Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC 225

Dec 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Sergio Pettis (red) against Matt Hobar (blue) during UFC 181 at Madalay Bay Events Center. Pettis won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 225 in Chicago, Illinois. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com.

Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago

Ige: He did a great job closing the distance to earn an early takedown. On the mat, he was awesome. He landed vicious ground and pound forcing the referee to step in stop the bout. After a poor debut, Ige had a polar opposite performance in this fight. Good win for him. Upgraded from D to D+

Santiago: He was taken down early and had no answers on the mat. With his third straight loss, expect him to be released from the UFC. Downgraded from D to D-

Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira

Guida: This was a bad matchup for Guida as he’s at his best wrestling and that plays into Oliveira’s excellent submission game. He was caught in the first round and had no choice but to tap. Onto the next one for Guida in a more favorable bout. Downgraded from C+ to C

Oliveira: Do Bronx does what Do Bronx does and that is submit opponents. It took him only a couple of minutes to find Clay Guida’s neck and force him to tap. The submission was the tenth of his UFC career tying him with Royce Gracie for the most submissions ever in the organization. Grade remains B-

Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis

Benavidez: He certainly looked rusty early on this fight as he kept his chin exposed and was dropped in the opening round. He struggled to secure takedowns throughout and ultimately cost him the fight. Downgraded from A to B

Pettis: He showed increased power in his hands in this bout, but it was his takedown defense which really surprised me. Pettis appears to be on the upswing. Upgraded from C+ to B

Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith

He had lost four fights in a row and it didn’t get any better for the former light heavyweight champion. He was dropped and finished in the opening minute by Anthony Smith. This is very likely the last fight of Evans’ career. Downgraded from D+ to D-

Smith: He did what he was expected to do and that was finish Rashad Evans. Smith looks good at 205 and can win some fights at light heavyweight. Grade remains D+

Rashad Coulter vs. Chris de la Rocha

His gas tank simply isn’t good enough for the UFC. He’s fun to watch and always ends up in slug fests, but he struggles to finish opponents and gets caught himself. Downgraded from F to F-

De La Rocha: He took a lot of damage in this fight, but was able to survive the early onslaught and really take over in the second round to earn the victory which will get him at least one more opportunity in the promotion. Grade remains F-

Mirsad Bektic vs. Ricardo Lamas

He had some good moments on the feet and he out grappled Lamas which is certainly a feat. He won the fight, but I absolutely don’t like how he tends to struggle in third rounds. That’s a major concern as he continues to face higher level fighters. Downgraded from B to B-

Lamas: He really made Bektic work, but just couldn’t land enough meaningful strikes to get the nod on the scorecards. Despite the loss, this was a good return fight for him. Grade remains C+

Carla Esparza vs. Claudia Gadelha

She fought much better than I had anticipated. She showed the best boxing of her career and battered Gadelha at times in this fight. Surprisingly, it was the wrestling that wasn’t up to snuff as she dropped a close decision. Upgraded from B- to B

Gadelha:  It’s apparent the wars she had with Joanna Jedrzejczyk and the beating she took at the hands of Jessica Andrade have taken their toll. She cuts much easier and this fight ended up being way closer than it should have been. I’m convinced the Gadelha that gave Jedrzejczyk a dog fight will never be at that level again. Downgraded from A- to B+

Curtis Blaydes vs. Alistair Overeem

This was a landmark performance by Blaydes which really puts him as a top contender for the heavyweight title. He was able to take Overeem to the mat in all three rounds and his brutal finish of Overeem cemented his place in the top five of the division. Upgraded from B to B+

Overeem: He struggled to defend Blaydes’ takedowns and was beat up badly in the third round. At this point, it’s hard to see Overeem get back to a title shot. Grade remains B

Phil Brooks vs. Mike Jackson

He certainly acquitted himself better in this bout than in his MMA debut, but he had very little to offer after the opening round and doesn’t appear to have what it takes to be competitive in the UFC. Downgraded from F—to F—

Jackson: He has decent hands and they were on display catching CM Punk throughout the bout. He did struggle the one time he was taken down, but other than that smooth sailing. Grade remains F–

Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa

Arlovski: One could argue he landed the more effective punches in this bout. He made it into a competitive fight and now fits the classic gatekeeper rule. Grade remains C-

Tuivasa: He struggled with the length and technical prowess of Arlovski, but I love how his gas tank held up. I need to see more from him before changing his grade. Grade remains C-

Megan Anderson vs. Holly Holm

She landed some big punches that pushed Holly Holm back in round one, but once Holm switched to a grappling approach Anderson couldn’t stop a takedown and had few answers for her opponent. Grade remains B-

Holm: She showed a nice wrinkle in her game by dominating a fight on the mat. Good win for Holm against a much bigger opponent. Grade remains A-

Colby Covington vs. Rafael dos Anjos

He answered a lot of questions in this fight. Can he keep that relentless pace for 5 rounds? Yes. Could he handle the variety of striking from a fighter like Rafael dos Anjos? Yes. Would his chin hold up over 5 rounds? Yes. And with that the interim welterweight title for Covington. An interesting matchup with Tyron Woodley awaits. Upgraded from A- to A+

Dos Anjos: While the move up to welterweight has helped him in a lot of ways, one thing that didn’t improve was his power. He was unable to keep Covington at bay and he wasn’t able to keep up with Covington’s pace for portions of this fight. While the fight was fairly close overall, he didn’t win. End of story. Downgraded from A to A-

Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker

Romero: He conserved energy much better in this bout and had Whittaker in deep trouble multiple times in this fight especially in the third and fifth rounds. It was a very close fight and one that no one would have been upset if scored a draw. The judges gave it to Whittaker, but it was a very good performance from the Soldier of God. Upgraded from A to A+

Whittaker: He’s now gone through 25 minute wars with Yoel Romero not once, but twice. He was hurt badly in this fight, but showed incredible resilience to survive and find a way to get the decision. With Romero missing weight, expect his next opponent to be either Kelvin Gastelum or Chris Weidman. Grade remains A+

Written by Jay Primetown

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