Rankings Review: Tai Tuivasa Moves Up 8 Spots to No. 3 at Heavyweight

February 17, 2022

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

Back in July of last year, I wrote an article for this Rankings Review column titled, “Tai Tuivasa Should Be Ranked After Three Straight Knockouts.”  Since then, “Bam Bam” entered the rankings after a second round KO over Augusto Sakai in December.  Tuivasa was ranked No. 11 before his performance of the night winning knockout of Derrick Lewis in the co-main event of UFC 271 this past Saturday.

Tai Tuivasa ranked No. 3 at heavyweight

You don’t often see a fighter move up 8 spots in the rankings.  Unlike back in July when Tuivasa was still on the outside looking in after three straight first-round knockouts, I think the voters got this one right with having Tuivasa ranked No. 3.  The Australian heavyweight has now won five in a row by knockout with three in the first round and two in the second round.  It makes sense that Tuivasa took Lewis’ No. 3 ranking.

Derrick Lewis ranked No. 5 at heavyweight

Derrick Lewis has won 5 out of his last 7 with his only two losses during that stretch coming against Ciryl Gane for the interim title and Tai Tuivasa this past Saturday.  Lewis became the UFC’s all time KO leader in December with his first-round knockout over current No. 8 Chris Daukaus in the UFC’s last show of 2021.

Lewis scored a second round KO over current No. 4 Curtis Blaydes in February of 2021.  Lewis dropped below Blaydes in the rankings with the Tuivasa loss, which I disagree with since he scored a decisive second round KO over Blaydes just less than a year ago.

UFC 271 highlights: Derrick Lewis vs. Tai Tuivasa

Andrei Arlovski unranked at heavyweight

With his win over Jared Vanderaa this past Saturday, Andrei Arlovski has now won three in a row and five out of his last six fights.  The 43-year-old former champ’s only loss during that stretch was against current No. 11 ranked Tom Aspinall.  Arlovski has some solid wins recently over top prospects, most notably Carlos Felipe and Tanner Boser.

The Belarussian Arlovski is worthy of being ranked as high as No. 13 ahead of Blagoy Ivanov and Walt Harris, but he should definitely be ranked ahead of No. 15 Sergei Pavlovich, who somehow is still ranked after not having fought in 28 months.  I have written for months now about how Sergei Pavlovich should not be ranked including in July when I wrote about how Tai Tuivasa should have been ranked ahead of him after winning three straight by first round KO.

Pavlovich is 2-1 in the UFC with his biggest victory being against Maurice Greene who is no longer in the UFC.  It makes sense for Arlovski to be ranked ahead of Pavlovich based on the fact that while Pavlovich has been inactive, Arlovski has won 5 out of his last 6.  Furthermore, I would put Arlovski’s recent two most notable victories over Carlos Felipe and Tanner Boser ahead of Pavlovich’s most notable victim Maurice Greene.

Upcoming Notable UFC Heavyweight Fights

Mar 19 – (10) Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. (15) Sergei Pavlovich

Mar 19 –(6)Alexander Volkov vs. (11) Tom Aspinall

Mar 26 – Aleksei Oleinik vs. Ilir Latifi

Mar 26 – (4) Curtis Blaydes vs. (8) Chris Daukaus

Apr 9 – (7) Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. (9) Marcin Tybura

Apr 23 – Tanner Boser vs. Rodrigo Nascimento

May 7 – (13) Blagoy Ivanov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

May 21 – Ben Rothwell vs. Alexander Gustafsson

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.