The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 241 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
Stipe Miocic is once again back atop the heavyweight mountain.
The Strong Style Fight Team standout avenged last year’s loss to Daniel Cormier in enthralling fashion, rallying to defeat “DC” via fourth-round technical knockout in the UFC 241 headliner in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday. The move is simple here: Miocic and Cormier switch places in our heavyweight rankings. The future is a little more complex. Could a trilogy be in store? Only time will tell, as much depends on whether Cormier elects to continue his MMA career.
At middleweight, Paulo Henrique Costa made a big move, leaping from the bubble to the the third spot following a back-and-forth slugfest with perennial contender Yoel Romero. While Costa won via unanimous decision, media scores were split down the middle for the “Fight of the Night” winning contest. As a result, Romero only falls to fourth at 185 pounds.
Another fighter making a significant leap is Cory Sandhagen, who scored the biggest win of his career to date with a three-round verdict over Raphael Assuncao in a pivotal bantamweight bout at UFC 241. Sandhagen, who has won four straight fights at 135 pounds, moves from No. 7 to No. 3 behind only Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes. Assuncao drops to fourth in defeat and is further away from a title shot than ever before. There were more bantamweight shakeups at Rizin 18, where Kai Asakura shockingly knocked out two-promotion champion Kyoji Horiguchi in 68 seconds in the evening’s main event. Unfortunately for Asakura, there was no title at stake, but he does go from unranked to No. 6 at 135 pounds — one spot ahead of the vanquished Horiguchi.
There was no such turmoil for the atomweight women in Japan, as No. 1-ranked ranked Ayaka Hamasaki and No. 5 ranked Kanna Asakura both were victorious at Rizin 18. Lastly, but definitely not least, Nate Diaz returned from a three-year hiatus at UFC 241 and earned himself a spot on the welterweight bubble thanks to a decision victory over Anthony Pettis. If he gets his desired showdown with Jorge Masvidal, there could be even more opportunity for advancement in the very near future.
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