Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

A Former King Conquering Again

By Staff Dec 21, 2017
Rafael dos Anjos was once the best lightweight in the world. He’s not the greatest welterweight, at least not yet, but No. 2 is still awfully impressive.

Since back-to-back losses to Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson oriented him towards 170 pounds, dos Anjos has been increasingly impressive. After one-sided wins over Tarec Saffiedine and Neil Magny, the former UFC lightweight champion headlined UFC on Fox 26 on Dec. 16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, dominating former welterweight ruler Robbie Lawler for 25 full minutes. Whether he gets the next crack at champion Tyron Woodley remains to be seen, but for now, he takes Lawler’s spot in our rankings, rising from sixth to second.

The UFC’s second trip to Winnipeg also gives us a new entrant at 170 pounds as well. Courtesy of his exciting decision win over Mike Perry, Santiago Ponzinibbio makes the jump from the contenders list to the ninth spot in our rankings.

There’s a more shocking No. 9 in this update courtesy of UFC on Fox 26, though. Stepping in for Jose Aldo, Team Alpha Male seized the opportunity as a late replacement against former UFC title challenger Ricardo Lamas and blew “The Bully” away in the first round to claim his rankings spot. Lamas falls from fifth to 10th.

It’s not purely a UFC-oriented update, though: former Bellator MMA heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov rises two spots to No. 7, courtesy of his domination of Tony Johnson Jr. in his home promotion Fight Nights Global on Dec. 16.

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