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MMA rankings: Tyron Woodley cements his top status

Tyron Woodley poses during the UFC 209 weigh-in event with his opponent Stephen Thompson, not pictur
Tyron Woodley
(Erik Verduzco / Associated Press)

A look at the Times’ MMA rankings for September, as complied by Todd Martin:

Heavyweight

1. Daniel Cormier

2. Stipe Miocic

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3. Curtis Blaydes

4. Alexander Volkov

5. Derrick Lewis

6. Francis Ngannou

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7. Alistair Overeem

8. Junior Dos Santos

9. Vitaly Minakov

10. Matt Mitrione

In an encouraging development for heavyweight MMA, Vitaly Minakov reached an agreement to return to Bellator. The unbeaten Russian star will have the opportunity to prove himself against higher caliber competition than he has abroad. Fabricio Werdum received a two-year suspension from USADA and has been removed from the rankings.

Light Heavyweight

1. Daniel Cormier

2. Alexander Gustafsson

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3. Ryan Bader

4. Phil Davis

5. Volkan Oezdemir

6. Ilir Latifi

7. Glover Teixeira

8. Misha Cirkunov

9. Jimi Manuwa

10. Corey Anderson

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Jan Blachowicz scored the biggest win of the month in the light heavyweight division, submitting Nikita Krylov after dominating him on the ground. Blachowicz has won four straight after a period where he lost four of five. Middleweight star fought his last bout at light heavyweight and won via TKO over Eryk Anders. Light heavyweight could be a good division for Santos.

Middleweight

1. Robert Whittaker

2. Yoel Romero

3. Gegard Mousasi

4. Luke Rockhold

5. Chris Weidman

6. Kelvin Gastelum

7. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

8. David Branch

9. Derek Brunson

10. Israel Adesanya

Bellator puts on one of its most intriguing fights ever this weekend when middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi takes on welterweight champion Rory MacDonald. It’s another opportunity for Mousasi to prove he is one of the world’s very best fighters against a dangerous challenge.

Welterweight

1. Tyron Woodley

2. Colby Covington

3. Darren Till

4. Stephen Thompson

5. Rory MacDonald

6. Kamaru Usman

7. Rafael Dos Anjos

8. Douglas Lima

9. Robbie Lawler

10. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Tyron Woodley scored one of the best wins of his career when he submitted Darren Till to retain the UFC welterweight title. Till came into the fight undefeated but Woodley was better standing, wrestling and submission grappling. Till was able to muster basically no offense as Woodley showed his class. Next up for Woodley is likely Colby Covington in a fight that could generate a lot of controversy given Covington’s lightning rod status.

Lightweight

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

2. Tony Ferguson

3. Dustin Poirier

4. Kevin Lee

5. Eddie Alvarez

6. Justin Gaethje

7. Edson Barboza

8. James Vick

9. Al Iaquinta

10. Anthony Pettis

One of the biggest fights in MMA history takes place October 6 when Khabib Nurmagomedov fights Conor McGregor for the UFC lightweight championship. It’s a clash of styles and of personalities, with the stakes as high as they get. James Vick directed a lot of negative words in the direction of Justin Gaethje, but it was Gaethje that had the last laugh when he knocked out Vick in the first round. It was an important win for Gaethje as he rebounded from the first losses of his career.

Featherweight

1. Max Holloway

2. Brian Ortega

3. Jose Aldo

4. Frankie Edgar

5. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

6. Chad Mendes

7. Renato Moicano

8. Mirsad Bektic

9. Alexander Volkanovski

10. Zabit Magomedsharipov

Zabit Magomedsharipov breaks into the top 10 with a submission win over Brandon Davis that improves his record to 16-1 with three UFC submissions. Magomedsharipov is already a fighter that other competitors aren’t eager to face. He’s one of many rising young stars in the talented 145 pound division.

Bantamweight

1. T.J. Dillashaw

2. Cody Garbrandt

3. Dominick Cruz

4. Raphael Assuncao

5. Marlon Moraes

6. Jimmie Rivera

7. Aljamain Sterling

8. John Lineker

9. Bibiano Fernandes

10. Darrion Caldwell

Jimmie Rivera rebounded solidly from a setback against Marlon Moraes by winning a clear decision over John Dodson. Rivera negated Dodson’s speed and controlled the pace and distance of the fight. Aljamain Sterling moves back into the top 10 with a high quality submission win over the surging Cody Stamann. Darrion Caldwell also picked up a win via knockout over Noad Lahat, albeit at featherweight rather than bantamweight.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Julianna Pena

3. Ketlen Vieira

4. Cat Zingano

5. Sarah Kaufman

6. Raquel Pennington

7. Marion Reneau

8. Sara McMann

9. Aspen Ladd

10. Leslie Smith

The women’s bantamweight division will add some depth as Germaine de Randamie and Tonya Evinger return to 135 after briefly moving up to 145 pounds. De Randamie will take on Raquel Pennington while Evinger will be tested by Aspen Ladd.

Flyweight

1. Henry Cejudo

2. Demetrious Johnson

3. Kyoji Horiguchi

4. Sergio Pettis

5. Joseph Benavidez

6. Jussier Formiga

7. Ray Borg

8. Deiveson Figueiredo

9. Alexandre Pantoja

10. Wilson Reis

Deiveson Figueiredo takes John Moraga’s spot in the top 10 after stopping him in the second round. The unbeaten Figueiredo has big aspirations at flyweight and time will tell how he does against the elite of the division.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Rose Namajunas

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

3. Jessica Andrade

4. Claudia Gadelha

5. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

6. Tatiana Suarez

7. Livia Renata Souza

8. Tecia Torres

9. Carla Esparza

10. Jessica Aguilar

No division was busier in the past month than women’s strawweight, with plenty of important bouts reshaping the top mix of the division. Joanna Jedrzejczyk will be moving up to 125 pounds to fight for the title there, leaving Jessica Andrade as the clear top challenger for Rose Namajunas’ title. Andrade brutally knocked out Karolina Kowalkiewicz, continuing Andrade’s dominant run at strawweight. Tatiana Suarez scored the biggest win of her career, grounding and pounding former champion Carla Esparza for an emphatic late stoppage. Meanwhile, Livia Renata Souza moved to 12-1 by making quick work of Alex Chambers.


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