In front of a raucous, hometown crowd at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Stipe Miocic defended the UFC heavyweight title, pounding out Alistair Overeem in the first round. However, his performance does not make the division’s title picture any less muddled.
While Cain Velasquez’s July blowout of Travis Browne made the former divisional ruler look prime for another title fight, the man Miocic dethroned, Fabricio Werdum, rolled into Cleveland and took a second win over late replacement Browne before calling out Miocic in hopes of securing a rematch. Whatever Miocic’s next title defense might look like now entirely rests in the hands of the UFC.
Meanwhile, below the very top of the division, old veterans are still hacking it out. Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski -- two former UFC heavyweight champs who in 2000 made their Octagon debut on the same card, UFC 28, back in the Semaphore Entertainment Group era of the company -- squared off in Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 3. “The Warmaster” pushed past Arlovski in the third round, taking his back, choking him out and reaffirming his relevance, even at 38 years old, in MMA’s heavyweight ranks.
Recent happenings are not just confined to the heavyweight class, though: The most notable mover and shaker in this Sherdog rankings update is bantamweight standout Jimmie Rivera, who in his 20th pro victory, finally notched a career-defining win by taking a clean sweep of the scorecards against Urijah Faber and vaulting into our 135-pound top five. Meanwhile, former bantamweight Jessica Andrade has dropped to 115 pounds and in just two fights made a massive statement to launch herself into the women’s strawweight notables.
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