The UFC has released an official rankings update this Tuesday afternoon following last weekend’s UFC 271 pay-per-view event, with co-headliner, Tai Tuivasa, and main card feature, Jared Cannonier seeing some significant increases in their respective stocks.
Co-headlining the Toyota Center event in Houston, Texas, Sydney fan favorite, Tuivasa, who entered his co-main feature ranked #11 in the official heavyweight pile, managed to stop former title challenger, Derrick Lewis with a stunning second round knockout.
Engaging in a first round firefight with the hometown hero following a period of clinch work, Tuivasa admitted that a series of clubbing right hand ground strikes from Lewis had him in some worry following the bout.
However, it was the Australian shoey-enthusiast who got the better of the exchanges in the second round, stepping in with a stiff right elbow after wobbling Lewis with a right hand, felling the promotion’s most prolific knockout artist to secure his sixth straight win. And as a result, Tuivasa has landed at #3 in the official pile ahead of Lewis, who falls to #5 beneath Curtis Blaydes who sits at #4 – despite knocking out the Illinois native last year.
Prior to Tuivasa’s knockout win over Lewis, middleweight contender, Jared Cannonier survived some adversity of his own in the late stages of the opening round to overcome division staple, Derek Brunson.
Successfully defending a wrestling onslaught from the North Carolina native, Cannonier overextended himself in the final thirty seconds of the opening round, falling onto a right hand which dropped him. Immediately diving to Cannonier’s back, Brunson locked up a rear-naked choke but saw the buzzer save Cannonier’s consciousness.
In the second round, Cannonier significantly wobbled Brunson during an exchange, before winding up on top in a wrestling scramble, and landed a slew of heavy right elbows to ground out the Strikeforce alum.
Off the back of his victory, Cannonier improves to the #2 rank in the official middleweight pile, one slot behind past foe and headliner, Robert Whittaker who suffered a close unanimous decision loss to Israel Adesanya – whom Cannonier is expected to challenge next.
Sean Strickland also received a shuffle in the rankings, cracking the top-5 despite only moving to #6 last weekend with his split decision win over fellow contender, Jack Hermansson.
With the retirement of storied sport staple, Roxanne Modafferi at the event, her opponent, Casey O’Neill who retained her undefeated record with a decision win, moved to #12 in the division, while Manon Fiorot climbs to #12, Maycee Barber falls to #14. And Invicta FC veteran, Erin Blanchfield debuts in rankings at #15 in place of the retired, Modafferi.
In the official pound-for-pound rankings, Adesanya moves to #2 in the official pile one slot ahead of Alexander Volkanovski – with the featherweight king dropping to #3. Kamaru Usman remains slotted at #1 in the pile as he prepares for a summer return in search of a sixth successful title knockback.