Frankie Edgar file photo | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
We recognize Jose Aldo as the world’s best featherweight. Regarding the identities of the other top 145-pounders, well, that has become a bit fuzzier.
In a three-day span from Dec. 30 to Jan. 1, six Top 10 featherweights were in action, and, in two cases, they head-to-head with one another. The performances turned in were not exactly what people expected.
Hatsu Hioki had developed a reputation for not being the most strategically inclined fighter in the world. However, in his Sengoku Raiden Championship featherweight title bout with brutal-hitting Brazilian Marlon Sandro, Hioki was positively electric, taking apart Sandro on the feet and on the ground to capture the SRC crown in the most impressive performance of his already distinguished career.
On New Year’s Eve, another Brazilian champion fell, as Bibiano Fernandes had little offense to offer rival Hiroyuki Takaya in their rematch, as the “Streetfight Bancho” outlasted Fernandes over 20 minutes to take the Dream featherweight title.
Then, amidst the shadows of UFC 125, Brazilian Diego Nunes took his game to another level against former featherweight kingpin Mike Thomas Brown, earning a hard-fought split decision win and emerging in a new tier of competition in the rapidly intensifying 145-pound division.
And all of that is to say nothing of the thrilling UFC lightweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, which set the preliminary bar for 2011’s “Fight of the Year” and will lead to a third encounter between the 155-pound rivals later this year.
Continue Reading » Page Two: Heavyweight Rankings