FIGHT! Rankings: Big Names, Little Shows
It was easy to get caught up in the hype of UFC 121 but there were actually a number of FIGHT! Magazine-ranked fighters competing on smaller cards around the globe last weekend. Between Strikeforce Challengers 11, DEEP Impact 50, W-1: New Ground, ADFC II, and Ring of Combat 32, there was a lot of movement in our rankings – read on to find out who moved where.
(Voelker and Bowling go at it. Image courtesy of Strikeforce.)
Lavar Johnson returned from a gunshot wound to fight in Fresno last Friday but the big story was Bobby Voelker’s stoppage win over Roger Bowling. Voelker moves from #98 to #54 in our Welterweight Rankings with the win over the unranked Bowling. The prospect will enter FIGHT!’s rankings after his third qualifying fight. Johnson moved up three spots, from #34 to #31, in our Heavyweight Rankings with his tune-up win over unranked Virgil Zwicker. Billy Evangelista sat tight after his win over Waachiim Spiritwolf, holding on to #71 in our Lightweight Rankings. Strikeforce undercard vet David Douglas moved from #106 to #96 with his win over unranked Dominic Clark.
Japanese developmental league DEEP celebrated ten years and 50 Impact shows with a star-studded affair in Tokyo. DEEP alumnus Shinya Aoki showed up to cash a paycheck against champion boxer and MMA neophyte Yokthai Sithoar. Aoki won the mismatch easily and retained his #3 spot in our Lightweight Rankings. Katsunori Kikuno retained his DEEP Lightweight Championship title with a majority decision over unranked Nobuhiro Obiya but fell hard in the polls, dropping from #30 to #53 in our Lightweight Rankings because of the weak performance against an unranked opponent. Fellow belt holder Yuya Shirai retained his DEEP Welterweight Championship belt with a win over unranked Shigetoshi Iwase and entered our Welterweight Rankings at #68. Masakazu Imanari held tight at #33 in our Featherweight Rankings with a win over Daiki Hata, who enters our rankings at #58. Ikuhisa Minowa and Sanae Kikuta both held on to their spots (#27 and #43, respectively) in our Middleweight Rankings with their wins over unranked and over-matched opponents. Ryo Chonen jumped back into the top 50 with a win over Korean Jun Hee Moon, moving from #85 to #45 in our Welterweight Rankings with the win while Moon enters the polls at #124. Yoshiro Maeda is back in the top 25 at Bantamweight, climbing from #40 to #22 with his decision win over Takafumi Otsuka, who enters the rankings at #68.
Canadian promotion W-1 moved into Nova Scotia over the weekend, bringing with them a smattering of big league veterans and buzz-worthy prospects. In the main event, former Strikeforce title contender Brett Rogers decisioned journeyman Ruben Villareal; Rogers sits tight at #16 in our Heavyweight Rankings, while previously unranked Villareal enters the rankings at #64. In the co-main event, Murilo Rua lost a decision, and likely his shot of being signed to the UFC in the immediate future, to formerly unranked Cesar Gracie product Roy Boughton. Rua falls from #51 to #95 in our Middleweight Rankings while Boughton enters our Light Heavyweight Rankings at #72. UFC vet Doug Evans secured his first win on a FIGHT! Rankings-qualifying card and moved from #67 to #51 in our Featherweight poll.
Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship produced its second card over the weekend and the two biggest names on the bill both lost. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou continues to struggle as he lost by TKO to unranked Shamil Abdurahimov. Sokoudjou falls from #50 to #85 in our Light Heavyweight Rankings, while Abdurahimov put himself on the radar with wins over Jeff Monson and Sokou in his first two FIGHT! Rankings qualifying fights. British slugger Neil Wain fell from #65 to #86 in our Heavyweight Rankings after his loss to unranked Marcos Oliveira.
Results from UCMMA Unbelievable and Ring of Combat 32 have been added to our database but did not represent any meaningful movement in the rankings at this time.