Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

The Contenders Matter, Too

By Staff Jul 18, 2017

This may not seem like much of an update. If we are being technical about it, we have just two new entries into the divisional rankings. With that being said, sometimes the MMA landscape extends beyond the top 10. In this sport, the contenders matter, too.

Felicia Spencer earned her third pro win at Invicta Fighting Championships 24 on July 15 in Kansas City, Missouri, choking out Amy Coleman in the first round. The “Feenom” may have a long way to go before she is ready to challenge the featherweight elite like Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, Julia Budd or Megan Anderson, but in the meantime, the 26-year-old Canadian continues to assert herself as one of the best up-and-comers in an intensifying division and a woman whose services should be coveted by both the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA. Spencer makes her rankings debut at No. 10.

A night prior, at Bellator 181 in Thackerville, Oklahoma, flyweight prospect Emily Ducote earned a win over Jessica Middleton and took a step out of the long shadow cast by Bellator poster girl Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who previously defeated her. With the win, "Gordinha" joins the 125-pound Top 10, knocking out China's Jingnan Xiong.

As we said, it is not all about who cracks our list of any weight class' 10 finest fighters; there are reasons we list a hypothetical No. 11 to 15 in every division. This update is proof positive of precisely why: Between Invicta 24 and UFC Fight Night 113 on July 16 in Glasgow, Scotland, we have five new fighters joining their divisional bubble lists.

Invicta's outcomes may have put Spencer in our Top 10, but Mara Romero Borella makes her debut on the contenders list, courtesy of her split decision over UFC veteran Milana Dudieva. Meanwhile, previously seventh-ranked featherweight Helena Kolesnyk suffered the first loss of her pro career, succumbing to a first-round armbar from Pam Sorenson. The latter missed weight for the bout, which is the deciding factor in the Minnesota native not joining our 145-pound list. Regardless, both women wind up on our featherweight bubble.

As for the UFC's trip to Scotland: Santiago Ponzinibbio, Cynthia Calvillo and Alexandre Pantoja are all fresh additions to our bubble lists, creeping just outside the top 10 of their respective divisions. Together, they have a combined pro record of 49-5, and all three are coming into their own as UFC contenders.

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