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Although Tyron Woodley is no longer a champion, Saturday night nonetheless felt like a changing of the guard in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.
Gilbert Burns blitzed Woodley early, then controlled every aspect of the fight for five rounds in a dominant unanimous decision victory in the UFC on ESPN 9 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. With back-to-back impressive wins over ranked foes in Demian Maia and Woodley, “Durinho” looks like a force at 170 pounds. As a result, the 33-year-old Brazilian moves from No. 10 to third in our latest 170-pound poll, ahead of contenders such as Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards. Let the debate begin.
As for Woodley, the man with the third-longest reign in the history of the division has now dropped consecutive fights in lopsided fashion, the first two-fight losing streak of his career. He falls from third to sixth in the rankings.
Elsewhere, Augusto Sakai supplants Blagoy Ivanov in the heavyweight poll after earning a split decision over his Bulgarian counterpart in the UFC on ESPN 9 co-headliner. With the momentum of a four-bout winning streak, Sakai joins the party at No. 15. Finally, Katlyn Chookagian rebounded from a thrashing at the hands of Valentina Shevchenko to impose a beating of her own on the flyweight champion’s sister, Antonina Shevchenko. “Blonde Fighter” maintains her No. 6 ranking at 125 pounds.
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