Global MMA Rankings, September Update: Joanna Jedrzejczyk makes her exit, Ciryl Gane enters elite company

Sports

MMA Fighting 01 September, 2021 - 09:00am 8 views

Did Brian Hoyer get cut?

The team cut 21 players: Newton, Folk, Brian Hoyer, Kristian Wilkerson, Montravious Adams, Adrian Colbert, James Ferentz, Matt LaCosse, Alex Redmond, AKeem Spence, Dee Virgin, Tashawn Bower, Myles Bryant, Korey Cunningham, Michael Jackson Sr., Will Sherman, Bill Murray, Tre Nixon, D'Angelo Ross, Nick Thurman and Isaiah ... usatoday.comCam Newton and Brian Hoyer cut, leaving rookie Mac Jones as only active quarterback on Patriots' 53-man roster

Who is the Patriots back up quarterback?

Patriots backup QB Brian Hoyer shouldn't be… bostonherald.comPatriots backup QB Brian Hoyer shouldn’t be away too long

Ladies and gentlemen, a monster month is ahead of us.

With 21 ranked fighters scheduled to compete over the next few weeks — including a whopping 13 at UFC 266 alone — September is slated to be the most impactful month yet in the brief history of this space. Considering all that’s at stake, the lists you read today could look completely different the next time you see them. But before we look ahead, let’s first reflect back at the month that was.

So how did August’s results affect the MMA Fighting Global Rankings?

A quick refresher on some ground rules:

And with that, let’s dive in.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Make your voice heard in the comments below.

Entering the month tied with Curtis Blaydes for fourth in our rankings, Gane dominated Derrick Lewis en route to a third-round finish that earned him an interim UFC title. The ease with which Gane ran through Lewis — not to mention the other notable scalps the Frenchman collected in the 7-0 start to his UFC career — has not only made him a trendy favorite to beat Francis Ngannou in a unification bout, it has also placed him in the top tier of the heavyweight division alongside Ngannou and two-time champion Stipe Miocic.

In fact, one panelist went as far as to rank Gane second only to Ngannou (all other second-place votes went to Miocic). Regardless of his exact spot in the top 3, to be placed in the upper echelon with two of MMA’s most dominant heavyweights is yet another stunning accomplishment for a fighter who began his pro career in 2018.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 4 Ciryl Gane def. No. 3 Derrick Lewis (UFC 265, Aug. 7)

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 5 Curtis Blaydes vs. No. 7 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (UFC 266, Sept. 25), No. 11 Chris Daukaus vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov (UFC 266, Sept. 25), No. 13 Tom Aspinall vs. Serghei Spivac (UFC Fight Night, Sept. 4)

Fighters also receiving votes: Fabricio Werdum, Blagoy Ivanov, Cheick Kongo, Tim Johnson, Philip De Fries, Alexander Romanov, Serghei Spivac, Walt Harris

Blachowicz landed himself a big money fight against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya for his first title defense, but will a more seasoned 205er like Teixeira prove to be an even greater challenge? Fair or not, Blachowicz is still looking to build his own legacy in a division that has yet to emerge from the long shadow of Jon Jones. Should Blachowicz defeat Teixeira in definitive fashion, he has a fresh line of challengers ahead, which bodes well for fans eager to move on from the “Bones” era.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): None.

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 10 Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann (UFC Fight Night, Sept. 18), No. 11 Phil Davis vs. Yoel Romero (Bellator 266, Sept. 18)

Fighters also receiving votes: Nikita Krylov, Johnny Walker

With multiple-time title challenger Yoel Romero passing the 18-month mark without a fight, he was officially removed from the MMA Fighting Global Rankings. The good news for “Soldier of God?” He has a high-profile bout with former Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis coming up in two weeks and a win gets Romero right back into the top-15 of another division.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 4 Gegard Mousasi def. John Salter (Bellator 264, Aug. 13), No. 7 Jared Cannonier def. No. 12 Kelvin Gastelum (UFC Vegas 34, Aug. 21)

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 5 Derek Brunson vs. No. 10 Darren Till (UFC Fight Night, Sept. 4)

Fighters also receiving votes: John Salter, Brendan Allen, Brad Tavares, Mamed Khalidov, Nassourdine Imavov

That’s right, we have PFL representation in the top-15 this month as Cooper III enters at lucky No. 13. Cooper III has been one of the best kept secrets at 170 pounds for the past few years as he’s gone 10-2-1 since joining the PFL in 2018, winning a league championship in his second year, and becoming a legitimate homegrown star. It’s no longer a question of whether Cooper III deserves to be ranked, now we have to ask if he deserves to be ranked higher.

Similar consideration could be given to Vicente Luque, “The Silent Assassin,” who has won 10 of his past 11 fights in the stacked UFC welterweight division while reeling off highlight after highlight. His latest victim was Michael Chiesa, who was previously unbeaten as a welterweight, and that victory has propelled Luque into the No. 6 spot (tied with undefeated Bellator champion Yaroslav Amosov).

Were he the more verbose type, Luque might already have earned a title opportunity, but as it stands he’s made an undeniable case that he’s worthy of a big-name opponent next and possibly a top-5 spot himself. Could a Nate Diaz fight be looming?

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 9 Vicente Luque def. No. 7 Michael Chiesa (UFC 265, Aug. 7), Ray Cooper III def. No. 13 Rory MacDonald (PFL 7, Aug. 13), Daniel Rodriguez def. No. 15 (at lightweight) Kevin Lee (UFC Vegas 35, Aug. 28)

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: None.

Fighters also receiving votes: Rory MacDonald, Sean Brady, Jason Jackson, Daniel Rodriguez, Magomed Magomedkerimov

As for the top of the division, it remains stagnant as UFC champion Charles Oliveira tries to find someone, anyone, to challenge him for his recently won title, with MMA Fighting’s No. 1-ranked Dustin Poirier not exactly begging for the opportunity.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): None (see welterweight).

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 9 Dan Hooker vs. Nasrat Haqparast (UFC 266, Sept. 25)

Fighters also receiving votes: Damir Ismagulov, Drew Dober, Thiago Moises, Mateusz Gamrot, Christian Lee, Mark O. Madsen, Raush Manfio,

The fast-rising Georgian contender emphatically announced himself as a future title contender with a third-round TKO of Edson Barboza, one of MMA’s most-feared strikers. Chikadze entered his first UFC main event with a 6-0 record for the promotion — and those pegging him as the next big thing were likely grinning proudly as he earned his third-straight knockout and followed that up with a callout of Max Holloway.

Should Chikadze get his wish and knock Holloway out of the picture, there will be no denying that he should be next to face the winner of the upcoming UFC 266 main event between featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 12 Giga Chikadze def. No. 9 Edson Barboza (UFC Vegas 35, Aug. 28)

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 1 Alexander Volkanovski vs. No. 4 Brian Ortega (UFC 266, Sept. 25)

Fighters also receiving votes: Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, Mads Burnell, Shane Burgos, Adam Borics, Chris Wade

The two-time featherweight champion’s bantamweight run got off to a rocky start after he lost a contentious split decision to Marlon Moraes then fell in the fifth round to Petr Yan in a vacant UFC championship bout. However, he’s since rebounded with two straight wins against Munhoz and another longtime contender, Marlon Vera. While many would love to see Aldo in a dream match against Dominick Cruz, he’s proven that he’s not far removed from the top-5 of the division.

In other important news, the rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan has officially been set for UFC 267 on Oct. 30, so we may finally have our tie for the No. 1 spot broken without controversy. Fingers crossed.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 6 Jose Aldo def. No. 7 Pedro Munhoz (UFC 265, Aug. 7)

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 7 Marlon Moraes vs. No. 9 Merab Dvalishvili (UFC 266, Sept. 25)

Fighters also receiving votes: Jimmie Rivera, Kai Asakura, Raphael Assuncao, Raufeon Stots, Raoni Barcelos, Marlon Vera, Patchy Mix

A case could be made for Moreno to face Askar Askarov instead, given that Askarov holds a recent win over Pantoja, but given that Askarov missed weight for his most recent fight and the history between Moreno and Pantoja, one has to think that Pantoja has a good chance to be Moreno’s first title defense.

Former RIZIN champion Manel Kape finally earned his first UFC win and he did so in spectacular fashion, drilling Ode Osbourne with a flying knee in the first round. However, Kape missed weight by three pounds for the fight, which may have dampened some of the enthusiasm surrounding his performance.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 7 Alexandre Pantoja def. No. 9 Brandon Royval (UFC Vegas 34, Aug. 21), No. 13 Manel Kape def. Ode Osbourne (UFC 265, Aug. 7)

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: None.

Fighters also receiving votes: Tim Elliott, Rogerio Bontorin, Danny Kingad, Ali Bagautinov, Jeff Molina, Murad Zeinulabidov

That will soon be a moot point as Nunes’ title defense against Julianna Pena, originally scheduled for UFC 265 in August, will now take place at UFC 269 in December. It’s a long wait and anything could happen in the next three months, but for now let’s hope that any controversy about Nunes being best bantamweight is put to rest before the year is up.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): None.

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 7 Raquel Pennington vs. No. 13 Pannie Kianzad (UFC Fight Night, Sept. 18)

Fighters also receiving votes: Lina Lansberg, Bethe Correia

Shevchenko takes on Lauren Murphy to close out the month, and while few are giving Murphy a chance to dethrone “Bullet,” she’s as tough as they come and at the very least Shevchenko gets another opponent that will allow her to show off her elite problem-solving skills.

No. 2-ranked Jessica Andrade will also be in action as she fights No. 9 Cynthia Calvillo, and pioneer Roxanne Modafferi looks to hold onto her No. 15 spot when she faces 17-1 Taila Santos.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): None.

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 1 Valentina Shevchenko vs. No. 4 Lauren Murphy (UFC 266, Sept. 25), No. 2 Jessica Andrade vs. No. 9 Cynthia Calvillo (UFC 266, Sept. 25), No. 15 Roxanne Modafferi vs. Taila Santos (UFC 266, Sept. 25)

Fighters also receiving votes: Andrea Lee, Vanessa Porto, Taila Santos, Miranda Maverick, Maycee Barber, Denise Kielholtz

Believe it or not, it has been 18 months since Jedrzejczyk’s epic encounter with Zhang Weili. There have been plenty of calls for the two to rematch or for “Joanna Champion” to be brought in as a test for an up-and-comer like Mackenzie Dern or Marina Rodriguez. Dern and Rodriguez have instead been matched up with one another for an October date, but there hasn’t even been a hint of a comeback fight for the former strawweight queen.

With Zhang now set to rematch champion Rose Namajunas in November, it becomes even more unclear as to when we might see Jedrzejczyk step into the octagon again.

August results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 10 Tecia Torres def. No. 11 Angela Hill (UFC 265, Aug. 7)

September bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 15 Xiong Jingnan vs. Michelle Nicolini (ONE Championship: Empower, Sept. 3)

Fighters also receiving votes: Jessica Penne, Kanako Murata, Emily Ducote

Read full article at MMA Fighting

Patriots Lead NFL Franchises With 8.9M Social Media Followers

NBC Sports 01 September, 2021 - 04:20pm

Patriots' 2021 practice squad takes shape (Live Updates)

98.5 The Sports Hub 01 September, 2021 - 12:03pm

The full list of players on the practice squad is below, but scroll down for more information and live updates as the moves come in. So far, the Patriots have named eight of a possible 16 players.

This is interesting: according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, the Patriots are actually signing quarterback Brian Hoyer to the practice squad, instead of the 53-man roster.

Unless you count former Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry, who has converted to a running back/wide receiver since coming to the NFL, the Patriots still have Mac Jones as the only quarterback on the main roster.

The Patriots are shoring up their wide receiver depth on the practice squad. As reported by Mark Daniels, they are bringing back rookie Tre Nixon.

Nixon became well-known in New England for being selected in the seventh round by Ernie Adams, who recently retired as the Patriots’ football research director. Nixon was Adams’ final draft pick with the team. So, Adams’ legacy lives on.

The Patriots have nine offensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster, but they still need O-line help for the scout team offense. According to Mark Daniels, help is coming in the form of Alex Redmond, who signed with the Patriots in the 2021 offseason.

According to Doug Kyed, the Patriots are signing former William & Mary defensive tackle Bill Murray to the practice squad. This marks the second straight season that the Pats waived Murray before bringing him back.

Murray was a strong candidate for the practice squad after a solid camp and preseason.

The Patriots kept only eight defensive backs on their initial 53-man roster, so they’re prioritizing cornerback in the absence of Stephon Gilmore. According to Doug Kyed, they’ve brought back CB Myles Bryant to the practice squad.

If not for decisions at quarterback and kicker, Bryant may have been the most surprising cut of the day on Tuesday. Of all the practice squad players, Bryant may turn out to have the best chance at factoring into the main roster.

The Patriots’ first signing to the practice squad was an experienced tight end, Matt LaCosse. Mike Reiss reported it first.

LaCosse is now in his third season with the Patriots, and provides valuable depth to a position group that brought in talented reinforcements in the offseason. If Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, or Devin Asiasi have to miss time, LaCosse would be the next man up.

As first reported by Evan Lazar or CLNS Media, the Patriots are bringing back former Miami wideout Kristian Wilkerson to their practice squad.

Wilkerson had an up-and-down camp, but made a strong final push for the 53-man roster. It was ostensibly enough to stick around in the event that more injuries pop up on the receiver depth chart.

As first reported by Evan Lazar, the Patriots are bringing back another defensive back to their practice squad, D’Angelo Ross. He had a strong preseason finale with an interception in the end zone against Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

According to Field Yates, the Patriots are signing former Lions linebacker Jahlani Tavai to their practice squad. Tavai becomes the first practice squad signing to come from outside the Patriots orgnaization.

Tavai was the 43rd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and previously worked with Belichick assistant Matt Patricia while he was head coach in Detroit.

According to Evan Lazar, the Patriots are bringing back defensive end Tashawn Bower to the practice squad. They now have six more spots to fill.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Patriots are signing fullback Ben Mason to the practice squad. Interestingly enough, Rapoport added that a “quick elevation” to the main roster is “likely.”

The Patriots already named fullback Jakob Johnson to their initial 53-man roster. We’ll see if Mason turns out to be a replacement, or just healthy competition.

Download the app to LISTEN LIVE wherever you are and connect with us like never before!

Don't miss on pre-sales, member-only contests and member only events.

Patriots practice squad and waiver wire tracker: News, rumors, signings

NBC Sports 01 September, 2021 - 10:00am

Related: Patriots roster cuts tracker: Recap, instant analysis, and more

As of 12 p.m. ET Wednesday, the claiming deadline for players with less than four accrued seasons on their respective résumés has passed. Players that have been let go over the last two days are now subject to the waiver wire — including 21 now-former Patriots. All of them could, in theory be scooped up by other clubs.

The Patriots can soon begin to add up to 16 previously released players to their practice squad as both a scout team for the regular season and as depth in case of injury. Given the new practice squad rules that allow teams to bring back up to six players regardless of their experience, all of the 21 players let go on Tuesday are now potential candidates to be added again.

In order to stay on top of all the moves New England will make over the next few hours, please make sure to bookmark and regularly revisit our up-to-the-minute tracker below.

No players waived by the Patriots were claimed on Wednesday.

DB Dee Virgin to the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad*

Patriots practice squad and waiver wire tracker: News, rumors, signings

Patriots Wire 01 September, 2021 - 10:00am

Related: Patriots roster cuts tracker: Recap, instant analysis, and more

As of 12 p.m. ET Wednesday, the claiming deadline for players with less than four accrued seasons on their respective résumés has passed. Players that have been let go over the last two days are now subject to the waiver wire — including 21 now-former Patriots. All of them could, in theory be scooped up by other clubs.

The Patriots can soon begin to add up to 16 previously released players to their practice squad as both a scout team for the regular season and as depth in case of injury. Given the new practice squad rules that allow teams to bring back up to six players regardless of their experience, all of the 21 players let go on Tuesday are now potential candidates to be added again.

In order to stay on top of all the moves New England will make over the next few hours, please make sure to bookmark and regularly revisit our up-to-the-minute tracker below.

No players waived by the Patriots were claimed on Wednesday.

DB Dee Virgin to the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad*

Sports Stories