Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Bellator MMA Fighter Rankings: Ryan Bader improves P4P standing, Yoel Romero debuts at light heavyweight

Bellator MMA

Ryan Bader and Yoel Romero are moving up in the Bellator MMA world. Bader and Romero emerged from the main event and co-main event of Bellator 280 victorious. Their success was reflected by Tuesday’s updated Bellator rankings.

Bader swept Cheick Kongo on the scorecards in front of Kongo’s countrymen to defend his Bellator heavyweight championship for the third time. Bader improved one spot in the men’s pound-for-pound rankings, shifting from No. 6 to No. 5. Bader’s rise bumped welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov from No. 5 to No. 6. 

There were other movements in the P4P rankings thanks to what appeared to be some delayed updates in the aftermath of Patricio Freire defeating A.J. McKee at Bellator 277. Light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi moved up one spot each to No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. McKee, once the P4P leader in the men’s division, shifted further down from No. 2 to No. 4.

Romero bounced back from an unspectacular debut against Phil Davis in emphatic fashion. Romero repeatedly dropped ranked, short-notice opponent Alex Polizzi before finishing him in the final second of their fight. Romero subsequently made his debut in the Bellator light heavyweight top 10 at No. 8. Polizzi was demoted from No. 7 to No. 9 and Grant Neal was nudged from No. 9 to No. 10. Karl Albrektsson, who has not competed since October, improved from No. 8 to No. 7.

Below are the top-10 pound-for-pound rankings for both men and women. The full top-10 rankings for each division within the promotion can be found here. The rankings are voted on by 17 members of the media.

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Editor’s note: CBS Sports insiders Brian Campbell and Shakiel Mahjouri are members of the 17-person voting panel. Bellator and CBS Sports are both owned by ViacomCBS.

Bellator Rankings (May 10)

Men’s pound-for-pound

1. Patricio Pitbull


2. Vadim Nemkov (up one)


3. Gegard Mousasi (up one)


4. AJ McKee (down two)


5. Ryan Bader (up one)


6. Yaroslav Amosov (down one)


7. Corey Anderson


8. Sergio Pettis


9. Michael Page


10. Raufeon Stots


Women’s pound-for-pound

1. Cris Cyborg


2. Liz Carmouche


3. Juliana Velasquez


4. Denise Kielholtz


5. Arlene Blencowe


6. Cat Zingano


7. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane


8. Kana Watanabe


9. Sinead Kavanagh


10. Leslie Smith


Other notable results

  • Heavyweight: Kongo’s loss led to his slide in the Bellator heavyweight rankings. Kongo fell from No. 2 to No. 4. Linton Vassell and Fedor Emelianenko each improved one spot to No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

  • Featherweight: Pedro Carvalho slipped from No. 5 to No. 6 after losing a split decision to Piotr Niedzielski. Jeremy Kennedy swapped places with Carvalho as a consequence. Niedzielski, surprisingly, did not receive a ranking but perhaps that will change in the coming weeks.

  • Women’s flyweight: Justine Kish and Vanessa Porto exchanged rankings with the former improving to No. 8 and the latter slipping to No. 9. This is potentially a late change from Kish’s victory over Ilima-Lei Macfarlane at Bellator 279.

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