Photo credit: Getty Images/UFC
Before he could become the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s all-time knockout leader, Derrick Lewis needed to test his submission defense.
Though it nearly cost him, “The Black Beast” passed the test against Alexey Oleynik and scored a second-round technical knockout in the UFC Fight Night 174 headliner in Las Vegas this past Saturday. Though he has his flaws, Lewis’ prodigious power has allowed him to hang around the upper-tier of the heavyweight division. If he slims down as planned, perhaps another leap could be in store. For now, the Houston native maintains his No. 6 ranking in our latest heavyweight poll.
Meanwhile, former middleweight champ Chris Weidman labored to a unanimous verdict over No. 14 Omari Akhmedov in the UFC Fight Night 174 co-main event. Once a fixture in the 185-pound rankings, “The All-American” returns to the poll at 14th, bumping his vanquished foe down one spot.
Elsewhere, a grind-it-out performance from Yana Kunitskaya against the unranked Julija Stoliarenko might not have won the Russian many new fans, but it does keep her firmly entrenched at No. 7 in the women’s bantamweight rankings. Rizin 22 saw No. 2 atomweight Ayaka Hamasaki submit No. 10 Tomo Maesawa in a 115-pound matchup, while No. 5 atomweight Kanna Asakura routed unranked Mizuki Furuse. Neither result resulted in a change to that division’s rankings. One day later, Kai Asakura brutalized Hiromasa Ougikubo at Rizin 23 to claim the vacant bantamweight belt and retain his spot at No. 13 in our 135-pound poll.
Finally, one housekeeping note this week: Brian Ortega, who has not competed since a loss to Max Holloway in December 2018, exits the featherweight poll due to inactivity. Everyone moves up one spot in his absence, allowing Arnold Allen to join the bubble at No. 15.
Note: Previous rankings listed in parentheses.
Continue Reading » Heavyweight
« Previous Ex-UFC Champ Luke Rockhold Hopes to Make Return Before End of This Year Next Zabit Magomedsharipov Announces He Will Not Fight at UFC Card on Aug. 29 »