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UFC 281 Fighters Adesanya, Pereira, Esparza, Zhang, Poirier, Chandler, Blanchfield, McCann, Spann, Reyes
Fight Coverage

Rankings Repercussions | UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira

How Could The Mega-Event At Madison Square Garden November 12 Shake Up The UFC Rankings?

With a card as stacked as UFC 281, it means that some seismic activity in the rankings will follow when final horn sounds Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Let’s have a look to see how big or how small those shakeups could be.

No. 12 Erin Blanchfield vs No. 15 Molly McCann

Molly McCann Fight Week Interview | UFC 281
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Molly McCann Fight Week Interview | UFC 281
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Erin Blanchfield

Upside With Win: Almost none. A win here would continue Blanchfield’s undefeated run in the division, but moving past her current No. 12 would only occur with losses by higher-ranked flyweights.

Order UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira

Downside With Loss: Minimal. Even if she swapped numbers with her opponent, her résumé to date suggests a ton of upward mobility.

Molly McCann

Upside With Win: Solid. A win should move the fan favorite up at least three spots.

RELATED: McCann Training Gallery | Next Generation Liverpool | Molly McCann: A Champion Of The People

Downside With Loss: Moderate. She’d likely fall out of the Top 15 but would still be 3-1 in her last four fights.

No. 7 Dominick Reyes vs No. 12 Ryan Spann

Dominick Reyes prepares to fight Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX

Dominick Reyes prepares to fight Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 01, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Dominick Reyes

Upside With Win: Big. Although he likely wouldn’t rise above his current number seven, he would stop a three-fight skid and reassert his place among the elite at light heavyweight.

Downside With Loss: Also big. More concerning than a drop to the lower end of the top 15 would be a fourth consecutive loss for the former title challenger.

Ryan Spann

Ryan Spann First Round TKO | UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad
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Ryan Spann First Round TKO | UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad
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Upside With Win: Big. A win over Reyes would catapult Spann into the top ten and regain some of the momentum that he entered the UFC with back in 2018.

Order UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira

Downside With Loss: Minimal. Despite alternating wins and losses the last two years, Spann would likely still find himself ranked.

No. 12 Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles (UR)

Highlight: Claudio Puelles Locks Up Third-Round Kneebar Submission | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo
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Highlight: Claudio Puelles Locks Up Third-Round Kneebar Submission | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo
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Dan Hooker

Upside With Win: Not much. Puelles is unranked, so a win would do little more than preserve Hooker’s spot in line here.

Downside With Loss: Big. A loss to Puelles would leave the interminably tough Hooker at 1-5 in his last six bouts and likely unranked.

UFC 281 FREE FIGHTS: Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk 2 | Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje | Carla Esparza vs Rose Namajunas 2 Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa | Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson | Alex Pereira vs Sean Strickland

Claudio Puelles

Upside With Win: Big. A No. 12 ranking would validate a six-fight lightweight win streak.

Downside With Loss: Minimal. He’d remain unranked, but at  only 26 years old and undefeated since 2016, the “Prince Of Peru” still has a ton of promise.

No. 2 Dustin Poirier vs No. 5 Michael Chandler

Dustin Poirier

Upside With Win: Minimal. A victory will hold his place in the lightweight line, while still looking up at Charles Oliveira and the champion, Islam Makhachev.

Order UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira

Downside With Loss: Moderate. Although he’d likely still be ranked in the top five, the top of the lightweight division is notoriously amongst the most crowded and difficult to crack in the entire sport.

Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler kicks Tony Ferguson in their fight during UFC 274 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 7, 2022. (Photo by Harrison Green/Zuffa LLC)

Michael Chandler kicks Tony Ferguson in their fight during UFC 274 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 7, 2022. (Photo by Harrison Green/Zuffa LLC)


Upside With Win: Upside With Win: Huge. The former Bellator lightweight champion would be on the short list to compete again for that same honor in the UFC.

Downside With Loss: Significant. A loss to Poirier would be mean a loss to three of the four men currently ranked above him (Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje). A drop below his current No. 5 would see him swimming with hungry sharks like Rafael Fiziev, Mateusz Gamrot and Arman Tsarukyan.

Champion Carla Esparza vs No. 2 Zhang Weili

State Of The Women's Strawweight Division | November 2022
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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State Of The Women's Strawweight Division | November 2022
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Carla Esparza

Upside With Win: Big. A successful title defense against an opponent the magnitude of Zhang would put an exclamation point on a journey that represents both the past and the present of the strawweight division.

RELATED: Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili Countdown | Co-Main Event Breakdown

Downside With Loss: Low. She’d be giving up the belt, but in owning two wins over Rose Namajunas, she’d likely be the No.1 contender and still in the mix for the strap.

Zhang Weili

Upside With Win: Huge. In addition to reclaiming that strawweight belt, she’d leapfrog both Esparza and the fighter that defeated her twice to take that title: Rose Namajunas.

Downside With Loss: Minimal. She might swap places with the No. 3 strawweight (Amanda Lemos), but she owns a victory over No. 4 Jessica Andrade. She’d remain a problem for the top fighters of the division.

Champion Israel Adesanya vs No. 4 Alex Pereira

Israel Adesanya

Upside With Win: Big. In addition to continuing one of the great championship reigns in recent UFC history, a win on Saturday would tie the middleweight win streak record (13) held by one of his heroes: Anderson Silva.

Downside With Loss: Minimal. Outside of Pereira, Adesanya owns big wins over every middleweight in the top five, including two wins over the former champ, No. 1 contender  Robert Whittaker.

RELATED: MMA Coaches Break Down The UFC 281 Main Event

Alex Pereira

Upside With Win: Huge. Winning the middleweight championship just four fights into his UFC career would allow him to jump over tough outs like Whittaker, Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier. Already owning two pro kickboxing wins over Adesanya, a third would cement him as the proverbial kryptonite of the current champ.

Downside With Loss: Low. On the heels of a meteoric rise up the middleweight rankings, the former Glory champion would likely still be right in the mix of fighters attempting to dethrone “The Last Stylebender.”

 

 

UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira took place live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 12, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards, and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!