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Big month for fights sees movement in the Times’ MMA rankings

Fabricio Werdum.
(Getty Images)

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

Heavyweight

1. Stipe Miocic

2. Alistair Overeem

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3. Fabricio Werdum

4. Cain Velasquez

5. Junior Dos Santos

6. Vitaly Minakov

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7. Francis Ngannou

8. Mark Hunt

9. Derrick Lewis

10. Alexander Volkov

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Fabricio Werdum picked up another win in Australia, besting Marcin Tybura by decision. Unfortunately, Werdum got more press on the trip for throwing a boomerang at welterweight Colby Covington. An important heavyweight showdown takes place at UFC 218 Saturday when Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou compete looking for a potential title shot at Stipe Miocic.

Light Heavyweight

1. Daniel Cormier

2. Alexander Gustafsson

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3. Ryan Bader

4. Phil Davis

5. Volkan Oezdemir

6. Glover Teixeira

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7. Jimi Manuwa

8. Misha Cirkunov

9. King Mo Lawal

10. Nikita Krylov

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Bellator will run a unique heavyweight tournament in 2018. While contested at heavyweight, the tournament will feature many of Bellator’s best light heavyweights as well, including Ryan Bader and King Mo Lawal. It remains to be seen how these fighters will do at the higher weight class.

Middleweight

1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Robert Whittaker

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3. Yoel Romero

4. Luke Rockhold

5. Gegard Mousasi

6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

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7. Chris Weidman

8. Kelvin Gastelum

9. Michael Bisping

10. Derek Brunson

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Georges St. Pierre returned from retirement to capture the UFC middleweight title from Michael Bisping via rear naked choke. The question is now whether St. Pierre will defend the title against interim titleholder Robert Whittaker. Bisping returned to action a few weeks later and lost again, this time via brutal knockout against Kelvin Gastelum. In other action, Derek Brunson scored a quick knockout of former champion Lyoto Machida.

Welterweight

1. Tyron Woodley

2. Robbie Lawler

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3. Stephen Thompson

4. Rory MacDonald

5. Ben Askren

6. Douglas Lima

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7. Colby Covington

8. Demian Maia

9. Rafael Dos Anjos

10. Darren Till

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Colby Covington picked up the biggest win of his career when he topped Demian Maia by decision. In the process, he made plenty of enemies with his disparaging remarks about the country of Brazil. Ben Askren won what was billed as his retirement fight for One Championship against Shinya Aoki. The undefeated Askren has made it clear he would be willing to fight again if it was the right fight. Stephen Thompson took care of business against crafty veteran Jorge Masvidal in Madison Square Garden to demonstrate he remains one of the world’s best welterweights.

Lightweight

1. Conor McGregor

2. Tony Ferguson

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3. Khabib Nurmagomedov

4. Justin Gaethje

5. Eddie Alvarez

6. Edson Barboza

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7. Kevin Lee

8. Dustin Poirier

9. Michael Chiesa

10. Beneil Dariush

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Dustin Poirier was electric again in a fantastic fight against Anthony Pettis that he won when Pettis suffered a rib injury. Poirier is one of the most exciting fighters in the division. Hard luck James Vick still can’t creep into the top ten even as he raised his UFC record to 8-1 with a knockout of Joseph Duffy. Beneil Dariush retains the tenth spot and he is the only fighter to beat Vick in UFC (Vick also lost an Ultimate Fighter bout that is technically considered an exhibition).

Featherweight

1. Max Holloway

2. Jose Aldo

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3. Frankie Edgar

4. Ricardo Lamas

5. Cub Swanson

6. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

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7. Doo Ho Choi

8. Chan Sung Jung

9. Darren Elkins

10. Brian Ortega

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After Frankie Edgar suffered an injury, Jose Aldo will get a rematch with Max Holloway for the UFC featherweight title Saturday night. It’s a tough predicament for both men. If Holloway wins again, he won’t receive as much credit as for defeating a new opponent. If Aldo loses, it could create the perception that he’s a fighter on the decline.

Bantamweight

1. T.J. Dillashaw

2. Cody Garbrandt

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3. Dominick Cruz

4. Raphael Assuncao

5. Jimmie Rivera

6. Marlon Moraes

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7. Bibiano Fernandes

8. John Lineker

9. Aljamain Sterling

10. Darrion Caldwell

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It was a big month in the bantamweight division. At UFC 217, T.J. Dillashaw recaptured the UFC bantamweight title in a great fight against Cody Garbrandt that ended via knockout. Raphael Assuncao scored his most emphatic win in ages, knocking out Matthew Lopez. Marlon Moraes picked up his first UFC win, a close decision against John Dodson that could have gone either way. Meanwhile, John Lineker scored another win against the much longer Marlon Vera.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Valentina Shevchenko

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3. Julianna Pena

4. Holly Holm

5. Cat Zingano

6. Raquel Pennington

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7. Ketlen Vieira

8. Alexis Davis

9. Germaine de Randamie

10. Sara McMann

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Holly Holm won’t be in this division for her next fight, as she moves up to 145 pounds again to take on Cris “Cyborg” Justino for the UFC featherweight title. It’s probably the most marketable women’s fight that can presently be made. The bantamweight division isn’t in great shape with few top title challengers.

Flyweight

1. Demetrious Johnson

2. Joseph Benavidez

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3. Henry Cejudo

4. Kyoji Horiguchi

5. Jussier Formiga

6. Sergio Pettis

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7. Ray Borg

8. Wilson Reis

9. Brandon Moreno

10. John Moraga

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Henry Cejudo returns to action Saturday against Sergio Pettis. Cejudo has looked much improved in recent fights as he has added dangerous striking to go with his elite wrestling background. Pettis is on something of a roll himself but he will have his hands full with Cejudo.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Rose Namajunas

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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3. Jessica Andrade

4. Claudia Gadelha

5. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

6. Tecia Torres

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7. Carla Esparza

8. Maryna Moroz

9. Jessica Aguilar

10. Cynthia Calvillo

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Rose Namajunas scored one of the biggest upsets in quite some time when she finished Joanna Jedrzejczyk with punches in the first round at UFC 217. The formerly undefeated Jedrzejczyk had dominated the strawweight division until running into Namajunas, a soft-spoken feel good story.


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