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MMA rankings: Fabricio Werdum shows why he is a top fighter

MMA rankings: Fabricio Werdum shows why he is a top fighter
Fabricio Werdum, right, strikes Travis Browne during UFC 203 in Cleveland on Sept. 10, 2016. Werdum won by unanimous decision. (Rey Del Rio / Getty Images)

The Times’ MMA rankings for October, as compiled by Todd Martin

Heavyweight

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1. Stipe Miocic

2. Alistair Overeem

3. Fabricio Werdum

4. Cain Velasquez

5. Junior Dos Santos

6. Vitaly Minakov

7. Francis Ngannou

8. Mark Hunt

9. Derrick Lewis

10. Alexander Volkov

Fabricio Werdum had his opponent switched at the last minute at UFC 216, when Derrick Lewis was unable to compete due to injury. Werdum’s new opponent was Walt Harris, with the pressure all on Werdum to excel against a less acclaimed foe. Werdum did just that, taking Harris down and dominating him on the ground. Werdum won with an armbar in 65 seconds, demonstrating his elite submission game. It was a rougher month for Mark Hunt. After he penned an article detailing some of the brain issues he has gone through as a well-traveled veteran of the fight game, UFC yanked him from his upcoming fight due to concerns about his health.

Light Heavyweight

1. Daniel Cormier

2. Alexander Gustafsson

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3. Ryan Bader

4. Phil Davis

5. Volkan Oezdemir

6. Glover Teixeira

7. Jimi Manuwa

8. Misha Cirkunov

9. King Mo Lawal

10. Nikita Krylov

Ovince St. Preux made a move back toward the top 10 with his second consecutive win, this time over Yushin Okami. OSP picked up the win with what has become his specialty, the Von Flue choke. It wasn’t to Okami’s credit that he attempted an out of position guillotine choke despite OSP’s propensity to exploit that mistake.

Middleweight

1. Michael Bisping

2. Robert Whittaker

3. Yoel Romero

4. Luke Rockhold

5. Gegard Mousasi

6. RonaldoJacareSouza

7. Chris Weidman

8. David Branch

9. Kelvin Gastelum

10. Derek Brunson

The UFC middleweight title will be on the line November 4 at Madison Square Garden when Georges St. Pierre returns to fight Michael Bisping. After that, hopefully interim champion Robert Whittaker will finally get his crack at the title and there will be clarity in the division. Gegard Mousasi had some difficulty, but he picked up a win in his Bellator debut. Alexander Shlemenko closed one of Mousasi’s eyes and Mousasi was forced to rely on his ground game to secure the decision win.

Welterweight

1. Tyron Woodley

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2. Robbie Lawler

3. Stephen Thompson

4. Rory MacDonald

5. Demian Maia

6. Ben Askren

7. Douglas Lima

8. Rafael Dos Anjos

9. Jorge Masvidal

10. Colby Covington

Darren Till picked up easily the biggest win of his career with a first round knockout of Donald Cerrone in Poland. Till’s striking looked like just too much against the veteran Cerrone, something we’ve rarely seen before. Till will surely get more top opponents in 2018 and an opportunity to solidify his place amongst the best at 170 pounds.

Lightweight

1. Conor McGregor

2. Tony Ferguson

3. Khabib Nurmagomedov

4. Justin Gaethje

5. Eddie Alvarez

6. Edson Barboza

7. Kevin Lee

8. Michael Chiesa

9. Beneil Dariush

10. Anthony Pettis

Tony Ferguson was crowned UFC interim lightweight champion with a win over Kevin Lee via triangle choke submission. This means Ferguson is the logical next opponent for Conor McGregor when McGregor returns to the Octagon. In other action, Beneil Dariush fought to a draw in an exciting contest against Evan Dunham.

Featherweight

1. Max Holloway

2. Jose Aldo

3. Frankie Edgar

4. Ricardo Lamas

5. Cub Swanson

6. PatricioPitbullFreire

7. Doo Ho Choi

8. Chan Sung Jung

9. Darren Elkins

10. Brian Ortega

The top featherweight action this month took place in Bellator. One former featherweight champion Pat Curran picked up a clear decision over John Teixeira, while another former featherweight champion Daniel Straus succumbed to a triangle choke submission against Emmanuel Sanchez.

Bantamweight

1. Cody Garbrandt

2. Dominick Cruz

3. T.J. Dillashaw

4. Raphael Assuncao

5. Jimmie Rivera

6. Marlon Moraes

7. Bibiano Fernandes

8. John Lineker

9. Aljamain Sterling

10. Darrion Caldwell

Darrion Caldwell captured the Bellator bantamweight championship from Eduardo Dantas in the biggest fight of Caldwell’s relatively young career. The former NCAA wrestling champion has an elite athletic pedigree and has been favored by the oddsmakers in every fight of his career.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Valentina Shevchenko

3. Julianna Pena

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4. Holly Holm

5. Cat Zingano

6. Raquel Pennington

7. Ketlen Vieira

8. Alexis Davis

9. Germaine de Randamie

10. Sara McMann

Undefeated in the Invicta organization, Aspen Ladd was successful again in her UFC debut. Ladd struggled with Lina Lansberg’s standup in the first round but grounded Lansberg in the second and overwhelmed her with strikes for the TKO stoppage. Ladd appears to be a potential contender at just 22-years-old.

Flyweight

1. Demetrious Johnson

2. Joseph Benavidez

3. Henry Cejudo

4. Kyoji Horiguchi

5. Jussier Formiga

6. Sergio Pettis

7. Ray Borg

8. Wilson Reis

9. Brandon Moreno

10. John Moraga

Demetrious Johnson broke the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses in style, defeating Ray Borg with a beautiful suplex into an armbar. It was one of the most impressive submission finishes in MMA history. Jussier Formiga and John Moraga also picked up key wins. Formiga submitted Ulka Sasaki in Sasaki’s native Japan while Moraga knocked out Magomed Bibulatov in a massive upset.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

2. Jessica Andrade

3. Claudia Gadelha

4. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

5. Rose Namajunas

6. Tecia Torres

7. Carla Esparza

8. Maryna Moroz

9. Jessica Aguilar

10. Cynthia Calvillo

Jessica Andrade scored a major win when she defeated Claudia Gadelha via unanimous decision. Andrade became the first opponent besides champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk to beat Gadelha and she did it in a more one-sided fashion. Karolina Kowalkiewicz also picked up a big win in dominant fashion over Jodie Esquibel. Andrade, Gadelha and Kowalkiewicz have all lost to Jedrzejczyk, a signal of just how good Jedrzejczyk is. Rose Namajunas will be the next fighter to get a crack at Jedrzejczyk.

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