Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Break-In Atoms

By Staff Oct 18, 2017

The time to learn about atoms has come, and no, this certainly is not chemistry or physics class.

Rizin Fighting Federation’s bantamweight grand prix has received more attention but at Rizin’s “Aki No Jin” on Oct. 15 in Fukuoka, Japan, the women’s atomweight bracket was making noise. The card was headlined by Shoot Boxing poster girl turned top mixed martial arts prospect Rena Kubota. In her fifth pro MMA fight, the 26-year-old earned her fifth stoppage, as she drilled former King of the Cage 105-pound queen Andy Nguyen with a series of body shots before completely crumpling her with a left hook to the liver.

Following the victory, Kubota debuts at No. 10 in our atomweight rankings. What does her future hold? Her short-term pursuits will be determined come the late holiday season, when Rizin resolves its grand prix. Two of the women that will try to spoil the New Year’s party for the promotion’s pet favorite are also on the rise in the rankings.

Previously 10th-ranked atomweight Kanna Asakura earned her Rizin tournament semifinal berth with her fourth win in 2017, as she easily outgrappled Poland’s Sylwia Juskiewicz and moved up to No. 9. Neither Kubota nor the 20-year-old Asakura are the biggest rankings mover, however. That honor belongs to another 20-year-old Brazilian prospect, Maria Oliveira Mota, who instantly burst out of anonymity and took blue-chip status by putting on a striking clinic against American Alyssa Garcia. With the breakout performance, the Parana Vale Tudo product debuts at No. 8. The additions of Kubota and Oliveira push formerly ranked entrants Julia Jones and Sheila Padilla to the contenders list.

Lest you think we here at are too busy making chemistry and physics wisecracks to pay attention to math, we are well aware that Rizin’s atomweight tournament takes place at 49 kilograms, or 108 pounds. However, it would represent a foolish fracturing of the division and its fighters’ achievements to ignore the significance of this tournament; and it is still far better than the 161-pound Pride Fighting Championships “lightweight” division, a discrepancy with which not too many people seemed to take issue.

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