1. Kelvin Gastelum: Took the air out of the building in Fortaleza to a crowd ready to explode after Shogun’s win by shutting down Vitor Belfort early in the main event.
2. David Lemieux: A nasty left hook and the tough Curtis Stevens was through the ropes. Lemieux may have hit his ceiling, but his power will always make him a problem.
3. Claressa Shields: Made history as the first woman to headline a premium cable show, she’s very, very easy to root for, and I want her to headline many more, but at some point, she’s going to have to ratchet up her performances to maintain her status.
4. Mauricio Rua: Shogun lives! At least, this decent version does that put away Gian Villante with excellent combo hands does.
5. Mamed Khalidov: I’ve been banging the drum for Khalidov for years now as the best middleweight, and one of the best fighters, period, not in the UFC. This only adds to that notion, as he flattened Luke Barnatt in twenty-one seconds in the main event of ACB 54.
6. Edson Barboza: Add another clip to Barboza’s highlight reel, this one a crushing flying knee that put Beneil Dariush out.
7. Angela Lee: The undefeated submission prodigy defended her OneFC gold, earning her first TKO finish of her career and stayed undefeated in the main event of Warrior Kingdom.
8. Lucas Barbosa: Won the Light Heavyweight Tournament at Five Super League, and did it without a single submission. You take ’em how you can get ’em.
9. Nazareno Malegarie: Disposed of Issei Tamura in the first round in the main event of Pancrase 285 to become the Flyweight King of Pancrase.
10. Kevin Lee: It’s a month of comebacks, and this was no exception. Lee got pounded around in the first round, then rebounded, regrouped. and floored Francisco Trinaldo, landing a submission, and snapping Trinaldo’s seven-fight win streak, derailing his title hopes, probably for good.
11. Davit Kiria: Won Kunlun Fight’s Group 4 tournament en route to their mythical, grand 70kg tournament they’re planning to put on by 2034.
12. Mamoru Yamaguchi: In his 46th professional fight, the gloriously-afroed fighter earned Pancrase gold, edging Ryuichi Miki by split-decision.
13. Yuriorkis Gamboa: Picked up another win on the HBO co-main, his third since sufferin his first career loss to Terence Crawford, and you have to wonder if, at age 35, they’re going to give him another title shot.
14. Ray Rodriguez: In this weekend’s AXS fare, Rodriguez went over Rivaldo Junior in the main event of Legacy Fighting Alliance 6.
15. Robin van Roosmalen: Advanced his fledgling MMA career with a first-round leg-kick stoppage over Risto Dimitrov in the main event of FFC 28 in Greece.