1. Ian McCall (10-2)
With a sensational Aug. 5 performance against Darrell Montague to take the Tachi Palace Fights flyweight title, McCall has installed himself as the top flyweight in the MMA universe. Though Mccall and TPF would love to see the champion take on Shooto world titleholder Yasuhiro Urushitani, it is more likely McCall will defend his crown for the first time against another tough stateside challenger come December.
2. Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-4-6)
On July 18, Urushitani laid waste to former tormentor Yuki Shojo, as the Shooto world champion scored a brutal head kick knockout. The next move for Urushitani, however, remains unclear in the continuously changing flyweight landscape.
3. Jussier da Silva (12-1)
A bulked-up “Formiga” put on a back control clinic against perennial flyweight star Mamoru Yamaguchi at Tachi Palace Fights 10 on Aug. 5. The dominant unanimous decision victory gets Da Silva back on track and one step closer to another crack at the only man to ever defeat him — TPF champion Ian McCall.
4. Mamoru Yamaguchi (25-6-3)
The 34-year-old flyweight star suffered a hit on Aug. 5, as he lost a sound unanimous decision to Brazilian standout Jussier da Silva. Fortunately for Yamaguchi, his fan-friendly nature and action-packed style will continue to secure him fights on both sides of the Pacific.
5. Darrell Montague (9-2)
Montague started fast in his first Tachi Palace Fights flyweight title defense, but he could not stand up to the pressure of challenger Ian McCall. Montague was forced to tap in the second frame, but the talented and dynamic 23-year-old still figures to play a formative role in the flyweight division going forward.
6. Shinichi “B.J.” Kojima (11-4-5)
He did not look great by any stretch, but former Shooto world champion Kojima returned from a two-year hiatus on Aug. 6 to take a majority decision over Masaaki Sugawara. However, it remains to be seen if the 32-year-old Kojima can regain the form that led him to the Shooto world title.
7. Yuki Shojo (11-6-2)
Shojo got his chance at the Shooto world title, but he could not replicate his 2008 victory over Yasuhiro Urushitani. This time around, the Shooto world champion knocked Shojo flat with a crushing head kick, sending him to the figurative back of the line in Shooto’s 123-pound division.
8. Kiyotaka Shimizu (9-3-2)
It may not have been pretty, but flyweight King of Pancrase Shimizu once again got the job done against rival Mitsuhisa Sunabe on June 5. Facing Sunabe for the fourth time, Shimizu’s relentless takedown attack and mashing top game saw him retain his title with a majority decision, moving him ahead in the series at 2-1-1.
9. Alexis Vila (9-0)
The 1996 Olympic bronze medalist is one of the flyweight division’s toughest competitors, but 135 pounds is the current focus for Vila. The undefeated Cuban exponent will step into the Bellator bantamweight tournament on Sept. 24, taking on Bellator featherweight champion and former Greco-Roman wrestling world champion Joe Warren in the opening round.
10. John Dodson (11-5)
Dodson is one of the slickest, most physically gifted fighters in MMA. However, like divisional compatriot Alexis Vila, he is focusing on 135-pound challenges, as Dodson signed on to compete as a bantamweight on the 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
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