Picture: John Brannigan/Sherdog.com Illustration
Ngannou displayed a big step ahead in his improvement at UFC 270, as he relied on takedowns and place management to safe a unanimous choice victory over Cyril Acquire to unify the heavyweight title on the Honda Heart in Anaheim, California, on January 22. did. Whereas it wasn’t essentially the most thrilling efficiency, the hassle speaks volumes about Nganou’s resolve as he struggled to do something exceptional in earlier fights when he was pressured to go previous the second spherical. “The Predator” now faces an unsure future, as he’s sad with the best way he has been handled by the UFC and must watch for a big time frame till the 2 sides are capable of come between them. prepared to sit down outdoors. No matter occurs, Ngannu might be sidelined for a lot of the the rest of 2022 attributable to knee surgical procedure. When his wrestling in opposition to Francis Ngannou on the UFC 260 headliner failed, Miocic made a bid to construct one other profitable heavyweight championship protection. Miocic noticed the top of his reign in a second-round loss to Keo at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on March 27, however that does not change the truth that the Ohio-based firefighter already held the report because the group’s most frequent heavyweight king. has established itself as For many wins in title matches and constant title protection. Miocic’s octagon assault has waned in recent times, though UFC president Dana White piqued the curiosity of the MMA group when hinting at a doable assembly with Jon Jones. Nonetheless, the date of that bout stays unknown. Gaine appeared on cruise management for 10 minutes in opposition to Francis Nganou, as he relied on his technical hanging abilities to take the lead on the scorecard within the UFC 270 headliner. Nonetheless, as soon as his former MMA manufacturing facility mate shifted gears to a wrestling-based assault, Acquire struggled to remain upright, which most probably led to a vogue blunder. Coming into UFC 270, the French heavyweight was often known as somebody who might doubtlessly rule the highest of the heavyweight division for years. It could nonetheless be doable, however within the close to future “Bon Gamin” has inquiries to reply after the primary lack of his profession. He’ll attempt to flip issues round in a battle with Tai Tuiwasa on 3 September. Tuivasa went head-to-head with Derrick Lewis and obtained the higher of “The Black Beast”, sending his opponent face-first to the canvas. Standing-elbow KO within the second spherical of his heavyweight co-main occasion at UFC 271 on February 12. After dropping three-bouts from December 2018 to October 2020, “Bam Bam” has revived his profession. -Bout successful streak that has seen him remove all his victims by way of knockout or technical knockout. Subsequent up for the affable Australian is a showdown with ex-interim champion Cyril Acquire on 3 September. Pavlovich made a press release at UFC 277, stopping two-time title challenger Derrick Lewis with punches simply 55 seconds into the opening spherical of their encounter. American Airways Heart in Dallas on July 30. Whereas the pause was controversial, Pavlovich deserves credit score for rocking “The Black Beast” and dropping it to power the referee’s hand. The Eagles MMA consultant has gained 4 straight promotional appearances since falling to Alistair Overeem on his Octagon debut in 2018.
6. Derrick Lewis (26-10, 1 NC) | UFC 
Whereas the stoppage was controversial, Lewis was nonetheless on the fallacious finish of a first-round technical knockout defeat in opposition to Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 277 in Dallas on July 30. The 2-time heavyweight title challenger has misplaced three of his final 4 octagon appearances – all throughout the distance. The Houston native is among the promotion’s hottest fighters, however his days as a championship contender might very effectively be behind him. For the second struggle in a row, Blades confronted a rising contender within the heavyweight division at UFC Struggle Evening 208 in London. Though he was as soon as once more victorious, it was not the best way “Razor” most popular, because the bout ended when Tom Espinall suffered a knee harm, solely 15 seconds into Spherical 1. That unlucky ending apart, the Blades are nonetheless 7-1 within the UFC’s heavyweight division since 2019 – along with his lone defeat throughout that stretch coming by way of KO in opposition to Derrick Lewis. Espinall entered UFC Struggle Evening 208 and noticed a win over Curtis Blades to solidify himself as a prime contender within the heavyweight division. As a substitute, a knee harm short-circuited these hopes 15 seconds after the headlining bout started. Not solely does Espinall see an eight-fight skilled successful streak – together with 5 wins in UFC competitors – come to an finish, however he might face an extended street to restoration earlier than returning to the Octagon. Volkov returned to the successful column in emphatic vogue at UFC Struggle Evening 207 when he dispatched Jerzinho Rosenstruik with a 2:12 energy punch within the opening spherical of his heavyweight headliner at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The previous Bellator and M-1 International Champion confirmed the power in his palms to safe his twenty third profession KO/TKO victory, and continues to keep up his relevance within the division. Volkov has alternated victories and losses in his final 4 UFC outings, however two of his losses – Tom Espinall and Cyril Acquire – have come in opposition to two of the highest new expertise within the weight class.
10. Ryan Bader (30-7) | Bellator 
It actually wasn’t fairly, however Bader’s wrestling-heavy strategy was efficient sufficient to propel him to a five-round choice over Stylish Kongo on the Bellator 280 major occasion in Paris on Could 6. Not solely did Bader make some closure in his rivalry after his first assembly with Kongo led to a no contest attributable to an unintended eye poke, however he additionally has two profitable heavyweight titles after stopping interim champion Valentin Moldavsky in 2022. Huh. It seems that Bellator will stay a heavyweight for Bader after a run on the Mild Heavyweight Grand Prix didn’t go as anticipated within the foreseeable future.
Different contenders: Jairzinho Rosenstruik, Marcin Tybura, Valentin Moldavsky, Chris Doukas, Philippe de Fries.
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