As kickboxing continues to grow on a global scale with promotions like GLORY, K-1, Kunlun Fighting Championship and more, 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 for both men and women.

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

Heavyweight
  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Benjamin Adegbuyi (2)
  3. Mladen Brestovac (3)
  4. Ismael Londt (4)
  5. Jahfarr Wilnis (5)
  6. Jamal Ben Saddik (6)
  7. Zabit Samedov (7)
  8. Andrey Gerasimchuk (8)
  9. Roman Kryklia (9)
  10. Guto Inocente (10)

May was relatively quiet for the heavyweight ranks, but the division’s top fighter, GLORY champion Rico Verhoeven, was in action at GLORY 41 in his native Holland. Verhoeven battled former Enfusion titleholder Ismael Lazaar in a five-round, non-title affair and earned a lopsided decision win. Also in the ring was seventh-ranked Zabit Samedov, who bested Fred Sinistra by TKO at Akin Dovus Arenasi in Turkey. Both Verhoeven and Samedov remain at their previous rankings.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Artem Vakhitov (1)
  2. Saulo Cavalari (2)
  3. Zack Mwekassa (3)
  4. Mourad Bouzidi (4)
  5. Pavel Zhuravlev (5)
  6. Igor Bugaenko (6)
  7. Ibrahim El Bouni (7)
  8. Fabio Kwasi (8)
  9. Luis Tavares (9)
  10. Ariel Machado (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Brian Douwes (10 – tie)

GLORY 41 provided one of the more bizarre fights of 2017, as fourth-ranked Mourad Bouzidi took on previously ranked Michael Duut. The referee was a big factor in the bout, disqualifying Duut after three point deductions for clinching. Despite the strange outcome, Bouzidi maintained his No. 4 ranking. One fighter fell out of the top 10 in May, though. Brian Douwes continued his up-and-down last 12 months. He defeated Nouh Chahboune by first-round TKO at A1 World Combat Cup in Holland, but fell to Donegi Abena by decision at the same event, forcing him out of a tie for 10th.

Middleweight
  1. Simon Marcus (1)
  2. Jason Wilnis (2)
  3. Artem Levin (3)
  4. Yousri Belgaroui (4)
  5. Alex Pereira (5)
  6. Israel Adesanya (6)
  7. Joe Schilling (7)
  8. Fang Bian (8)
  9. Dustin Jacoby (10 – tie)
  10. Alexander Stetsurenko (10 – tie)

Dropped from the rankings: Hicham El Gaoui (9)

The lone bout to affect the middleweight rankings in May actually came in the welterweight division, where ninth-ranked Hicham El Gaoui fell to Vladimír Moravčík at Enfusion Live 50 in Slovakia. With consecutive bouts outside the division, El Gaoui drops out of the middleweight top 10.

Welterweight
  1. Cédric Doumbé (1)
  2. Nieky Holzken (2)
  3. Artur Kyshenko (3)
  4. Murthel Groenhart (4)
  5. Yoann Kongolo (5)
  6. Karim Ghajji (6)
  7. Alim Nabiev (7)
  8. Yohan Lidon (9)
  9. Raymond Daniels (8)
  10. Mustapha Haida (10)

The action in the welterweight top 10 was few and far between in the month of May, but two fighters were in the ring. Fourth-ranked Murthel Groenhart got all he could handle from Alan Scheinson at GLORY 41, eking out a narrow split decision victory to hold onto his ranking. Yohan Lidon was in action twice in the month. First, he defeated Patrick Vidakovic at Dubai Fight. Then, he topped Djibril Ehouo by decision at Capital Fights 2 in France. The wins move Lidon up to the No. 8 spot in the rankings.

Lightweight
  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Superbon Banchamek (2)
  3. Giorgio Petrosyan (3)
  4. Yodsanklai Fairtex (4)
  5. Marat Grigorian (5)
  6. Buakaw Banchamek (6)
  7. Dylan Salvador (7)
  8. Davit Kiria (8)
  9. Mohamed Khamal (9)
  10. Mohamed Mezouari (10)

One of the world’s top lightweights continued his winning ways at Kunlun Fight 61. Fourth-ranked Yodsanklai Fairtex defeated both Soichiro Miyakoshi and Cedric Manhoef to advance in the 70-kilogram tournament. The Thai fighter remains firmly planted inside the top five with only the sport’s premier fighters ahead of him. Speaking of those premier fighters, second-ranked Superbon Banchamek was in action at the IFMA World Muaythai Champions in Belarus, where he won four straight fights to capture the gold medal at 71 kilograms. The bouts were highlighted by a jumping roundhouse knockout in the opening bout.

Featherweight
  1. Kaew Weerasakreck (Fairtex) (1)
  2. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  3. Qiu Jianliang (3)
  4. Robin van Roosmalen (4)
  5. Ilias Bulaid (5)
  6. Hideaki Yamazaki (6)
  7. Wei Ninghui (8)
  8. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (10)
  9. Yasuomi Soda (7)
  10. Gabriel Varga (9)

The featherweight division remains one of the sport’s busiest and most competitive. Third-ranked Qiu Jianliang topped Diego Freitas in Portugal to stay in the top three. Holland’s Robin van Roosmalen is once again GLORY champion after edging Thailand’s Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao at GLORY 41 by majority decision. The victory keeps van Roosmalen at No. 4 in the rankings, while Petchpanomrung’s spirited effort allows him to climb to No. 8. Also in the ring was fifth-ranked Ilias Bulaid, who knocked out Manaowan Sitsongpeenong in the first round at Fight League 6 in Holland to maintain his ranking. Kunlun Fight 61 featured China’s Wei Ninghui against Brazil’s Hector Santiago. Ninghui’s victory elevates him to No. 7 in the rankings.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Kaew Weerasakreck (Fairtex) (2)
  3. Robin van Roosmalen (3)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Cédric Doumbé (5)
  6. Superbon Banchamek (6)
  7. Nieky Holzken (7)
  8. Artem Vakhitov (8)
  9. Rico Verhoeven (9)
  10. Takeru (10)/Artur Kyshenko (10)

There were no changes to the pound-for-pound rankings, despite van Roosmalen, Superbon and Verhoeven all seeing action in May.

Women’s Pound-For-Pound
  1. Jorina Baars (1)
  2. Anissa Meksen (2)
  3. Denise Kielholtz (3)
  4. Jemyma Betrian (4)
  5. Wang Kehan (5)
  6. Tiffany Van Soest (6)
  7. Iman Barlow (7)
  8. E. Meidie (8)
  9. Antonina Shevchenko (9)
  10. Mellony Geugjes (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Rena Kubota (10)

The world’s top female strikers were largely dormant in May, but second-ranked Anissa Meksen topped former Bellator Kickboxing title challenger Gloria Peritore in France. In the bottom half of the top 10, Holland’s Mellony Geugjes continued her recent success at Fight League 6 in Holland, where she defeated Feride Kirat by unanimous decision to capture the No. 10 spot in the rankings.


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 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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