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MMA Rankings: Henry Cejudo is the man of the moment

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Henry Cejudo throws out the first pitch before the Chicago Cubs game on Thursday.
(Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

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

Heavyweight

1. Daniel Cormier

2. Stipe Miocic

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3. Francis Ngannou

4. Junior Dos Santos

5. Curtis Blaydes

6. Alistair Overeem

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7. Derrick Lewis

8. Alexander Volkov

9. Cain Velasquez

10. Ryan Bader

Blagoy Ivanov picked up the most significant heavyweight win of the last month, besting Tai Tuivasa by decision to improve his record to 18-2 with 1 no contest. This weekend is an important heavyweight eliminator as Francis Ngannou takes on Junior Dos Santos. The winner is likely to get the next UFC title shot against the winner of a Daniel Cormier-Stipe Miocic rematch.

Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones

2. Ryan Bader

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3. Thiago Santos

4. Dominick Reyes

5. Anthony Smith

6. Corey Anderson

7. Glover Teixeira

8. Ilir Latifi

9. Johnny Walker

10. Phil Davis

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Anthony Smith rebounded from a title loss to Jon Jones impressively, submitting Alexander Gustafsson in Gustafsson’s home country. After the match, Gustafsson announced his retirement, frustrated by a lack of a clear path back into the title picture.

Middleweight

1. Robert Whittaker

2. Israel Adesanya

3. Yoel Romero

4. Luke Rockhold

5. Kelvin Gastelum

6. Jack Hermansson

7. Gegard Mousasi

8. Chris Weidman

9. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

10. Rafael Lovato Jr.

Rafael Lovato Jr. cracks the top 10 after a surprise upset win over Gegard Mousasi via majority decision. Lovato is now the unbeaten Bellator middleweight champion. Mousasi falls in the rankings but is still above Lovato because in spite of the close head-to-head loss, Mousasi’s overall resume remains markedly stronger than Lovato’s.

Welterweight

1. Kamaru Usman

2. Tyron Woodley

3. Colby Covington

4. Ben Askren

5. Rafael Dos Anjos

6. Rory MacDonald

7. Douglas Lima

8. Stephen Thompson

9. Jorge Masvidal

10. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Rory MacDonald followed up a shaky performance against Jon Fitch with a unanimous decision win over Neiman Gracie in the semifinals of Bellator’s welterweight grand prix tournament. MacDonald didn’t look at his most dangerous but he showed impressive submission defense. UFC signed a fight between Colby Covington and Robbie Lawler for August, delaying Covington’s hoped for title fight with Kamaru Usman.

Lightweight

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

2. Tony Ferguson

3. Dustin Poirier

4. Justin Gaethje

5. Donald Cerrone

6. Al Iaquinta

7. Edson Barboza

8. Gregor Gillespie

9. Charles Oliveira

10. Islam Makhachev

There was some controversy over an illegal blow at the end, but Tony Ferguson deserved plaudits for his performance against Donald Cerrone. The fight started off competitive but Ferguson pulled away in the second round and really put it on Cerrone. Ferguson unquestionably should challenge for the UFC lightweight title next.

Featherweight

1. Max Holloway

2. Alexander Volkanovski

3. Brian Ortega

4. Jose Aldo

5. Frankie Edgar

6. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

7. Zabit Magomedsharipov

8. Mirsad Bektic

9. Chad Mendes

10. Chan Sung Jung

The “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is back in the top ten after a quick knockout win over Renato Moicano. Jung is one of the sport’s most exciting fighters and the hope is he’ll be more active in the years to come. Calvin Kattar is also on the verge of making the top 10 after knocking out former title challenger Ricardo Lamas in the first round.

Bantamweight

1. Henry Cejudo

2. Marlon Moraes

3. Raphael Assuncao

4. Aljamain Sterling

5. Petr Yan

6. Jimmie Rivera

7. Cody Stamann

8. Pedro Munhoz

9. Kyoji Horiguchi

10. Cody Garbrandt

It was a busy month in the bantamweight division. Henry Cejudo captured the UFC bantamweight title with a come-from-behind win over Marlon Moraes. Next up for Cejudo might be Aljamain Sterling, who picked up a unanimous decision win over Pedro Munhoz. Petr Yan has also established himself as a force in the division and he picked up another win, this time over Jimmie Rivera by unanimous decision. Finally, Kyoji Horiguchi is now Bellator and Rizin champion after beating Darrion Caldwell by decision in New York.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Ketlen Vieira

3. Aspen Ladd

4. Germaine de Randamie

5. Raquel Pennington

6. Yana Kunitskaya

7. Marion Reneau

8. Sara McMann

9. Macy Chiasson

10. Lina Lansberg

Lina Lansberg breaks into the top 10 after a one-sided victory over Tonya Evinger. Aspen Ladd will get a big opportunity to headline a show in Sacramento above even the popular hometown favorite Urijah Faber in July when she meets Germaine de Randamie.

Women’s Flyweight

1. Valentina Shevchenko

2. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

3. Nicco Montano

4. Katlyn Chookagian

5. Andrea Lee

6. Jennifer Maia

7. Jessica Eye

8. Liz Carmouche

9. Joanne Calderwood

10. Alexis Davis

Valentina Shevchenko defended her UFC women’s flyweight title with an exclamation point, brutally knocking out Jessica Eye with a head kick. Shevchenko will be a tough challenge for any opponent. Andrea Lee and Katlyn Chookagian picked up important wins over Montana De La Rosa and Joanne Calderwood respectively to move closer to the title picture.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Jessica Andrade

2. Rose Namajunas

3. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

4. Tatiana Suarez

5. Nina Ansaroff

6. Claudia Gadelha

7. Livia Renata Souza

8. Carla Esparza

9. Weili Zhang

10. Michelle Waterson

Tatiana Suarez improved on her undefeated record with a unanimous decision win over Nina Ansaroff, but she exposed some vulnerabilities in the process as she grew tired after a series of takedown attempts and lost the third round. In a surprise, Weili Zhang will challenge next for Jessica Andrade’s title in China. It’s a big play for the Chinese MMA market.


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