In the five-year history of these rankings, Hatsu Hioki has been up and down this list. Though he’s still more top-shelf than bottom-of-the-barrel, the Japanese standout’s latest misstep has given another fighter entry to these rankings.
Let us not mince words about what went down June 22 in Atlantic City, N.J.: though Hioki was flawed, it was Lamas’ sturdy boxing and sneaky guillotine attacks that led him to three 29-28 scorecards and the biggest win of his still-developing career. The win not only puts Hioki in a form of no man’s land at 145 pounds with the former Shooto world champion having turned down a crack at Jose Aldo’s title to fight Lamas, but it boosts “The Windy City’s” Lamas far ahead in the featherweight rat race.
That night in Jersey, however, Lamas wasn’t the only “Bully” with serious ranking points on the line that needed to come up big. Former UFC lightweight title challenger Gray Maynard certainly did his part.
Entering his UFC on FX 4 main event bout with fellow top-10 entrant Clay Guida, Maynard was in need of a win to buoy himself in the ultra-competitive lightweight division, returning from his two unsuccessful challenges of Frankie Edgar. While the 25-minute decision was unlikely to make too many “Best of 2012”-type lists, Maynard’s resolve to chase a fleeing Guida and swing with abandon marked a small sea change of sorts, as fans finally seemed to embrace the former Michigan State Spartan in a way he’d previously been unable to access.
And not that we haven’t been treated to some sterling Brazilian performances as of late with the UFC’s hitting Belo Horizonte for UFC 147, but we now wait with bated breath for the finest Brazilian of them all to embark upon his title rematch -- perhaps the “real” UFC 147 main event? -- at UFC 148. We are under two weeks away from Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen and “The Spider” has already promised us amateur dentistry. Bring the fascinating pages of history these middleweights have to pen for us.
Continue Reading » MMA Heavyweight Rankings