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411 Light Heavyweight MMA Rankings: Dominick Reyes, Thiago Santos, More

September 1, 2020 | Posted by Jonathan Solomon
Dominick Reyes

411’s Official MMA Rankings: Light Heavyweight Division

Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs)

Last month, UFC light heavyweight champion (and the best 205-pounder in MMA history) Jon Jones vacated the championship. He has since confirmed his intention to permanently move up to heavyweight. Instantly, the prospect of Jones challenging the likes of Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou and other top heavyweights automatically become the biggest potential fights in the sport. The move also takes the only superstar from the light heavyweight division, which historically had been the most star-studded division (Shamrock, Ortiz, Couture, Liddell, Wanderlei, Rampage, Shogun, Jones) is severely lacking in that regard.

Since Jones beat Shogun Rua in 2013, he has dominated the 411 MMA Rankings. There have been months where he was missing from this list (due to failed drug tests/suspensions and inactivity), but whenever he returned, he shot right back up the list. Now, let’s see what the 2020 light heavyweight division is left looking like.


1) Thiago Santos (21-7)

Height: 6’2

Birthday: January 7, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Jon Jones – Loss via decision (split) – UFC 239 – July 6, 2019

– vs. Jan Blachowicz – Win via TKO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – February 23, 2019

– vs. Jimi Manuwa – Win via KO (strikes) – UFC 231 – December 8, 2018

– vs. Eryk Anders – Win via TKO (elbows) – UFC Fight Night – September 22, 2018

– vs. Kevin Holland – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC 227 – August 4, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– vs. Glover Teixeira – UFC on ESPN – September 12, 2020

Comment: Santos could not have picked a better time to return from his year off stemming from injuries sustained in last summer’s fight with Jon Jones. With the UFC to decide the new champion at UFC 253 next month, a winner between Santos and Glover Teixeira is a surefire bet to be next in line for the new champion.

This is also an interesting turn as I cannot recall an instance where a fighter moved up into the #1 spot not only having been out of action for a year, but coming off a loss, too. The other top light heavyweight up for debate as the best is Dominick Reyes, who also last fought Jones and loss.




2) Dominick Reyes (12-1)

Height: 6’4

Birthday: December 26, 1989

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Jon Jones – Loss via decision (unanimous) – UFC 247 – February 8, 2020

– vs. Chris Weidman – Win via TKO (strikes) – UFC on ESPN – October 18, 2019

– vs. Volkan Oezdemir – Win via decision (split) – UFC on ESPN+ – March 16, 2019

– vs. Ovince St. Preux – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC 229 – October 6, 2018

– vs. Jared Cannonier – Win via TKO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – May 19, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– vs. Jan Blachowciz – UFC 253 – September 26, 2020

Comment: Reyes has the benefit of timing as he is right back in a light heavyweight title fight, this time against Jan Blachowicz.



3) Jan Blachowicz (26-8)

Birthday: February 24, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Corey Anderson – Win via KO (punch) – UFC Fight Night – February 15, 2020

– vs. Jacare Souza – Win via decision (split) – UFC Fight Night – November 16, 2019

– vs. Luke Rockhold – Win via KO (punch) – UFC 239 – July 6, 2019

– vs. Thiago Santos – Loss via TKO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – February 23, 2019

– vs. Nikita Krylov – Win via submission (arm triangle choke) – UFC Fight Night – September 15, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– vs. Dominick Reyes – UFC 253 – September 26, 2020



4) Glover Teixeira (31-7)

Height: 6’2

Birthday: October 28, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Anthony Smith – Win via TKO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – May 13, 2020

– vs. Nikita Krylov – Win via decision (split) – UFC Fight Night – September 14, 2019

– vs. Ion Cutelaba – Win via submission (rear naked choke) – UFC Fight Night – April 27, 2019

– vs. Karl Roberson – Win via submission (arm triangle choke) – UFC Fight Night – January 19, 2019

– vs. Corey Anderson – Loss via decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night – July 22, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– vs. Thiago Santos – UFC on ESPN – September 12, 2020



5) Vadim Nemkov (12-2)

Height: 6’0

Birthday: June 20, 1992

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Ryan Bader – Win via TKO (strikes) – Bellator 244 – August 21, 2020

– vs. Rafael Carvalho – Win via submission (rear naked choke) – Bellator 230 – October 12, 2019

– vs. Phil Davis – Win via decision (split) – Bellator 209 – November 15, 2018

– vs. Liam McGeary – Win via TKO (leg kicks) – Bellator 194 – February 16, 2018

– vs. Philipe Lins – Win via KO (strikes) – Bellator 182 – August 25, 2017

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown

Comment: The new Bellator light heavyweight champion, Nemkov blasted Bader in the second round leading to a referee stoppage. Unbeaten as a light heavyweight, Nemkov has now beaten the previous three Bellator champions. Will Corey Anderson get the first opportunity to unseat the new champion?



6) Corey Anderson (13-5)

Height: 6’3

Birthday: September 22, 1989

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Jan Blachowicz – Loss via KO (punch) – UFC Fight Night – February 15, 2020

– vs. Johnny Walker – Win via TKO (strikes) – UFC 244 – November 2, 2019

– vs. Ilir Latifi – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC 232 – December 29, 2018

– vs. Glover Teixeira – Win via decision – UFC Fight Night – July 22, 2018

– vs. Patrick Cummins – Win via decision – UFC Fight Night – April 21, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown

Comment: In recent months, Anderson lost a UFC fight, collapsed and underwent procedures to repair a heart condition, requested his release from the UFC (despite two fights remaining on his deal) and signed a deal with Bellator. Citing low fighter pay as the reason, he immediately becomes a title contender in Bellator.



7) Aleksandar Rakic (13-2)

Birthday: February 6, 1992

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Anthony Smith – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night – August 29, 2020

– vs. Volkan Oezdemir – Loss via decision (split) – UFC Fight Night – December 21, 2019

– vs. Jimi Manuwa – Win via KO (head kick) – UFC Fight Night – June 1, 2019

– vs. Devin Clark – Win via TKO (strikes) – UFC 231 – December 8, 2018

– vs. Justin Ledet – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night – July 22, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown



8) Tomasz Narkun (17-3)

Height: 6’3

Birthday: December 3, 1989

Currently Fighting With: KSW

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala – Win via submission (guillotine choke) – KSW 50 – September 14, 2019

– vs. Philip De Fries – Loss via decision (unanimous) – KSW 47 – March 23, 2019

– vs. Mamed Khalidov – Win via decision (unanimous) – KSW 46 – December 1, 2018

– vs. Mamed Khalidov – Win via submission (triangle choke) – KSW 42 – March 3, 2018

– vs. Marcin Wojclk – Win via submission (triangle choke) – KSW 39 – May 27, 2017

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown



9) Jiri Prochazka (27-3)

Height: 6’4

Birthday: October 14, 1992

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Volkan Oezedemir – Win via KO (punch) – UFC 251 – July 11, 2020

– vs. C.B. Dolloway – Win via KO (strikes) – Rizin FF 20 – December 31, 2019

– vs. Fabio Maldonado – Win via KO (strikes) – Rizin FF 19 – October 12, 2019

– vs. King Mo Lawal – Win via TKO (strikes) – Rizin FF 15 – April 21, 2019

– vs. Brandon Halsey – Win via TKO (submission due to strikes) – Rizin FF 14 – December 31, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown



10) Anthony Smith (33-16)

Height: 6’4

Birthday: July 26, 1988

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Aleksandar Rakic – Loss via decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night – August 29, 2020

– vs. Glover Teixeira – Loss via TKO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – May 13, 2020

– vs. Alexander Gustafsson – Win via submission (rear naked choke) – UFC on ESPN+ – June 1, 2019

– vs. Jon Jones – Loss via decision (unanimous) – UFC 235 – March 2, 2019

– vs. Volkan Oezdemir – Win via submission (rear naked choke) – UFC Fight Night – October 27, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown

Comment: Smith is just a year removed from choking out Alexander Gustafsson. But, what have you done for me lately? In 2020, he was battered by Teixeira and was unable to do much against Rakic Saturday night. Following the event, Smith talked about considering all options as he tries to light a spark following this 1-4 run since 2019. He recalled how difficult it was to make 185-pounds and even mentioned the possibility of adding weight and moving up to heavyweight. It certainly seems like in the immediate aftermath of the loss, he’s considering leaving the division he’s been most successful in.



11) Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC)

Height: 6’2

Birthday: June 7, 1983

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Vadim Nemkov – Loss via TKO (strikes) Bellator 244 – August 21, 2020

– vs. Cheick Kongo – No Contest – Bellator – September 7, 2019

– vs. Fedor Emelianenko – Win via TKO (strikes) – Bellator 214 – January 26, 2019

– vs. Matt Mitrione – Win via decision (unanimous) – Bellator 207 – October 12, 2018

– vs. King Mo Lawal – Win via TKO (strikes) – Bellator 199 – May 12, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown

Comment: Bellator had been hyping Bader as the best light heavyweight in the world following news of Jones leaving the division. Abruptly, Bader was finished by Vadim Nemkov. Bader remains the Bellator heavyweight champion, but this loss may not bode well for a long title reign at that weight, either.



12) Phil Davis (21-5, 1 No Contest)

Height: 6’2

Birthday: September 25, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Karl Albrektsson – Win via TKO (strikes) – Bellator 231 – October 25, 2019

– vs. Liam McGeary – Win via TKO (injury) – Bellator 220 – April 27, 2019

– vs. Vadim Nemkov – Loss via decision (split) – Bellator 209 – November 15, 2018

– vs. Linton Vassell – Win via KO (head kick) – Bellator 200 – May 25, 2018

– vs. Leo Leite – Win via decision (unanimous) – Bellator 186 – November 3, 2017

Next scheduled appearance:

– vs. Lyoto Machida – Bellator 245 – September 11, 2020



13) Ryan “Superman” Spann (18-5)

Height: 6’5

Birthday: August 24, 1991

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Sam Alvey – Win via decision (split) – UFC 249 – May 9, 2020

– vs. Devin Clark – Win via submission (guillotine choke) – UFC Fight Night – October 12, 2019

– vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – Win via KO (strikes) – UFC 237 – May 11, 2019

– vs. Luis Henrique Barbosa de Oliveira – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night – September 22, 2018

– vs. Emiliano Sordi – Win via submission (guillotine choke) – DW Tuesday Contender Series – June 19, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– vs. Johnny Walker – UFC 253 – September 26, 2020



14) Nikita Krylov (27-7)

Birthday: March 7, 1992

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Johnny Walker – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night – March 14, 2020

– vs. Glover Teixeira – Loss via decision (split) – UFC Fight Night – September 14, 2019

– vs. Ovince St. Preux – Win via submission (rear naked choke) – UFC 236 – April 13, 2019

– vs. Jan Blachowicz – Loss via submission (arm triangle choke) – UFC Fight Night – September 15, 2018

– vs. Fabio Maldonado – Win via KO (punch) – FNG – May 5, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown



15) Magomed Ankalaev (14-1)

Birthday: November 25, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

– vs. Ion Cutelaba – Win via TKO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – February 29, 2020

– vs. Dalcha Lungiambula – Win via KO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – November 9, 2019

– vs. Klidson Abreu – Win via decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night – February 23, 2019

– vs. Marcin Prachnio – Win via KO (strikes) – UFC Fight Night – September 15, 2018

– vs. Paul Craig – Loss via submission (triangle choke) – UFC Fight Night – March 17, 2018

Next scheduled appearance:

– Unknown