UFC Rankings Review: Taila Santos Moves Up Two Spots to No. 2 Despite Losing Flyweight Title Fight on Saturday

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

Taila Santos gave the women’s pound for pound queen, Valentina Shevchenko, by far her most difficult fight at flyweight in the co-main event at UFC 275 on Saturday night.  In the end, Santos lost a split decision to the long reigning champ.

Taila Santos ranked No. 2 at women’s flyweight

Very rarely will you see a fighter move up in the rankings after a loss, as is the case with Taila Santos this week.  The Brazilian moved from No. 4 to No. 2 in the UFC women’s flyweight rankings with her controversial split decision loss to Valentina Shevchenko.

You don’t have to be one of the many who believe Santos won the fight to justify moving her up in the rankings after the loss.  I had the fight 48-47 for Shevchenko, based on the fact that the number one scoring criteria is damage and not control.  I found myself talking to my TV when the commentators were certain that Santos was up 3-0 after three rounds.  This is a debate for another time.  My point is that, even in a losing effort, I agree with Santos moving up two spots despite losing the fight to Shevchenko because she gave the champ all she could handle in her toughest title defense.  We’re talking about on of the most dominant champions in UFC history who has rarely lost a round in the flyweight division.

The 28-year-old Santos moved past Lauren Murphy and Jessica Andrade; Shevchenko’s previous two opponents who she defeated in dominating fashion.  Santos remains behind the No. 1 ranked Katlyn Chookagian who has won 5 out of 6 fights since losing a title shot to Shevchenko in early 2020.

Erin Blanchfield ranked No. 15 at women’s flyweight

Erin Blanchfield has re-entered the UFC women’s flyweight rankings a week after she should have.  Nothing has happened with Erin Blanchfield and previous No. 15 Tracy Cortez since last week.  Or has it?

If you read this Rankings Review column last week, you would have seen that I made the case for Blanchfield to be ranked after defeating JJ Aldrich on June 4th.  Maybe some UFC ranking panelists do read this column!  Read the case that I made for Erin Blanchfield to be ranked in last week’s column.

I do believe that Tracy Cortez should be ranked ahead of Cynthia Calvillo who, after beating Jessica Eye in her flyweight debut, has lost three straight and has her next fight scheduled back at strawweight in July against Nina Nunes.

Expect to see some significant movement in the flyweight rankings after UFC 276 on July 2 with two notable women’s flyweight matchups listed below.

Ronda Rousey would return to MMA for a fight against Gina Carano

Upcoming Notable UFC Women’s Flyweight Fights

Jul 2 – (14) Maycee Barber vs. (12) Jessica Eye

Jul 2 – (10-BW) Miesha Tate vs. (3) Lauren Murphy

Jul 9 – Sijara Eubanks vs. Maryna Moroz

Jul 9 – Antonina Shevchenko vs. Courtney Casey

Jul 23 – Hannah Goldy vs. Molly McCann

Jul 30 – Ji Yeon Kim vs. Mariya Agapova

Aug 3 – (7) Viviane Araujo vs. (5) Alexa Grasso

Sep 3 – (6) Manon Fiorot vs. (1) Katlyn Chookagian

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.