around 15 to 20 pounds heavier than when he weighed in.

The heavyweight division runs from 206 pounds all the way to 265 pounds, which is the weight class with the biggest difference between the lightest weight to the heaviest weight allowed for the fighters. But do the size differences make the fights unfair to the point where another weight class needs to be added?

When asked by MMAWeekly.com if there was any thought about adding another weight class, Keith Kizer, executive director for the Nevada State Athletic commission, simply responded, “this already exists,” referring to the over 265 pound super heavyweight class.

A differing point comes from Nick Lembo, who sits on the New Jersey State Athletic Commission, who has also been a major part of MMA since the state regulated the sport several years ago.

“At first glance, it does not strike me that in either boxing or MMA, that the much larger heavyweight wins more often than not,” Lembo said. “I think that this issue is arising now due to Lesnar being a rare example of a very large heavyweight with power, quickness, agility and ability.

“What remains to be seen is if someone can survive long enough to test Lesnar’s cardiovascular endurance.”

Looking at the breakdown of some of the major heavyweight fights in organizations like the UFC, EliteXC and Affliction with at least a 20-pound weight difference between the fighters, the disparity may not exist to the level where another weight class is necessary.

Nine fights were observed from several organizations over the past few months. The fights documented included Couture vs. Lesnar, Fabricio Werdum vs. Junior Dos Santos, Kimbo Slice vs. Seth Petruzelli, Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo, Andrei Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson, Antonio Silva vs. Justin Eilers, Fabricio Werdum vs. Brandon Vera, and Dave Herman vs. Ron Waterman.

The combined record for these fights has the heavier fighters winning four of the nine matches. In the other five matches that the lighter weight fighters were victorious, they won by KO or TKO four out of the five times with only Fedor Emelianenko’s submission win over Tim Sylvia being the difference in the type of victory sustained.

While there is no denying the fact that many heavyweight fighters come in much larger than their opponents, the numbers don’t lie that on a regular basis the much smaller fighter comes out victorious.

With a fighter of Lesnar’s size and stature it’s hard to imagine many fighters matching him with strength, but as many top fighters have done in the past, it seems the issue of weight is not clear cut.

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