UFC Legends Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem have been replaced by Tom Aspinall and Aleksei Oleinik in the latest Heavyweight rankings. Aspinall and Oleinik have been given No.14 and No.15 spots respectively in the new update. The Russian-Ukranian fighter has entered the rankings for the second time.
There was a change to the list after UFC released No.7 ranked Alistair Overeem and No.12 ranked Junior Dos Santos from their respective contracts on March 4, 2021. The rankings are yet to reflect on UFC's official website but multiple sources with inside knowledge have confirmed the news to Bloody Elbow.
The 27-year-old Tom Aspinall (10-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is the young prospect from the United Kingdom that previously fought with European promotion, Cage Warriors. Aspinall made his UFC debut in July 2020 with a 45-second knockout win over Jake Collier. The Brit is currently undefeated in UFC and recently forced former two-time heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, to submit at UFC Fight Night 185. He is one of the most exciting fighters and a future title contender in the UFC Heavyweight division.
Aleksei Oleinik (59-15-1 MMA, 8-6 UFC) is a 43-year-old veteran from Russia. Oleinik has lost his last two fights against Chris Daukus and Derrick Lewis, both by stoppage.
Heavyweight is one of the shallowest divisions in UFC and Oleineik's entry into the top 15 is only due to Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos' release.
Overeem and Dos Santos' exit from UFC is the latest episode in the series of high-profile releases by the organization. UFC has put an emphasis on young prospects over veterans in recent times due to promotional and economic implications.
How did Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos' departure affect the UFC rankings?
The UFC Heavyweight rankings have undergone multiple changes apart from Aspinall and Oleinik's entry. Cyril Gane has moved up to No.4 from No.7 following his unanimous decision to win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik on February 27. The latter has slipped two spots down to No.6, the place previously held by Alistair Overeem.
The Reem's departure has moved Shamil Abdurakhimov, Augusto Sakai, Chris Daukaus, and Walt Harris one spot above to occupy the spots from No.7 to No.10. Sergei Pavlovich, Blagoy Ivanov, and Marcyn Tibura have gained two spots each and are ranked from No.11 to No.13.