Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC Fight Night 124

Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis, Missouri. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com

Mads Burnell vs. Mike Santiago

Burnell: His constant pressure and willingness to grapple make him a tough out for many fighters. He has decent top control as well. Upgraded from D to D+

Santiago: His striking was stifled by the aggression of his opponent. He was unable to find much separation in this bout to land strikes. A tough loss for Santiago who has now lost two in a row in the UFC and could possibly see himself on the way out in the UFC. Downgraded from D+ to D

JJ Aldrich vs. Danielle Taylor

Aldrich: She utilized her length well to land her jab at distance. She mixed in some kicks and a straight left to out land and outwork her opponent to a decision win. A solid win for Aldrich as she continues to work her way up the division. Upgraded from D+ to C-

Taylor: Too reliant on her big overhand right. Simply not long enough to land consistently and certainly not enough volume. Downgraded from C- to D+

Jessica Eye vs. Kalindra Faria

Eye: She didn’t have her best performance on the feet, but she showed real improvements on the ground and her work on the mat was what ultimately won her the fight. Downgraded from C to C-

Faria: She certainly landed the better strikes on the feet, but her grappling let her down. One cannot allow takedowns that deep in the third round and expect to get her hand raised. Grade remains C-

Guido Cannetti vs. Kyung Ho Kang

Cannetti: He was doing well on the feet in the first round, but got into a rough position defending a triangle choke and was forced to tap right near the close of the first round. Grade remains D

Kang: There were certainly signs of ring rust in his first bout since returning from mandatory military duty. What he did not forget was how to finish as he was able to secure a beautiful triangle choke. Grade remains C-

Irene Aldana vs. Talita Bernardo

Aldana: A solid striking display in this bout as she beat her opponent up on the feet. She did well for the most part stifling takedowns as well. Grade remains C-

Bernardo: Not a great performance from the Brazilian as she took a lot of damage early on. She was able to secure a couple takedowns later in the fight and land some punches in the third round, but it was too little too late. Downgraded from D+ to D

Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes

Frevola: He entered this fight to amped up and ended up in a firefight with Marco Polo Reyes. Getting into a brawl with Reyes is the last thing he wanted to do and it resulted in him getting knocked out. Downgraded from C- to D+

Reyes: He landed some heavy shots early in this fight and continued to pour it on to earn a big finish. He’s now 4-1 in the UFC. Upgraded from D to C-

James Krause vs. Alex White

Krause: He did struggle a bit on the feet, but he utilized a smart game plan forcing White to grapple. It was the difference in this bout as he earned another win in the UFC. Grade remains C

White: He seemed to get the better of his opponent on the feet, unfortunately for White the majority of the fight was fought on the mat where White had no answers. White’s made improvements in his time in the UFC, but he still needs to add some grappling components if he’s going to be able to stick long term in the UFC. Grade remains C-

Darren Elkins vs. Michael Johnson

Elkins: Another classic Elkins performance. He got picked apart on the feet in the opening round. The second round was much different as he secured a takedown and took his opponent to task securing a submission. Elkins is likely now just one win away from an improbable title shot. Upgraded from B to B+

Johnson: He had an excellent first round landing punches with regularity. However, Johnson once again faded in round two. There is no fighter currently in MMA that can look so good at the opening bell and then can falter so much later in a bout. Back to drawing board for the former lightweight contender. Downgraded from B to B-

Emil Meek vs. Kamaru Usman

Meek: He just couldn’t stop a takedown. He did well to take damage on the mat and make it to the final bell, but he just didn’t have much to challenge Usman. Grade remains C+

Usman: This fight wasn’t close, but Usman now has a pattern of dominant decisions. In an era where finishes are so highly regarded, Usman is struggling to move up the rankings due to his lack of stoppage victories. Grade remains A-

Jessica Rose-Clark vs. Paige Vanzant

Rose-Clark: She had a strength advantage in this fight and she was able to bully Vanzant on the mat. She did give away the third round, but it didn’t matter in the end as she won the first two rounds to get the biggest win of her career. Upgraded from D+ to C-

Vanzant: She did break her arm in this fight, but she didn’t look good from the start. She simply doesn’t have the strength to take fighters in this weight class to the mat with regularity. On the feet, she really struggles to make much of an impact as she’s reliant on athleticism as opposed to technique. Downgraded from C to D+

Doo Ho Choi vs. Jeremy Stephens

Choi: He had a smart game plan focusing on leg kicks and countering Stephens looping punches. In the end, he couldn’t handle Stephens power and was eventually finished. Downgraded from B to B-

Stephens: He did a great job of pressuring Choi in the second round not allowing him time to counter. Stephens caught Choi behind the ear, knocking him off balance, and then finishing him on the ground to earn his second straight win. Stephens has solidified himself as a top ten featherweight and is nearing the division’s top five. Grade remains B


Written by Jay Primetown

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