Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC 207

Ray BorgJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 207 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com   Tim Means vs. Alex Oliveira Means: Seemed to be getting the best of the grappling and his unorthodox strikes had Oliveira in some trouble. His knee to a downed Oliveira resulted in a no contest, however if they fought again I think he’d be a sizable favorite. Upgraded from C+ to B- Oliveira: Had a beautiful body kick that appeared to briefly stun Means, but other than that struggled in scrambles and the pace with which Means was able to fight. Grade remains C+   Niko Price vs. Brandon Thatch Price: He doesn’t have much to offer on his feet, but his ground game is solid. He showed a very nice arm triangle choke to put Thatch away. Good win in his UFC debut. Upgraded from D- to D+ Thatch: Still a threat on the feet, but his inability to defend takedowns and submissions is the reason I expect he’ll be cut from the UFC after this loss.  Downgraded from C to D   Alex Garcia vs. Mike Pyle Garcia: Didn’t look great in this fight, but he landed one big shot flush and violently knocked out Mike Pyle. Grade remains C- Pyle: Looked slow and his chin simply can’t hold up anymore. This was an ugly knockout and one that could very well see him head into retirement. Downgraded from C- to D   Antonio Carlos Jr. vs. Marvin Vettori Carlos Jr.: Started this fight strong, but slowed down as the fight went on. A crucial takedown in the third round was the difference between a win and a loss. Grade remains C- Vettori: Made this a very competitive fight and had Carlos Jr. in big trouble in round two. Not much stood out in this fight, but he showed he’s very much on the same level as his Brazilian opponent. Upgraded from D+ to C-   Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny Hendricks: Was able to secure takedowns throughout this fight but provided little to no offense otherwise. He was unable to hurt Magny and that’s likely the reason judges gave Magny what was a very close decision. Grade remains B Magny:  Struggled to stop takedown attempts but stayed busy throughout fight easily landing more strikes than his opponent. The fight was very close; a coin flip at the closing bell. Grade remains B   Ray Borg vs. Louis Smolka Borg: Didn’t do much in the striking exchanges, but completely dominated Smolka physically and controlled him on the ground. This was a dominant win with two judges scoring the bout 30-26. With the victory, Borg is on the verge of the division’s top 10, although he’s going to have to get his weight issues under control. Upgraded from C+ to B- Smolka: Disappointing performance from Smolka. He’s shown a vulnerability to being manhandled by the physically stronger fighters in the weight class. With two straight losses, Smolka will need a win in his next bout to keep a place in the promotion. Grade remains C   Dong Hyun Kim vs. Tarec Saffiedine Kim: Outlanded by his opponent in two of three rounds, but still managing to win a split decision is a rare feat. There was little damage done in this bout, so it came down to cage control and Kim was the aggressor throughout the fight. Very little to separate these two fighters. Grade remains B- Saffiedine: Too complacent in the standing exchanges. He’s certainly a skilled striker, but lacks the punching power to hurt opponents on a consistent basis. He has a nice kicking game, but hard to win fights against ranked opposition in 2016 with a kicking heavy attack. Grade remains B-   TJ Dillashaw vs. John Lineker Dillashaw: A beautiful 15 minute performance from the former bantamweight champion. He had Lineker guessing incorrectly all night and timed his takedown attempts tremendously. Impressive to beat a high level fighter like Lineker with such ease. Grade remains A+ Lineker: He was never able to get his striking going as he was constantly trying to figure out where Dillashaw would be and when he would be shooting for takedowns. Lineker is almost always on the front foot, but was forced to fight on his back foot in this bout. Grade remains A-   Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt Cruz: Surprising the way this fight turned out. Cruz seemed to struggle with foot speed of Garbrandt. Cruz has always been the faster fighter against his opponents, but once it was clear he wouldn’t have that advantage against Garbrandt it was going to be a difficult fight for him. Cruz recovered well in this fight from being dropped on multiple occasions, but lost a clear decision on the scorecards and his championship. It could be the point in Cruz’s career where speed begins to diminish significantly and with that his ability in the Octagon. Downgraded from A+ to A Garbrandt: Still rather inexperienced heading into his championship bout with Cruz, Garbrandt put in the performance of his career to win the bantamweight championship. He was able to make Cruz look a step behind in this fight which is something we have never seen before. His punching power is a major weapon and he was able to drop Cruz multiple times in this bout. Tremendous victory for Garbrandt which elevates as a budding star in this sport. Upgraded from A- to A+   Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey Nunes: Her length and ability to land heavy punches from the outside is a real advantage for her. Nunes continues to get better with each fight. In this fight she hurt Rousey with the first clean punch landed and continued to land until Herb Dean stopped the bout. Nunes has proven to be the most feared fighter in the weight class and a deserving champion. Upgraded from A to A+ Rousey: This fight was a referendum on Rousey and she failed. The first punch she took she went backwards and showed no ability to get out of harm’s way. For all the talk of what great shape she was in heading into this fight, her game plan and mindset against Nunes simply wasn’t on a championship level. I’d be surprised if Rousey ever returns to MMA after this performance. Downgraded from A to A-

Written by Jay Primetown

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