MMA is a sport with a short memory. One week, a fighter will seize the spotlight with a crazy KO. Then we’ll forget all about that person the next week because another fighter steals the thunder with a thrilling Fight of the Night. It’s the circle of fights, and it moves us all.
It’s tough to keep track sometimes, so today we’re looking at statement-making performances in the last few months. These were the wins that really opened our eyes and caused dramatic shifts in the UFC rankings. Some of them are fresh in our memories, and others you might have already forgotten about. Either way, we’re hungry for encores.
Ready to jump on a few bandwagons? Let’s take a look at who’s hot, and we’ll post the UFC odds from BookMaker.eu for their most recent victories.
Tony Ferguson, Interim Champion
UFC 216: Ferguson -250 vs. Kevin Lee +252
Can casual fans pease start tuning into the Tony Ferguson experience? Not only did he win his 10th straight fight in the most loaded division, “El Cucuy” captured the interim lightweight title in the process. He’s got some serious fighting funk, lighting up opponents with unorthodox, off-rhythm strikes and snatching quick submissions.
A title unification bout with McGregor makes too much sense – we are in the money fight era after all. But there’s no such thing as a boring Ferguson fight, and his winning streak could easily reach the teens.
Jessica Andrade is Scary AF
UFC Fight Night 117: Andrade +240 vs. Gadelha -300
We told you so. Just a few weeks ago, we were all over Andrade’s money line at +240 against heavy favorite Gadelha. But damn, we weren’t expecting her to thrash the consensus No. 1 contender like that. After eating some heavy shots in the first round, Andrade basically went into F-You mode and started body slamming the hell out of Claudinha. We’ve never seen Gadelha ragdolled like that – the announcers were in open disbelief at what was happening.
Not only did she take over the No. 1 contender spot, Andrade looked so good she probably locked up a title shot. Jedrzejczyk is a bad style matchup for her, but against anyone else I’m taking Andrade all day, every day.
Gokhan Saki, Welcome to the Show
UFC Fight Night 117: Saki -196 vs. Da Silva +154
I’m man enough to admit I picked against Saki. I thought the champion kickboxer would have trouble adjusting to MMA. It only took a few moments to realize I made a serious error in judgement. For a lot of UFC fans, the Japan card was the first real look at Saki. Fast hands and accurate striking were to be expected, but holy hell did his standup look scary.
Of course, he did get whacked a few times and started to noticeably gas, but anybody who hits like him is already must-see TV. I doubt he’ll ever be a legitimate title contender, but Saki doesn’t need to be. Just keep throwing him into fun fights and we’ll all be happy. The UFC has already booked him for a matchup against Khalil Rountree at UFC 219.
Luke Rockhold is Back, and He’s Pissed
UFC Fight Night 116: Rockhold -550 vs. Branch +405
For a few scary moments in the first round, it looked like Rockhold was going down as a heavy favorite for a second consecutive fight. Then he righted the ship and smoothly choked out Branch in the second. If y’all forgot about Luke, this was a reminder that the former champ is still a top-3 guy at 185 pounds.
But what really stood out was how he took the mic afterward and trashed GSP for jumping the line. Like most fans, we really have no idea what the hell is going on in the middleweight division, and Rockhold wants some answers, like yesterday. Let’s hope this squeaky wheel gets some grease.
Love to Hate Him: Mike Perry
UFC Fight Night 116: Perry -395 vs. Reyes +320
“Platinum” Mike Perry already seemed like kind of a meathead bro. But then he had to come out with a fauxhawk and force us to relive one of the worst fads of 2008. On top of the all the trash he talks, the constant mean mugging and the attempts at starting beef, Perry seems hell-bent on going the Nick Diaz route.
I will say this though: Platinum is as an exciting a fighter as they come. Any guy with one-shot KO power that’s willing to get into a firefight at any time is going to draw a lot of eyes. Are you listening, Tyron Woodley?
Ready for More: Gregor Gillespie and Kamaru Usman
UFC Fight Night 116:
Gillespie -420 vs. Gonzalez +307
Usman -1015 vs. Moraes +555
It’s time to make some competitive matchups for these two blue chip prospects. Usman has won all six of his UFC fights and just KO’d a solid vet in Sergio Moraes with a single punch. An uber-athlete with good wrestling and explosive power, Usman is going to be a problem (in his own words) for anyone in this division.
We could say the same thing about the 10-0 Gillespie, who does need a bit more polish. Still, it’s obvious that he’s already an elite wrestler, and his non-stop motor and frenetic style is reminiscent of a young Clay Guida – with a much higher ceiling.
Rafael dos Anjos is a Legit at 170
UFC 215: Dos Anjos -210 vs. Magny +165
RDA had our curiosity when he whipped Tarec Saffiedine. After obliterating No. 6 Neil Magny, he’s got our attention. It was the type of performance that left no doubt that he is a contender at this weight. This is obviously a new fighter at 170 pounds – still powerful, but faster and more energetic. While his personality is slightly dull (ease up on the Jesus references please), his style is anything but – his Muay Thai is lethal.