Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC Fight Night 96

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Burkman vs OttowJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night 96 in Portland, Oregon. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsBreaker.com. Kelly Faszholz vs. Ketlen Vieira Faszholz: She kept attempting a left high kick which allowed her opponent to counter for a takedown. Faszholz showed no ability to get back to her feet from the mat which was the difference in the fight. In the moments there were standing exchanges, Faszholz was the much better fighter. Downgraded from C- to D+ Vieira: She showed decent offensive wrestling in this bout securing takedowns in all three rounds of the fight. Her striking, on the other hand, did not look up to snuff. Grade remains D+ Curtis Blaydes vs. Cody East Blaydes: He was able to secure the takedown whenever he wanted to do. He had some issues with East’s stand up, but ultimately just outworked his opponent in the grappling situation to win with heavy elbows. He may not be a future champion, but he’s a dangerous fighter. Grade remains C- East: His striking is decent, but he struggled defending takedowns in this bout. Once he got tired, he had no answers for Blaydes’ ground and pound. Conditioning is a real problem for him moving forward. Downgraded from D+ to D Ion Cutelaba vs. Jonathan Wilson Cutelaba: He struck in combination very well throughout the fight. He was the fighter that was pressing the action forcing his opponent to retreat throughout the fight. His style and volume approach will be a tough out for many fighters in the division. Upgraded from D to D+ Wilson: He has decent power in his hands, but his low volume and conditioning issues make it difficult for him to land on a regular basis. With consecutive losses he may be cut from the UFC. Downgraded from D to D- Nate Marquardt vs. Tamdan McCrory Marquardt: He started with a kicking attack before scoring some takedowns to begin wearing out his opponent. In the second round, he got his hands going wobbling McCrory before finishing him with a head kick knockout. Great win for Marquardt who has now finished CB Dollaway and McCrory in two of his last three fights. Grade remains C- McCrory: His size and submission skills are difficult for opponents to deal with. He’s now been finished in consecutive bouts and question marks regarding his chin are certainly warranted. Downgraded from C to C- Elizeu dos Santos vs. Keita Nakamura Dos Santos: He got the best of Nakamura in the standing exchanges throwing the kitchen sink at his opponent. He struggled defending takedowns throughout the fight which nearly cost him the victory. Grade remains C- Nakamura: When he realized he was losing the striking exchanges, he went to his wrestling and had a lot of success. I was surprised he wasn’t granted the victory given his control on the ground for two of the three rounds. At this point, I think we’ve seen what Nakamura’s limitations are and what kind of fighter he ultimately is. Grade remains C- Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Walt Harris Abdurakhimov: He fought a comfortable fight out landing Harris at range. He didn’t take any chances in this fight and really won this fight due to his opponent’s inactivity. Grade remains D Harris: He didn’t force Abdurakhimov out of his comfort zone at range. Harris had one decent chance in the second round looking for a choke on the ground, but was unable to secure it. The rest of the bout he struggled to maintain any consistent offense. Downgraded from D+ to D Hacran Dias vs. Andre Fili Dias: It seems that wear and tear is finally starting to get to him. His wrestling was nowhere near as good as it had been in the past. His chin let him down again in this fight as he was nearly finished in the first round. Dias will need a win in his next fight to stay in the UFC. Downgraded from B- to C Fili: Easily his most impressive performance in the UFC. He landed the much better strikes on the feet and had his moments on the mat as well. It’s clear he’s worked on his wrestling and that more than anything has me upbeat about his career moving forward. Upgraded from C- to C Joachim Christensen vs. Henrique da Silva Christensen: He certainly doesn’t have the power in his hands to floor opponents with one punch, but his volume approach can certainly wear down an opponent. He had da Silva in big trouble during round two, but got reversed on the ground into an armbar and was forced to submit. He looked good in his UFC debut in defeat. Grade remains D+ Da Silva: His conditioning is certainly an issue as he throws every strike with fight ending intentions. However, his resiliency when hurt is a commendable trait that makes him dangerous. Grade remains D+ Brandon Moreno vs. Louis Smolka Moreno: Stunning win for Brandon Moreno. In a scramble situation, he caught Smolka in a guillotine and was able to put him away. It’s hard to gauge much from this performance given it was so short, but this is a big one that gives him an extended run in the UFC at a minimum. Upgraded from D+ to C- Smolka: There’s really no other way to put this besides Smolka just got caught in this bout. He’s a young fighter who will surely recover from this loss and continue to do good things in the UFC. Downgraded from C+ to C Josh Burkman vs. Zak Ottow Burkman: This was a really telling fight for Burkman. He doesn’t have the consistent striking anymore and his power has really been zapped with the more significant weight cuts recently. He doesn’t have any skill set anymore that scares opponents. I’m not sure where Burkman goes from here. Downgraded from C to C- Ottow: Size was a big factor in this bout as Ottow was not intimidated at all by Burkman who had moved up from lightweight. He did a good job of landing strikes from range and just out worked Burkman in this bout. Solid win over a veteran in his debut. It doesn’t get much better than that. Upgraded from D to C- Will Brooks vs. Alex Oliveira Brooks: Oliveira’s size gave Brooks problems throughout the fight. He continued to be pushed against the cage and struggled to get out of that position. If Oliveira made weight, perhaps this would have been a different fight. Downgraded from B to B- Oliveira: His inability to make weight made this fight seem like one between two fighters in different weight classes. His size and strength were the difference in this fight as he was able to control Brooks against the cage and beat him up on the ground in round three. Upgraded from C to C+ at welterweight John Dodson vs. John Lineker Dodson: His accuracy in this fight was fantastic, but he simply didn’t throw with the same volume or conviction as his opponent and that was ultimately the difference in a close, entertaining fight. Grade remains A- Lineker: His ability to control the cage and continually walk down his opponents lent itself well to the judges as he squeaked out a split decision for the biggest win of his career. Lineker was able to maintain a torrid pace for 4.5 rounds before slowing down a bit in the final couple minutes of the bout. With the win, Lineker has put himself in real contention to fight for the title in early to mid-2017. Grade remains A-

Written by Jay Primetown

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Post-UFC Fight Night 96 Chopping Block