Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC on Fox 29

Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, New York. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com

Luke Sanders vs. Patrick Williams

Sanders: He tried to play it safe here and his work rate on the feet was enough to give him a decision victory. Grade remains C-

Williams: He took some damage in this bout, but had his moments against Sanders but he just couldn’t do it consistently enough to earn the win. Grade remains D+

Matthew Lopez vs. Alejandro Perez

Lopez: He had a really strong opening round nearly finding a submission to win, but he started to slow down in the second round, got hurt, and was finished by a younger, fresher fighter. Downgraded from C to C-

Perez: He needs to continue to working on his defensive grappling, but he’s got a solid gas tank and the variety he offers on the feet troubles opponents. This was a good win for Perez who has now won six fights in the UFC. Upgraded from D+ to C-

Arjan Bhullar vs. Adam Wieczorek

Bhullar: He started off well, but he got too comfortable on the ground and was caught with a submission. A disappointing loss for the Canadian heavyweight. Downgraded from D+ to D-

Wieczorek: He was struggling with the size and strength of his opponent, but caught his opponent in a submission and was able to secure a huge win. Upgraded from F to D-

Dhiego Lima vs. Yushin Okami

Lima: He had no answers for Okami’s takedown attempts and never was a threat to win this fight. Downgraded from D to D-

Okami: A classic Yushin Okami performance. He got his opponent to the mat early and often controlling Lima and beating him up to earn a dominant decision. Grade remains D+

Shana Dobson vs. Lauren Mueller

Dobson: She did a good job of landing to the body late in the fight, but just couldn’t do enough early on to build the necessary momentum to get a decision win. Grade remains D+

Mueller: She is really well conditioned and hits harder than most flyweights. I think she’s a fighter to pay attention to in this weight class. Debut grade is C-

Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Moret

Burns: He was in some trouble briefly in round one, but he shined in round two landing a tremendous right hand to send Moret to the canvas. Burns’ striking is improving to make him a more well-rounded fighter. Grade remains C

Moret: He had his opportunity early, but once he started getting hit it didn’t take long to be put away. Debut grade is D

Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares

Jotko: He struggled to land anything significant on the feet and eventually succumbed to strikes yet again. Jotko has really fallen on hard times and is in danger of being cut from the UFC. Downgraded from C+ to C

Tavares: A solid all-around performance from the Hawaiian fighter. He out struck his opponent throughout the fight and earned a rare finish. Expect Tavares to face a top 10 opponent in his next outing. Upgraded from C+ to B-

John Moraga vs. Wilson Reis

Moraga: He utilized his length well to out land the Brazilian on the feet. He did a good job early to stuff takedows which was the key to the fight as Reis was desperate to keep Moraga grounded. Upgraded from C+ to B-

Reis: I thought he’d be able to get his opponent to the mat with regularity, but the length of Moraga was difficult for him to overcome. He took some damage on the feet and it wasn’t until round three when he really was able to have his way with Moraga on the mat. By that point it was too little too late. Grade remains B-

Ricky Rainey vs. Muslim Salikhov

Rainey: He was in the fight and was utilizing distance well until he got hit square and then finished. I’d like to see him get another opportunity to really get an idea of his level. Grade remains D+

Salikhov: He really didn’t do much early in the bout, but things changed in a flash as he dropped and finished Rainey in round two. On the feet, he’ll be competitive with most fighters in the UFC. That will be the key for him moving forward is avoiding takedowns. Grade remains C-

Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Jr.

Boetsch: He was at a speed disadvantage in this fight and he really struggled to get off punches. Once he was taken to the mat, he had even less answers and was quickly submitted. Grade remains C

Carlos Jr.: “Shoe Face” has really made strides in his overall game. He’s now won five fights in a row including his last three by submission. Not only is he great on the ground, but he is a much improved striker. Expect him to continue to climb in the middleweight rankings. Upgraded from C to C+

Cortney Casey vs. Michelle Waterson

Casey: She spent too much time fishing for submissions off her back. With the way judges reward top position, this is what ultimately cost her the fight. Grade remains C+

Waterson: She started slow in this fight, but found her groove in the second round. After a poor ending to the third round, I thought that she wouldn’t get her hand raised. Waterson was desperate for a win and luckily for her she got her hand raised. Grade remains C+

Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori

Adesanya: His striking is as good as it gets in the UFC, but how well he does in the UFC will depend on how much he can improve his grappling. He’ll need to do that if he’s going to get anywhere near title contention. Grade remains C+

Vettori: He certainly put in a decent 15 minutes of work and had his moments in the bout especially in round three. He’s not a world beater, but he’s a fighter that should stick around in the UFC.Upgraded from D+ to C-

Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira

Condit: Since his loss to Robbie Lawler in January 2016, he’s struggled to be competitive in his last three fights. One could argue his fight with Alex Oliveira was his best of the three as he had opportunities to submit him late in round one. With that said, he struggles with the strength of fighters in the welterweight division and has now been finished in two of his last three fights. He may get one more opportunity in the UFC, but it’s clear he’s far from the fighter he was just a couple of years ago. Downgraded from C+ to C-

Oliveira: He had some unnerving moments in the first round, but recovered well to dominate round two eventually finding a finish. He’s now won three of his last four fights with the three victories coming by finish. He has become one of the more entertaining fighters in the division and a guy that will have a lengthy future in the promotion. Grade remains C+

Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier

Gaethje: Win or lose, when Justin Gaethje fights it is a sight to see. There is no fighter in MMA that puts on as consistently entertaining bouts as Gaethje. His problem is that he takes too much damage. At some point, he’s not going to be able to take the damage he takes and his level will drop significantly. While he didn’t win on Saturday, he shows that he belongs in the cage with the best lightweights in the world. Downgraded from A- to B+

Poirier: This was a real test for the Louisiana native. In the past, he has started well in fights but faded as bouts went on as he started to accumulate damage. Gaethje forced the best of what Poirier had to offer. Eventually it was the fourth round where Poirier wobbled his opponent forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight. It was the most important win of Poirier’s career as he takes the next step and is likely just one fight away from an opportunity to fight for the lightweight championship. Upgraded from B+ to A-

Written by Jay Primetown

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