1. Robert Whittaker: Bobby Knuckles is back on his feet and on the comeback trail for his UFC middleweight championship, currently in the style-bending hands of Israel Adesanya after defeating Darren Till in a very close bout. I had it a draw, and most people had it 38-38 after four. It was a hard-fought, grinding, strategic victory. He definitely needs to tighten some aspects of his striking up to keep his head attached to his neck if he faces Adesanya again.
2. Mauricio Rua: After shutting the door for the third time on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Shogun is now *checks notes* 5-1-1 IN HIS LAST SEVEN?! Dear lord. He doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the title scene, but I wonder if the UFC can resist the urge to ride some nostalgia and put him in it. Fortunately for us, Shogun is being more realistic with his goals, such as wanting a rematch with Paul Craig, whom he drew, but most thought he won.
3. Sergio Pettis: That’s 2-0 in the Bellator cage for Pettis the younger, shutting out dangerous Ricky Bandejas over three rounds in the return card from Bellator. A date for the vacant bantamweight championship can’t be too far ahead.
4. Vergil Ortiz Jr.: Headlined Golden Boy’s DAZN return by staying undefeated, knocking out Samuel Vargas in the seventh-round of their contest, and is putting together a pretty damned good resume. Take it away, Grey from BoxRec!
5. Kyle Dake: In a gargantuan matchup between Dake, one of the most prolific collegiate wrestlers of all-time, took on two-time world champion Frank Chamizo in Austin on FloGrappling, with Dake squeezing out a 4-3 win.
6. Victor Hugo: In a rare Fight To Win title defense, Hugo retained his Super Heavyweight title via a submission win and Fight of the Night Bonus over Max Gimenes.
7. Kaynan Duarte: In the main event of an absolutely loaded BJJ Stars card, it was Duarte, muscling out a 6-4 win over Joao Gabriel Rocha.
8. Seniesa Estrada: That’s how you put your name on the map. Estrada was trending world-wide after landing the fastest knockout in women’s professional boxing history, and she picked a great stage for it on DAZN’s Golden Boy return card.
9. Fabricio Werdum: Came in as a huge underdog to a heavyweight-debuting Alexander Gustafsson and I wasn’t sure why, exactly, but he proved the skeptics correct, taking down Gus and fighting for an armbar that he finally got, Gustafsson tapping immediately because he knew the gig was up, and Werdum gets a big win.
10. Jimmy Flick: In 38 goddamned seconds, Flick was able to slap on an arm-triangle choke on Greg Fischer, capturing the vacant LFA flyweight championship in the main event of LFA 86.
11. Luis Palomino: After just 45 seconds, Baboon is the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship Super Welterweight Champion, tagging Isaac Vallie-Flagg in the main event of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 11.
12. Joe Joyce: Demolished Michael Wallisch in the main event of Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions on ESPN+ slot at their familiar 3:00pm Saturday slot. His heavyweight tilt with Daniel DuBois remains ready to go in three months.
13. Jared Gooden: On Thursday, Titan Fighting Championship put on a primetime event on UFC Fight Pass, with Gooden taking a second-round TKO win over Trent McCown in the main event.
14. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: Hell of a career. Hell of a damned career. Wins over the best of the best of all-time: Mezger, Overeem, Henderson, Ortiz, Evans, Sakuraba. Not to mention a boxing bronze medal in the Pan American Games. He couldn’t get that win over Shogun, but he lost by a single point via split-decision.
15. Darren Till: I had it a draw, but many had it for Till in his main event bout against Robert Whittaker. We can all agree it was goddamned close, and Till fought a very, very smart fight, making Robert Whittaker miss over and over and immediately popping up from every takedown.