Venator FC’s Rousimar Palhares holds highest ranking outside of UFC and Bellator

23 Mar , 2016,
Richard Mann

Earlier this week, news broke that Rousimar Palhares had signed with Venator FC. Per the announcement, he will make his promotional debut on May 21. Lost in the ostentatiousness of Venator president Frank Merenda is a reminder that one of the world’s best welterweights is practically banished from the highest levels of the sport due to his inability or refusal to release submissions in a timely manner.

In this day and age, it is rare for a fighter as accomplished as Palhares to remain outside the UFC or Bellator. In fact, only one other fighter not signed to the big two, One bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes, currently ranks as high. The following table shows the highest ranked fighters per weight outside the UFC and Bellator.

Division Rank Fighter Promotion
Heavyweight 15 Vitaly Minakov EFN
Light Heavyweight 12 Dave Branch WSOF
Middleweight 13 Mamed Khalidov KSW
Welterweight 5 Rousimar Palhares Venator
Lightweight 8 Justin Gaethje WSOF
Featherweight 18 Ivan Buchinger M-1
Bantamweight 5 Bibiano Fernandes One
Flyweight 12 Tim Elliott Titan FC

Interestingly enough, Palhares’ #5 ranking ties him with the highest ranked fighters in Bellator. Currently Phil Davis, Will Brooks and Daniel Straus are all also ranked #5 in their respective divisions.

Unlike someone like Wanderlei Silva who is currently serving an athletic commission suspension, Palhares finds himself suspended while he seems to be entering his prime. On top of that, welterweight is one of the few divisions with a relatively deep talent pool outside the UFC with fighters such as Douglas Lima, Ben Askren and Ben Henderson. Considering the unavailability of high level competition, his ranking will likely decline.

Of course, if you believe the accusations against Palhares, he does not really have anyone to blame other than himself.

Richard Mann currently runs the data-driven MMA blog