By Michael Ford
Movers & Shakers summarizes changes to the MMA Ratings Top 15 Weekly Men's Divisional Rankings across the various weight classes, based on the previous week's fights. As fighter rankings move, and divisions are shaken up, it attempts to explain the rationale behind the shifts, based on our Rankings methodology. It also highlights the fights and fighters to watch for the current week.
The 135-pound weight class features #11 Marlon Moraes in action this weekend, in his first fight since defeating the 13th-ranked Tyson Nam at WSOF 2 in March. His issue is going to be quality of opposition, as the UFC's bantamweight division is deeper, affording fighters like Yuri Alcantara, TJ Dillashaw, and George Roop (who sits just outside the Top 15) the opportunity to rise rapidly in the rankings.
"The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung returns to the featherweight rankings at #9, after a strong showing against the world's top featherweight at UFC 163. Jose Aldo has now racked up wins against four fighters currently in the division's Top 10: Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson, and Jung. Bellator featherweight Patricio Freire bounced back from his very close decision loss to #3 Pat Curran to score a win at Bellator 97, and he now looks ahead to a showdown with Diego Nunes at Bellator 99, which could get him into the Top 10. The bottom half of the Top 15 is extremely volatile, with a whole host of fighters knocking on the door just below them.
August 12 will mark the end of Frankie Edgar's time in the lightweight rankings, as it will mark the 366th day since his controversial defeat to Benson Henderson at UFC 150. Bellator's lightweight champion, Michael Chander, is doing his part to retain his Top 5 ranking, but could be leapfrogged if Anthony Pettis can again defeat Henderson at UFC 164. Rumors suggest that a rematch of his 2011 Fight of the Year against Eddie Alvarez (currently ranked #6) will be his next fight, which is probably the best opponent Bellator can give him.
Robbie Lawler held on to his #15 ranking when he emerged victorious at UFC on Fox 8, while Rory MacDonald was finally able to garner the Top 10 win to justify his hype when he defeated Jake Ellenberger on the same show. Middleweight remains unchanged since Chris Weidman altered the divisional landscape at UFC 162, though matchups in the coming months could change that.
But by far the biggest outcome of the past weekend was Phil Davis' controversial decision win over Lyoto Machida, which upset the apple cart in a major way. Davis has only lost to Rashad Evans, who was defeated handily by Machida, and upset by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156, who Davis also has a win over. Davis has also defeated the #3 light heavyweight, Alexander Gustafsson. With wins over #3, #4, and #5, Davis lays claim to the #2 spot, below Jon Jones, who has defeated the division's #4, #6, #8, #10, and #11, with Gustaffson next on the menu. Fans may not think that "Mr. Wonderful" defeated "The Dragon," but the consequences of the win cannot be denied. The top of the division is shaken up.
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Click HERE for the full rankings, and check back next week to find out how the rankings move, and the divisions shake out.