As kickboxing looks to establish itself from both boxing and MMA with GLORY, K-1 and Lion Fight, fighters are constantly jockeying for position in the eyes (and rankings) of the media.

Every month, Combat Press will rank each weight class from heavyweight to featherweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings.

The numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from last month.

Heavyweight
  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Daniel Ghita (2)
  3. Errol Zimmerman (3)
  4. Benjamin Adegbuyi (4)
  5. Hesdy Gerges (5)
  6. Andrei Herasimchuk (6)
  7. Zabit Samedov (7)
  8. Anderson Silva (8)
  9. Ben Edwards (9)
  10. Freddy Kemayo (10)

No heavyweights in the top 10 were in action during the month of May. A scheduled bout between fourth-ranked Benjamin Adegbuyi and eighth-ranked Anderson Silva was scrapped at the last minute at GLORY 21. The change of plans was to Adegbuyi’s benefit, however. He’ll take on champion Rico Verhoeven at GLORY 22 on June 5.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Gokhan Saki (1)
  2. Tyrone Spong (2)
  3. Saulo Cavalari (3)
  4. Artem Vakhitov (4)
  5. Nathan Corbett (5)
  6. Danyo Ilunga (6)
  7. Mourad Bouzidi (7)
  8. Andrei Stoica (9)
  9. Igor Jurković (8)
  10. Zack Mwekassa (10)

The lone fighter in action this month was Andrei Stoica, who earned a second-round TKO win over France’s Thomas Alizier at SUPERKOMBAT World Grand Prix II 2015 in Romania. The win moved the 28-year-old fighter into the No. 8 slot in our rankings.

Middleweight
  1. Artem Levin (1)
  2. Simon Marcus (3)
  3. Joe Schilling (2)
  4. Filip Verlinden (4)
  5. Jason Wilnis (5)
  6. Alex Pereira (6)
  7. Wayne Barrett (8)
  8. Sahak Parparyan (7)
  9. Fang Bian (9)
  10. Israel Adesanya (10)

Wow. That’s about the only way to react to the outcome of the GLORY 21 headlining bout between champion Artem Levin and challenger Simon Marcus. Canada’s Marcus again frustrated the Russian with his clinch work and forced Levin into one of the most lackluster performances of his career. The pair met previously with Marcus coming out on top, but the judges in San Diego turned in some questionable scorecards, leaving the rematch as a draw. Although many felt Marcus won, Levin left the ring with his title. Also in action in May was Sahak Parparyan, who came up short against Ertugrul Bayrak on the scorecards at A1 World Combat Cup in the tournament semifinals after besting Masoud Rahimi in the opening round. The loss dropped Parparyan to the eighth spot in the rankings.

Welterweight
  1. Nieky Holzken (1)
  2. Joseph Valtellini (2)
  3. Marc de Bonte (3)
  4. Artur Kyshenko (4)
  5. Raymond Daniels (5)
  6. Karapet Karapetyan (6)
  7. Karim Ghajji (7)
  8. Alexander Stetsurenko (8)
  9. Paul Daley (9)
  10. Hicham El Gaoui (10)

May saw two fighters in the top 10 in action as fourth-ranked Artur Kyshenko picked up a split decision win over Dmitry Valent of Belarus at Kunlun Fight 25. Also in the ring was American Raymond Daniels, who rebounded from his tournament loss to Nieky Holzken with a 51-second demolition of Justin Baesman at GLORY 21.

Lightweight
  1. Robin van Roosmalen (1)
  2. Davit Kiria (2)
  3. Andy Ristie (3)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (5)
  6. Murthel Groenhart (6)
  7. Yodsanklai Fairtex (7)
  8. Marat Grigorian (9)
  9. Andy Souwer (8)
  10. Buakaw Banchamek (10)

The sport’s most competitive division was busy as always this past month. While the top of the division was recovering from a busy April, the middle of the pack was jockeying for position. Fifth-ranked Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong suffered a stunning, split decision defeat against Frenchman Dylan Salvador at Kunlun Fight 24, but hangs onto his ranking based on body of work. Sitthichai will make his GLORY debut in June. No. 7-ranked Yodsanklai Fairtex continued his winning ways, knocking out France’s Hamish Willey in the first round at Thai Fight 2015 Samui. Marat Grigorian climbed one spot after capturing a first-round knockout of Nikos Gikas at Vindication Fighting Championship 2 in Belgium. Rounding out the top 10, Buakaw Banchamek returned to the ring at WMC Championship and bested China’s Yuan Bing on the scorecards.

Featherweight
  1. Gabriel Varga (1)
  2. Mosab Amrani (2)
  3. Kaew Fairtex (4)
  4. Minoru Kimura (-)
  5. Yasuomi Soda (-)
  6. Masaaki Noiri (3)
  7. Yuta Kubo (5)
  8. Tetsuya Yamoto (6)
  9. Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (7)
  10. Sagetdao Petpayathai (8)

Dropped out of the rankings: Shane Oblonsky (9), Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai (10)

The lightest division continues to be in a state of flux as many of the fighters bounce between weight classes and face one another with regularity. Entering the rankings this month are Brazil’s Minoru Kimura and Japan’s Yasuomi Soda, both of whom have been regulars in the K-1 tournaments of late. Previously sixth-ranked Tetsuya Yamoto couldn’t maintain the momentum of his Lion Fight win over Kevin Ross, as he fell against Kongsak Sitboonmee on the scorecards and slid to eighth in the rankings.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Nieky Holzken (2)
  2. Gokhan Saki (3)
  3. Robin van Roosmalen (4)
  4. Artem Levin (1)
  5. Davit Kiria (5)
  6. Andy Ristie (6)
  7. Giorgio Petrosyan (7)
  8. Rico Verhoeven (8)
  9. Joseph Valtellini (9)
  10. Gabriel Varga (10)

There’s a new pound-for-pound king, and it’s welterweight Nieky Holzken. Although the Dutchman didn’t compete in May, the lackluster performance from previous No. 1 Artem Levin vaulted Holzken to the top. Levin, meanwhile, tumbles to the fourth spot.

About The Author

Rob Tatum
Assistant Editor

Rob Tatum has been covering combat sports since 2009. His work has appeared on InvictaFC.com, The MMA Corner, Bleacher Report MMA, MMA DieHards and MMAinterviews. Prior to covering combat sports, Rob ran his own music website from 2002-2009. Beyond his writing, Rob has trained in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. He is a Colorado native that works as a mechanical engineer during the day. In his free time, Rob enjoys watching sports, playing music and working on cars.

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