Before this weekend, most MMA fans never heard of Johnny Eduardo, Kyoji Horiguchi or Soa Palelei. Now, they’re veritable title contenders — at least according to the official UFC rankings.
Eduardo, Horiguchi and Palelei all came away with impressive wins Saturday at UFC Fight Night in Cincinnati. And the three of them were awarded with spots in the top 15 of their respective divisions, as voted on by media members.
Eduardo knocked out previous bantamweight No. 4 Eddie Wineland in the first round and now he’s in at No. 12. Wineland dropped just one spot to No. 5. Horiguchi beat Darrell Montague by decision and he’s now flyweight No. 14. Palelei is in at heavyweight No. 15 after KO’ing Ruan Potts.
Saturday night’s big winner was Matt Brown, who knocked out Erick Silva in the third round of the main event. But he only went up one spot on the welterweight list — from No. 7 to No. 6.
This week’s largest gainer? Rustam Khabilov for no apparent reason. The Russian lightweight, who meets Benson Henderson in the main event of UFC Fight Night on June 8 in Albuquerque, moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11. That must be due to the removal of Nate Diaz and T.J. Grant due to inactivity. Joe Lauzon and Jorge Masvidal are now ranked in their stead.
Costas Philippou moved up two spots — from No. 12 to No. 10 — after knocking out Lorenz Larkin. But that’s some strange logic. Yoel Romero moves down a slot, but he just beat Brad Tavares, the man who beat Larkin in January. Not sure why or how Romero is below Philippou.
Speaking of odd, the flip-flopping of Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort at middleweight No. 2 and No. 3 continued. Machida was No. 2 and Belfort was No. 3 three weeks ago and Belfort complained about that on Facebook. In the following rankings cycle, Belfort mysteriously went back to No. 2. Now? He’s at No. 3 again with Machida at No. 2