Sunday, 15 April 2012

MMA Lightweight Rankings - April 2012

A lot is happening in the lightweight division and many new fighters have begun to stake their claim as future greats.  Though there has been no real top lightweight action over the past month, there have been changes to the lightweight rankings based on inactivity and divisional changes. Adam Speechly’s drop to lightweight needed to be accounted for and due to inactivity over the past two years, Chris Bright has fallen off the rankings.

1. Costa Ioannou (4–0)

Undefeated in his professional career and boasting many of the biggest scalps in the division, Costa Ioannou is somewhat of an enigma in the lightweight class. He is ferocious on the feet, incredibly strong in the clinch and an expert on the ground, a mix which is proving increasingly difficult for the rest of the division to figure out. Ioannou, the current EFC Africa lightweight champion, was also the first South African to defend an EFC title, when he bested Alex Cheboub in emphatic style at EFC 10. If history is anything to go by, Costa Ioannou could be a dominant force in the hexagon for a long time to come.  

2. Brendon Katz (7-1)

Brendon Katz has a single blemish, courtesy of this list’s number one fighter, Costa Ioannou, in a fight of the night appearance. Shy of his only loss, Katz has looked impressive in the cage, and has recently made a successful jump to fighting internationally, where he has defeated USA’s Omar Santiago at XFC Africa 5 and UK’s Huseyin Garabet at UCMMA25. Hopefully we will see Brendon Katz back in the cage in South Africa soon, where he can put his wealth of experience to good use.  

3. Wentzel “The Animal” Nel (9-3)

Former EFC Africa Lightweight champion Wentzel Nel has used his wrestling to defeat some of the best in the division, including besting Leo Gloss to become the first EFC lightweight champion. Nel recently lost his lightweight crown to Costa Ioannou at EFC 08, but bounced back with a pair of wins against Manny Da Silva at EFC 09 and Terrence Griessel at EFC 11. It looks like The Animal wants his Lightweight belt back!

4. Ryan “The Lion” van Niekerk (20-6)

Ryan van Niekerk is a veteran of the sport, and has held division gold in other promotions. Van Niekerk has also fought some of the toughest names in the business including Wesley Hawkey and Chris Bright. Currently on a four fight winning streak, The Lion managed to win his EFC debut against Markus Taljaard and will be looking to build on this platform and ultimately earn an EFC Africa title shot.

5. Adam “The Prodigy” Speechly (12-3)

Former EFC Africa welterweight champion Adam Speechly will make his Lightweight debut at EFC 14 in a title fight against Costa Ioannou. Though The Prodigy has yet to fight at lightweight, his impressive welterweight resume assures him a place on this list, how he performs at lightweight, a division that I believe better suits him, will be interesting to see.

View all: MMA Rankings


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