Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC 235

Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com

Hannah Cifers vs. Polyana Viana

She may be small for the weight class, but she pushes forward, throws hard, and does so in combination. This was a close fight but her aggression in the final round was enough to get the win and showed she’s capable of fighting in this division. Upgraded from D to D+

She’s dangerous on the mat, but she doesn’t use her length well and was out struck on the feet. She has potential, but needs to make improvements to round out her game. Downgraded from C- to D+

Macy Chiasson vs. Gina Mazany

She continues to impress this time earning a TKO victory. Chiasson is quickly rising up the ladder and should be in the top ten later this year. Upgraded from C to C+

Mazany: She was out matched in this fight and at no point did it appear she could win this fight. Grade remains D

Mickey Gall vs. Diego Sanchez

He’s had some success in the UFC against fighters that struggled to defend takedowns, but was completely exposed in this bout. Gall’s conditioning was a major issue and after just a few minutes, it looked like he was drowning in the cage. Losing to Sanchez was always a possibility, but the way he lost is a major red flag moving forward for his career. Downgraded from D to D-

Sanchez: He certainly is not as durable as he once was, but his engine and determination are as strong as they ever have been. Sanchez finds ways to break opponents and beat them. He did so again in this fight and earned his first finish in over a decade. Upgraded from D to D+

Alejandro Perez vs. Cody Stamann

Perez: He had his most success with leg kicks, but just didn’t land anything impactful as he lost a clear decision. Grade remains C

Stamann: He used a multi-faceted striking approach and being a bit physically stronger than Perez was the difference. It certainly wasn’t a blow out, but he did show he’s a level above. Grade remains C+

Misha Cirkunov vs. Johnny Walker

Not much happened and then he gave Walker just a little opening and the fight was over. Cirkunov has a pretty good grappling game, but his durability is becoming a real concern. Downgraded from C to C-

Walker: He’s on a heck of a run in which he’s been able to finish opponents quickly. The real question is what happens when an opponent forces him beyond the opening round. How will he adjust? Can he adjust? For now, he has proven he can finish top 15 light heavyweights and that’s good enough to be upgraded. Upgraded from C to C+

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Jeremy Stephens

Magomedsharipov: He out struck a top ten opponent in all three rounds and flat out dominated Stephens in the second round. It is a bit worrisome that he slowed down in the third round and that could be a sign as he’s on the verge of the elite of the division.  Grade remains A-

Stephens: He tried to get after Magomedsharipov in this bout, but he struggled with the distance and just couldn’t land much of significance. He definitely had positive moments, but he lacked the big shot in this fight that he has had in other bouts. Grade remains B+

Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz

Garbrandt: As good as he is offensively, he may be worse defensively. This is his third straight knockout loss and at just 27 years of age, he has been exposed and is on the verge of falling out of the top ten in this division. If he can improve his defense and protect himself, he’s good enough to be in title contention again. Downgraded from A to B

Munhoz: He had to take some shots, but that was the opportunity to expose his opponent’s striking deficiencies as he knocked out the former champion to earn the biggest win of his career. A top five opponent will be up next for Munhoz. Upgraded from B to B+

Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang

Torres: Normally very smooth on the feet, she was on the backfoot for much of the fight. When it came to the grappling, she was taken to the mat a couple of times and it showed she had no advantage over her opponent in this bout.  Downgraded from B+ to B-

Zhang: Physically she appeared to be a weight class above her opponent. She was imposing in this bout with her power and offensive wrestling game. An excellent win for Zhang who showed over three rounds this was no fluke. Upgraded from C- to B

Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler

Askren: He’s very lucky that Herb Dean did not stop the fight as he was dropped on his head and took a number of punches to the head on the mat. He ultimately did recover and grapple Lawler to win by a controversial submission, but a win nonetheless. Either way, we did see some holes in his game and he’s not the invincible force many thought he was. Debut grade is A-

Lawler: He had a really opportunity for the upset and perhaps if any other referee was in there with him at UFC 235, he would have had his hand raised. He inflicted a lot of damage, but as soon as he was taken to the mat, he really struggled with Askren’s pressure. Grade remains B-

Kamaru Usman vs. Tyron Woodley

Usman: He out struck the champion at a three to one ratio and out grappled a very good collegiate wrestler to dominate the bout and win the title. He showed that he’s the best welterweight in the world and a deserving champion. Grade remains A+

Woodley: A completely flat performance in which he never got into the fight. He never got into second gear and it cost him the title. Downgraded from A+ to A

Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith

Jones: Was Jones at his best in this fight? No, but he completely befuddled and confused his opponent. Over the course of five rounds, he absorbed just 36 significant strikes (well under 2 per minute) and easily won each round of the fight. An illegal knee was the only negative in this fight. Jones is the best fighter in the world and at this point, I’m not even sure who is close to him. Grade remains A++

Smith: He made it through 25 minutes with Jon Jones, but he had nothing to offer offensively. He struggled with the distance and was hesitant with his striking. Perhaps he was star struck or the moment was too big for him. Either way, he was blown out by Jon Jones. Grade remains B

Written by Jay Primetown

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