With UFC Vegas 44 in the books, the ranking panelists went back to update their personal rankings (myself included). There were some divisions that saw major shake-ups, and others that saw virtually no movement. Let’s take a look at who moved and what the reason might be for it.

Lightweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Rafael Fiziev#11 (+3)
Diego Ferreira#12 (-1)
Brad Riddell#14 (-2)
Lightweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

At UFC Vegas 44, Rafael Fiziev picked up his first win over a ranked opponent. After battering Brad Riddell for the better part of three rounds, he finished his former teammate with a spinning hook kick to the face. Having a finish of a ranked opponent apparently did well in the eyes of the panelists. Fiziev was not only able to switch places with Riddell, who had been two spots above him, but he also managed to pass Diego Ferreira with the win. Ferreira is riding a two-fight losing streak with losses to Beneil Dariush and Gregor Gillespie.

Riddell, meanwhile, drops right into the spot vacated by Fiziev (#14). While the loss may have been a significant one for the Kiwi, his previous win over Drew Dober likely stands as reason to keep him in the top 15.

Flyweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Amir Albazi#12 (+1)
Sumudaerji#13 (-1)
Manel Kape#14 (NR)
Tagir Ulanbekov#15 (-1)
Tyson Nam#NR (-1)
Flyweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

Manel Kape finally made the impression that a lot of people had anticipated when he signed with the UFC. Kape picked up his second straight KO at UFC Vegas 44 – this one over Zhalgas Zhumagulov. The aggressive side of Kape came out and matched the striking skill he had exhibited in Rizin prior. As a result of another solid performance, he jumps up to #14 in the thin flyweight division. This comes at the expense of Tagir Ulanbekov, who falls a single spot to #15, as well as Tyson Nam, who disappears from the rankings.

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Also in the flyweight division, Amir Albazi and Sumudaeji swapped spots. For many people, this may seem like a nonsensical move with both men not fighting. However, the movement of Kape likely influenced this move. Some panelists likely had Kape moving ahead of Sumudaerji, lowering Mudaerji’s aggregate score behind Albazi, but not enough to move ahead of Sumudaerji himself.

Bantamweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Jose Aldo#3 (+2)
Cory Sandhagen#4 (-1)
Rob Font#5 (-1)
Dominick Cruz#9 (+1)
Marlon Moraes#10 (-1)
Bantamweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

While others may have moved more in the rankings, nobody occupied a higher spot after UFC Vegas 44 than Jose Aldo. The former featherweight-kingpin jumped up to #3 in the rankings following a five-round beatdown of Rob Font. Just one judge awarded a round to Font, while each of the other two gave the entire slate to Aldo. This marks three straight for the “King of Rio” and puts him on the edge of a second shot at becoming a double champion.

While it was not a surprise to see Aldo move ahead of Rob Font, it may have come as a shock to some to see him ahead of Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen has loss two straight close fights to #2 ranked TJ Dillashaw and interim champion Petr Yan. Although the performances were solid, the results likely influenced this decision.

Middleweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Chris Weidman#13 (+1)
Kevin Holland#14 (-1)
Middleweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

Here’s another spot where we see movement that appears nonsensical. Chris Weidman is currently on the sidelines with a broken leg and Kevin Holland is debating his move down to welterweight. So why are they moving in the rankings? The answer is likely Chris Curtis. In just one month in the UFC, Curtis has wins over Brendan Allen (which he got at UFC Vegas 44) and Phil Hawes. Both of those wins are by knockout, which likely led some panelists to vote for him in the rankings. If the panelists did so at the expense of Holland disproportionately to Weidman, then we would see this shift.

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Light Heavyweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Jamahall Hill#12 (+2)
Ryan Spann#13 (-1)
Jimmy Crute#14 (-1)
Light Heavyweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

A quick night at the office for Jamahall Hill at UFC Vegas 44 led to a spike in his ranking number. Previously down at #14, Hill jumped up to #12 with a win over Jimmy Crute by brutal first round knockout. The win not only takes him in front of Crute, but also Ryan Spann. Spann has just one win in his last three fights, which likely is the reason for Hill moving in front. Crute, meanwhile takes the spot previously occupied by Hill down at #14.

Women’s Bantamweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Holly Holm#1 (+1)
Irene Aldana#2 (+1)
Julianna Pena#3 (+1)
Aspen Ladd#4 (+1)
Ketlen Vieira#5 (+1)
Yana Kunitskaya#6 (+1)
Miesha Tate#7 (+1)
Raquel Pennington#8 (+1)
Sara McMann#9 (+1)
Macy Chiasson#10 (+1)
Lina Lansberg#11 (+1)
Karol Rosa#12 (+2)
Julia Avila#14 (+1)
Norma Dumont#15 (NR)
Women’s Bantamweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

Bantamweight saw the highest number of fighters move with the simplest reason – one that doesn’t pertain to UFC Vegas 44 at all. Germaine de Randamie was removed as an option to vote for with the reason still unknown to fans at this time. As a result, all fighters moved up with Norma Dumont claiming the new #15 spot.

Strawweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Jessica Penne#14 (+1)
Brianna Van Buren#15 (-1)
Strawweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

Yet again, Jessica Penne and Brianna Van Buren have flip-flopped. As with the previous two times, neither fighter was active at UFC Vegas 44, making it again appear odd that they changed. However, this can be traced back to the performance of Cheyanne Vlismas, who looked dominant over Mallory Martin. The win was her second straight and likely enough for her to steal some votes towards the bottom of the strawweight division. While it wasn’t enough to get her into the rankings, it was enough for her to affect them. Based on the change, it appears to have influenced more voters of Brianna Van Buren than it did those who like Jessica Penne.

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Is there movement in the rankings that you still don’t understand? Ask us on Twitter (@TheAllStarSport) and we’ll make sure Gumby answers it for you. You can also ask him directly (@GumbyVreeland).

Daniel "Gumby" Vreeland has been an MMA writer for over a decade. He currently hosts The Top Turtle Podcast and is a member of the UFC's ranking panel.

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