1. Alexander Povetkin: From October of 2017, Whyte was in the WBC’s orbit as a world heavyweight contender, first winning their Silver heavyweight title, then defeating Oscar Rivas last July for the interim title, the whole time hunting Deontay Wilder over hill and dale, taunting him, and demanding a title shot. At long last, it looked like it was going to happen and he was going to get the winner of Tyson Fury and Wilder, all he had to do was get past 41-year old Alexander Povetkin. And, well…it didn’t work out that way. Povetkin absolutely turned Whyte’s lights off, is in the world title picture, and received a hero’s welcome back home!
2. Vadim Nemkov: The era of Ryan Bader with all the Bellator gold above 185lbs is over. Nobly being a fighting champion on two fronts, Bader put up his light heavyweight title against the very dangerous Vadim Nemkov, which I predicted Bader would hold serve. As usual, I was incorrect, and violently so. Nemkov was too fast, way too sharp, and overpressured Bader repeatedly, despite his valiant attempts to pick himself off of the canvas over and over, had nothing for him. I said in my picks that Nemkov doesn’t have the one-punch power that Bader is susceptible to, but it turns out, he didn’t need to. He launched punches in bunches at an unrelenting, frankly hellish, pace, until Bader couldn’t get off the canvas any more.
3. Katie Taylor: She escaped with a very controversial win over Delfine Persoon last June at Madison Square Garden, and got a chance to make an emphatic statement and silence the critics with a rematch against Persoon on Saturday. Persoon was game again, but this time Taylor fought a smarter, better, more precise game and earned a clear win this time, retaining all of her titles, remaining queen of the mountain at lightweight.
4. Joe Smith Jr.: Eleider Alvarez thought he could just stay in front of Smith and slug him, but Smith boxed like a man possessed, looked as crisp as he ever has, and finished Alvarez in yet another upset for him, and now he’s positioned for a WBO world title shot against the winner of Umar Salamov and Maksim Vlasov.
5. Kulabdam Sor.Jor.Piek-U-Thai: Closed out ONE’s No Surrender card trilogy with a first-round main event knockout over Sangmanee Sor Tienpo, and will go on to face Saemapetch Fairtex in the bantamweight muay thai finals.
6. Shana Dobson: Pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend, as a +800 underdog, reversed Mariya Agapova’s positioning, earning top-control herself, and earned a TKO stoppage. This also proved a gambling point that I constantly harp on. Unless the fighter is Cyborg or Nunes, any WMMA bet on a -500 or more favorite is a fool’s bet. Especially among fighters with less than fifteen pro fights, the talent gap just isn’t there yet.
7. Shawn Porter: You can only defeat who’s across the ring from you, and while Sebastian Formella is nowhere near Porter’s caliber, Porter took care of being emphatically, pitching a twelve-round shutout in the main event on FOX, getting a much-needed stay-busy win.
8. Frankie Edgar: He kicked in the door, he waved the 4-4, and he earned some of that Frankie Edgar judge magic.*
*Frankie Edgar judge magic is not effective against Benson Henderson judge magic.
9. Jaleel Willis: In a five-round title fight for the vacant LFA welterweight title, it was Willis who ran his winning streak to four after a UD over Vinicius de Jesus.
10. Hideki Sasaki: Earned a flying knee KO in the main event of RISE 141 over Shohei Asahara in Tokyo on Sunday.
11. Romulo Barral: It took a split-decision, but in the main event of Fight To Win 150, Barral pulled out an upset over Tanner Rice.
12. Mike Rodriguez: Something about elbow knockouts are especially brutal and make me wince, and Rodriguez landed a beauty of one from the clinch, toppling Marcin Prachnio in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN.
13. Louis Cosce/Orion Cosce/Josh Parisian/Cheyanne Buys: The Brothers Cosce, along with Buys and Parisian earned UFC contracts after wins in the third week of Dana White’s Contender Series.
14. Justin DeLoach: Made short work of the previously undefeated Livan Navarro on Saturday’s PBC on FOX card, putting him down twice in the first round and handing him a swift first professional loss.
15. Trevin Jones: Stepped in on two-days notice and snapped a six-fight winning streak of WSOF/PFL veteran Timur Valiev by TKO, earning a $50k bonus.