One Championship Bantamweight champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes have dominated the 135lbs division. He successfully defended the title three times since unifying the belt from Soo Chul Kim on October 2013. Bibiano’s impressive knockout win over former Cage Warrior’s Champion Toni Tauru recently rocketed him to the number one spot on our monthly top 50 prospects outside the UFC.
#1. Kevin Belingon (13-4), (4-4 One Championship)
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon have fought the most times in the One Championship Bantamweight division. Three of his four losses came from former Bantamweight title contenders Dae Hwan Kim, Masakatsu Ueda(now Pancrase) and former One Championship Bantamweight champion Soo Chul Kim(now Road FC). His other loss came from Japanese leg lock legend, Masakazu Imanari(now Deep). His most recent win over top Bantamweight contender Koetsu Okazaki who was on a two-fight winning streak on One Championship have propelled Kevin back into the number one spot on our rankings.
#2. Dae Hwan Kim (10-1), (2-1 One Championship)
Korean Dae Hwan Kim made his mark in the One Championship when he finished top contender Kevin Belingon in March 2014 with a rear naked choke in 4:39 seconds of the first round. The win shot Kim to a title fight with Bibiano at the end of the year. The champion then finished Kim with the same choke on December 2014 in the second round.
#3. Toni Tauru (10-2-1), (0-1 One Championship)
Former Cage Warrior’s champion, Toni “Dynamite” Tauru was on an impressive ten fight winning streak in the UK MMA scene and launched himself straight into the title picture on his One Championship debut. It didn’t end well for Toni as he suffered a third-round knockout by the Bantamweight Champion on One Championship debut show in Myanmar.
#4. Koetsu Okazaki (10-4), (2-2 One Championship)
Koetsu Okazaki was set to be next in line to be the next Bantamweight contender after gaining an impressive two-fight winning streak on One Championship. A win against Belingon on December 2014 could have set up a rematch with Bibiano for the title. However, Okazaki lost via unanimous decision.
#5. Mark Striegl (14-1), (1-0 One Championship)
Former PXC featherweight champion Mark “Mugen” Striegl have ventured into a lighter weight division after losing the PXC title on September 2013. He last defeated then undefeated Casey Suire on his One Championship debut in impressive fashion. via a rear naked choke in the first round.
#6. Xian Ji (13-2), (1-0 One Championship)
Xian Ji was on hiatus since Legend FC folded and returned to the cage on his One Championship debut in December 2014, in which he claimed a unanimous decision win over then undefeated Yadong Song. Xian just recently defeated Jessie Rafols on W.I.N. FC on July 18th.
#7. Fransino Tirta (16-0-1), (1-0 One Championship)
Undefeated Fransino Tirta was scheduled to fight former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver in February of 2015 but the show was postponed according to kiostix.com. His sole victory in One Championship was over Sami Amin in June 2014
#8. Ming Yen Sung (4-1), (2-0 One Championship)
Sung Ming Yen entered our rankings with a two-fight winning streak in One Championship. His biggest win in One Championship was over then undefeated Radeem Rahman in September 2014.
#9. Casey Suire (5-1), (2-1 One Championship)
Casey Suire was on a roll with back to back first round submission wins in One Championship. His undefeated streak was stopped short by Mark Striegl on April 2015.
#10. Heili Alateng (4-4), (1-0 One Championship)
Heili Alateng made his debut on One Championship in May 2015 with a second round TKO win over Stephen Langdown. Fourteen days later, Heili suffered his fourth loss in his MMA career via unanimous decision on WBK 4 – Battle of Kings in June 2015.
Stephen Thompson wants Rafael dos Anjos in contender eliminator bout
Over the weekend, Rafael dos Anjos defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC Fight Night: Winnipeg, in dominant fashion via unanimous decision. The main event of the Canadian event was Dos Anjos’ third victory in as many fights at welterweight. The former UFC lightweight champion moved up in weight after suffering two consecutive losses. First, relinquishing his championship title to Eddie Alvarez, then falling to current interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson. Although the Brazilian had fought at the 155-pound weight limit exclusively in his career, his weight cut in order to reach the lightweight limit is admittedly brutal.
When talking with FloCombat, the top welterweight contender claimed, “It is not worth it [the weight cut] considering the amount I’m earning today. This was one of my motivations to change to welterweight. I don’t need to kill myself and earn this salary.” He further explained the agony of making the weight limit, “I want to avoid those last 15 pounds. That is terror and panic. It’s almost death. I don’t need to face that anymore. I want to fight well and happy, get in there strong and in good shape”.
Now that Dos Anjos has arrived at welterweight with such success, he believes he deserves a shot at Tyron Woodley and the 170-pound belt.
Am'I the only one that thinks that this fight should be for a interim title? Since the champ is out until next year?
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) October 12, 2017
This is a sentiment that UFC president Dana White seems to agree with. At the Toronto press conference, White fielded a question on whether or not the winner of the Lawler vs. Dos Anjos match-up would yield a title contender, “Yup,” he responded. Later in the press event, White further clarified Dos Anjos’ position in the welterweight ranks, “(RDA) just had a great win to get himself back into contention and a win over Robbie Lawler obviously would do it”.
Yet, another top-ranked welterweight does not agree. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson wants a third crack at welterweight gold, and he believes Dos Anjos is his ticket back to title contention.
That was a WAR! Hats off to both RDA and Robbie for that effort! I can be back in the Octagon this March. @RdosAnjosMMA , let’s give the fans another treat. We both want gold, it’s only fitting we battle for it! @ufc #UFCWinnipeg @danawhite
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) December 17, 2017
What makes this challenge intriguing? The status of current welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. Last week, Woodley announced on his TMZ show, The Hollywood Beatdown, he would be having surgery. The champion stated, “I’m going to go ahead and get this shoulder repaired. I’ve been saying, ‘You know what, I don’t want to get it cut on, I don’t want to get it repaired.’ But if there’s no fight that really makes a ton of sense for me to take the risk, to not be 100 percent with my shoulder, then I’m going to go ahead and have it repaired. They’re not going to do a full orthopedic rehabilitation, but they’re going to do a scope and they’re going to anchor down some sides. Then I’m going to get some PRP (platelet-rich plasma), some stem cells.” A timetable for his return is not readily available.
As the division stands, the truly deserving of the next welterweight title shot would be either Thompson or Dos Anjos. The recent credentials of both garner such status. Thompson most recently defeated rising contender, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217. Before his early November victory over Masvidal, the undefeated kick-boxer challenged for the belt twice, consecutively. While he was unsuccessful in both attempts to earn the belt, each fight was extremely close. The first of which, scored a majority draw.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.
An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.
The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.
UFC Winnipeg Official Results:
MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
- Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
- #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT
- #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
- Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
- Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
- John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
- Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT
- Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
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