Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC on ESPN+ 9

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Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC on ESPN+ 9 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com.

Mitch Gagnon vs. Cole Smith

Gagnon: Coming off a long absence, he struggled with his cardio. He had a real chance to finish in the third round, but once he was unable to he was dominated in the rest of the round and ultimately dropped the fight. Downgraded from C to D

Smith: He did a good job of landing kicks from range and against the cage he was stronger and craftier. He wore Gagnon out to earn a decision. Debut grade is D+


Juan Adams vs. Arjan Bhullar

Adams: He certainly was the more active striker on the feet out landing his opponent by 40 strikes over 15 minutes. His problem were the takedowns as he was taken down twice and lost rounds because of it to drop a decision.  Grade remains D

Bhullar: He landed some decent jabs on the feet, but for the most part was being outworked. He fared much better on the ground where top control was the difference in this fight and got him his hand raised. Grade remains D


Kyle Nelson vs. Matt Sayles

Nelson: He struggled with the right hand of his opponent and had more of his success grappling. He made this a competitive fight, but ultimately, he was a level below his opponent. Grade remains D+

Sayles: He has a really good right hand and that is always a threat, but I like that he fought through some adversity especially in round two to get the result. Grade remains C-


Kyle Prepolec vs. Nordine Taleb

Prepolec: He was the smaller less athletic fighter in this bout. This was his debut, but nothing in it suggests he’ll be able to stick in the UFC long term. Debut grade is D-

Taleb: He had minimal issues in this fight. He was simply the more technical, craftier fighter.  Grade remains C-


Vince Morales vs. Aiemann Zahabi

Morales: He was the aggressor for much of the fight and that was enough against a rather inactive opponent.   Grade remains D+

Zahabi: A frustrating fight to watch as his inactivity cost him the bout.   Downgraded from D+ to D


Macy Chiasson vs. Sarah Moras

Chiasson: She was taken down in the first round which gives a bit of pause, but once she got top position in round two, she looked like a real threat in this division. She’s ruthless from top control earning another finish as she climbs up the rankings. Upgraded from C+ to B-

Moras: She can be effective from top position, but struggles in all other facets of the sport. Grade remains D


Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Andrew Sanchez

Barriault: He really poured it on in round two and was setup well to earn a win his debut. Unfortunately for the Canadian, he was unable to stop the takedown in round three and dropped a decision. Debut grade is D

Sanchez: He’s an excellent first round fighter. His conditioning continues to limit him. He got the result tonight and proved he can win a third round to get a result, but the potential is currently limited due to his gas tank. Upgraded from D to D+


Walt Harris vs. Sergey Spivak

Harris: He appears to have leaned out to increase his speed and it showed here. His striking was on full display as he finished Spivak inside of round one. A nice result for the UFC veteran. Upgraded from D to D+

Spivak: There wasn’t enough time to evaluate his potential, but the result certainly wasn’t good for him. Debut grade is D-


Merab Dvalishvili vs. Brad Katona

Dvalishvili: Another strong performance from the Georgian born / Serra Longo trained fighter. He is supremely well conditioned and combined with his offensive wrestling prowess, he’s a very tough fighter. This was a solid win and I expect him to continue on an upward trend. Upgraded from C to C+

Katona: This was a brutal matchup for him as he was outworked and beaten by a bigger, better conditioned fighter. Grade remains C-


Shane Burgos vs. Cub Swanson

Burgos: He was the younger fighter with far more to gain in this bout. Despite it being close on the feet, his strikes were just more impactful and he deservedly had his hand raised. A win that should give Burgos confidence. Upgracded from C to C+

Swanson: He has now lost four fights in a row and doesn’t seem to have the power he at one point possessed. Swanson is on the tail end of a very good career. Grade remains C+


Derek Brunson vs. Elias Theodorou

Brunson: He was moderately successful on the feet, but where he was at his best was forcing Theodorou against the cage and securing some takedowns. Brunson used his wrestling advantage well in this bout to edge a decision. Grade remains B-

Theodorou: He’s active on the feet, but his inaccuracy and lack of power striking make it difficult for him to change the complexion of a fight. Without a grappling advantage, this bout was tough for him. Grade remains C


Donald Cerrone vs. Al Iaquinta

Cerrone: A tremendous all-around performance by Cowboy as he battered Iaquinta and dropped him multiple times during the fight. He ran away with this fight and has put his name in title contention again. Upgraded from B to A-

Iaquinta: After an excellent win in his last outing, he was outgunned in this fight by a superior striker and tactician.  He took a lot of damage in this bout, so it will be interesting to see how he fares when he’s back in the Octagon again. Downgraded from B+ to B

Written by Jay Primetown

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