Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC on ESPN 2

Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC on ESPN 2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com

Mark de la Rosa vs. Alex Perez

De la Rosa: He struggled in the move up to bantamweight. The impact of his punches had little effect on his opponent and he struggled with the physicality of his opponent. Downgraded from C- to D

Perez: The move up in weight made Perez even stronger and physically imposing as he had been at flyweight. He had no problem with de la Rosa and is deserving of a step up in competition.  Grade remains C

Sabina Mazo vs. Maryna Moroz

Mazo: She really struggled early in this fight due to a sluggish start. She started to show signs of her hype in round three, but it was too little too late. Debut grade is D

Moroz: She used a more grappling heavy approach than previous fights as it paid off in a very good first two rounds to win a decision. Grade remains C-

Ray Borg vs. Casey Kenney

Borg: He came into this fight overweight and ended up in a very close, grappling heavy bout. I thought he did enough to win despite the judges disagreeing. With that said, a very poor performance. Debut grade at bantamweight is C

Kenney: On a week’s notice, he went into the Octagon with Ray Borg and fought a very close that he was able to get a result in. Kenney earned a huge win and sits very nicely in the middle of the bantamweight division.  Debut grade is C

Kevin Holland vs. Gerald Meerschaert

Holland: He struggled defending takedowns throughout the bout making this fight much closer than it should have been. He had opportunities to finish but was too fatigued to really tee off on the feet. Downgraded from C- to D+

Meerschaert: He did well getting his opponent to the mat and threatening with submissions. Despite not having the athletic gifts he made this a close fight and nearly won the fight. Grade remains D+

Kevin Aguilar vs. Enrique Barzola

Aguilar: He did a tremendous job of landing punch and kick combinations throughout the fight. He really looked good against a tough opponent and got a deserved win. Expect Aguilar to be in the UFC for the long haul.   Grade remains C

Barzola: He struggled with the combination striking of his opponent in the first two rounds and took a decent amount of damage. He started to score in round three, but it was too little too late.  Grade remains C-

Des Green vs. Ross Pearson

Green: He made this fight look easy and has shown he more than belongs in the UFC as he is starting to rack up victories.   Grade remains C-

Pearson: He’s now 1-6 in his last seven UFC fights and hasn’t been competitive. At 34 years of age, Pearson has a lot of wear on his body and he’s nearing the close of a long career. Downgraded from D+ to D

Jessica Aguilar vs. Marina Rodriguez

Aguilar: She was cut early and took a lot of damage throughout the fight. She stood in there and showed a lot of toughness, but this was a lopsided bout. Aguilar has lost four of five fights in the UFC so this could be her last bout in the promotion.  Grade remains D

Rodriguez: It took her a couple minutes to get into the bout, but once she did she was very impressive. Her knees in the clinch were excellent and she beat up Aguilar. There are some holes in her game, but she has a lot of good qualities. Grade remains C-

Sheymon Moraes vs. Sodiq Yusuff

Moraes: He was in a competitive fight with Yusuff. He struck well on the counter and had success in the middle portion of the fight outlanding his opponent. This was a close matchup, but being dropped late in the third round separated the two fighters. Grade remains C

Yusuff: He showed the potential he has by going toe to toe with an experienced fighter like Moraes, but the punching power was the difference as he had Moraes hurt deep in the third round and nearly getting a finish. Upgraded from C to C+

Paul Craig vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu

Craig: He was down throughout the fight, but once again found a way to secure a third-round submission in a fight he was far behind in. Grade remains D-

Nzechukwu: He has the size and physique to compete in the UFC, but his ability is still rather green and he doesn’t have the punching power to alter fights. He will improve with experience, but it will take time as he’s still raw in ability. Debut grade is D-

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Michelle Waterson

Kowalkiewicz: She talked about starting a family and nearing the end of her career prior to the bout. It showed in this fight as she was a step slow and never really put Waterson in danger. A bad defeat for the Polish fighter who is now out of the title mix. Downgraded from B to B-

Waterson: This was without a doubt her best performance in the UFC. She mixed her kicking game nicely with some timely takedowns. It was a well-rounded performance that should push her towards the top five in the division. Upgraded from C+ to B

Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson

Emmett: As always, he put fight ending intentions to each of his punches. He was landing at a low percentagr throughout the fight as he couldn’t keep up with his opponents’ footwork, but one clean shot in round three was enough to send Johnson to the canvas and give Emmett the big knockout victory. Emmett continues to show he’s a top 15 featherweight. Grade remains B-

Johnson: He started to gain confidence in the second round and was separating himself from Emmett. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as he was hit clean in the third and knocked out cold. This is fourth consecutive loss by stoppage in which all four of those losses were after round one. Durability has certainly become an issue for him. Downgraded from B- to C+

David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson

Branch: He has now been finished in three of his last four fights. He tends to get better as a fight progresses, but is vulnerable early before he gets warmed up. He was taken to the mat early in this bout and before he knew it the fight was over. Branch has been going backwards since his victory over Thiago Santos in 2018. Downgraded from C+ to C

Hermansson: He has won five of his last six fights with four of those victories inside the first round. This was his best win submitting a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt inside of one minute as he surges up the rankings.  Upgraded from C to C+

Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje

Barboza: He made the wrong decision in getting into a firefight with Justin Gaethje. He was clipped early, but seemed to recover until a right hand sent him to the canvas to end the fight. A tough loss for Barboza who just can’t get the big victory to get into the title picture. Grade remains B

Gaethje: His in your face, aggressive attacking style set him up well against a fighter who does his best as a range striker. Gaethje landed early and was able to put Barboza away in the first round for a big victory. Top five opponents are next for the always exciting lightweight.  Grade remains B+


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Written by Jay Primetown

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