1. Ryoichi Taguchi: In the main event capping off an extraordinary weekend in Japanese boxing (and Japanese fighting in general), Taguchi united his WBA Junior Flyweight title and Milan Melindo’s IBF Junior Flyweight title.
2. Naoya Inoue: It was a short night on Saturday’s Fuji card, with Shiro TKOing Gilberto Pedraza in four rounds, so Inoue one-upped him with a third-round TKO over France’s Yoan Boyeaux.
3. Cris Cyborg: It wasn’t quite as close as the scorecards led on, but Cyborg took on a legit world champ, was able to withstand the late rounds, and earned a dominant win, even surviving a few scares, to remain at the top of the hill in the UFC’s Women’s Featherweight division, and boosted the prestige of the title with it.
4. Khabib Nurmagomedov: Seemingly beat the will out of Edson Barboza, as only Khabib can do. Tony Ferguson is probably on deck next.
5. Kyoji Horiguchi: The Typhoon flattened Shintaro Ishiwatari to win the Rizin Bantamweight Grand-Prix and cap off the Rizin weekend.
6. Ken Shiro: Took just under four rounds for Shiro to defend his junior flyweight strap on the Naoya Inoue co-main event.
7. Sho Kimura: Proved dispatching Zou Shiming wasn’t a fluke after defending his WBO Flyweight title with a ninth-round TKO of Toshiyuki Igarashi.
8. Hiroto Kyoguchi: You usually don’t see much power at 105lbs, but Kyoguchi now has 7 knockouts out of his 9 wins. That’s an absurd amount of power for that weight class, and he’s only getting started in his career, this time defending his IBF crown with a TKO of Carlos Buitrago on New Year’s Eve.
9. Kanna Asakura: Was the victor of Rizin’s Super Atomweight Grand Prix. Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of avenues for Atomweight, but Invicta has a strong class and a Japanese champion. Maybe if Invicta ever makes a foray into Japan?
10. Tenshin Nasukawa: The most exciting 19-year old fighter in the world didn’t disappoint, winning Rizin’s Flyweight kickboxing tournament. Now can we get a bout with Takeru soon, please?
11. Dan Hooker: Upset the hard-hitting Marc Diakiese with a guillotine choke, and pick up a good win on a PPV main card.
12. Neil Magny: Condit should have never been a favorite. I picked Magny to win, and Condit looked slow, sluggish, and tentative.
13. Carla Esparza: The former champion turned away a formidable challenge in the undefeated Cynthia Calvillo.
14. Cindy Dandois: Whether you agree with the decision or not, Dandois and her abysmal striking handed Reina Miura her first career loss at Rizin 2nd Round.
15. Satoshi Shimizu: Not to be outdone by the bigger names on the card, the 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist TKO’d his opponent on the Inoue card, Edaurdo Mancito, in the 7th round to improve to 5-0 and retain his OPBF featherweight title. A world title shot isn’t far off.
Mirko Cro Cop: Cro Cop on a New Year’s Eve in Japan. Just feels right.