MMA rankings: Israel Adesanya moves atop the middleweight list

Israel Adesanya, left, punches Robert Whittaker during UFC 243 earlier this month.
Israel Adesanya, left, punches Robert Whittaker during UFC 243 earlier this month.
(Getty Images)

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


1. Stipe Miocic

2. Francis Ngannou

3. Daniel Cormier

4. Curtis Blaydes

5. Junior Dos Santos

6. Alistair Overeem

7. Derrick Lewis

8. Alexander Volkov

9. Ryan Bader

10. Vitaly Minakov

Curtis Blaydes scored another UFC win when he went to town with punches and elbows on the ground against Shamil Abdurakhimov. Blaydes’ only career losses have been to the intimidating Francis Ngannou. Ryan Bader’s Bellator heavyweight title defense against Cheick Kongo didn’t go as planned. The bout was ruled a no contest when Kongo received an accidental eye poke.


Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones

2. Ryan Bader

3. Dominick Reyes

4. Thiago Santos

5. Anthony Smith

6. Corey Anderson

7. Glover Teixeira

8. Volkan Oezdemir

9. Johnny Walker

10. Phil Davis

Dominick Reyes picked up the biggest name victory of his career when he knocked out former UFC middleweight champion in under two minutes. Reyes wants a shot at Jon Jones but Jones seems to want an opponent with more star power next. Glover Teixeira is on the outside of the UFC title picture given he lost to Jon Jones before and he’s 39 years old, but he keeps winning against quality opposition. His split decision victory over Nikita Krylov was his third straight. All in all, it was an eventful month at 205 pounds with key fighters like Ovince St. Preux, Misha Cirkunov, Ion Cutelaba, Phil Davis and Vadim Nemkov all picking up wins.


1. Israel Adesanya

2. Robert Whittaker

3. Paulo Costa

4. Kelvin Gastelum

5. Yoel Romero

6. Gegard Mousasi

7. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

8. Rafael Lovato Jr.

9. Jared Cannonier

10. Jack Hermansson

Israel Adesanya captured the UFC middleweight title with a second round knockout of Robert Whittaker in Australia. Adesanya remains unbeaten in professional MMA and it appears he will take on knockout artist Paulo Costa next. Jared Cannonier cracks the top 10 after an upset win over Jack Hermansson. Cannonier is 3-0 since moving down from light heavyweight to middleweight. Gegard Mousasi scored a close decision victory in Bellator over former UFC champion Lyoto Machida.


1. Kamaru Usman

2. Colby Covington

3. Tyron Woodley

4. Jorge Masvidal

5. Douglas Lima

6. Leon Edwards

7. Stephen Thompson

8. Rory MacDonald

9. Santiago Ponzinibbio

10. Demian Maia

Douglas Lima regained the Bellator welterweight title and won their welterweight grand prix tournament when he bested Rory MacDonald by a wide unanimous decision. Lima has long been neglected the full credit he deserves as a fighter but that may have changed with this win. Demian Maia moves back into the top 10 after choking out Ben Askren with a rear naked choke. Askren has lost two straight after beginning his career 19-0.



1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

2. Tony Ferguson

3. Dustin Poirier

4. Justin Gaethje

5. Gregor Gillespie

6. Islam Makhachev

7. Donald Cerrone

8. Al Iaquinta

9. Paul Felder

10. Charles Oliveira

Khabib Nurmagomedov successfully defended the UFC lightweight title against Dustin Poirier, dominating Poirier on the ground and eventually submitting him. Next up is likely Tony Ferguson but right in line after Ferguson is Justin Gaethje, who scored a quick TKO victory over Donald Cerrone. Islam Makhachev continues to move up the rankings with his sixth straight UFC win while Paul Felder breaks into the top 10 with a split decision win over Edson Barboza.


1. Max Holloway

2. Alexander Volkanovski

3. Brian Ortega

4. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

5. Jose Aldo

6. Zabit Magomedsharipov

7. Frankie Edgar

8. Josh Emmett

9. Calvin Kattar

10. Yair Rodriguez

Juan Archuleta was surging heading into his Bellator grand prix bout against Patricio Freire but Freire seemed unaffected by Archuleta’s recent dominance. Freire controlled pretty much the entirety of the fight and advances to the next round of the tournament. Yair Rodriguez moves back into the top 10 after defeating Jeremy Stephens in a grudge match in Boston. Meanwhile, A.J. McKee is close to cracking the top 10 as the top prospect in the sport knocked out Georgi Karakhanyan in a mere 8 seconds.


1. Henry Cejudo

2. Marlon Moraes

3. Cory Sandhagen

4. Petr Yan

5. Raphael Assuncao

6. Aljamain Sterling

7. Jimmie Rivera

8. Cody Stamann

9. Pedro Munhoz

10. Bibiano Fernandes

Bibiano Fernandes moves back into the top 10 after ending his rivalry with Kevin Belingon by submitting Belingon in Tokyo for One Championship. There’s not much on tap at 135 pounds, with one of the few scheduled major bouts coming in December when Cody Stamann provides Song Yadong the toughest challenge of the young Chinese fighter’s career in Washington, DC.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Ketlen Vieira

3. Germaine de Randamie

4. Julianna Pena

5. Aspen Ladd

6. Raquel Pennington

7. Yana Kunitskaya

8. Holly Holm

9. Marion Reneau

10. Irene Aldana

Macy Chiasson appeared as if she was on the verge of big things at bantamweight when she ran into Lina Lansberg and Lansberg handed her the first loss of her young career. Irene Aldana moves into the top 10 after picking up a unanimous decision win over Vanessa Melo.

Women’s Flyweight

1. Valentina Shevchenko

2. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

3. Katlyn Chookagian

4. Jennifer Maia

5. Joanne Calderwood

6. Andrea Lee

7. Jessica Eye

8. Liz Carmouche

9. Viviane Araujo

10. Vanessa Porto

Joanne Calderwood picked up the most significant win of the month in the women’s flyweight division when she beat Andrea Lee by split decision. The veterans in the division are jockeying for position with young stars like Maycee Barber making waves on their way up.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Weili Zhang

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

3. Jessica Andrade

4. Rose Namajunas

5. Tatiana Suarez

6. Nina Ansaroff

7. Claudia Gadelha

8. Carla Esparza

9. Michelle Waterson

10. Cynthia Calvillo

It’s difficult to sort out 2 through 4 in the division as Joanna Jedrzejczyk lost to Rose Namajunas but beat Jessica Andrade while Namajunas beat Jedrzejczyk but lost to Andrade and Andrade beat Namajunas but lost to Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk gets the nod based on the overall strength of her resume. Carla Esparza was victorious by majority decision in Mexico over Alexa Grasso in a decision the locals did not approve of.