Updated UFC 187 Fighter Grades

Andrei_Arlovski.0Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 187 and updates his letter grades on each. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com Josh Sampo vs. Justin Scoggins Sampo: Had no answer for the striking prowess of Scoggins. Made some nice adjustments in the final round, but not enough. Movement not good enough to compete with most flyweights. Grade remains D+ Scoggins: Really showed off the variety in his kicking arsenal in this fight. Very skilled fighter, but was disappointed to see him slow down a bit in the third round. Easy win for Scoggins. Grade remains B.   Leo Kuntz vs. Islam Makhachev Kuntz: Tough to really get a read on him as he was just overwhelmed by a very good prospect. Had no answer for Makhachev’s takedowns, but that was to be expected. Grade remains D. Makhachev: Extremely impressive debut. Showed a variety of striking tools that make me believe he can compete in the standup with fighters in top half of the division. His grappling game is excellent and he’ll be a nightmare for future opponents.   Makhachev Full grade (Before Fight/After Fight): Offensive Striking: C / C+ Striking Defense: C+ / C+ Knockout Power: C / C Athleticism / Speed: C+ / B- Footwork: C+ / C+ Chin: C+ / C+ Offensive Wrestling: B+ / A- Takedown Defense: C+ / B- Submissions: C+ / C+ Conditioning: C+ / B- Intangibles: B- / B- Overall Grade: C+ / B-     Colby Covington vs. Mike Pyle Covington: Dominated this fight from the onset with grappling levels above his opponent. Cardio a question mark late in fights almost getting caught in a submission late in the 3rd round. Good performance, but not overly impressive. Grade remains C+ Pyle: Still dangerous with submissions, but age and physical becoming an issue as Pyle pushes 40 years of age. Just not able to force the action against the new generation of fighters who are physically superior. Downgraded from C+ to C   Uriah Hall vs. Rafael Natal Hall: A technically gifted striker, but inability to strike in volume and take off parts of fights has come back to haunt him. Considering his hype from TUF, Hall’s UFC career has been very underwhelming. Downgraded from C+ to C Natal: Outstruck on the feet by Hall, but by pressing more and working with more volume was able to squeak out a judging decision on the scorecards. Won more due to Hall’s ineffectiveness than Natal showing improvements. Grade remains C Josh Burkman vs. Dong Hyun Kim Burkman: Striking looked excellent against “Stun Gun”, but decision to engage in grappling a real head scratcher. Poor game plan and it cost him. Downgraded from B- to C+ Kim: Still has many holes in the stand up and his chin is becoming a real liability, but when he focuses on the grappling with his excellent judo, he’s a tough fighter to beat. Grade remains B-   Jon Dodson vs. Zach Makovsky Dodson: Appeared to have some ring rust in his first fight back from knee injury. Fighting a familiar opponent also presented some issues. A bit disappointing and makes me believe he has very little chance to beat Demetrious Johnson. Downgraded from A to A- Makovsky: Made this a close fight. Showed real improvents in his striking technique. Had Dodson confused at times. Just doesn’t have athletic ability to overwhelm the top fighters in the division. Upgraded from B- to B   Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga Benavidez: Showed once again that he’s one of the best in the world. Solid stand up combined with strong grappling. Took a bit more damage than expected, but was in control from start to finish. Grade remains A Moraga: Put together a tough fight against one of the division’s best. Showed nice variation in his striking making Benavidez work. Despite strong freestyle wrestling background, Moraga was outworked by his opponent in the grappling exchanges. It was a decent performance that keeps Moraga’s stock at the same level. Grade remains B+   Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne Arlovski: Striking technique is right near the top of the division. Had Browne in trouble very early on in the fight and kept pouring it on until the referee stepped in. A knockout victory over Browne is his biggest win since winning the UFC title in 2005. Upgraded from C+ to B+ Browne: Ability really seems to have diminished since leaving Jackson’s. Still has big power, but technique looks goofy and as footwork appears off balance. Needs a change. Downgraded from B+ to B   Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi Cerrone: Fought injured and still looked good doing. So much variety in his striking. Deserving of a title shot given Khabib Nurmagomedov’s injury spell. Grade remains A- Makdessi: He was outmatched in this fight, but that was to be expected especially taking this fight on short notice. Showed a great chin and his striking technique is still in the top part of the division. Grade remains C+   Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman   Belfort: Had Weidman in trouble very early in this championship fight, but one the fight hit the ground he was completely outmatched. Given this was Belfort’s last shot at the title, not sure where his career goes from here. Downgraded from A- to B+ Weidman: After the initial flurry, it was complete one way traffic. Weidman’s ground and pound is some of the best in the sport. His elbows from top control are real dangerous and can end fights quickly. Grade remains A+   Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson Cormier: In a fight where he was at a size, speed, and power advantage, Cormier did what he does best taking a dangerous opponent into deep waters and breaking him. He showed he has a strong chin on him as well. Grade remains A+ Johnson: He’s as dangerous a striker as there is in the division, but after the initial bursts, he really doesn’t offer a lot. He’s certainly one of the best in the division, but’s lacking the all-around ability to be truly special. Grade remains A    

Written by Jay Primetown

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