Alistair Overeem might not technically be on the rise in the latest official Sherdog.com rankings, but at this point in an always mercurial career, “The Reem” has solidified top-three status for himself.
With a beautiful second-round knockout of perennial divisional standout and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, in front of the first-ever Dutch UFC crowd in Rotterdam no less, Overeem has claimed a level of consistency he had yet to find in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Since starting his Octagon tenure 2-3 with three knockout losses, the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix winner has won four straight with three stoppages; and pending the outcome of another upcoming pairing of ranked heavyweights, Cain Velasquez and Travis Browne, he might finally have a chance to challenge for UFC gold.
Consistent grinding has also paid off for the likes of former UFC flyweight title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi and Invicta Fighting Championships bantamweight titleholder Tonya Evinger, who both rise in these rankings. The 25-year-old Horiguchi picked up his second win since being submitted by Demetrious Johnson at UFC 186 in 2015, stylishly dominating tough Irishman Neil Seery on the “Overeem vs. Arlovski” undercard and taking the No. 6 spot in these 125-pound rankings. Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Evinger, once considered a rugged gatekeeper, has now won nine straight bouts after a 25-minute domination of Colleen Schneider at Invicta 17. Evinger's surprising and steady late-career surge sees her rise to the top five at 135 pounds.
However, the biggest surprise of all involved another Invicta champion, as newly minted strawweight queen Angela Hill knocked off previously unbeaten Livia Renata Souza. Just a few months after starting her pro MMA career, Hill was thrust onto “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 and then into the UFC, facing a murderer's row of ranked strawweights: eventual inaugural UFC 115-pound champion Carla Esparza on the show, then Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas in the Octagon proper. It was too much too fast.
Now, Hill's persistence is paying off and her considerable upside is shining through in the Invicta cage in 2016: “Angie Overkill” is 3-0 on the year, destroying Alida Gray and Stephanie Eggink before taking Souza's unbeaten record, the Invicta title and the number 10 spot in our strawweight rankings.
Continue Reading » Heavyweight