It’s been a year since we did a power rankings list. We’re switching as we approach the midway point of 2022, which has already blessed mixed martial arts (MMA) fans with plenty of fights that have been memorable. For this list, we are compiling the 15 best fighters outside of the UFC. They aren’t just prolific on the Bellator odds, but also dynamic.
MMA Power Rankings: #15 to #11
For this list, we factor in three major categories for each fighter: 1) recent record (within last 12 months); 2) quality of opposition (who they’ve beaten), and 3) quality of their fights (the finishes given extra points here). With all these factors in mind we are beginning this list with the fighters ranked 15 to 11, just missing having their own short bios.
- 15. Reinier de Ridder (ONE)
- 14. Adriano Moraes (ONE)
- 13. Movlid Khaybulaev (PFL)
- 12. Vadim Nemkov (Bellator)
- 11. Corey Anderson (Bellator)
10. Raush Manfio (PFL)
Raush Manfio has won five straight fights, all as an underdog. Four were in the last 12 months including a pair against former UFC fighters. If you had bet online on Manfio in each fight, that’s an eight-unit profit Adding some emphasis, he one-punch KO’d his last opponent.
Next Fight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier, PFL 4: 2022 (June 17)
9. Antonio Carlos Junior (PFL)
Antonio Carlos Junior swept through the PFL tournament as if he was Kayla Harrison. “Shoeface” submitted Marthin Hamlet to win the 2021 PFL Light Heavyweight Tournament, open ing his 2022 season with a 29-second sub of Delan Monte.
Next Fight: Bruce Souto, PFL 4: 2022 (June 17)
8. Ryan Bader (Bellator)
The online gambling community tried fading the heavyweight Ryan Bader, but he has plenty left in reserve. Despite KO’d by Corey Anderson, he did bounce back with solid performances against Valentin Moldavsky and Cheick Kongo to defend his strap.
Next Fight: TBA
7. A.J. McKee (Bellator)
Despite losing, A.J. McKee remains among those with the best potential in MMA, as his run to the featherweight strap remains one of the hottest by a fighter since a certain notorious one did it in the UFC. McKee could move to lightweight, or complete the trilogy with Patricio “Pitbull” next.
Next Fight: TBA (most likely Patricio Pitbull)
6. John Lineker (ONE)
Why the UFC did not keep John Lineker is anyone’s guess, but the heavy-hitter has quickly made waves in ONE Championship. He KO’d Bibiano Fernandes to win the 145-lb. title. It was Lineker’s fourth straight win (third consecutive KO, too).
Next Fight: TBA
5. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (Bellator)
He may well go down as the greatest MMA fighter to not fight in the octagon. Patricio Pitbull became the first fighter to hand McKee a loss when he recaptured his featherweight title. While it wasn’t the usual “exciting” bout Pitbull usually fights, it was his biggest win since after becoming a dual champ.
Next Fight: TBA (most likely A.J. McKee)
4. Sergio Pettis (Bellator)
The Bellator bantamweight champ has fought just once in the last 12 months due to an injury. However, Pettis became just the second fighter to knock out Kyoji Horiguchi. That was via a spinning backfist. That “Knockout of the Year” contender earns him a high spot on this list.
Next Fight: Raufeon Stots, TBA
3. Kayla Harrison (PFL)
Kayla Harrison gets her toughest test next in former Bellator champion Julia Budd. The unbeaten judoka should be favored. It won’t be nearly as easy as she’s made it look of late, having finished three of her last four opponents in the last 12 months.
Next Fight: Julia Budd, PFL 6: 2022 (July 1)
2. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (Bellator)
“Cyborg;s” still going strong heading into her 17th year as a professional. She knocked out Sinead Kavanagh late in 2021, then pummeled Arlene Blencowe for a second time this past April. With so much left in the tank, Cyborg should look to a “super fight” in boxing against Katie Taylor.
Next Fight: TBA
1. Gegard Mousasi (Bellator)
Bellator’s middleweight champion continues to roll, as he handed Austin Vanderford his first loss professionally. Prior to that, he battered John Salter. Mousasi has looked untouchable since recapturing the Bellator belt, and is the best MMA fighter outside of the UFC.
Next Fight: Johnny Eblen, Bellator 282 (June 24)