Updated: Oct 14, 2020
The pro heavyweight division certainly isn't the deepest in New England, but it has many storylines that we should keep an eye on. 38 year old Greg "Ribz" Rebello (26-9) is by no surprise at the top of the heap. He recently defended the CES heavyweight championship against Jordan Mitchell (8-13) back in January, and afterwards announced his retirement in the cage. We have heard this before from Rebello, so who know's how much stock to put in those words. What we do know is that Rebello will go down as one of the best heavyweights that New England MMA has ever seen. The heavy handed Tri-Force MMA product has been fighting professional for 15 years, and has racked up a who's who of heavyweight wins here in New England. "Ribz" has had two shots to capture a UFC contract on the Contender Series, but has walked away 0-2 in those attempts. He's been a regional stud for many years, but he just hasn't been able to break into the ranks with a national promotion. It's not out of the question for Rebello to get a late notice call from the UFC with how shallow their heavyweight division is, and I would assume that opportunity would be impossible for Rebello to pass up. Hopefully that's the case for us here in New England.
Holding down the #2 spot is Underdog MMA fighter Parker Porter (10-5), as he's put together a solid 4-1 record over his last 5 fights under the Bellator, Reality, and CES banners. The Connecticut based fighter most recently picked up a big win over #5 ranked Dirlei Broenstrup (16-8) by way of TKO at CES 58 back in September of last year. Porter's only loss in his last 5 fights was to #7 ranked Keith Bell (11-9) due to disqualification because of illegal blows to the back of the head. Porter has some serious momentum right now, so staying active when fights resume is important for the 35 year old fighter, as he most likely only has a few more years to compete and has a legitimate shot at getting a call from a major promotion if he continues his winning ways.
A familiar face has locked up the 3rd slot, as our #1 ranked light heavyweight, William "Nightmare" Knight (7-1), some times moonlights with the big boys. Knight's true weight class is at 205, but with heavyweights being in short supply not here in New England, but around the country, Knight often gets the call to step up in weight. I would suspect that the Thornton MMA product will focus on the light heavyweight division moving forward now that he's signed to a developmental deal with the UFC, but regardless, Knight is a force in the heavyweight division as well.
Terrance Jean-Jacques (5-2) comes in at #4 on the heavyweight list, one spot lower than where he stands on the LHW rankings. Similar to Knight, Jean-Jacques best opportunity to succeed in the sport lies in the 205 pound division. He most recently captured the Premier FC cruiserweight (225 lbs) title by beating #9 ranked Ras Hylton at Premier FC 30.
Brazilian Dirlei Broenstrup (16-8) grabs the 5th position in our rankings. The Team Link fighter is only 2-5 in his last 7 bouts, but keep in mind that his opponents records going in to those fights is a crazy 64-16, so he by no means takes easy fights in order to pad his record, and that's the main reason he's ranked so highly without much success recently. Broenstrup is always ready to throw down when he gets that call.
Other notable fighters on the list are #6 ranked Tyler King (12-8) and #9 ranked Ras Hylton (5-4). There's been some chirping online between King and Hylton recently, as there has been some animosity brewing between the two since Hylton's loss to Jean-Jacques where King was cage side stoking the proverbial fire between the two. Multiple promotions are in the running to book this one between these two behemoths, but it seems as though King may be the one stalling to sign on the dotted line at this point. Hopefully these two can come to terms and we get treated to a big boy battle here on the local scene. Hylton has been training quite a bit with current Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship prospect, and #8 ranked heavyweight, Chris "Golden Gloves" Sarro (1-0). Don't look for Sarro to be making an appearance in a MMA cage anytime soon, as he's on an impressive trajectory with the BKFC promotion, especially if he wins his upcoming bout booked for July 24th.
There's a lot of experience on this list, but there hasn't been many potential stars enter the New England professional heavyweight ranks recently. Regardless, there are many potential matchups to be made on this list, and hopefully we'll be treated to a few of them before year's end.