Fight Matrix updates the Current MMA Rankings once a week. As the deepest and most inclusive ranking system in the sport, fights all over the globe can have a major impact on the rankings. Let’s take a look at the biggest risers in the divisional rankings. The number in parenthesis is the number of spots that the fighter moved up from the last issued rankings. For the purpose of this article, fighters who were unranked in the previous ranking iteration are excluded.
Francis Ngannou #50 (15)
After three UFC fights, Ngannou has made his way into the top 50. Last Saturday, he scored his third knockout in the promotion in only 94 seconds against debuting Bojan Mihajlovic. It will be interesting to see how the UFC matches him going forward since he is already 29 years old and still somewhat raw.
Chris Harris #163 (24)
Harris scored a first-round rear-naked-choke submission over Matt Foster on the undercard of Bellator 159. With the victory, he improved his professional record to 7-0. The Kansas native is now also 2-0 on Bellator undercards. He previously defeated Julian Marquez at Bellator 150.
Mike Perry #107 (101)
On May 14, Perry scored a second-round knockout over David Mundell in the main event of a Battleground show. The Team Sparta member holds a 6-0 record with all of his wins coming via knockout.
Donovan Desmae #269 (192)
Desmae is a Belgian fighter who holds an 8-2 record. In his last fight, he scored a first-round knockout over Slobodan Maksimovic. Demae has won seven-straight fights since dropping his second and third professional fights.
Cory Sandhagen #204 (159)
Grudge Training Center product Sandhagen moved up 159 spots after receiving credit for his July 16 win over World Series of Fighting, Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Titan FC veteran Josh Huber at Sparta 50. The prospect is 3-0 after turning professional last summer.
Martin Akhtar #162 (94)
Sweden’s Akhtar is riding a three-fight winning streak. In his last fight, he took home a first-roound knockout over Anthony Riggio on June 25. Akhtar holds a 7-3 record. In 2014 he fell against one-time One Championship title contender Toni Tauru at Cage Warriors 66. Akhtar will return to action this upcoming Saturday against Muha Li under the Art of War banner in Beijing.
Freddy Serrano #126 (43)
Despite not having fought since last November, Serrano was the biggest mover in the flyweight division. The Colombian Olympic wrestler joined the UFC after competing on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” and has gone 2-0 in the promotion. Serrano returns to action this weekend at UFC 201 against Ryan Benoit.
Valentina Shevchenko #4 (13)
With an upset over Holly Holm in the main event of UFC on Fox 20, Shevchenko has catapulted herself into the top-ten. She will likely be on a shortlist of future challengers for the UFC title considering the only fighters ranked ahead of her are the champion, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.
Rin Nakai #11 (Previously Unranked)
Nakai returned to her home promotion, Pancrase, and dropped down the flyweight division. She has been ranked as high as #2 in this division before. However, going 0-1 in the UFC at 135 pounds she fell all the way down to #27 in the bantamweight rankings. At Pancrase 279, she scored a third-round finish over unranked Emiko Raika.
This week there was not any major movement in the middleweight, strawweight women’s featherweight, women’s strawweight or women’s atomweight divisions.
Richard Mann currently runs the data-driven MMA blog StrikeScoreMMA.com