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1. Ayaka Hamasaki (16-2)The former Invicta FC champion won for the second time in as many outings under the Rizin FF banner, as she submitted Mina Kurobe with an opening round kimura on Sept. 30. Hamasaki has won seven of her last eight fights, with her only defeat during that time coming at the hands of current UFC strawweight talent Livinha Souza. Hamasaki will square off against another one of the world’s best atomweights when she meets Kanna Asakura at Rizin 14 on Dec. 31.
2. Seo Hee Ham (19-8)After several tough bouts did not break her way, Ham was released from the UFC with a 1-3 promotional record and a lot of what-if propositions. If one of those hypotheticals involved how Ham would do back in her natural weight class, well, now we know. Upon returning to 105 pounds, Ham ran roughshod over veteran Mina Kurobe to take Road Fighting Championship’s vacant atomweight title. Then, she blew away former Invicta title challenger Jinh Yu Frey in the first round in a December 2017 contest. “Hamderlei Silva” will return to action for the first time in nearly a year against Jung Eun Park at Road FC 51
3. Kanna Asakura (13-2)Asakura scored a significant victory at Rizin 11, outpointing fellow Top-10 atomweight Rena Kubota in the main event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Asakura’s current eight-bout winning streak includes a championship in Rizin’s 108-pound grand prix, as she continues to establish herself as one of the top lighter-weight fighters in the world. She’ll get to stake her claim to the top spot in a showdown with Ayaka Hamasaki at Rizin 14 on Dec. 31.
4. Jinh Yu Frey (7-3)It was not the cleanest of victories, but a controversial win is nonetheless a win. Frey now sits atop the Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight division following a five-round verdict over Finland’s Minna Grusander at Invicta 30. The triumph also erases the sting of a first-round knockout loss to Seo Hee Ham in a bid for the vacant Road Fighting Championship crown in December. Frey, who is 5-2 under the Invicta banner, will attempt to score a more emphatic triumph in a rematch with Grusander in the Invicta FC 33 main event on Dec. 15.
5. Rena Kubota (6-2)After being choked out by Kanna Asakura in the final of Rizin Fighting Federation’s 108-pound grand prix in 2017, Kubota had a chance for revenge at Rizin 11. Alas, the Shoot Boxing star came up short once again in the rematch, this time via decision. The 27-year-old remains a formidable talent with a reputation for finishing, as six of her seven career triumphs have come inside the distance. Kubota will return to action against Samantha Jean-Francois at Rizin 14 on Dec. 31.
6. Maria de Oliveira Neta (10-4)Neta, a product of Brazil’s Parana Vale Tudo impressed in her Rizin 108-pound grand prix quarterfinal against Alyssa Garcia in October and dominated the American with sharp striking. However, Neta had her nine-fight winning streak snapped on New Year’s Eve in the tournament semifinals, as she had no answer the grappling of Kanna Asakura, who armbarred her in the second round. Neta took another defeat on the Brazilian version of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series, falling to Marina Alcalde Rodriguez via first-round TKO. However, that bout was contested at strawweight, and Rodriguez has since signed a UFC deal.
7. Ashley Cummins (7-4)Cummins’ decision to move down to 105 pounds following her loss on “The Ultimate Fighter 23” continues to pay dividends. “Smashley” garnered a unanimous verdict over Jessica Correa Delboni at Invicta FC 32 for her second consecutive triumph. Cummins has won four of her last five bouts since 2016, with her only setback during that run coming in a competitive decision loss to Invicta champ Jinh Yu Frey.
8. Minna Grusander (6-2)It appeared that Grusander was more active than opponent Jinh Yu Frey in their clash for the vacant atomweight strap at Invicta Fighting Championships 30. While the Finland native’s clinch work and occasional offense surpassed Frey’s efforts, Grusander ultimately lost a unanimous decision. Grusander will get a chance to avenge that defeat in a rematch with Frey at Invicta FC 33 on Dec. 15.
9. Tomo Maesawa (11-8)Maesawa claimed the Deep Jewels crown with a split-decision victory over reigning champion Mina Kurobe at Deep Jewels 22 in Tokyo on Dec. 1. It had to be an especially sweet triumph for Maesawa, who had been defeated by Kurobe on two previous occasions — once in 2016 and also in 2013. The soon to be 31-year-old has won five of her last six contests, going the distance in each of those victories.
10. Kyra Batara (7-4)After losing three of her first five fights, the 24-year-old Batara has quietly been building her resume. Competing primarily under the Combate Americas banner, “Mogwai” has won five of her last six professional outings. That includes a unanimous decision win over Paulina Granados in the Combate Americas 19 headliner.
Other Contenders: Mina Kurobe, Lisbeth Lopez Silva, Satomi Takano, Emi Tomimatsu, Jeong Eun Park
Sherdog’s divisional and pound-for-pound rankings are compiled by a panel of Sherdog.com staff members and contributors: Tristen Critchfield, Mike Fridley, Brian Knapp, Jesse Denis, Eric Stinton, Ben Duffy, Jay Pettry, Jacob Debets, Nathan Zur, Kevin Wilson, Edward Carbajal, Jason Burgos, Guy Portman, Anthony Walker, Tudor Leonte, Mark Raymundo, Jordan Colbert, Jordan Breen, Mike Sloan, Tom Feely, Adam Martin and Joao Baptista.