MMA Rankings: Melendez Is The New #1

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Four major belts were on the line this weekend, two minor-league straps were up for grabs and another champion entered the cage for a non-title superfight.

On Fri. night, Maximum Fighting Championship made its first foray into newly MMA-friendly Ontario with MFC 29: Conquer. MFC Light Heavyweight Champion Ryan Jimmo was supposed to face Emmanuel Newton (#26) but following an injury, Newton was replaced by unranked middleweight Zak Cummings. Jimmo retained his title via unanimous decision but actually slipped a spot, from #21 to #22 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings. Cummings entered the Middleweight Rankings at #79.

MFC Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima took on challenger and UFC vet Terry Martin. Lima dispatched Martin quickly and enters the Welterweight Rankings at #36. Martin entered the fight ranking #75 at Middleweight and was reassigned to Welterweight, where he was installed at #121.

Fellow Octagon vets Hermes Franca, Marcus Davis, and Pete Spratt also appeared on the card. Full results can be viewed here.

One day later and a few “kilometres” to the east in Quebec, UFC vets Patrick Cote and Kalib Starnes tangled in the main event of Ringside MMA 10. Cote and Starnes came in ranked #61 and #63 in the Middleweight Rankings, respectively, but after Cote’s decision win, he jumped to #42 while Starnes dropped to #85.

Two Ringside belts were on the line as well, as Roger Hollett took home the Ringside Light Heavyweight Championship belt and Michel Gagnon claimed the Ringside Featherweight Championship.
Go here to view the full results.


Gilbert Melendez has been saying it and now our rankings agree – “El Nino” is the #1 lightweight in MMA. Melendez faced Tatsuya Kawajiri in a Strikeforce Lightweight Championship fight on Sat. night in San Diego, but it didn’t last long as Skrap Pack leader dominated, demolished and dismantled Kawajiri in the first round, skipping over the UFC’s top dogs from #3 to #1 in the Lightweight Rankings. Kawajiri slips from #10 to #14 following the loss.

In the main event, Nick Diaz beat Paul Daley at his own game – albeit after a scary knock-down – to retain the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship. Diaz’s first-round stoppage win moved him from #6 to #4 in the Welterweight Rankings, while Daley falls from #11 to #17.

Strikeforce can make legitimate match-ups for both Diaz and Melendez but what’s the point in feeding them Tyron Woodley and Justin WIlcox if they can book Diaz vs. GSP/Koscheck/Fitch/Penn or Melendez vs. Edgar/Maynard/Pettis/Guida? “Business as usual” might not be the best business for the new Zuffa.

The title fights were supported by Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine, Shinya Aoki vs. Lyle Beerbohm, and Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Robert Peralta. Mousasi vs. Jardine was a bit of a mess – “The Dreamcatcher” out-struck “The Mean One” but still can’t defend the takedown and lost a point in round one thanks to an illegal kick. The judges scored the bout a majority draw; it cost Mousasi his spot in the top 10 but helped Jardine jump back into the top 20. Mousasi dropped from #8 to #18 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings while Jardine vaulted from #51 to #19. The “Tobikan Judan” retained his #4 spot in the Lightweight Rankings with his quick submission win over “Fancy Pants”; Beerbohm held steady as well at #68. In a surprising and little talked-about twist, DREAM Featherweight Champion Takaya lost a split decision to unranked regional fighter Robert Peralta. Takaya slipped from #3 to #7 in the Featherweight Rankings. Takaya’s ranking was no fluke. His only recent losses were to top guys like Michihiro Omigawa and Bibiano Fernandes, which he followed up with wins over Chase Beebe, Joachim Hansen and Fernandes. Peralta has to log two more qualifying fights before he enters the rankings but will likely come in with a strong score thanks to his win over “The Streetfight Bancho.”

Go here to view the full results.


Also on Sat. night, Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren took on Nick Thompson in a non-title superfight at Bellator 40. “Funky” controlled “The Goat” throughout and moved up one spot, from #15 to #14 in the Welterweight Rankings, but that’s more likely due to the fact that Paul Daley fell back in the poll.

Jay Hieron scored a spot in the Welterweight Tournament final with a decision win over Brent Weedman. Hieron held on to his #19 ranking and Weedman dropped just one spot, from #45 to #46. Michael Chandler punched his ticket to the Lightweight Tournament final with a win over Lloyd Woodard. Chandler moved from #57 to #42 in the Lightweight Rankings.

Go here to view the full results.

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