Bellator Rankings: Patricio Pitbull, Cris Cyborg take highest honors in inaugural ranking

See how Bellator fighters stacked up in the first-ever Bellator rankings

Bellator MMA has released its first-ever rankings for all of its weight classes, plus a men’s and women’s pound-for-pound, under the new ranking system that was announced and implemented earlier this year.

Similar to how the UFC ranks fighters in their divisions, the champion of each weight class will be given their own champion slot, while the 10 best contenders will be ranked as voted on by reputable members of the MMA media landscape. FanSided does hold a vote in determining the rankings.

Fighters are eligible to be ranked up to 15 months following their most recent bout, after which point they will be removed if they haven’t fought since. A fighter can also be removed from ranking eligibility if they face a non-medical suspension of over six months.

Bellator fighters can be ranked in more than one weight class but must compete at least once in each under the normal 15-month period. The only way for a fighter to stay in the rankings of a weight class past that point is if they are taking part in a Bellator World Grand Prix tournament.

See where your favorite Bellator MMA fighters stand in the first-ever Bellator rankings

Here are how the first Bellator rankings play out. Note that the numbers with asterisks next to them represent how many first-place votes each contender received in a weight class, akin to college football and basketball.

MEN’S POUND-FOR-POUND
1. Patricio Pitbull (31-4)
2. Vadim Nemkov (12-2)
3. Gegard Mousasi (47-7-2)
4. Ryan Bader (27-6)
5. Juan Archuleta (25-2)
6. Douglas Lima (32-8)
7. AJ McKee (17-0)
8. Phil Davis (22-5)
9. Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4)
10. Corey Anderson (14-5)

WOMEN’S POUND-FOR-POUND
1. Cris Cyborg (23-2)
2. Juliana Velasquez (11-0)
3. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-1)
4. Julia Budd (14-3)
5. Arlene Blencowe (13-8)
6. Denise Kielholtz (6-2)
7. Liz Carmouche (14-7)
8. Cat Zingano (11-4)
9. Alejandra Lara (9-3)
10. Leslie Smith (12-8-1)

MEN’S HEAVYWEIGHT
C. Ryan Bader (27-6)
1. Timothy Johnson (15-6) – 13*
2. Cheick Kongo (30-11-2)
3. Valentin Moldavsky (10-1) – 3*
4. Fedor Emelianenko (39-6)
5. Linton Vassell (20-8)
6. Tyrell Fortune (9-1) – 1*
7. Steven Mowry (8-0)
8. Matt Mitrione (13-8)
9. Sergei Kharitonov (32-8)
10. Javy Ayala (11-8)

MEN’S LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
C. Vadim Nemkov (12-2)
1. Ryan Bader (27-6) – 11*
2. Phil Davis (22-5) – 2*
3. Corey Anderson (14-5) – 4*
4. Lyoto Machida (26-10)
5. Julius Anglickas (9-1)
6. Grant Neal (5-0)
7. Christian Edwards (4-0)
8. Tyree Fortune (5-0)
9. Melvin Manhoef (32-15-1)
10. Alex Polizzi (7-1)

MEN’S MIDDLEWEIGHT
C. Gegard Mousasi (47-7-2)
1. John Salter (18-4) – 10*
2. Anatoly Tokov (29-2) – 5*
3. Austin Vanderford (10-0) – 1*
4. Fabian Edwards (9-1)
5. Costello van Steenis (13-2)
6. Johnny Eblen (7-0)
7. Charlie Ward (9-4)
8. Mike Shipman (14-3)
9. Romero Cotton (5-0)
10. Ed Ruth (8-3)

MEN’S WELTERWEIGHT
C. Douglas Lima (32-8)
1. Michael Page (18-1) – 8*
2. Yaroslav Amosov (25-0) – 6*
3. Neiman Gracie (10-1) – 3*
4. Logan Storley (11-1)
5. Derek Anderson (17-3)
6. Jason Jackson (13-4)
7. Joey Davis (8-0)
8. Sabah Homasi (15-8)
9. Oliver Enkamp (10-2)
10. Jaleel Willis (14-2)

MEN’S LIGHTWEIGHT
C. Patricio Pitbull (31-4)
1. Brent Primus (10-1) – 12*
2. Patricky Pitbull (23-9) – 3*
3. Goiti Yamauchi (25-4) – 1*
4. Benson Henderson (28-10) – 1*
5. Sidney Outlaw (15-4)
6. Myles Jury (19-5)
7. Adam Piccolotti (12-4)
8. Alfie Davis (14-3)
9. Aviv Gozali (5-0)
10. Georgi Karakhanyan (30-11-1)

MEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT
C. Patricio Pitbull (31-4)
1. AJ McKee (17-0) – 13*
2. Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4) – 4*
3. Adam Borics (16-1)
4. Pedro Carvalho (11-4)
5. Daniel Weichel (40-12)
6. Aaron Pico (7-3)
7. Jay Jay Wilson (7-0)
8. Jeremy Kennedy (16-2)
9. Tywan Claxton (6-2)
10. Mads Burnell (14-3)

MEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT
C. Juan Archuleta (25-2)
1. Sergio Pettis (20-5) – 10*
2. Patchy Mix (13-1) – 4*
3. Raufeon Stots (15-1) – 1*
4. James Gallagher (11-1)
5. Magomed Magomedov (17-1) – 2*
6. Leandro Higo (20-5)
7. Josh Hill (20-3)
8. Cass Bell (5-1)
9. Frans Mlambo (9-5)
10. Jornel Lugo (5-0)

WOMEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT
C. Cris Cyborg (23-2)
1. Julia Budd (14-3) – 16*
2. Arlene Blencowe (13-8)
3. Cat Zingano (11-4)
4. Leslie Smith (12-8-1) – 1*
5. Sinead Kavanagh (7-4)
6. Janay Harding (6-4)
7. Leah McCourt (4-1)
8. Amanda Bell (7-7)
9. Olga Rubin (6-2)
10. Jessy Miele (9-5)

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT
C. Juliana Velasquez (11-0)
1. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-1) – 16*
2. Liz Carmouche (14-7)
3. Denise Kielholtz (6-2) – 1*
4. Alejandra Lara (9-3)
5. Kana Watanabe (9-0-1)
6. Kate Jackson (11-5-1)
7. Veta Arteaga (5-4)
8. Mandy Bohm (7-0)
9. Valerie Loureda (3-0)
10. Bruna Ellen (5-3)

Breaking down the divisions in Bellator’s first-ever contender rankings

Bellator featherweight and lightweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire earns the honor of being the first top-ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter in Bellator. He will defend the former championship as part of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix on April 2 against Emmanuel Sanchez.

Following him in the men’s pound-for-pound ranks are Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov, Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi, Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta and Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima.

Cristiane Justino (aka Cris Cyborg), the Bellator women’s featherweight champion and considered one of the greatest female fighters of all-time, unsurprisingly takes the top spot in the women’s pound-for-pound Bellator rankings, followed by current women’s flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez, former flyweight champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and former featherweight champ Julia Budd.

In the heavyweight division, Timothy Johnson secured the top-contender spot near-unanimously with 13 votes. Interestingly enough, the No. 2 contender, Cheick Kongo, didn’t receive any. Three of the remaining votes went to No. 3 Valentin Moldavsky, while the remaining one went to Tyrell Fortune, who competes against Jack May at Bellator 255.

Bader, the current heavyweight champ and the man Nemkov defeated for the light heavyweight title, takes the No. 1 contender spot at 205 pounds with 11 votes. Two went to No. 2 Phil Davis, a former champion, and four went to No. 3 Corey Anderson, the UFC vet who made his Bellator debut at Bellator 251. All four men are scheduled to compete in the upcoming Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.

John Salter took the top contender spot at middleweight with 10 votes, followed by No. 2 Anatoly Tokov (five votes) and No. 3 Austin Vanderford (one vote).

Welterweight saw the biggest split among the first-place votes for the No. 1 contender, but it went to Michael “Venom” Page with eight votes. Six went to the No. 2 contender, the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov, while three went to the once-beaten former title challenger Neiman Gracie. Gracie meets No. 6 Jason Jackson at Bellator 255.

Freire hasn’t defended the Bellator lightweight championship since winning it a couple of years ago due to his venture in the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. Should he come back to defend it, right now it may be former champ Brent Primus awaiting him. Primus took the top contender spot with 12 votes, followed by the champion’s brother — No. 2 Patricky “Pitbull” Freire — with three votes, and one vote each for No. 3 Goiti Yamauchi and No. 4 Benson Henderson.

The vote for Yamauchi might spark some controversy, as a pair of weight misses over the past 15 months (including a near seven-pound miss that forced a cancelation of his bout with Nate Andrews this past fall), led to a decision by the Mohegan Sun Athletic Commission that Yamauchi must compete at 170 from now on.

Meanwhile, at 145, undefeated star A.J. McKee took the top contender spot with 13 votes, with the other four going to Sanchez. The winner of Freire and Sanchez’s fight on April 2 will meet McKee later this year in the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix finals.

While Budd unsurprisingly tops the women’s 145-pound ranks with 16 votes, the sole remaining vote did not go to either No. 2 Arlene Blencowe, a former two-time Bellator title challenger, or No. 3 Cat Zingano, a former UFC bantamweight title challenger. Instead, it went to No. 4 Leslie Smith.

At bantamweight, Archuleta’s first title challenger, Sergio Pettis, took the No. 1 contender spot with 10 first-place votes. They will meet for the belt in May. Following him in the ranks as Patchy Mix (who Archuleta bested for the title [four votes]), Raufeon Stots (one vote), James Gallagher (no votes) and Magomed Magomedov (two votes).

Finally, in a similar fashion, Macfarlane got all but one of the first-place votes for the top contender spot at 125, but the remaining one went to No. 3 Denise Kielholtz. Sandwiched between them without a vote is No. 2 Liz Carmouche.

Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Mon, 29 Mar 2021 19:03:16 +0000

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