Fighters of the Week
1. Andrew Cancio: Pulled off the upset of the weekend and maybe the year so far, not only dethroning undefeated Alberto Machado, but doing it with a fourth-round waxing to become the new WBA (regular) junior lightweight champ on the same weekend the “Super” title was defended, and if this isn’t a prompt to get Cancio and Gervonta Davis together, nothing will be.
2. Jose Carlos Ramirez: Had one hell of a barnburner with Jose Zepeda in front of a raucous hometown Fresno crowd, narrowly escaping with a majority decision and keeping his WBC junior welterweight title, improving to 24-0.
3. Gervonta Davis: See #1, but yes, Davis was supposed to face Abner Mares, alas, Mares got hurt, and Davis pulvarized Hugo Ruiz. Just saying, let’s unify with Davis against Cancio.
4. Israel Adesanya: The Spider gave the phenom a hell of a fight, and I’d love to see a rematch, preferably over five rounds, but as it is, Adesanya has a main event win over the greatest middleweight of all-time, and now once the Whittaker-Gastelum hernia-staph situation gets ironed out, the Style Bender is awaiting.
5. Bo Nickal: In a battle of #1 vs. #2, Nickal pinned Kollin Moore in just 98 seconds to solidify a comfortable win for Penn State in Ohio State’s barn on Friday night.
6. Rey Vargas: Franklin Manzanilla made it harder than it had a right to be, but Vargas just had too much at his disposal, as he cruised to a unanimous decision and keeping his junior featherweight championship.
7. Raymundo Beltran: After finally, finally, by-god finally (ht: Jim Ross) winning his first world title at 36 years old last year, Beltran moved up from lightweight to 140lbs to fall the previously undefeated Hiroki Okada Sunday on ESPN, capturing a couple of secondary titles, and working his way towards gold at junior welterweight.
8. Lando Vannata: After the shocking news of Robert Whittaker’s hernia, Vannata and fo Marcos Mariano were elevated to co-main event status and Vannata took full advantage of it, winning via last-gasp kimura five seconds before the end of the first round.
9. Ryan Reser: The Olympian judoka ushered in the inaugural judo contest in Fight To Win with a win over fellow high-level judoka Javier Torres Ippon at Fight To Win 101.
10. Tracey Goodell: After a loop choke in the main event and a Fight of the Night bonus, Goodell became the Fight To Win Women’s Masters Bantamweight Fight champion.
11. Ricky Simon: It wasn’t the most entertaining fight ever performed inside the Octagon, but it was a dominant, workmanlike shutout of a damned solid fighter in Rani Yahya that takes him to 15-1 and 3-0 in the UFC.
12. Erickson Lubin: Demolished Ishe Smith inside of a round on Saturday. Everyone assumed he’d win, but to crumble a very hard-nosed vet like Smith was pretty shocking.
13. Jimmy Crute: Sam Alvey isn’t the most polished fighter on Earth, but he’s a tough son of a bitch and a hard out for anyone, and Crute unloaded on him, TKOing him in under three minutes opening the main card on the doomed UFC 234.
14. Javier Fortuna: In a bit of an upset, Fortuna defeated Sharif Bogere on the Davis-Ruiz card, and after his narrow loss to Robert Easter Jr. for the IBF Lightweight title, he might get another shot at 135lb gold.
15. Devonte Smith: Closed out the UFC 234 prelims in a big way, TKOing Dong Hyun Ma, his fourth-consecutive first-round T/KO finish and third under the UFC umbrella. He took home a $50k bonus for it and is due a step up real soon in the lightweight division.