FIGHT! Rankings: Diaz Stays Put, “Jacare” Moves Into the Top Five

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(Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.)

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Two Strikeforce Championship belts were on the line on Sat. in San Jose, Calif., and both left with the men who brought them. Full results of Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg can be found here, and below you’ll find a full analysis of how the fights affected FIGHT!’s MMA Fighter Rankings.

Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz defended his belt on Sat., finishing Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos with an armbar at the end of round two. Diaz came into the fight #6 in our Welterweight Rankings and he left the fight in the same spot. Santos also stayed put at #35.

Diaz earned his top 10 ranking, finishing eight of his last nine opponents, but it’s unlikely that he’ll move into the top five until one of the guys ahead of him (GSP, Penn, Fitch, Shields, Koscheck) lose by stoppage in his next fight or GSP moves up to Middleweight permanently.

In a Strikeforce Middleweight Championship bout, the champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza weathered a storm from the challenger, Robbie Lawler, but finished “Ruthless” with a third-round rear naked choke. Souza jumps from #9 to #3 in FIGHT!’s Middleweight Rankings, while Lawler falls from #11 to #25.

There are several interesting top 25 opponents available for “Jacare” outside of the UFC, guys like Hector Lombard (#7), Paulo Filho (#17), Denis Kang (#18), Alexander Shlemenko (#22) and Siyar Bahadurzada (#23). The problem is that none of them are under contract with Strikeforce, either. In a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said he’d know more about Jacare’s next opponent “in a week or so.”

Roger Gracie made a statement in a Light Heavyweight feature bout, finishing Trevor Prangley with a RNC at 4:19 of round one. Gracie slides up two spots, from #20 to #18 in FIGHT!’s Light Heavyweight Rankings, while Prangley falls from #35 to #51.

In other action, James Terry leaps from #90 to #44 at 170 with a win over Lucas Gamaza, who enters our welterweight poll at #130. Nate Moore entered the Middleweight Rankings at #58 following his win over Nate Coy, who entered our Welterweight Rankings at #150. Ron Keslar enters the Welterweight poll at #80 after his win over Eric Lawson, who falls from #89 to #133 in the Middleweight Rankings. Isaiah Hill jumped from #158 to #91 in the Lightweight Rankings with a win over Bobby Stack. Stack falls from #63 to #125.

No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.

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