1. Ben Askren: If that’s really a career, it’s a fantastic one and he’ll go down as maybe the best fighter to never fight in a “major” league. But Askren did it his way, made gobs of cash, and is walking away with his health and happiness and undefeated record. If he gets the itch to prove himself against the best in the world, we’ll all be eager to watch.
2. Sergey Kovalev: Took back the WBO Light Heavyweight strap that Andre Ward took from him (by hook or by crook, as some would say), by claiming the vacant belt by flattening Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in the second round on HBO.
3. Kelvin Gastelum: Sure, Bisping probably shouldn’t have been fighting, but fuck it, you can only fight who’s in front of you, and Gastelum made weight (!), then put Mike out in the first round to remain right in the middleweight hunt.
4. Khamzat Dalgiev: After I spent a huge amount of words hyping up Ivan Buchinger, he goes and gets dethroned of his M-1 featherweight title by Dalgiev in the first round.
5. Chayaphon Moonsri: Not many world titles this weekend, but Moonsri defended his WBC Minimumweight belt over Tatsuya Fukuhara in Thailand and remains maybe the best in the world at 105.
6. Yuriorkis Gamboa: Just when you think the cagey vet is about to go out to pasture, he picks up another upset. This time it was a razor-thin MD over Jason Sosa on the HBO co-main event.
7. Sullivan Barrera: Used his loss to Andre Ward to improve and has rebounded tremendously. After another win on HBO’s card, she’s next up for WBA “regular” champ Dmitry Bivol.
8. Li Jingliang: Putting together a nice little run in the welterweight division, and in his first co-main slot, TKO’d Zak Ottow in the first round in front of a very hot and supportive crowd.
9. Chingiz Allazov: Got floored by Cedric Manhoef, but the K-1 GP champ rallied back to take the win in the main event of Nuit des Champions 24.
10. Dominique Steele: Would have been about ten spots higher if he had, actually, you know, made goddamned weight. Instead, he does not win the Cage Warriors welterweight belt, but did defeat Karl Amoussou, nonetheless.
11. Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym: That’s thirty-freaking-three wins in a row for Saenchai, this time over Arthur Sorsor at Khmer Thai Fight.
12. Song Kenan: That’s how you make a name for yourself. Just fifteen seconds and he TKO’d Bobby Nash and is on the map in the UFC.
13. Manuel Charr: Not a bad day for Charr, just another day at work, and on the fly, got made for the vacant WBA Heavyweight championship. So, just like that, Charr is the WBA “regular” heavyweight champ.
14. Alex Garcia: Made me look like a damned fool after I spent all week hyping Muslim Salikhov as this unstoppable killing machine, and Garcia handed him his first loss of his career. Who needs money?
15. Ustarmagomed Gadzhidaudov: Absolute Championship Berkut rolled into Germany, as the rapidly expanding European MMA promotion is hitting a variety of countries in the past year. It was Gadzhidaudov kneeing Adrian Zielinski out in the second minute of the first round in the main event of this edition.