It might be an understatement to say the UFC has some questionable rankings. You would expect rankings to be questionable as they are subjective; however, in this column, I will point out rankings that I think are glaring mistakes. I will also analyze significant movement in the rankings that I agree with.
Editorial Commentary by Peter Parsons
On Saturday night, Serghei Spivac got the pay-per-view portion of UFC 272 started with a first round TKO over former NFL player Greg Hardy. The 27-year-old Moldovan heavyweight is now 13-3 overall and 5-3 in the UFC.
Serghei Spivac ranked No. 15 at heavyweight
With the win over Hardy, Spivac has now won four out of his last five fights in the UFC’s heavyweight division. His only loss during this stretch was against current No. 11 ranked Tom Aspinall. Notable wins during this stretch came against top Brazilian prospect Carlos Felipe and Russian veteran, formerly ranked Aleksei Oleinik.
Spivac started his UFC career going 1-2 with losses against current ranked heavyweights in Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. Sandwiched between those losses was a second-round submission victory over current No. 3 ranked heavyweight Tai Tuivasa.
I think Spivac could be ranked as high as No. 11. The No.’s 10, 12, 13, and 14 ranked heavyweights are all on losing streaks and have not been very active. I don’t think it’s glaring for Spivac to be ranked behind No. 12 through No. 14 fighters Augusto Sakai, Walt Harris and Blagoy Ivanov; however, I don’t think Spivac should be ranked behind current No. 10 Shamil Abdurakhimov.
Shamil Abdurakhimov ranked No. 10 at heavyweight
Shamil Abdurakhimov went just over two years without having fought before his second-round knockout loss to Chris Daukus in September of 2021. His previous fight was in September of 2019 where he lost by second round TKO to Curtis Blaydes. I’ve written in this column before that Abdurakhimov should have dropped out of rankings after 18 months of inactivity. Instead, he retained his ranking and only dropped one spot when he lost to Daukus this past September.
I know Blaydes and Daukus are top 10 heavyweights, but in my opinion, you have to win fights or at least put it on the line and fight, to stay relevant. I don’t think Abdurakhimov should be ranked at all. While he has been inactive, we see fighters like Alexander Romanov going 4-0 in the UFC over a two-year span.
Or how about veteran Andrei Arlovski winning his last three in a row and five of his last six. I know Abdurakhimov has a 2018 decision win over Arlovski, but lots has happened since then. Spivac has a win over the current third ranked heavyweight in Tai Tuivasa, which doesn’t mean Spivac should be ranked ahead of Tuivasa.
I think fighters should be rewarded for their activity and not sit on a ranking spot while inactive. With that being said, it is worth pointing out that finally Sergei Pavlovich is out of the rankings after not having fought for over 28 months. Spivac replaced Pavlovich in the rankings this week.
Interestingly, Pavlovich is scheduled to return against his countryman Shamil Abdurakhimov on March 19 which you will see listed along with other upcoming notable heavyweight fights below.
Fans think Khabib Nurmagomedov just hinted at UFC return
Upcoming Notable UFC Heavyweight Fights
Mar 19 – (10) Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Sergei Pavlovich
Mar 19 –(6)Alexander Volkov vs. (11) Tom Aspinall
Mar 26 – Aleksei Oleinik vs. Ilir Latifi
Mar 26 – (4) Curtis Blaydes vs. (8) Chris Daukaus
Apr 9 – (7) Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. (9) Marcin Tybura
Apr 23 – Tanner Boser vs. Rodrigo Nascimento
Apr 30 – Jake Collier vs. Justin Tafa
May 7 – (13) Blagoy Ivanov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
May 21 – Ben Rothwell vs. Alexander Gustafsson
My rankings would look different than any other writer or fan who follows the sport closely. This is to be expected, as rankings are subjective. Rankings should be based primarily on results and not perceived potential or popularity.
Some people think rankings do not matter. Rankings do matter. They matter when it comes to matchmaking. They matter when it comes to contract negotiations.
Let’s keep the rankings conversation going. Do you agree or disagree with the above Ranking Review? Express your thoughts in the comments below.
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