As kickboxing looks to establish itself from both boxing and MMA with GLORY, K-1, Lion Fight and Kunlun Fighting Championship, 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.

  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Benjamin Adegbuyi (3)
  3. Jahfarr Wilnis (5)
  4. Errol Zimmerman (4)
  5. Hesdy Gerges (6)
  6. Zabit Samedov (8)
  7. Andrey Gerasimchuk (7)
  8. Jamal Ben Saddik (9)
  9. Anderson Silva (10)
  10. Badr Hari (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Daniel Ghita (2)

All hail the king! Dutchman Rico Verhoeven made a huge statement in his home country at GLORY 26, knocking out Benjamin Adegbuyi in the first round of their title rematch. Verhoeven had been criticized in the past for playing it safe and cruising to decisions, but that was not the case in Amsterdam, as he simply overwhelmed his Romanian foe. Also on the card, fourth-ranked Errol Zimmerman returned from a knee injury and dropped an embarrassing decision to Thomas Vanneste. Vanneste completely controlled the fight, while Zimmerman’s conditioning was lackluster throughout. Also in action this past month, Zabit Samedov defeated Paul Slowinski at Akhmat Fight Show in Russia. Finally, former title challenger Daniel Ghita fell from the rankings due to inactivity.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Gokhan Saki (1)
  2. Saulo Cavalari (2)
  3. Artem Vakhitov (3)
  4. Mourad Bouzidi (5)
  5. Danyo Ilunga (4)
  6. Zack Mwekassa (6)
  7. Pavel Zhuravlev (7)
  8. Igor Jurković (8)
  9. Michael Duut (9)
  10. Andrei Stoica (10)

Three fighters in the top five were in action in December. Mourad Bouzidi handed Danyo Ilunga his fourth straight defeat in a closely contested affair at GLORY 26. The win was the fourth straight for Bouzidi, who moved into the fourth spot in the rankings. Third-ranked Artem Vakhitov was in action at Muay Thai Moscow against Spain’s Jorge Loren. The Russian knocked out the Spaniard with a left hand in round two to hang onto his spot in the rankings.

  1. Artem Levin (1)
  2. Simon Marcus (2)
  3. Joe Schilling (3)
  4. Jason Wilnis (4)
  5. Alex Pereira (5)
  6. Sahak Parparyan (6)
  7. Fang Bian (7)
  8. Israel Adesanya (8)
  9. Bogdan Stoica (9)
  10. Dustin Jacoby (10)

The lone fighter in action in December was top-ranked Artem Levin, who bested Daniel Alexandru at Muay Thai Moscow with a second-round knockout.

  1. Nieky Holzken (1)
  2. Artur Kyshenko (2)
  3. Murthel Groenhart (6)
  4. Raymond Daniels (5)
  5. Karim Ghajji (8)
  6. Yoann Kongolo (-)
  7. Hicham El Gaoui (9)
  8. Paul Daley (10)
  9. Bai Jinbin (10)
  10. Karapet Karapetyan (7)

Dropped from the rankings: Joseph Valtellini (3), Marc de Bonte (4)

It was a crazy month for the welterweight ranks. GLORY champion Nieky Holzken went the distance with recent tournament winner Murthel Groenhart and walked away with a split-decision win and his belt. Despite the controversial decision, Holzken maintains his top ranking. Even in defeat, Groenhart climbed all the way to third in our rankings for the best performance of his career. Second-ranked Artur Kyshenko was also in action, capturing the Kunlun Fight 80-kilogram tournament with a lightning-fast knockout of Dmitry Valent at Kunlun Fight 35. Swiss fighter Yoann Kongolo entered the rankings in the sixth slot after his clear-cut win over former title challenger Karapet Karapetyan at GLORY 26. Additionally, former GLORY champions Joseph Valtellini and Marc de Bonte were dropped from the rankings due to inactivity.

  1. Robin van Roosmalen (1)
  2. Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (2)
  3. Andy Ristie (3)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Yodsanklai Fairtex (5)
  6. Davit Kiria (6)
  7. Marat Grigorian (7)
  8. Buakaw Banchamek (8)
  9. Dzhabar Askerov (9)
  10. Josh Jauncey (10)

The banner year for Thailand’s Sittichai Sitsongpeenong continued. He bounced back from his controversial title loss at GLORY 25 to take a majority decision over seventh-ranked Marat Grigorian at Kunlun Fight 35. The win was the 10th of the year for the Thai fighter. Sixth-ranked Davit Kiria was also in action at Kunlun Fight 35. Kiria was stunned on the scorecard by Ukraine’s Enriko Gogokhia.

  1. Kaew Fairtex (1)
  2. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  3. Minoru Kimura (3)
  4. Yasuomi Soda (4)
  5. Serhiy Adamchuk (5)
  6. Gabriel Varga (6)
  7. Mosab Amrani (8)
  8. Yuta Kubo (7)
  9. Massaro Glunder (9)
  10. Ilias Bulaid (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (10)

Dutch-Moroccan fighter Mosab Amrani snapped a two-fight skid at GLORY 26 with two devastating finishes. He stopped both Chi Bin Lim and Maykol Yurk in the first round to earn a crack at recently crowned titleholder Serhiy Adamchuk. Previously ranked Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym fell from the rankings after a decision loss to Wei Rui under the Wu Lin Feng banner. That opened the door for Enfusion champ Ilias Bulaid to enter the rankings for the first time.

  1. Nieky Holzken (1)
  2. Artem Levin (2)
  3. Robin van Roosmalen (3)
  4. Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (4)
  5. Gokhan Saki (5)
  6. Giorgio Petrosyan (6)
  7. Rico Verhoeven (8)
  8. Kaew Fairtex (7)
  9. Takeru (10)
  10. Andy Ristie (9)

There was movement in the pound-for-pound ranks, as many of top 10 were in action in December. Nieky Holzken and Sittichai Sitsongpeenong maintained their rankings, while Rico Verhoeven and Takeru both moved up a spot with their wins.

Editor’s Note: Fighters are eligible to be ranked if they have competed in the last 18 months. Any fighter that chooses to switch weight classes will be ranked in their previous weight class until they have competed twice in their new division.

About The Author

Rob Tatum
Assistant Editor

Rob Tatum has been covering combat sports since 2009. His work has appeared on Invicta FC, 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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