Robert Whittaker Pulled From UFC 248 Bout Against Jared Cannonier

Robert Whittaker has been taken off his co-main event fight at UFC 248 in March against Jared Cannonier, citing “undisclosed personal reasons.”

Reported on Wednesday evening by Ariel Helwani of ESPN, it was also mentioned that the UFC are looking for a replacement opponent for Cannonier.

This is the third time in recent years that Whittaker has been taken off of fights. In 2018, Whittaker was pulled from a fight against Luke Rockhold due to an undisclosed injury.

Last year, Whittaker suffered a hernia, sidelining him against Kelvin Gastelum only a few days before the fight.

The UFC 248 was set to be Whittaker’s first since losing his UFC Middleweight Championship to Israel Adesanya in October.

The fight was a clear move-up in competition for Cannonier, who’s current three-fight winning streak has made him emerge as a title contender.

Still in place for the UFC 248 card is the main event, which will see Weili Zhang make the first defence of her UFC Strawweight Championship against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Here’s the full card for UFC 248 as of right now:

Bout 1: Weili Zhang (20-1) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3) (UFC Strawweight Championship)

Bout 2: Jeremy Stephens (28-17) vs. Calvin Kattar (20-4) (Featherweight)

Bout 3: Beneil Dariush (17-4-1) vs. Drakkar Klose (11-1-1) (Lightweight)

Bout 4: Neil Magny (21-7) vs. Jingliang Li (17-5) (Welterweight)

Bout 5: Emily Whitmire (4-3) vs. Polyana Viana (10-4) (Strawweight)

Bout 6: Guido Cannetti (8-4) vs. Danaa Batgerel (6-2) (Bantamweight)

Bout 7: Jose Alberto Quinones (8-3) vs. Sean O’Malley (10-0) (Bantamweight)

Bout 8: Alex Oliveira (20-8-1) vs. Max Griffin (15-7) (Welterweight)

Bout 9: Rodolfo Vieira (6-0) vs. Saparbeg Safarov (9-2) (Middleweight)

Bout 10: Mark Madsen (9-0) vs. Austin Hubbard (11-3) (Lightweight)

UFC 244: Whittaker vs. Adesanya Full Preview

It’s been a while since UFC fans saw the Middleweight Championship up for grabs. The last time was when Robert Whittaker triumphantly overcame Yoel Romero in a rematch just under 16 months ago. Injury, including a hernia which sidelined the champion from a February fight with Kelvin Gastelum has kept the Aussie on the bench. In that time a lot has changed. Gastelum is no longer the next in line, but instead Israel Adesanya, who has had a meteoric rise since the start of his brief UFC career. 

With a main event of an Australian versus a Nigerian born New Zealander, the fight was the perfect one for bringing the UFC to the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. As expected, the show is set to feature many more Oceanic fighters throughout. The evening is set to begin with two bouts on UFC Fight Pass at 7PM EST (9AM AEST).

Bout 1: Khalid Taha (13-2) vs. Bruno Silva (11-3-1) (Bantamweight)

The evening, or if you’re there live, the morning kicks off in the bantamweight division with Khalid Taha and Bruno Silva. Taha has a 1-1 UFC record, recently getting a quick KO victory over Boston Salmon. Silva will be making his promotional debut, being 3-1-1 in his last five MMA bouts before entering the octagon. Khalid Taha missed the bantamweight limit by one pound, giving up 20% of his fight purse due to it.

Bout 2: Nadia Kassem (5-1) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (8-2-2) (Flyweight)

The final Fight Pass bout sees two flyweights coming off of losses collide. Kassem recently took a loss to Montana de La Rosa via armbar. Ji Yeon Kim fell to Antonina Shevchenko via decision. Kim is one of the only Korean fighters in the UFC that doesn’t come from Team MAD, who is the biggest gym in the country. When the weigh-ins were livestreamed, Kim weighed in at 128 lbs, two pounds above the flyweight limit.

Bout 3: Megan Anderson (8-4) vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos (6-2) (Featherweight)

After an hour of the early prelims, the broadcast will flip to ESPN 2 (TSN 5 in Canada) as Megan Anderson will face Zarah Fairn dos Santos. Anderson is one of the more prominent fighters in the very thin division. She will try to spoil Dos Santos’ entrance into the UFC. Anderson lost to Felicia Spencer in her last outing, being bettered by a rear naked choke in under four minutes.

Bout 4: Brad Riddell (6-1) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (12-2) (Lightweight)

The fourth fight sees the first New Zealander on the card in Brad Riddell appear against Australia’s Jamie Mullarkey. Neither fighter has been in the UFC before. Riddell trains at Adesanya’s gym “City Kickboxing,” with appearances at Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand as well.

Bout 5: Callan Potter (17-8) vs. Maki Pitolo (12-4) (Welterweight)

Three months ago, Maki Pitolo literally fought his way to a contract, defeating Justin Sumter in just over 90 seconds on “Dana White’s Contender Series” to get signed to the UFC. Pitolo’s first fight on the “big stage” will also be quite literally on a big stage, as Marvel Stadium seats 56,000. He will face Australia’s Callan Porter, who is attempting to come back from his debut loss to Jalin Turner this year.

Bout 6: Jake Matthews (14-4) vs. Rostem Akman (6-1) (Welterweight)

The preliminary portion of the card will wrap up with Jake Matthews and Rostem Akman. Both coming off a loss, Matthews is the favoured fighter in the exchange due to more experience, especially within the UFC. Matthews lost to Anthony Rocco Martin recently, ending his three fight winning streak from before. Akman’s last loss was his first one as a pro, as Sergey Khandozhko ruined his debut.

Bout 7: Yorgan de Castro (5-0) vs. Justin Tafa (3-0) (Heavyweight)

UFC will go live on pay-per-view at 10PM EST (Noon AEST), beginning with Yorgan de Castro versus Justin Tafa. Neither heavyweight has fought in the UFC before. De Castro earned his spot through the Contender Series, defeating Alton Meeks in one round to convince UFC’s scouts to sign him. Tafa has been undefeated in his three fights, competing in the Australia-based MMA promotion Xtreme Fight Championships.

Bout 8: Luke Jumeau (13-4) vs. Dhiego Lima (14-7) (Welterweight)

After a year-and-a-half absence from the octagon, New Zealand’s Luke Jumeau will face Dhiego Lima, who has been active and successful during that same time period. Jumeau’s last win was in early 2018, breaking the undefeated record at the time of Daichi Abe. Lima broke his two-fight losing streak with a win over Chad Laprise earlier this year. He most recently defeated Court McGee via decision.

Bout 9: Tai Tuivasa (10-2) vs. Sergey Spivak (9-1) (Heavyweight)

Back at UFC 226 in mid-2018, Tai Tuivasa won tons of fans with a dominant main card performance over Andrei Arlovski, as well as doing a “shooey” after the fight. Sadly, Tuivasa hasn’t found success since then, losing to Junior dos Santos and Blagoy Ivanov. He will have another chance to return to the win column when facing Sergey Spivak. The Ukranian fighter was undefeated before his UFC debut, getting TKO’d by Walt Harris. Both fighters have yet to win after a loss in their professional career, and one might be able to change that on Saturday.

Bout 10: Al Iaquinta (14-5-1) vs. Dan Hooker (18-8) (Lightweight)

The co-main event of the show features lightweight gatekeeper Al Iaquinta versus teammate of Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker. Iaquinta is coming off a loss to Donald Cerrone, main eventing a Fight Night in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Hooker is a real up-and-coming lightweight, having a UFC run with only one blemish thus far, that being a painful loss to Edson Barboza. His last fight was against James Hook, making quick work of him, finishing the fight just halfway through the first. No doubt Hooker has had some big tests in the UFC already, but another one, maybe his biggest, is on Saturday.

Bout 11: Robert Whittaker (20-4) vs. Israel Adesanya (17-0) (UFC Middleweight Championship)

The main event of the show sees UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker fight in a unification bout against the Interim Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. Whittaker’s last fight was a war, going the distance against Yoel Romero, despite a hand injury early on. He has since been on the bench. While he has rested and trained, Adesanya established himself within the division. Already 3-0 in the UFC, “The Last Stylebender” put his name on the map with a one round victory over Derek Brunson at Madison Square Garden last fall. He faced UFC legend Anderson Silva three months later, defeating him in the main event of UFC 234 (which Whittaker would have headlined if not for an injury). His most recent win was against Kelvin Gastelum, which cemented him as the next challenger. The fight, which arguably could be the best 2019 has seen gave Adesanya his interim championship.

Israel Adesanya is often billed as an up-and-comer despite his age contradicting that. His short run in the UFC only tells part of the story. Adesanya has a 75-5 kickboxing record, including appearances in high level promotions like GLORY and Kunlun Fight League. He also has a 5-1 boxing record, all being three-to-four round fights. While 17-0 in MMA isn’t a little, it’s not telling the full story to not mention everything else.

Many questions are brought up heading into this weekend: Can Robert Whittaker return after the absence? Will he be the same? Is it too soon for Israel Adesanya? Is he getting ahead of himself? But, thankfully, these questions will only be asked for a little more time. When the PPV goes down on Saturday night, people will (hopefully) be left with a conclusive answer to all of those questions.

UFC returns with a fight night next week from the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, USA. The card is headlined by ranked strawweights Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson. The promotion’s next pay-per-view event after this is UFC 244. The stacked show will take place from Madison Square Garden. Headlining the show will be Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal, fighting for the BMF Belt.

Recommended further reading: MMAFighting/Mike Chiappetta – Israel Adesanya is coming for everything

The October 2019 MMA P4P List

Here’s the website’s October 2019 Pound for Pound rankings. There was only two changes between both lists, although there is lots of announced fights to discuss.

Men’s Rankings:

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0)

Last month, Khabib Nurmagomedov added a 28th win to his undefeated record, defeating “Diamond” Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. The Russian fighter out-wrestled Poirier for two whole rounds before slipping in a rear naked choke in the third round to close out the show. The mostly dominant performance reminded viewers that nobody has come close to defeating Nurmagomedov yet. 

2. Jon Jones (25-1)

While Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has for a long time been one of the best fighters, his most recent win was a close one. Unexpectedly, Jones went five rounds with Thiago Santos at UFC 239, scraping by on the scorecards. The high profile fighter hasn’t lost since 2009, hence his high ranking. Jones isn’t ranked for another fight, despite teasing the matter in September.

3. Henry Cejudo (15-2)

UFC’s only male double-champ Henry Cejudo sprung to relevance in 2019. After defeating Demetrious Johnson in the summer of 2018 to win the Flyweight Championship, Cejudo has went on defend it once and defeat Marlon Moraes to win the Bantamweight belt. While it’s a feat to be a double champ, Cejudo’s reign is still young. The 32-year-old fighter is not currently booked for a fight.

4. Robert Whittaker (20-4)

Robert Whittaker has been out of the octagon for more than a year, but that will hopefully change this weekend. On a nine-fight losing streak, “Bobby Knuckles” will match up against Interim Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya this Saturday at UFC 243. After a long absence, all eyes will be on Whittaker to perform against Adesanya, who has fought four times within the same timeframe.

5. Stipe Miocic (19-3)

Stipe Miocic reigned terror over the Heavyweight division for two years, but all that came to an end in the summer of 2018, with Daniel Cormier finishing him within one round. After a year without fighting, Miocic avenged the loss, getting a fourth round TKO victory to reclaim his belt. The win showed not only that Miocic could learn from his loss, but also that he is still relevant within the division.

6. Max Holloway (21-4)

Despite a loss earlier this year, Max Holloway is still one of the most established names within the UFC. While currently holding the UFC Featherweight Championship, defending it three times, Holloway was too ambitious when challenging for the Interim Lightweight Championship in April, losing to Dustin Poirier. He bounced back three months later with a win over Frankie Edgar. His next challenge is Alexander Volkanovski, who will aim to dethrone him in December at UFC 240.

7. Kamaru Usman (15-1)

For the longest time, Tyron Woodley was the established UFC Welterweight Champion. That was, until he ran into Kamaru Usman. The Nigerian fighter ended Woodley’s three-year reign in March of 2019, taking him to the scorecards to get the win. His next challenge comes against Colby Covington, who is currently riding an impressive seven-fight winning streak.

8. Israel Adesanya (17-0)

Interim UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya has become a big name in a short amount of time. Still undefeated as a pro, Adesanya came into the UFC in early 2018, going 6-0 in the promotion since. His most recent victory gave him the “Interim Champion” title, taking Kelvin Gastelum to the decision in a fight of the year contender. Adesanya will have his biggest test yet when he faces Robert Whittaker at UFC 243.

9. Daniel Cormier (22-2)

While his future within the sport is still somewhat unknown, Daniel Cormier comes in high on this list. “DC” has stayed a big name in the light heavyweight division, even during the absences that Jon Jones would take due to suspensions. His most recent fight saw him lose his UFC Heavyweight Championship to Stipe Miocic via fourth round stoppage. Cormier is the first non-champion on the men’s list this month.

10. Colby Covington (15-1)

Colby Covington has proven more than enough that he is a relevant UFC Welterweight challenger. His work will come to fruition in December at UFC 245 when he gets a title shot against champion Kamaru Usman. The most recent win in Covington’s ongoing seven-fight winning streak was against Robbie Lawler. The frustrating and grinding wrestling style of Covington tired out Lawler and allowed the now challenger to earn a scorecard victory.

11. Paulo Costa (13-0)

While fans of the middleweight division currently have their sights set on Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya, they can’t forget who’s arguably next in line: Paulo Costa. Costa’s short stint within the UFC has shown that he is a dangerous contender. This was proven more than ever in his recent bout with Yoel Romero, which could purely be described as violence.

12. Demetrious Johnson (29-3-1)

Demetrious Johnson crashes the UFC party on the men’s P4P rankings at #12, representing ONE Championship. “Mighty Mouse” has been 2-0 since his loss to Henry Cejudo in 2018. Later this month, Johnson will see the culmination of a tournament he entered back in March when he first joined the promotion. Danny Kingad will aim to spoil Johnson’s undefeated promotional run on the 13th.

13. Tony Ferguson (25-3)

It could be argued that Tony Ferguson is the most cheated fighter in the UFC. Currently on a 12-fight winning streak, the lightweight is undoubtedly the next in line to face Khabib Nurmagomedov. Ferguson’s dangerous style makes for entertaining fights, and makes him a scary opponent. His most recent wins came against high level opponents in Anthony Pettis and “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone.

14. Kai Asakura (12-1)

Before August, nobody would have expected that Kai Asakura would be on a pound-for-pound list. But after his sudden win over Kyoji Horiguchi at RIZIN 18, Asakura has established himself as a big name. Will that last? We don’t know yet. While undoubtedly eligible to face Horiguchi for his belt, his next fight is booked against Ulka Sasaki at RIZIN 19.

15. Ryan Bader (27-5)

Bellator’s Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader has been undefeated since 2016, stretching back to his UFC career. His most recent fight wasn’t a satisfying one, as an eye poke to Cheick Kongo in the first round made the fight end. Nonetheless, his stubborn winning streak over big-time Bellator names makes him eligible for the always unknown #15 spot on the pound for pound list.

 

Women’s Rankings:

1. Amanda Nunes (18-4)

It’s nothing short of an uphill battle to convince most people that Amanda Nunes isn’t the best female fighter in the world. Being one of the two current “Champ Champs” in the UFC, Nunes has stayed undefeated since 2015, putting on dominant performances against high level fighters. Nunes has been the Bantamweight Champion since 2016, defending it four times since then. She’s also taken the Featherweight Championship, running over Cris Cyborg in under a minute. Her next defense is set to be against Germaine de Randamie.

2. Valentina Shevchenko (18-3)

Valentina Shevchenko has had a great past 12 months, winning the UFC Flyweight Championship and defending it twice. Her most recent win was a lopsided victory over Liz Carmouche, going all five rounds. Her most memorable title fight in this run was against Jessica Eye, closing out the fight with an explosive head kick.

3. Weili Zhang (20-1)

UFC’s newest Champion, Weili Zhang, shocked some when defeating Jessica Andrade in under a minute to claim the UFC Strawweight Championship. The win was her 20th in a row, and her fourth straight within the UFC. Having a quick rise to relevance, it’s fair to argue that Zhang has more to prove before being put above other Champions on a pound for pound list. Zhang’s next matchup is yet to be known.

4. Cris Cyborg (21-2)

This month, news broke that Cris Cyborg’s new home would be Bellator MMA. Weeks afterwards, her first fight within the promotion was announced. Wasting no time, Cyborg will go against the promotion’s Featherweight Champion Julia Budd. Cyborg left the UFC on a sour note, despite being a high-level fighter. Cyborg lost to Nunes in December, but picked up a victory over Canadian prospect Felicia Spencer before her contract expired. Cyborg will have her eyes set on gold yet again as the new year kicks off.

5. Jessica Andrade (20-7)

While Jessica Andrade is no longer Champion, there is fair justification to give her another shot. After defeating Rose Namajunas via a second round slam, Andrade became the Strawweight Champion. Then, as already mentioned, she was swarmed and crushed by Weili Zhang to lose her belt. Similar to Namajunas, Andrade is still very much in the fold and shouldn’t be counted out as a top contender.

6. Germaine de Randamie (9-3)

Throughout her career, Germaine de Randamie hasn’t been a very active fighter. Since her debut in 2008, she hasn’t once fought more than twice in a year. Although she lacks the frequency that most fighters have, she has a success rate that others don’t. Currently riding a five fight winning streak, de Randamie will face Amanda Nunes at UFC 245, attempting to claim the Bantamweight Championship. De Randamie has been champion before, having a brief stint with the Featherweight Championship before it being stripped due to her refusal to fight Cris Cyborg.

7. Rose Namajunas (8-4)

“Thug” Rose Namajunas hasn’t been booked for a fight since her loss to Jessica Andrade. There isn’t anything wrong with that since it was such a brutal loss, but it makes it easy for some to forget her relevance in the strawweight division. One loss doesn’t define Namajunas. We can’t forget her dominant fights against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2017 and 2018 which did a whole lot to legitimize her talent. The strawweight division has lots of contenders, so Namajunas might have to fight someone else before getting a title shot, but she isn’t far from getting a competition for gold.

8. Tatiana Suarez (8-0)

Up-and-coming Tatiana Suarez isn’t at title level just yet – but she’s definitely on her way. Still undefeated as a professional, Suarez has put on successful fights against other mid-level Strawweights with nobody being able to best her yet. 

9. Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (10-0)

Bellator’s Flyweight Champion Ilima-Lei MacFarlane has remained flawless throughout her professional career. She earned the belt in late 2018 by defeating Valerie Letourneau in a homecoming bout, and has since defended it against Veta Arteaga. News broke recently that her next challenge will be against Kate Jackson, headlining a December card.

10. Julia Budd (13-2)

Julia Budd has now held the Bellator Featherweight Championship for three fights. While undeniably dominant within the promotion’s biggest female division, Budd’s skill will be tested more than ever when facing newcomer Cris Cyborg in January. 

11. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk is in the #11 spot but should see either a climb or a drop this month after she faces Michelle Waterson. The fight is likely going to set up the next challenger for Weili Zhang’s Strawweight Championship. Jedrzejczyk recently lost to Valentina Shevchenko, failing to win the Flyweight Championship in the process. She’s been 1-3 in her last four, all against high profile opponents.

12. Michelle Waterson (17-6)

Michelle Waterson didn’t have an optimal entrance into the UFC. She went 2-2 in her first four fights. In recent times however she’s strung together three straight wins, with her most prominent win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz. She’s moved up the strawweight rankings, and could do it yet again when she faces Joanna Jedrzejczyk this month.

13. Ayaka Hamasaki (19-2)

The niche division of Super Atomweight is one which Ayaka Hamasaki currently reigns over. Being the RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion, Hamasaki has had a flawless 2019. On New Year’s Eve she captured the belt in a dominant performance over Kanna Asakura. She has since went on to avenge a loss over Jinh Yu Frey, and defeat up and coming Thai fighter AMP The Rocket. Hamasaki’s next clear opponent should be Ham Seo Hee, who had a dominant RIZIN debut over Tomo Maesawa. “Hamderlei” is booked to face Miyuu Yamamoto this month. Should she win that fight, a superfight for New Year’s Eve is the likely next step.

14. Viviane Araujo (8-1)

Viviane Araujo’s UFC tenure hasn’t lasted long, but she’s already made an impact. The Brazilian fighter came from JMMA promotion Pancrase, having two stoppage wins in the promotion. Since joining the UFC, Araujo has gotten two wins, one via a nasty overhand right, another through decision. Araujo isn’t a name most are familiar with right now, but if the case is the same in a year’s time, I’ll feel like a fool.

15. Joanne Calderwood (14-4)

Joanne Calderwood is the only female fighter to crash the rankings this month after defeating Andrea Lee at UFC 242. Calderwood bumped Lee out of her ranking which borders exclusion. While Calderwood had lost her fight before, she is clearly one of the rising stars of her division. 

Fight Radar:

This is the section that shows upcoming fights from fighters on the P4P lists.

10/5/19 UFC 243: Robert Whittaker (#4) vs. Israel Adesanya (#8)

10/12/19 ONE Championship: Century: Demetrious Johnson (#12) vs. Danny Kingad

10/12/19 UFC on ESPN+ 19: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (#11) vs. Michelle Waterson (#11)

10/12/19 RIZIN 19: Kai Asakura (#14) vs. Ulka Sasaki

12/14/19 UFC 245: Viviane Araujo (#14) vs. Jessica Eye

12/14/19 UFC 245: Amanda Nunes (#1) vs. Germaine de Randamie (#6)

12/14/19 UFC 245: Max Holloway (#6) vs. Alexander Volkanovski

12/14/19 UFC 245: Kamaru Usman (#7) vs. Colby Covington (#10)

12/21/19 Bellator: Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (#9) vs. Kate Jackson

1/25/20 Bellator: Cris Cyborg (#4) vs. Julia Budd (#10)

List Entrants:

Ryan Bader (#15)

Joanne Calderwood (#15)

List Exits:

Dustin Poirier

Andrea Lee

 

The September 2019 MMA P4P List

Here is the very first pound-for-pound MMA ranking list on the site. This will be updated monthly as fights change the list. Let’s start:

Men’s P4P Top 15:

1. Khabib Numagomedov (27-0)

Khabib Nurmagomedov has been a flawless fighter in his whole professional career. After getting a round four victory over Conor McGregor, Numagomedov not only became the best fighter in his weight class, but became the best in the world. In days he will be tested once again when he faces interim champion Dustin Poirier.

2. Jon Jones (25-1)

While Jon Jones has been a highly ranked fighter for quite some time, his recent nail-biting performance against Thiago Santos has knocked him down a spot on the list. On paper, Jones continues to reign terror over the light heavyweight division.
3. Henry Cejudo (15-2)

If 2019 has been a breakout year for anyone, it was for Henry Cejudo. After pulling off an upset last summer against Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo has successfully defended his belt while also climbing up to bantamweight, claiming that championship over Marlon Moraes. While being the only male double champ is a valid case to take the #1 spot, Cejudo’s championship reign has been short thus far. Nonetheless, his success in 2019 can’t be emphasized enough.

4. Robert Whittaker (20-4)

Since it’s been a year and some change before Robert Whittaker last fought, his skillset isn’t necessarily fresh in our minds. But, looking at the stats, it’s there, and nobody has proven superior to it yet. Carrying a win streak that dates back to 2014, “Bobby Knuckles” won a title fight over Yoel Romero back in 2018 to earn Middleweight gold. In October, Whittaker will face Israel Adesanya in his home country of Australia.

5. Stipe Miocic (19-3)

After a year’s absence from the MMA, Stipe Miocic came back last weekend to reclaim his Heavyweight Championship, taking Daniel Cormier four rounds deep before finishing him with punches. After having three defenses before, Miocic showed that his chapter with the championship isn’t done as he started his second reign as the champ in July.

6. Max Holloway (21-4)

If this list was created months ago, Max Holloway would be in the conversation of being one of the top fighters. Although after his loss to Dustin Poirier in April, losing his interim Lightweight belt, he lost some value. In a bounce-back bout back in July, beating Frankie Edgar and retaining his Featherweight Championship, Holloway showed that he is still a very valuable fighter in the division.

7. Kamaru Usman (15-1)

Kamaru Usman earned his long-deserving Welterweight Championship shot back in March, defeating Tyron Woodley via decision. With a fifteen win record with only one blemish, Usman has been nearly perfect in his career. People are awaiting the announcement of his next fight.

8. Israel Adesanya (17-0)

Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker’s time on the bench has given Israel Adesanya a chance to fight up the division’s rankings. Only joining the UFC in 2018, Adesanya has went 6-0 since then, defeating big names like Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva and most recently, Kelvin Gastelum. His recent win pushed him to the front of the divisions line, as Gastelum was aimed to be the next person to fight Whittaker.

9. Dustin Poirier (25-5)

“Diamond” Dustin Poirier dethroned Max Holloway back in April, and now awaits his championship fight in September against Khabib Nurmagomedov, unifying the interim and Lightweight UFC Championship. His impressive recent wins have put him on this list, but his next particular fight give him a chance to shoot even higher up the rankings.

10. Daniel Cormier (22-2)

While Daniel Cormier lost to Stipe Miocic on Saturday, the loss ended a year long stretch of high level wins. Cormier had a strong 2018, continuing to defend the light heavyweight championship and claiming the heavyweight championship. Now, despite only losing once, Cormier is now beltless. And while politics could describe the end of his light heavyweight reign, Miocic beat “DC” fair and square. Since Cormier has been public about contemplating ending his MMA career lately. So, his next move, whether it’s in or out of the octagon is yet to be seen.

11. Colby Covington (15-1)

For a year or so now, Colby Covington has been the odd man out of the Welterweight title picture. In 2018, he beat Rafael dos Anjos in an interim title match. After getting his belt taken away from him, he came back in early August to beat Robbie Lawler in a five round clash. Likely being the next person to face Usman, Covington is one of the biggest names to watch.

12. Paulo Costa (13-0)

In July, Paulo Costa defeated Yoel Romero in a three-round war, moving to the front of the Middleweight lineup. The jacked Brazilian fighter has been undefeated since his entrance into the UFC in 2017. His more notable wins came over Uriah Hall and Johny Hendricks.

13. Demetrious Johnson (29-3-1)

Easily the best Flyweight outside of the UFC, Demetrious Johnson has had a graceful transition into ONE Championship, after being traded there in early 2019. Heading into the Flyweight GP finals in October, “DJ” has defeated Yuya Wakamatsu and Tatsumitsu Wada before. His exit in the UFC came after taking his first loss in a long time against Henry Cejudo via split decision.

14. Tony Ferguson (25-3)

Tony Ferguson has been chasing the Lightweight Championship for a long time. Despite his resume, Ferguson isn’t the next person to get a shot, something he’s heard before. In the meantime, he’s beat high profile names like Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis and most recently, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Showcasing his “SnapJitsu” on the big stage, “El Cucuy” is one of the many big names within the stacked 155-pound division.

15. Kai Asakura (13-1)

At RIZIN 18, Kai Asakura went from prospect to title contender, defeating Kyoji Horiguchi in over a minute, causing a huge upset in Japanese promotion RIZIN. The win makes it so that Asakura will likely get another fight with Horiguchi, but that time in a championship setting. Becoming the best in the bantamweight division overnight, Asakura is someone to watch.

Women’s P4P Top 15:

1. Amanda Nunes (18-4)

There’s no doubt, Amanda Nunes is the best female fighter on the planet. Being the Bantamweight Champion for three years, and winning the Featherweight Championship from Cris Cyborg in December, Nunes is one of the two double-champs in the UFC. Attempting to make her fifth bantamweight title defence, Nunes will face Germaine de Randamie in December.

2. Valentina Shevchenko (18-3)

Claiming the Flyweight Championship back in December, Valentina Shevchenko has kept a close hold onto her belt. After defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a five round decision, she has beat Jessica Eye with a rude head kick and Liz Carmouche in a heavily dominant bout. The Flyweight division’s biggest struggle is finding someone who can actually give the Kyrgyzstan fighter a run for her money.

 
3. Weili Zhang (20-1)

For all of 2019 so far, the UFC Strawweight Championship has been a hot potato. From Rose Namajunas, to Jessica Andrade, and now to Weili Zhang, the belt hasn’t had any real home. Zhang claimed the belt last weekend, steamrolling Andrade in a fight that could fit within an Instagram video. Being China’s first Champion, Zhang could open business doors for the UFC with her reign.

4. Cris Cyborg (21-2)

Cris Cyborg’s short run in the UFC seemingly ended back in June, when she went three rounds with featherweight prospect Felicia Spencer, getting the nod via the judges. But, although that is the case, Cyborg is still a very high level fighter. Despite a sudden loss to Amanda Nunes in 2018, Cyborg has had a nearly flawless career. Wherever she goes next in her career, she will be expected to continue her dominance.

5. Jessica Andrade (20-7)

Jessica Andrade suffered a loss to Weili Zhang last weekend via strikes. Before then, she wrapped up her four-fight winning streak with a slam KO over Rose Namajunas. Andrade’s sudden loss is one that likely won’t make her fall too far away from the title picture. While she might have to fight someone else before another title shot as many people are high level contenders currently, Andrade getting another shot in the future is not a wild prediction.

6. Germaine de Randamie (9-3)

Germaine de Randamie has been a dominant fighter in her UFC career, although she hasn’t always been in the spotlight. Many could remember her controversial win over Holly Holm back in 2017, making her the first Featherweight Champion. Since then she has only fought twice, bettering Raquel Pennington and most recently Aspen Ladd. In December, de Randamie will have the biggest challenge of her career ahead of her, facing Amanda Nunes for the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

7. Rose Namajunas (8-4)

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how fights went when the finish stealed the show. Rose Namajunas lost to Jessica Andrade back in May via a second round slam KO. While the knockout was absolutely brutal, it’s worth remembering that Namajunas was putting up a good battle before then. While seemingly being prone to takedowns, Namajunas didn’t disappoint in the striking department. It’s clear that Namajunas is a high level strawweight, and now no longer being a champion, is clearly a high level prospect.

8. Tatiana Suarez (8-0)

Despite having a short MMA career, Tatiana Suarez can say something about herself that many other fighters can’t: she’s undefeated. While the strawweight division is easily the most stacked women’s division, Suarez’s track record shows that she is likely a win or so away from a title shot. However, it looks like that can’t come immediately as the top dogs of the division have to hash out their fights.

9. Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (10-0)

Bellator were either really lucky or had a great eye for talent when they signed the 1-0 Ilima-Lei MacFarlane. The Hawaiian born fighter is approaching her second full year as their flyweight champion, with three title defenses since being crowned. While all opponents have been fair matchups, her biggest win was over UFC alumni Valerie Letourneau, which took place in Honolulu.

10. Julia Budd (13-2)

Julia Budd is also an example of talent that was early in their career when Bellator discovered them. Julia Budd fought in Strikeforce and Invicta before her 2015 Bellator debut. It’s worth noting that her two losses were in Strikeforce and came to Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey. Similar to the promotion’s Flyweight Champion, Budd is riding a three-fight winning streak and is undefeated within the promotion. While not at the highest tier of MMA, Budd’s skill level is undoubtedly at a high tier.

11. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3)

For a large portion of her career now, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has competed at a high level of MMA. The Polish fighter has a record of 2-3 in her last three fights, recently losing a title fight to Valentina Shevchenko in December. She has a chance to bounce back into title contender status when she faces Michelle Waterson in October.

12. Michelle Waterson (17-6)

Michelle Waterson has been a real up-and-comer in the strawweight division recently. On a three fight winning streak, Waterson has defeated big names in Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Felice Herrig recently. Wanting to become the first “Mom Champ,” undoubtedly the biggest test for the Jackson Wink fighter will come in a five round fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in October on ESPN+.

13. Ayaka Hamasaki (19-2)

The atomweight divison has long been a (no pun intended) small division in MMA. It’s not represented in many large organizations like UFC or Bellator. But in Japan, the weight class has it’s niche, and it definately has it’s #1 fighter in Ayaka Hamasaki. The experienced fighter is on a five-fight winning streak. She punched in her title fight ticket by defeating DEEP Jewels Champion Mine Kuroba. On New Year’s Eve, she dethroned Kanna Asakura, and has won in a rematch against Jing Yu Frey and defeated Thailand prospect Suwanan Boonsorn A.K.A AMP The Rocket. Many people predict a superfight between her and Road FC Champion Seo Hee Ham on the horizon. The fight would be the biggest in the division in years.
14. Viviane Araujo (8-1)

Viviane Araujo has quickly made a name for herself in the UFC. Taking a short notice fight against Talita Bernardo in May was what got her foot through the door. She won the fight with an overhand right, which was working for her in the three rounds she competed. She has since defeated Alexis Davis via decision and landed a December fight against Jessica Eye. The fight would spring her up the rankings even more, as currently she is still not on the radar of some MMA viewers.

15. Andrea Lee (11-2)

Andrea Lee’s short UFC career has made her one to watch. Coming from Invicta FC including a couple fights within LFA, Lee has went to the scorecards three times in the UFC, all earning herself a win. In a week’s time, Lee will face arguably a similar-level fighter in Joanne Calderwood, who fell to Katlyn Chookagian in June.

Radar Fights:

This is the section that shows upcoming fights from fighters on the P4P lists.

9/7/19: Khabib Nurmagomedov (#1) vs. Dustin Poirier (#9) – UFC 242

8/7/19: Andrea Lee (#15) vs. Joanne Calderwood – UFC 242

10/5/19: Robert Whittaker (#4) vs. Israel Adesanya (#8) – UFC 243

10/12/19: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (#11) vs. Michelle Waterson (#12) – UFC on ESPN+ 19

10/13/19: Demetrious Johnson (#13) vs. Danny Kingad – ONE Championship: Century Show 1

12/14/19: Amanda Nunes (#1) vs. Germaine de Randamie (#6) – UFC 245

12/14/19: Viviane Araujo (#14) vs. Jessica Eye – UFC 245

 

Israel Adesanya Set To Face Robert Whittaker In Middleweight Unificaton Bout

The UFC Middleweight and Interim Middleweight Championship will be unified on October 5th, when Robert Whittaker takes on Israel Adesanya at UFC 243. Set to take place in Australia, it will be the third time within a year that the promotion held an event within the country.

The fight was formally announced on Friday at one of UFC’s quarterly press conferences, previewing many of the big upcoming fights. The press conference was hosted by Dana White and was in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“He’s fought twice in the last maybe three years. I’ve been busy,” said Adesanya when comparing himself to Whittaker. The Aussie defended himself, saying “It’s just one of those things, I got sick and you can’t help that.” Adesanya responded to that by claiming he fought through a knee injury in his last appearance.

Israel Adesanya has had an electric year and a half, defeating top contenders in Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum. Robert Whittaker’s last fight was at UFC 225, where he got his first Championship defence over Yoel Romero.

The press conference featured other big names in the UFC like Daniel Cormeir, Stipe Miocic, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar.

7/7/19 8:01 PM EST Correction: Venue removed as it is not confirmed yet.