In the wake of
“The Ultimate Fighter 24” Finale, this edition of the
Sherdog.com divisional rankings has some fighters chasing history
and some fighters seeking to correct it.
Johnson defended his UFC flyweight title for the ninth time on
Dec. 3 in Las Vegas, earning an entertaining unanimous decision win
over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 24 winner Tim Elliott.
The win leaves “Mighty Mouse” one title defense away from
middleweight legend Anderson
Silva’s UFC record of 10. The event also gave us a pretty good
idea of who that 10th defense will come against.
The same night, Joseph
Benavidez pulled off his sixth straight win since Johnson
smashed him unconscious in December 2013, topping TUF 24 rival
coach and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry
Cejudo via close split decision. For Benavidez, who has lost
two UFC flyweight title bouts to Johnson, this next challenge will
likely be his last as long as “Mighty Mouse” sits on the throne and
represents his final chance to rectify his torturous history
against the AMC Pankration ace.
Speaking of rectifying history, this update also features two very
different sorts of corrections at 135 pounds. On the one hand, at
Bellator 167 in Thackerville, Oklahoma, former NCAA Division I
wrestling champion Darrion
Caldwell avenged the lone loss of his career -- a shocking July
submission defeat to Joe
Taimanglo -- by dominating the Guam native for 15 minutes and
reclaiming a spot on our bantamweight bubble.
Most notably, however, is the sudden return of Invicta Fighting
Championships bantamweight titleholder Tonya
Evinger, who gets her spot back in the women’s 135-pound top 10
courtesy of the Missouri Office of Athletics. Our last update saw
the addition of Russian Yana
Kunitskaya after her controversial submission win over Evinger
allowed her to take the Invicta title on Nov. 18. However, Evinger
launched a protest due to referee Mike England incorrectly telling
her she could not put her foot on Kunitskaya’s face, arguably
leading to her submission defeat. The MOA agreed, making
Kunitskaya’s win a no-contest, knocking her out of our rankings and
giving Evinger the Invicta title and seat at the top-10 table.