MMA rankings: Cain Velasquez, Ronda Rousey remain No. 1

MMA rankings: Cain Velasquez, Ronda Rousey remain No. 1

The Times' MMA rankings for March:

Heavyweight

 

  1. Cain Velasquez
  2. Fabricio Werdum
  3. Junior Dos Santos
  4. Travis Browne
  5. Stipe Miocic
  6. Josh Barnett
  7. Mark Hunt
  8. Ben Rothwell
  9. Alistair Overeem
  10. Andrei Arlovski

 

Alistair Overeem was cautious against Roy Nelson, understandable given Nelson’s penchant for knocking opponents out and Overeem’s penchant for getting knocked out. The strategy paid off, as he landed enough hard shots from distance to earn a unanimous decision win. The win sets up Overeem for more big fights going forward. Moving in the opposite direction is Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who falls out of the top 10 after a brutal knockout loss to Frank Mir. Silva, no longer able to use testosterone replacement therapy legally, appears to be a fighter on the severe decline.

 

Light Heavyweight

 

  1. Jon Jones
  2. Anthony Johnson
  3. Daniel Cormier
  4. Alexander Gustafsson
  5. Rashad Evans
  6. Ryan Bader
  7. Phil Davis
  8. Glover Teixeira
  9. Ovince St. Preux
  10. Liam McGeary

 

The biggest light-heavyweight bout on the schedule is May’s title confrontation between UFC champion Jon Jones and challenger Anthony Johnson. It will be interesting to see how Jones can deal with Johnson’s striking power.

 

Middleweight

 

  1. Chris Weidman
  2. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
  3. Anderson Silva
  4. Lyoto Machida
  5. Vitor Belfort
  6. Luke Rockhold
  7. Gegard Mousasi
  8. Yoel Romero
  9. Thales Leites
  10. Tim Kennedy

 

There were questions about Anderson Silva’s future after he broke his leg in a fight with Chris Weidman in December of 2013. He returned to action at UFC 183, but the return created additional questions about the future of the all-time legend. Silva defeated Nick Diaz in a workmanlike performance but failed multiple drug tests in the process and awaits punishment. Thales Leites continued his recent surge with an impressive submission victory over Tim Boetsch.

 

Welterweight

 

  1. Robbie Lawler
  2. Rory MacDonald
  3. Johny Hendricks
  4. Tyron Woodley
  5. Ben Askren
  6. Hector Lombard
  7. Carlos Condit
  8. Demian Maia
  9. Matt Brown
  10. Dong Hyun Kim

 

Johny Hendricks rebounded from losing the UFC welterweight title to Robbie Lawler by dominating fellow contender Matt Brown. Brown had no answers for Hendricks’ wrestling and lost a clear cut unanimous decision. Tyron Woodley didn’t look great in the process but he picked up a decision win over formerly undefeated prospect Kelvin Gastelum.

 

Lightweight

 

  1. Rafael Dos Anjos
  2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  3. Anthony Pettis
  4. Donald Cerrone
  5. Ben Henderson
  6. Gilbert Melendez
  7. Eddie Alvarez
  8. Will Brooks
  9. Michael Johnson
  10. Tony Ferguson

 

In one of the most shocking results in quite a while, Rafael Dos Anjos destroyed Anthony Pettis to seize the UFC lightweight title. Pettis has looked like one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world for some time, but he had no answers for the Brazilian challenger. Dos Anjos outstruck Pettis early and then outwrestled him for most of the rest of the contest. Khabib Nurmagomedov has to be licking his chops, as he holds a decisive win over Dos Anjos last year and could be coming for the title in the very near future. Ben Henderson moved up in weight to 170 pounds and scored a big come from behind win there against rising star Brandon Thatch. Henderson appears likely to stay mostly at 155 for the time being. A pair of newcomers join the rankings for the first time. Michael Johnson outstruck Edson Barboza to win his fourth fight in the row, while Tony Ferguson took his fifth straight by submitting Gleison Tibau in the first round of their fight.

 

Featherweight

 

  1. Jose Aldo
  2. Chad Mendes
  3. Frankie Edgar
  4. Cub Swanson
  5. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire
  6. Conor McGregor
  7. Ricardo Lamas
  8. Dennis Bermudez
  9. Dustin Poirier
  10. Daniel Straus

 

A fun fight between fan favorites Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber has been signed for the main event of a card May 16 in the Philippines. Edgar and Faber are two of the most accomplished lighter weight fighters in the history of the sport.

 

Bantamweight

 

  1. T.J. Dillashaw
  2. Dominick Cruz
  3. Renan Barao
  4. Urijah Faber
  5. Raphael Assuncao
  6. Michael McDonald
  7. Takeya Mizugaki
  8. Bibiano Fernandes
  9. Joe Warren
  10. Marlon Moraes

 

Bibiano Fernandes continues to toil outside the limelight of the North American scene. The Brazilian fighter has won 16 of his last 17 bouts, dominating One Championship in Asia after doing the same in Japan’s Dream.

 

Women’s Bantamweight

 

  1. Ronda Rousey
  2. Miesha Tate
  3. Cat Zingano
  4. Sarah Kaufman
  5. Sara McMann
  6. Alexis Davis
  7. Jessica Eye
  8. Bethe Correia
  9. Amanda Nunes
  10. Holly Holm

 

The Mike Tyson comparisons continue to pick up steam, as Ronda Rousey laid waste to another capable opponent. Her 14 second submission of Cat Zingano followed a 16 second knockout of Alexis Davis and 66 second knockout of Sara McMann. The only opponent to make it out of the first round with Rousey is Miesha Tate, who also scored a win this month over fellow contender Sara McMann. Less impressive was the debuting Holly Holm, who still picked up a decision over Raquel Pennington. But the biggest challenge for Rousey down the line might be a world class jiu jitsu artist.

 

Flyweight

 

  1. Demetrious Johnson
  2. Joseph Benavidez
  3. John Dodson
  4. John Moraga
  5. Ian McCall

 

Women’s Strawweight

 

  1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
  2. Claudia Gadelha
  3. Jessica Aguilar
  4. Carla Esparza
  5. Joanne Calderwood
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