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Jack Hermansson took a chance by accepting a short notice fight against one of the top contenders in the middleweight division, and the gamble paid off handsomely.
“The Joker” entered UFC Fight Night 150 on an impressive three-bout finishing streak, but few expected him to give former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo Souza much difficulty. Instead, Hermansson outlanded “Jacare” on the feet – and even got the better of the grappling – to take a well-deserved decision over the perennial contender in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. this past Saturday. Now, it’s the Swede who has emerged as a person of interest at middleweight, and he makes his debut in our rankings at No. 5. Souza, who may have seen his last chance at contention slip away, falls just one spot to sixth.
Another fighter earned his way into the rankings at UFC Fort Lauderdale, as Cory Sandhagen survived three rounds with the hard-hitting John Lineker to win a narrow split-decision. That makes four Octagon triumphs --- including three finishes -- for Sandhagen, who joins the poll for the first time at No. 6. Lineker’s stock wasn’t hurt much in the competitive bout, so he drops one place to seventh.
Elsewhere, it was a bizarre night for Rory MacDonald, who retained his welterweight title and advanced in the 170-pound grand prix following a majority draw against Jon Fitch at Bellator 220 in San Jose, Calif. Although he did do good work standing, MacDonald spent large portions of the bout on his back and hardly seemed like a champion in the aftermath, when he questioned his own competitive drive. For now, MacDonald stays put at seventh, but he hardly seems like a sure bet to emerge from the bracket.
There were no such difficulties for Bellator flyweight queen Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who ended challenger Veta Arteaga’s night with one well-placed elbow to remain unbeaten in 10 professional outings. Macfarlane remains one of the most intriguing women’s talents in the sport and holds steady in the second spot at 125 pounds behind UFC champ Valentina Shevchenko.
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