Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings


May 28, 2009
In the last 12 months, MMA's light heavyweight throne has seen four different kings. The 205-pound crown now belongs to Lyoto Machida.

The unbeaten Brazilian turned in the most sterling performance of his career in what was on paper his sternest test to date. Belem's Shotokan ace blew the doors off of Rashad Evans in under nine minutes, cementing himself as the leader of the 205-pound pack, and setting up a fight with former ruler Quinton "Rampage" Jackson later this year.

Machida isn't the only Brazilian who has been hard at work remolding these rankings. In a year earmarked for featherweight action, unbeaten Nova Uniao prospect Marlon Sandro destroyed Nick Denis to stake his place in the featherweight division. Sandro also moved a step closer to a potential showdown with Japanese ace Hatsu Hioki, as Sengoku's 143-pound title is on the line. Meanwhile, BJJ world champion Bibiano Fernandes dominated leglock extraordinaire Masakazu Imanari to earn the biggest win of his young career.

Despite the successes of his countrymen, it was rough going for Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante. In his first bout in 13 months, the two-time Hero's tournament winner was stifled by Tatsuya Kawajiri. The bout was a must-win affair for both men as they looked to keep pace in MMA's deepest and most active division.

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