With UFC Vegas 45 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.

Welterweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Belal Muhammad#5 (+5)
Stephen Thompson#7 (-2)
Neil Magny#8 (-1)
Sean Brady#9 (-1)
Michael Chiesa#10 (-1)
Welterweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

All that was keeping Belal Muhammad from the top of the welterweight rankings was a signature win. This weekend at UFC vegas 45, he got that win in a dominant performance over Stephen Thompson. That runs the Chicago-native’s undefeated streak to seven straight fights, with only a no-contest against Leon Edwards as a mild blemish. He moved up a staggering five spots as a result of the win and now has his eye on a number one contenders’ fight.

Belal Muhammad reacts after defeating Stephen Thompson at UFC Vegas 45
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 18: Belal Muhammad reacts after defeating Stephen Thompson in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Thompson, as a result of the loss, has fallen two spots in the UFC rankings. While the loss was particularly one-sided and marks his fourth loss in his last six fights, wins over the likes of Geoff Neal, Vicente Luque, and Jorge Masvidal likely keep him from falling any further.

Lightweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Mateusz Gamrot#12 (NR)
Diego Ferreira#15 (-3)
Joel Alvarez#NR (-1)
Lightweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

The first fighter who made a big splash in his arrival to the UFC rankings is Mateusz Gamrot. The Polish lightweight picked up a TKO over previously ranked #12 Diego Ferreira. After showing off his grappling chops, Gamrot kneed Ferreira in the ribs and caused the fight to come to a close in the second round. As a result, he takes the spot previously occupied by Ferreira.

Ferreira does not fall out of the rankings as a result of the loss. Despite this being his third straight loss in a very competitive division, he maintains the #15 spot. This is most likely due to the six-fight win streak that preceded his recent skid. Joel Alvarez is the one who loses the number next to his name as a result of Gamrot’s addition and Ferreira maintaining a spot.

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Bantamweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Sean O’Malley#12 (+1)
Ricky Simon#13 (NR)
Raphael Assuncao#15 (-3)
Cody Stamann#NR (-1)
Bantamweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

The next fighter that made a big splash in the UFC rankings with a win was Ricky Simon. Although Simon had been ranked in the past, he was unranked going into this weekend’s fight with Raphael Assuncao. Like Gamrot, Simon dominated with wrestling early and got it done with strikes in the second. It was big punches that got it done for Simon though, who now moves up to #13.

The spot that Simon now occupies is one slot behind where his opponent, Raphael Assuncao had occupied. Moving up to Assuncao’s spot is Sean O’Malley, who picked up a big win over Raulian Paiva the week before.

Middleweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Kevin Holland#14 (+1)
Chris Weidman#15 (-1)
Middleweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

Middleweight is the first of the divisions that has an odd bit of movement. Neither Chris Weidman nor Kevin Holland were active this past weekend and as a result, it might seem weird to see their numbers switch. You don’t have to look far to find the reason for this change though. Gerald Meerschaert picked up his third straight win at UFC Vegas 45. That win most likely stole him some votes in the UFC rankings. While it may not have been enough to get Meerschaert into the rankings, it was enough to affect the voting total of Weidman, who took a hit and fell behind Holland.

Flyweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Amir Albazi#11 (+2)
Tim Elliott#12 (-1)
Sumudaerji#13 (-1)
Flyweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

In recent memory, this is one of the more perplexing set of moves I’ve seen in any division of the UFC rankings. Not only did none of these fighters fight this past weekend, but neither did anyone in their division. To find a reason for the movement this week, we can point to one of two possible factors. The first would be that the UFC released a fighter who may have been getting votes, but was not necessarily in the official rankings. This seems unlikely given that we’ve seen nothing about flyweights from the automated Twitter account UFC Roster Watch, which follows such things.

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More likely one or more panelists decided to reconsider their thoughts on Cody Garbrandt, who made his flyweight debut two weekends ago. While he lost, some may have decided to include him after the fact, noting his prior accomplishments or how he looked in the fight. Otherwise, there is not a particularly good reason for any of this movement.

Women’s Flyweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Viviane Araujo#6 (+1)
Joanne Wood#7 (-1)
Jessica Eye#9 (+1)
Cynthia Calvillo#10 (-1)
Women’s Flyweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

This is another division, like men’s flyweights, that is a bit of a head-scratcher. However, while there were no official flyweight bouts, there was supposed to be one between Melissa Gatto and Sijara Eubanks. Eubanks missed weight and the bout wound up a catchweight affair. Nevertheless, it most likely affected the votes for those two as well as the four ladies who we see move. Although Gatto didn’t get into the rankings nor did Eubanks fall out, votes were added to one and subtracted from the other, causing some small shifts here.

Women’s Bantamweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Raquel Pennington#7 (+1)
Miesha Tate#8 (-1)
Women’s Bantamweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

Raquel Pennington scored a big submission win this past weekend over Macy Chiasson. The win marks the third straight for Rocky. As a result, she sees her spot in the UFC rankings go up by one. She jumps ahead of Miesha Tate, who she beat back in 2016.

Chaisson, who missed the featherweight limit for this fight, saw no change in her ranking. This may be due to the high ranking of Pennington or the back-to-back wins that Chiasson had coming into the fight.

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Women’s Strawweight

The Movement

FighterPlacement
Tecia Torres#7 (+1)
Michelle Waterson#8 (+1)
Amanda Ribas#9 (+1)
Amanda Lemos#10 (+1)
Virna Jandiroba#11 (+2)
Jessica Penne#13 (+1)
Brianna Van Buren#14 (+1)
Luana Pinheiro#15 (NR)
Women’s Strawweight Rankings Change

The Breakdown

The strawweight division got a bit of a shake-up due to the departure of a familiar face to the UFC rankings. Claudia Gadelha announced her retirement from the sport and was therefore removed from the rankings. The former title challenger’s absence allows just about everyone behind her to move up a single spot. The only fighter who saw no gains is Angela Hill, who lost a close split decision to Amanda Lemos at UFC Vegas 45. She was leapfrogged by Virna Jandiroda, who has the unique distinction of being the only one to get a two-spot bump.

Making her debut in the UFC rankings due to this change is Luana Pinheiro. She is 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Randa Markos and Sam Hughes.

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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