Tag: ufc champions

RESULTS | UFC 252 – Miocic seals status as the heavyweight GOAT

STIPE Miocic confirmed his status as the consensus UFC heavyweight GOAT, after edging Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision in their epic trilogy decider at UFC 252. The Ohio native (20-3), who fought in his seventh-straight UFC title bout now has four successful defences to his name, and improves his ledger against Cormier to 2-1.

Having battled Miocic three-consecutive times, ‘DC’ conceded that this may be the end of his legendary career, with another championship opportunity unlikely to present. Two of his three professional losses have come at the hands of Miocic, with the third part of the former double-champs’ other famous rivalry with Jon Jones.

The ‘and still’ champion was made to endure a raft of sneaky right-hand punches from Cormier throughout, but managed to remain upright through all of his adversary’s power while landing some heavy boxing combinations of his own. After being stunned at the end of Round 1, Miocic got his own back in the closing stages of Round 2, with a significant eye poke closing up Cormier’s left side in the third.

While Cormier looked to push the pace across the championship rounds, he was controlled well by the bigger man, Miocic in clinch engagements, which proved vital in nullifying the Olympian’s wrestling. Almost every five-minute period was as tight as they come, though Miocic’s diversity of strikes and control of position ultimately earned him the nod.

What’s next? It has to be number one contender, Francis Ngannou. Although, light heavyweight champion, Jones has also put his hat in the ring for a potential move up to heavyweight.

>> SCROLL FOR FULL RESULTS

Jairzinho Rozenstruik could also be back on track for a shot at the heavyweight strap, after dispatching of former champion, Junior dos Santos in Round 2. ‘Bigi Boy’ was patient and respectful in his approach, but only required one clean combination to change the course of the fight.

The Suriname native swarmed on his seasoned opponent after dropping him with an uppercut and right hook, allowing him no time to recover as the referee duly stepped in. That’s now three-straight losses for ‘JDS’, while Rozenstruik (11-1) gains redemption for his punishing defeat to Ngannou in May.

The co-main event produced another banger, albeit if one of the competitors seemed to come away seriously compromised. Sean O’Malley was transported to hospital after potentially re-aggravating an old leg injury, which saw him stumble a couple of times during his fateful fight with Marlon Vera.

A clear underdog coming into the bout, Vera required just under five minutes to get the job done via TKO, pouncing on his flailing opponent and ending the show with some brutal elbows from top position. It remains unknown as to what exactly caused O’Malley’s leg to fail, as he was seen rolling his right ankle in the early stages. Despite that, the Ecuadorian pointed to his checking of O’Malley’s low kicks when queried in the post-fight interview.

Daniel Pineda was another to impress on the main card, halting the hype train of Herbert Burns with a second-round TKO victory. After six years out of the UFC octagon, Pineda made good on his return with an impressive performance on the mat against a renowned grappler. He ended the bout with some punishing elbows from the crucifix position, having proven much more active from top position than Burns.

RESULTS

MAIN CARD:

Stipe Miocic [C] Daniel Cormier [1] | Decision (unanimous) 49-46, 49-46, 48-47
Marlon Vera def. Sean O’Malley [14] | TKO (elbows) 4:40 Rd 1
Jairzinho Rozenstruik [6] def. Junior dos Santos [5] | TKO (punches) 3:47 Rd 2
Daniel Pineda def. Herbert Burns | TKO (elbows) 4:37 Rd 2
Merab Dvalishvili [15] def. John Dodson [12] | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Vinc Pichel def. Jim Miller | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-27
Virna Jandiroba def. Felice Herrig [15] | Submission (armbar) 1:44 Rd 1
Daniel Chavez def. TJ Brown | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
Livia Renata Souza def. Ashley Yoder | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 30-27

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD:

Chris Daukaus def. Parker Porter | TKO (punches and knee) 1:28 Rd 1
Kai Kamaka III def. Tony Kelley | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

 

State of Play: 10 UFC fights to book before the end of 2020

WITH over half the year already behind us and the leading mixed martial arts promotion back into the swing of things, we put on our matchmaking hat to bring you 10 fights the UFC should make before the end of 2020.

Having done the same before Conor McGregor famously head-kicked (or shouldered) the year off in style, we know there are plenty of variables to play out yet, but think these are the matchups which will take fans’ minds most off the shambles we are currently experiencing amid a global pandemic.

Note: The proposed fights are ordered by weight class, working down from heavyweight.

>> UFC Rankings
>> UFC Pound-for-pound

Heavyweight | Stipe Miocic [C]/Daniel Cormier [1] vs. Francis Ngannou [2]

No, we’re not already looking past the trilogy fight between Miocic and Cormier, pegged as the UFC 252 headliner in August, but this is rather a point to say that Ngannou deserves a second title shot. The scarily powerful Cameroonian has been on a tear since late-2018, embarking on a four-fight run of first round KO/TKO finishes. Of his victims, former champion Junior dos Santos lasted longest – 71 seconds.

The guy is nuts, but if his latest victory (a 20-second KO over Jairzinho Rozenstruik) is anything to go by, the questions surrounding his technique, maturity, and avenues to victory remain. Miocic managed to thwart Ngannou last time out to retain his heavyweight belt, and Cormier didn’t seem overly impressed by his wild combinations while on comms, but we’re sure the number two ranked fighter has a point to prove. He only needs one shot, and hopefully doesn’t have to wait too long to get the chance to land it.

Middleweight | Israel Adesanya [C] vs. Paulo Costa [2]

Has it been made yet or not? Many media outlets have gone with the story, but UFC president Dana White insists the dotted lines remained unsigned. Even before dispatching of Yoel Romero in one of the more forgettable title fights of all time, Adesanya’s most worthy next opponent has long been Costa. Injury has kept the Brazilian on the sidelines for a while, and he has made no secret of the fact he is chomping at the bit to be given a shot at UFC gold.

It is the fight that makes the most sense, despite the UFC bizarrely querying on social media whether the winner of Robert Whittaker and Darren Till‘s Fight Island bout should be next in line for a crack at ‘Stylebender’. In an interesting quirk, which only adds to the intrigue of the matchup, it would be only the second UFC title fight between two undefeated men since Rashad Evans took on Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 in 2009. Make it happen.

Middleweight | Robert Whittaker [2]/Darren Till [5] vs. Jack Hermansson [6]

This one has only piqued the interest of late, and promises to keep things moving at middleweight. While Whittaker and Till will have their focus firmly fixed on coming out on top in their bout at the weekend, Hermansson has already made it known that he has eyes on the winner.

It makes sense too, with ‘The Joker’ fresh off a first round submission victory over former interim title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum, while the remaining pair in question are arguably the most deserving title contenders after Costa (see above). Hermansson’s grappling prowess promises to test the two polished strikers, with both also boasting terrific takedown defence. A good test all-round, but with parts still moving.

Welterweight | Colby Covington [2] vs. Jorge Masvidal [4]

MMA fans have an almost perverse obsession with the old ‘friends-turned-enemies’ storyline, so this fight promises to give all you sickos a fix. After ‘Gamebred’ stepped in on late notice to challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight belt, his stocks are as high as ever, even in defeat. Covington has a lot less admires, including former teammate and best buddy, Masvidal, but is right up there with the world’s best 170-pound contenders.

Both now have a common defeat on their records, and it narrative aside, need to bounce back from those losses. With the likes of Gilbert Burns and Leon Edwards also looming as fresh and worthy adversaries for Usman, these two will need to again prove that they belong in the title conversation. Of course, they could be playing us all with an act, but we’d still like to see them go toe-to-toe.

Lightweight | Khabib Nurmagomedov [C] vs. Justin Gaethje [IC]

Arguably the fight which seems most certain on this list is the one to unify the lightweight championship. The only factor which could possibly derail the plan of Gaethje earning his shot at undisputed glory, and rightly so, is the unexpected passing of Khabib’s legendary father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. While the champ deserves all the time in the world to mourn and get back on track, if he decides to do so, this bout has been pitched for UFC 253 in September. Gaethje has also been offered Conor McGregor in the meantime, but… no.

Lightweight | Dustin Poirier [2] vs. Tony Ferguson [3]

We’re all for keeping divisions moving, and what better way to produce the next lightweight contender than to have these two go at it. The two never produce boring fights, period, and have both been so close to the undisputed crown having held the interim strap at varying points in time. Remarkably, the perennial contenders have yet to meet in the octagon.

Poirier has made it clear that he wants either a big name or a title shot having edged Dan Hooker via decision last month, and Ferguson deserves the same treatment having only just had his 12-fight win streak broken by Gaethje in May. Of course, the pair could wait for the Khabib-Gaethje matchup to pan out, but the best way to stake your claim is always to add a big name to your resume. Fans will always yearn for Ferguson to fight Khabib, too, so this may provide an avenue to that bout at long last.

Featherweight | Brian Ortega [3] vs. Chan Sung Jung [4]

While these two seemed cordial in the build-up to their proposed bout in December of last year, it would be no surprise to hear them both quote Uncle Dana in saying the other “was never (their) friend”. Things turned sour between the pair after Ortega pulled out of that main event dig with a knee injury, and was only made worse after ‘T-City’ slapped up Zombie’s translator.

They have been going back-and-forth for a while now and, pandemic permitting, should settle the beef this year in what would be an incredible fight. The featherweight title was only recently put on the line, and Aussie champion Alexander Volkanovski needs a new number one contender. Both may thing they are worthy, but arguably remain a win off that honour alongside Zabit Magomedsharipov.

Bantamweight | Petr Yan [C] vs. Aljamain Sterling [2]

Alright, we understand if Yan wants to spend some time with his belt before even thinking of his first defence, but it seems as if the decision has already been made for him. The Russian himself even acknowledged Sterling as the clear, undeniable contender, and it would only makes sense to finally give ‘Funkmaster’ a well-earned shot at the belt. In reality, this should have been the matchup made at UFC 252 for the vacant title, but alas we may get to see it soon enough. Let’s have it, that 135-pound division is stacked.

Bantamweight | Cody Garbrandt [3] vs. Sean O’Malley [14]

We just told you the bantamweight division is stacked, and a matchup between these two would only confirm that. This potential bout already has some wheels, with the two indirectly going back-and-forth over social media. The former champion has been there and done that, but only now looks like returning to his former glory after a redemptive win over Raphael Assuncao last month. The undefeated ‘Suga’ Sean is fresh of an equally devastating KO victory on that same June night, and looks to be the next big thing among the 135-pound shark tank. The fans love it, and it seems both fighters will too.

W. Strawweight | Weili Zhang [C] vs Rose Namajunas [1]

Another fight which looks extremely likely to eventuate is that between these two strawweight queens. It’s the only female matchup on our list, but man is it a corker. Zhang is still riding the wave of her maiden title defence in what was a fight of the year contender against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and has already acknowledged the skillset of ‘Thug’ Rose.

The respect is clearly mutual, with a rejuvenated Namajunas enjoying the sound of this billed fight for the 115-pound strap, right after her entertaining decision win over Jessica Andrade. While Rose is arguably the most well-rounded fighter in the division, Zhang is a scary-good athlete with enormous power – a factor which wore on Namajunas in her most recent bout. It makes for an interesting stylistic matchup, and one we’re so keen to see.

RESULTS | UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal – Aussie Volk ends the Blessed era

IF you forgot how tense the atmosphere during just one UFC title fight is, allow us to remind you of the feeling with three in one night. That was exactly what was delivered at UFC 251, as Kamaru Usman and Alexander Volkanovski retained their titles, while Petr Yan joined the club at bantamweight with his late stoppage of Jose Aldo.

In a night which saw plenty of octagon time chewed up, all three title bouts entered the championship rounds, with a further six going the distance over 15 minutes. A TKO and submission stoppage buoyed the main card, but performance of the night honours went to two fighters from the undercard, who boasted the only KO’s of the event.

We recap all the main card action from the UFC’s first venture out to ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, including our immediate reactions and own scorecards.

>> SCROLL for full results.

FOTN: Andrade vs. Namajunas
POTN: Jiri Prochazka, Davey Grant

MAIN CARD

Kamaru Usman [C] def. Jorge Masvidal [3] | Decision (unanimous) 50-45, 50-45, 49-46

Reaction: Street Jesus endures a Nigerian Nightmare.

If you didn’t like it, I don’t care. Kamaru Usman‘s list of five round dominations now includes the name of one Jorge Masvidal, who put in a valiant effort against the undisputed champ, but had little in the way of answers on just six days notice.

Usman simply did what was required to win against a dangerous, experienced, and hungry opponent, grinding out the five rounds with a wealth of clinch control and chain wrestling to blanket Gamebred’s offence.

While Usman seldom concedes rounds, he may well have done so in this fight as Masvidal came out aggressively, throwing quick boxing combinations and showing no fear for his opponent’s wrestling credentials with a bunch of body kicks.

The frenetic pace was only momentarily slowed by Usman as he caught a kick early and later leant on Masvidal against the fence, but the Cuban-American had made his intentions very clear in Round 1.

That was where Masvidal’s momentum stopped, as Usman got to work in wearing on his opponent’s ability to defend takedowns, adjusting his advances and staying active in the clinch with knees, foot stomps, body shots, and shoulder strikes.

Two accidental head clashes saw Masvidal cut open on his forehead and eye, but in living up to his moniker, the former street fighter waded through the pressure with a psychopathic smile.

While his expression wouldn’t give as much away, Masvidal seemed to be slowing as Usman continued to go to work. His takedown entries were beautifully timed and while Masvidal was often able to power his way out of initial trouble, he could not withstand the second, third, and fourth attempts.

It became clear that Usman would be successful in enforcing his will once again, moving right back into the clinch for Round 4, and later laying on some heavy ground-and-pound to finish the fight.

Masvidal looked dangerous on the break and in space throughout, but had most weapons in his arsenal thwarted by an irresistible adversary.

We had it: 49-46 Usman – a straightforward one, Masvidal takes the first but it was all Usman from there, on.

What’s next: There are few challengers who look like matching Usman at the moment. Nonetheless, Gilbert Burns and Leon Edwards have earned their shots, while Colby Covington remains a worthy opponent for either man down the line.


Alexander Volkanovski [C] def. Max Holloway [1] | Decision (split) 48-47, 47-48, 48-47

Reaction: Vintage Max, but Volk belongs.

Not even a vintage Max Holloway performance could help the Blessed Express steamroll Alexander Volkanovski in their featherweight championship rematch, with the Australian retaining his title in a razor thin split decision nod.

Round 3 proved a pivot point for scoring, with Holloway winning out ever so slightly in significant strikes, but Volkanovski getting the points according to two judges.

The result spawned shades of the two-fight Holloway-Aldo rivalry, which saw the incoming champion forced to prove his initial victory was no fluke against one of the all-time greats.

Volkanovski did exactly as his predecessor had, ensuring Australia would still lay claim to a UFC champion despite facing heavy adversity.

The Hawaiian looked focussed and sharp from the off, utilising a more narrow stance and throwing his own leg kicks in response to those of Volkanovski. If you didn’t already know, Volkanovski used to be a 700-pound rugby player, but was again the clearly smaller man in terms of height, which Holloway used to his advantage in landing sweet uppercuts.

It seemed as if the Blessed Express was well en route to reclaiming the featherweight crown, with typically sharp striking seeing him drop the Australian twice across two decisive opening rounds – once with a head kick, and later with that aforementioned uppercut.

After the flip-of-a-coin third round, Volkanovski began to up the volume and get into range to inflict his desired style of fight. As was the case in the pair’s first meeting, Volkanovski’s leg kicks were beginning to take toll, and he added another element to the bout with grappling exchanges.

While Holloway managed to get back to his feet on almost every occasion, Volkanovski’s point scoring and octagon control saw him turn the tide in his favour.

The fight was poised at either 2-2, or 3-1 to Holloway depending on how you scored it, so Volkanovski was always going to be the aggressor in Round 5.

It proved a vital factor, as the remaining champion continued to up his output and land a big takedown late to clearly take out the final period.

Some thought the takedowns counted for too much, and that Holloway’s two knockdowns should have meant a hell of a lot more, but this fight was far from a robbery.

We had it: 48-47 Volkanovski – Round 3 was the key pivot point, we had Volkanovski edging it, and the final two periods. Holloway took 1 and 2 decisively.

What’s next: There are some killers at 145-pounds awaiting Volkanovski. Let’s see which of the top three (Zabit Magomedsharipov, Brian Ortega, and Chan Sung Jung) puts their hand up highest.


Petr Yan [3] def. Jose Aldo [6] | TKO (punches) 3:24 Rd 5

Reaction: Champion at 27? He might be there for a long time yet.

Petr Yan is the new, undisputed bantamweight champion after outlasting the legendary Jose Aldo across just over 23 minutes. The Russian boxing phenom simply got better as the fight wore on, eventually wilting his opponent in a brutal fight-ending sequence.

Aldo, the much more experienced man in terms of title fights looked sharp to begin with, matching the speed and power of Yan as the two stood toe-to-toe within boxing range.

The Brazilian’s trademark leg kicks and a slick jab proved his weapon of choice, while Yan’s right hand looked ominous across an evenly contested opening two rounds.

Some late ground-and-pound in Round 1 appeared to hurt Aldo, but he came out strongly after the fact to force the Russian into switching stances with those punishing kicks – one of which swept Yan off his feet.

After Round 3 returned another incredibly close period, the championship rounds were ironically where Yan began to take over.

The technical battle saw Aldo rip shots to the body and take no backwards steps, with either man responding to the other’s attacks instantly – racking up career bests for significant strikes landed.

But the pace is eventually what took toll on Aldo, as Yan continued to find his range with uppercuts, and inflict some hard ground-and-pound to send an ominous message heading into the final five minutes.

A big 1-2 stunned Aldo, with an advancing Yan sending him to the mat and hunting for the finish. Hard elbows and short, powerful punches looked to be breaking the Brazilian, who was in a terrible position and could only cover up.

In form reminiscent of Mario Yamasaki, the referee allowed Aldo to take a hell of an unnecessary beating as Yan poured on the unanswered shots, with the fight finally ended to hand the bantamweight boogeyman his deserved belt.

What’s next: Two words, Aljamain Sterling.


Rose Namajunas [2] def. Jessica Andrade [1] | Decision (split) 29-28, 28-29, 29-28

Reaction: THUG ROSE! ?THUG ROSE! ?THUG ROSE! ?

Thug Rose Namajunas exacted revenge on Jessica Andrade in what felt like a fourth title fight for the evening, edging out the Brazilian in yet another tight decision.

The former champion looked slick as the taller and longer woman, giving Andrade trouble with her intelligent distance management and footwork from the outset.

She had the credit in the bank across Rounds 1 and 2 on account of a greater volume of strikes and more effective offence, despite Andrade’s heavy hands threatening to again end the fight in a flash.

The Brazilian clearly took out Round 3, eventually catching up with Namajunas’ evasiveness to land cracking hooks and bloody up her nose. A hip toss late in the piece put Andrade on top as the American began to fade, but she hung in there for the win and even threw up some late submission attempts.

We had it: 29-28 Namajunas – a very close call, Namajunas pieced Andrade up on the feet to bank Rounds 1 and 2, but clearly gave up the third.

What’s next: For Rose, a title shot awaits.


Amanda Ribas [14 SW] def. Paige VanZant | Submission (armbar) 2:21 Rd 1

Reaction: So much for keeping away from the clinch. Ouft.

Amanda Ribas made quick work of Paige VanZant in their main card slot, submitting the fan favourite American within the first round.

The main story to come out of the result may unfortunately be VanZant’s lack of free agency leverage, having lost convincingly in what was the final fight on her UFC contract.

But the attention should be set firmly on Ribas, who put on a clinic in her one-off move up to flyweight to improve to 4-0 in the UFC, and 10-1 overall on the back of a five-fight win streak.

VanZant had made it clear she would look to stay away from Ribas’ clinch, but her attempts proved futile as the Brazilian popped some nice knees from that exact position, before landing a beautiful judo throw to bring the fight to the mat.

From there, she would step over as VanZant looked to slip out the back, snatching up an armbar and going bell-down to finish the job as the American tapped.

What’s next: Let’s get Ribas a top 10 opponent at strawweight, VanZant’s future is far less clear.

PRELIMINARY CARD

A mixed bag of preliminary card matchups saw two bouts finish early, and two go the distance as a couple of sleepers delivered on entertainment factor. UFC newcomer Jiri Prochazka headlined the finishes in his featured bout against former light heavyweight title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir, taking the seventh ranked fighter out in Round 2.

The fight promised not to go the distance and Prochazka ensured it wouldn’t, producing a clinical fight-ending sequence. The Czech native went low to high with his kick and wobbled Oezdemir, before hunting him down towards the fence and landing a massive right hand on the end of a jab to put ‘No Time’ out.

The newcomer’s mannerisms may take some getting used to, and his lack of a guard may be questionable to some, but there is no doubting his finishing ability with 24 KO/TKO victories across his 27 career wins.

In a bout which was also pitted as a potential barn-burner, Muslim Salikhov earned a tight split decision nod over Elizeu dos Santos at welterweight. In what was an incredibly technical battle fought almost exclusively on the feet, the ‘King of Kung Fu’ got the better of ‘Capoeira’ with his sharp counters, spinning kicks, and power punches.

Both corners believed their man was up 2-0 heading into the third round, and you could have flipped a coin for the result of this one. dos Santos had arguably the bigger moments as two nasty right hands seemed to wobble Salikhov, and even landed more strikes overall, but failed to claim the points.

The first submission of the night belonged to exciting Finnish prospect Makwan Amirkhani, who slept Danny Henry with his patented anaconda choke in the first round. The now 16-4 fighter out of SBG Ireland was methodical in his approach, downloading all the reads he needed before closing in with a flying knee, securing a takedown, and moving into submission territory.

The first and only venture to the mat saw Amirkhani almost immediately lock in an arm-in guillotine, before transitioning to that slick anaconda choke to yield the tap from Scotland’s Henry. He was all-class after the fact too, helping raise his unconscious opponent’s legs to bring him back.

The preliminary card curtain jerker made for one of the more frustrating 15-minute viewing experiences one could ask for, but Leonardo Santos would have no qualms about it having earned a unanimous decision victory.
His opponent, Roman Bogatov, went very close to having the bout stopped via DQ with two illegal groin shots and a knee to his grounded adversary. While the second groin shot looked to actually land on Santos’ midsection, the flagrant knee to his head while grounded saw Bogatov deducted two points.

Marc Goddard scolded him like a child and was rightly unhappy, although the deduction would have done little to change the final result as all three judges saw Santos winning two rounds to one.

RESULTS:

Jiri Prochazka def. Volkan Oezdemir [7] | KO (punch) 0:49 Rd 2

Muslim Salikhov def. Elizeu dos Santos | Decision (split) 30-27, 28-29, 29-28

Makwan Amirkhani def. Danny Henry | Submission (anaconda choke) 3:15 Rd 1

Leonardo Santos def. Roman Bogatov | Decision (unanimous) 29-26, 29-26, 29-26

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD

Marcin Tybura def. Alexander Romanov | Decision (unanimous)

Raulian Paiva [14] def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov | Decision (unanimous)

Karol Rosa vs. Vanessa Melo | Decision (unanimous)

Davey Grant def. Martin Day | KO (punch) 2:38 Rd 3

UFC Rankings update: May-June 2020

THE UFC has resumed full-time operations and with it comes the ever-changing rankings landscape. Four events have gone down since the promotion’s emphatic return at UFC 249 on May 9, with the only belt to change hands that of the interim lightweight strap belonging to Justin Gaethje. Among the big winners have been Gilbert Burns, Glover Teixeira, and Alistair Overeem, while their opponents all suffered drops down the rankings. The full, updated UFC rankings can be found here, and pound-for-pound list, here with changes soon to come after the weekend’s event.

HEAVYWEIGHT (206-265lbs)

Augusto Sakai ⬆️ [10]
Blagoy Ivanov ⬇️ [15]

Sakai’s co-main event decision victory over Ivanov saw him jump three places into 10th spot, while the Bulgarian slid the same amount to number 15 as the last of the ranked heavyweights. A random shuffle saw former champion Junior dos Santos move down to fifth, leaving Derrick Lewis clear in the number four spot. Those ranked 11-14 also moved around the two active men, with the MMA community now eagerly awaiting a trilogy fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier at the top.


WELTERWEIGHT (170lbs)

Gilbert Burns ⬆️ [1]
Tyron Woodley ⬇️ [4]

The big story to come out of the welterweight division was Burns’ rise to number one contendership, leapfrogging his opponent in former champion, Woodley, and the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards. The Brazilian earned a title shot against Kamaru Usman with his dominant decision victory, and it remains to be seen whether Conor McGregor, who swapped places with Anthony Pettis down to number 15, will be removed upon his shock retirement.


LIGHTWEIGHT (155lbs)

Justin Gaethje ⬆️ [IC]
Beneil Dariush ⬆️ [14]
Drew Dober ⬆️ [15]

The big risers at 155 pounds were Darisuh and Dober, who each earned berths in the rankings of late. Most recently, Dober’s eye-catching TKO of former ranked lightweight Alex Hernandez earned him a spot, while stretching his win streak out to three. Random shuffles saw the aforementioned pair land at 14 and 15 respectively, while Donald Cerrone swapped places with Islam Makhachev to move to 12th, and the McGregor situation makes for some confusion at the top. Of course, Gaethje earned a title unification bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov after defeating perennial contender, Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.


FEATHERWEIGHT (145lbs)

Calvin Kattar ⬆️ [6]
Dan Ige ⬆️ [11]
Arnold Allen ⬇️ [12]

A couple of rising prospects made the most significant leaps at featherweight, with Kattar moving to number six after defeating Jeremy Stephens at a 150-pound catchweight, while Ige continued his impressive run by defeating former lightweight contender, Edson Barboza via split decision. Allen, whose last fight was in January, was level with Ige in 11th spot, but moved one down to 12th in a random restructuring. A rematch between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway has also been marked for UFC 251.


BANTAMWEIGHT (135lbs)

There will soon be some division-defining movement at 135-pounds, with three massive bantamweight fights going down on the UFC 250 main card. Number two ranked Aljamain Sterling made yet another claim for his long-awaited title shot by submitting Cory Sandhagen in quick time, but it seems Jose Aldo [6] and Petr Yan [3] will scrap for the vacant belt. Former champ Cody Garbrandt [9] got back to winning ways with a massive knockout of veteran contender Raphael Assuncao [5], while Sean O’Malley pushed his case for a ranking with his own statement KO on the same night.


FLYWEIGHT (125lbs)

Brandon Royval ⬆️ [11]
Tim Elliott ⬇️ [12]
Mark De La Rosa ⬇️ [NR]

Royval is the new prospect on the block, debuting at number 11 in the flyweight rankings after defeating former title challenger, Elliott in a fight of the night scrap on the Woodley vs. Burns undercard. Numbers 12-15, including Elliott were shuffled down, with De La Rosa pushed out of his number 15 spot and thus, the rankings altogether. Alex Perez [9] will also be a big mover having defeated Jussier Formiga [4] on the latest card, with Joseph Benevidez and Deiveson Figueiredo set to rematch for the vacant title.

MENS POUND-FOR-POUND

Francis Ngannou ⬆️ [14]
Dominick Reyes ⬆️ [15]
Tyron Woodley ⬇️ [NR]
Henry Cejudo ⬇️ [NR]

WOMEN’S POUND-FOR-POUND

Nina Ansaroff ⬇️ [15]


WOMEN’S DIVISIONS

There has been no movement in any of the women’s divisions, but that may be soon about to change as flyweights Jessica Eye [1] and Cynthia Calvillo [10 SW] headline the promotion’s upcoming Fight Night. Amanda Nunes of course successfully defender her featherweight belt against Felicia Spencer in the latest PPV event, while number two flyweight Katlyn Chookagian dismantled Antonina Shevchenko [12] in their bout, and Angela Hill was denied a berth in the rankings after losing a tight decision to Claudia Gadelha. Carla Esparza and Sijara Eubanks were other ranked winners, and Mackenzie Dern may find herself among the strawweight numbers after submitting Hannah Cifers in quick time.