The Outsiders: Top 25 LWs Outside the UFC, BMMA, and WSOF #2

While most of the best talent is under the UFC banner, and Bellator and WSOF have seemed to scoop up the rest, there is still plenty of talent yet to be signed by the top promotions of the MMA food chain. These are not necessarily 'free agents' or even prospects, they are (mostly) top 100 ranked fighters who are navigating the nebulous seas of regional and international fight promotion for whatever reason.

There was quite a bit of activity going on in the lightweight division since the last edition. Rick Hawn defeated fellow former BMMA vet Derek Loffer (9-3, UR) at CES MMA 28 by UD. Hawn is on a two fight streak since leaving Bellator. Jesse Ronson submitted Gadji Zaipulaev (20-8, #292) by 2nd round brabo choke at ADW2. Ronson is also on a two fight streak (with two stoppages) since being released by the UFC last July. Japanese legend Satoru Kitaoka picked up a UD over Akira Okada (9-4-3, #313) at Pancrase 265. Kitaoka is riding a four fight win streak and is 11-3 since 2009. Mansour Barnaoui continued his own four fight win streak with a first round TKO win over undefeated Maxim Divnich (11-1, #249) at M-1 Challenge 57 for the 155 title. At 22, Tarzan has won a couple international titles and is a fighter to look out for in the next couple years. Another young prospect, undefeated Mateusz Gamrot TKO'd Rodrigo Cavalheiro Correia (15-4, #451) in the 3rd round at KSW 30. Bellator vet Ricardo Tirloni decisioned Alejandro Solano Rodriguez (23-12-0-1, #305) at Calvo Promotions 5 to rebound from his split loss to Pat Healy. Finally, David Khachatryan extended win streak to eleven with a win over Mikhail Volkov (6-5, UR) by first round RNC at Fight Nights-Cup of Moscow.

A lot of old faces re-entered the Top 25. Kazunori Yokota continues to defy time with a recent UD win over Juri Ohara (16-9-2, #406) at DEEP-Funabashi Bom-Ba-Ye 2015. Yokota hasn't lost since a 2010 bout with Jadamba Narantungalag. Other big show vets returning to the Top 25 include Anton Kuivanen, Andre Winner, and ageless wonder Jorge Patino.

Recently signed by a top promotion: Alexander Sarnavskiy (50 - re- signed by BMMA), Steven Ray (75 - UFC)

Lightweights (155lb)

25 Shinya Aoki 37-6-0-1 32 ONE FC/IGF (Asia)
37 Rick Hawn 20-4-0 38 CES (US)
41 Koji Ando 11-3-2 30 ONE FC (Asia)
45 Musa Khamanaev 15-3-0 27 Absolute CB (Russia)
53 Pat Healy 30-20-0-1 31 Titan FC (US)
59 Jesse Ronson 15-5-0 29 Abu Dhabi Warriors (UAE)
60 Satoru Kitaoka 36-13-9 35 Pancrase (Japan)
63 Mike Ricci 10-4-0 28 Titan FC (US)
67 TJ O'Brien 20-7-0 28 Pinnacle Combat (Iowa)
70 Mansour Barnaoui 12-2-0 22 M-1 (Russia)
72 Tom Gallicchio 19-8-0 ? MFC (Canada)
76 Mateusz Gamrot 9-0-0 24 KSW (Poland)
79 Ramazan Esenbaev 8-1-1 ? IGF (Japan)
80 Ricardo Tirloni 19-6-0 32 Arena Tour (Argentina)
82 Darrell Horcher 11-1-0 27 Cage Fury FC (US)
89 Kazunori Yokota 23-5-3 37 DEEP (Japan)
90 Eduard Vartanyan 10-1-0 23 ACB (Russia)
91 Alex Reyes 11-2-0 ? KOTC (US)
95 Anton Kuivanen 21-8-0 31 The Cage (Finland)
96 Gleristone Santos 27-4-0 26 Titan FC (US)
98 Jason Fischer 8-3-0 30 Hard Knocks FC (Canada)
101 David Khachatryan 19-2-0 27 Fight Nights (Russia)
102 Flavio Alvaro 48-10-0 37 Thunder Fight (Brazil)
103 Andre Winner 20-8-2 33 BAMMA (UK)
104 Jorge Patino 37-15-2 42 Real Fight (Brazil)

Dropped out of the Top 25: Gesias Cavalcante (106), Jacob Volkmann (110), Joshua Aveles (132), Ryan Dickson (160), Vuyisile Colossa (NR- Inactive)

Top 3 promotions in the division

Promotion # Top 100 fighters Champ
UFC 66 Rafael Dos Anjos
Bellator 10 Will Brooks
Titan FC 3 Pat Healy

*All Rankings taken from Fight Matrix at time of writing.