USAT/SBN July 2009 MMA Consensus Rankings: Bantamweight

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Rank Fighter % Promotion Last Rank
1 Miguel Torres 100 WEC 1
2 Brian Bowles 94 WEC 2
3 Masakatsu Ueda 92 Shooto 3
4 Takeya Mizugaki 88 WEC 4
5 Joseph Benavidez 73 WEC 5
6 Akitoshi Tamura 69 WEC 6
7 Will Ribeiro 65 WEC 7
8 Damacio Page 63 WEC 8
9 Rani Yahya 56 WEC 9
10 Manny Tapia 50 WEC 10
11 Dominick Cruz 35 WEC 11
12 Marcos Galvao 33 N/A 12
13 Koetsu Okazaki 33 Shooto 13
14 Masakazu Imanari 26 DREAM 15
14 Eduardo Dantas 26 Shooto 14
16 Atsushi Yamamoto 24 DREAM 16
17 Antonio Banuelos 24 WEC 17
18 Charlie Valencia 24 WEC 18
19 Daiki Hata 23 DREAM 19
20 Chase Beebe 22 DREAM 20
21 Yoshiro Maeda 21 DREAM 21
22 Jeff Curran 21 WEC 22
23 Jared McMahan 20 Corral Combat 23
24 Mike Easton 20 UWC 24
25 Masahiro Oishi 20 GCM 30

Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.

The March of the Mullet is still on course.

Miguel Torres' is still riding high after his victory over #4 Takeya Mizugaki, but now must look ahead as he defends his belt against number one contender and #2 ranked Hardcore Gym representative Brian Bowles. Bowles appears to be ready despite his compartively brief experience in professiional MMA and holds notable wins over #8 Damacio Page, #12 Marcos Galvao and #18 Charlie Valencia.

Shooto and wrestling standout Masakatsu Ueda unanimously defend his Featherweight Shooto title against #14 Eduardo Dantas on July 19th Shooto - Revolution Exchanges 1: Undefeated.

#4 Takeya Mizugaki is getting something of a murderer's row treatment as he first took on Miguel Torres in his WEC debut and is now on the WEC 42 card where he takes on the slumping #22 Jeff Curran. What I said last month is still relevant, so I'll repeat it: "Curran has not won a fight since 2007 and even after dropping to bantamweight from featherweight needs a win to stay relevant within MMA and the bantamweight division." If Mizugaki can avoid the guard play of Curran, Big Frog is going to have to do some serious soul searching.

Urijah Faber Alpha Male teammate #5 Joseph Benavidez is set to do battle with Brandon Vera training partner #11 Dominic Cruz. Both Benavidez and Cruz are wrestlers, but Cruz employs more orthodox technique standing while Benavidez flies by the seat of his pants. This fight is an interesting style clash as well as meaningful battle for rankings supremacy.

Akitoshi Tamura rings in at #6, fresh off of a win over former title contender #10 Manny Tapia at WEC 40. Tamura has a difficult challenge ahead of him in #8 Damacio Page at WEC 43.

#7 Will Ribeiro is still formally ranked, but one has to wonder how long his placement will endure given that it's merely a technicality at this point. We wish Ribeiro a healthy and speedy-as-possible recovery, but recognize he has major physical challenges to overcome.

There's still no word yet on #12 Marcos Galvao. After being brutally knocked out by #8 Damacio Page at WEC 39, all's been quiet on the Western front for the Nova Unaio product.

One of the best grapplers in all of MMA also returns at WEC 42. #9 Rani Yahya continues his post-Beebe loss rebound as he is all set to take on Kenji Osawa on August 9th. While Yahya's jiu-jitsu prowess is overpowering for virtually every bantamweight competing, his lack of any stand-up or wrestling (and sometimes cardio) continues to plague the extremely talented grappler.

And, of course, local Washington, DC product #24 Mike Easton checks in at number 24 on the list. Easton is set to compete at UWC 7 on October 3rd. He is set to take on #20 Chase Beebe.

I said this last month and I'll repeat it again: it is striking to see how much this weight class is now dominated by the WEC. Moreover, WEC 42 is a pivotal event where four of the top 5 and 7 of the top 10 bantamweights in the world are all competing on the same card. Behold the might of the WEC.

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