Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Bantamweight

Sep 25, 2007
BANTAMWEIGHT (135-125)

1. Akitoshi Hokazono (Pictures) (6-0-2)
The king of Shooto's 132-pound class, Hokazono remains one of MMA's largest enigmas. In effortless back-to-back thrashings of Marcos Louro and Kenji Osawa (Pictures) to capture the vacant Shooto crown, Hokazono looked like a pound-for-pound king. Yet, he only fights once or twice a year, and insists MMA is a hobby for him. Worse yet, his much-anticipated July title clash with former champ Ryota Matsune (Pictures) was cancelled after the oft-injured Matsune suffered a torn bicep and a broken rib. American promoters would be smart to nab the 30-year-old Osakan and give him a stage to let his potential shine through.

2. Marcos Galvao (Pictures) (6-1-0)
Long overdue for better paydays, the 26-year-old Brazilian has reportedly inked a four-fight deal with the WEC, and his management hopes he will make his U.S. debut at the Dec. 12 card headlined by Urijah Faber (Pictures) against Jeff Curran (Pictures). "Louro," an Andre Pederneiras disciple, will also be a guinea pig for pundits looking to see how strong divisional talents in North America -- where the weight class has only began to blossom -- stack up to competitors on the longer-established international circuit.

3. Koetsu Okazaki (Pictures) (5-0-1)
After an 18-month layoff, Okazaki returned in June 2006 and has rattled off successive wins over Hiroyuki Tanaka (Pictures), So Tazawa (Pictures) and Atsushi Yamamoto (Pictures) (Pictures). The well-rounded pupil of Dokonjonosuke Mishima (Pictures) is perhaps the best kept secret in Shooto's 132-pound division, and another solid win may make him the most worthy challenger to Hokazono's title.

4. Atsushi Yamamoto (Pictures) (11-4-1)
Yamamoto's decision to leave Pancrase, whose smallest weight class is 141 pounds, for pro Shooto where he can compete at his more natural weight of 132 pounds, continues to pay dividends. The "Kid" Yamamoto disciple took a dominant unanimous decision over standout grappler "Hadairo" Tetsu Suzuki (Pictures) on Sept. 22 and solidified his spot in the upper echelon of Shooto's 132-pound division.

5. Ryota Matsune (Pictures) (15-1-1)
After vacating the Shooto world title in Feb. 2005 and spending 18 months on the shelf due to a knee injury, it was hoped 2007 would offer a return to form for "The Shooto Junkie." Then, a week out from his much-anticipated July world title bout with Akitoshi Hokazono (Pictures), Matsune pulled out due to a broken rib and torn bicep. Matsune is only 25 and has plenty of time to get healed and back into peak form, but this is getting ridiculous.

6. Daniel Lima (Pictures) (8-2-2)
After starting off 2007 in strong fashion with two wins Down Under, the Australian-based Brazilian added some resolution to his Nov. 2005 draw with Kenji Osawa (Pictures) by taking a split decision over him Sept. 22 in Tokyo. The win will also rocket "Little Devil" up the Shooto world rankings, and hopefully into competition against some of Shooto's stronger competitors.

7. Kenji Osawa (Pictures) (12-7-1)
The charismatic Wajyutsu product came out on the wrong end of a split decision in his rematch with Daniel Lima (Pictures). How his two losses in a row will affect his desire to compete stateside is unknown, but thankfully Osawa's self-professed desire to face the best fighters in the world should see him remain in relevant competition.

8. Takeya Mizugaki (Pictures) (7-2-2)
The 2005 Shooto rookie MVP looked fantastic in his CAGE FORCE debut on Sept. 8, pelting veteran and noted sambist Kentaro Imaizumi (Pictures) en route to a unanimous decision win. Mizugaki has all the raw tools to become a champion, and at 23 years of age, time is on his side. Hopefully he will find a home on Sustain's Nov. 8 Shooto supercard.

9. Miguel Torres (Pictures) (19-1-0)
For most mixed martial arts fans, Sept. 5's win in the WEC against Jeff Bedard (Pictures) was the first opportunity to see the lanky bantamweight from Chicago. Torres' combination of striking and submissions make him an incredibly difficult fight for anyone in the division, and a showdown with WEC champion Chase Beebe (Pictures) would make for a compelling encounter.

10. Chase Beebe (Pictures) (11-1-0)
A big fish in a small but developing pond, the WEC's 135-pound champ looked fantastic in his grueling 25-minute title win over Eddie Wineland (Pictures) in March as well as his first defense on Sept. 5 against world-champion submission-grappler Rani Yahya (Pictures), also a five-round war. Beebe showed he possesses the submission acumen to not only defend but attack with joint locks and chokes at a world-class level.
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