It might be an understatement to say the UFC has some questionable rankings. You would expect rankings to be questionable as they are subjective; however, in this column, I will point out rankings that I think are glaring mistakes. I will also analyze significant movement in the rankings that I agree with.
Editorial Commentary by Peter Parsons
Alexander Robanov (15-0) defeated Jared Vanderaa this past Saturday by second round TKO. “King Kong” is now 4-0 in the UFC with three finishes.
Alexander Romanov unranked at heavyweight
Alexander Romanov joins Chris Daukaus and Tom Aspinall as current UFC heavyweights who have got off to 4-0 starts inside the Octagon. Romanov hasn’t quite faced the level of competition as the No. 7 ranked Daukaus or the No. 11 ranked Aspinall; however, he has faced some strong competition in his own right and has done more than enough to warrant a UFC ranking.
Romanov made his UFC debut in September of 2020, defeating fellow UFC debutant Roque Martinez by second round arm triangle choke.
The Moldovan heavyweight returned last November and defeated Marcos Rogerio de Lima by first round forearm choke. The Brazilian de Lima has been fighting in the UFC since 2014 and was 6-4 in the Octagon. Since his loss to Romanov, de Lima defeated former ranked heavyweight Maurice Greene.
Romanov’s biggest victory to date came back in April against TUF 28 heavyweight winner Juan Espino. Both fighters were 2-0 in the UFC with two submission victories. In a close back and forth fight, Romanov won by technical split decision when he couldn’t continue after taking a low blow early in the third round.
The 30-year-old Romanov got his third finish in four fights when he defeated Jared Vanderaa by second round TKO this past Saturday. After losing his UFC debut to current No. 14 ranked Sergei Spivac, Vanderaa won a unanimous decision over Justin Tafa, this past May in a fight of the night.
I believe Daukaus and Aspinall’s rankings are warranted; in fact, I would argue that Aspinall should be ranked higher. Daukaus and Aspinall both entered the rankings after going 3-0. At that point, Aspinall’s notable victory was against Andre Arlovski and Daukaus’ most notable victory was against Aleksei Oleinik. I think Romanov’s resume is on par with Aspinall’s and Daukaus’, after their first three fights. Aspinall has a recent win over Sergei Spivac and Daukaus has a recent win over Shamil Abdurakhimov. It should also be noted that the undefeated Romanov has the better resume outside of the UFC.
I think the Apinall and Daukaus comparisons are noteworthy; however, my main point of contention is, how can Romanov be ranked behind No. 15 ranked Sergei Pavlovich?
For regular readers of this column, I hope you’re not tired of reading about Pavlovich’s ranking. Pavlovich is now just two weeks shy of not having fought in two years. In nearly half the time that Pavlovich has been inactive, Romanov has won his four UFC fights which dates to September of 2020.
Even if we take inactivity out of the equation and just look at Pavlovich’s UFC record, it isn’t as good as Romanov’s. Pavlovich drew a tough UFC debut losing to Alistair Overeem. In his sophomore appearance in the octagon, Pavlovich defeated Marcelo Golm, who at the time was 1-2 in the UFC. Golm was cut from the UFC following that loss.
In his last UFC fight in October of 2019, Pavlovich defeated then No. 13 ranked Maurice Greene. The victory put Pavlovich in the rankings, and he has been there ever since. After the Pavlovich fight, Greene lost three of his last four and has since been cut from the UFC. It is worthy to note that Greene lost to two of Romanov’s past opponents. He lost to Juan Espino during TUF 28 and he lost his last UFC fight to Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
Pavlovich’s two UFC victories came against fighters who are no longer n the UFC. It goes to show that a lot can happen in two years. While Pavlovich hasn’t fought, we see fighters like Daukaus, Aspinall and Romanov going 4-0 and Tai Tuivasa winning three straight in the UFC heavyweight division.
There was a minor ranking change in the UFC heavyweight division this past week which I agreed with. Romanov’s Moldovan countryman Sergei Spivac switched spots with Sergei Pavlovich from No. 15 to No. 14.
Sergei Pavlovich will have a chance to solidify his ranking in December when he fights top Canadian heavyweight Tanner Boser.
As for Romanov, he deserves a ranked opponent in his next fight. Before that however, I think that voting panellists should make it right and remove Pavlovich from the rankings and replace him with Romanov.
Upcoming Notable UFC Heavyweight Fights
Oct 16 – Andrei Arlovski vs. Carlos Felipe
Oct 30 – (5) Alexander Volkov vs. (9) Marcin Tybura
Nov 13 – Ben Rothwell vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Nov 20 – Tai Tuivasa vs. (10) Augusto Sakai
Dec 4 – Tanner Boser vs. (15) Sergei Pavlovich
Dec 18 – (3) Derrick Lewis vs. (7) Chris Daukaus
Jan 22 – Greg Hardy vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Jan 22 – (IC) Cyril Gane vs. (C) Francis Ngannou
My rankings would look different than any other writer or fan who follows the sport closely. This is to be expected, as rankings are subjective. Rankings should be based primarily on results and not perceived potential or popularity.
Some people think rankings do not matter. Rankings do matter. They matter when it comes to matchmaking. They matter when it comes to contract negotiations.
Let’s keep the rankings conversation going. Do you agree or disagree with the above Ranking Review? Express your thoughts in the comments below.