Updated UFC on Fox 16 Fighter Grades

Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC on Fox 16 in Chicago, Illinois 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 Zak Cummings vs. Dominique Steele Cummings: He showed an improved striking game, but tough to really gauge against a poor opponent. Grade remains C Steele: Taking a fight on short notice rarely results in Octagon success. He was clipped early and that was the beginning of the end. It’s difficult to gauge his skills based on such a quick fight. Grade remains D-   Jessamyn Duke vs. Elizabeth Phillips Duke: Gives up position too easily and takes a lot of damage on the ground. Did a nice job in the third, but applied the submission a few seconds too late. Downgraded from D to D- Phillips: Did a nice job gaining top control and does real damage from top position. Slowed down significantly in the third round and nearly gave away the fight. Upgraded from D- to D   Andrew Holbrook vs. Ramsey Nijem Holbrook: Submissions better than I thought even, but the judges gave him a win they shouldn’t have. Poor effort stuffing takedowns and that will need to improve to have success in future fights. Upgraded from D- to D+ Nijem: His wrestling is still pretty decent, but he puts himself in compromising positions in nearly every fight. Head scratching decision, but Nijem continually having to defend chokes was why the judges did not score the fight in his favor. Downgraded from C to C-   Daron Cruickshank vs. James Krause Cruickshank: For as good as his striking has become, his grappling game is a real eye sore. His inability to defend submissions are limiting his growth as a fighter. Downgraded from C+ to C Krause: Important and necessary win for Krause in order to stay in the UFC. Sure, his lack of punching power is a concern, but he’s crafty and knows how to compete in fights where he’s facing a more talented fighter. Upgraded from C- to C   Bryan Caraway vs. Eddie Wineland Caraway: He continues to defy his critics. His striking can be deceptively effective at times combined with a very good grappling/submission game. He’s deserving of a top 10 ranking. Grade remains B Wineland: Returning from a broken jaw in his previous fight, Wineland’s unwillingness to engage in the striking was evident. He was out struck by a poor striker in Caraway. Wineland’s MMA career is likely very close to the end. Downgraded from B to C+   Kenny Robertson vs. Ben Saunders Robertson: His striking was much cleaner and  hand speed much faster than his opponent. Forced the fight to the ground which allowed Saunders to work his excellent rubber guard jiu jitsu. I still thought Robertson won the fight, but he needs to begin to realize where he has the biggest advantage in the fight. Grade remains C Saunders: Striking is slow and awkward, but his guard is one of the best in the division if not the sport. Has his flaws, but difficult fighter to game plan for. Grade remains C   Danny Castillo vs. Jim Miller Castillo: Offensive wrestling not as good as it once was, but striking has improved and he had a competitive contest with Jim Miller. Upgraded from C to C+ Miller: Grappling is still very good, but tends to slow down as the fight progresses. It’s hard for him to have a complete performance. Grade remains C+   Tom Lawlor vs. Gian Villante Lawlor: Was having trouble with the length and leg kicks from Villante until he landed the knockout punch out of nowhere in round two. Considering he hadn’t fought in two years, this is an impressive win. Upgraded from D+ to C- Villante: From a technique perspective, he was getting the better of the exchanges early on. However, the ability to take a punch is vital especially in the heavier weight classes and Villante simply doesn’t have a chin that holds up. Grade remains D+   Takanori Gomi vs. Joe Lauzon Gomi: If he can keep a fight standing for 15 minutes, he’s a decent fighter. The minute a fight goes to the ground, he simply can’t compete at a UFC level. At 36 years old, Gomi is declining fast. Downgraded from C to C- Lauzon: His standup is continually a work in progress, but he’s so dangerous on the ground. His ground and pound was on point this card and he stopped Gomi without even breaking a sweat. Grade remains C+   Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder Barboza: Speed and technique with his kicks are right at the pinnacle of the sport. The biggest over his last couple fights has been his ability to defend and recover when being hit. He’s on the rise in this division. Upgraded from B- to B+ Felder: While he doesn’t have the speed that Barboza was able to offer, his creativity and variety is still near the top of the division. He can certainly take punishment and will be very difficult for anyone in the division to be able to put him away. Upgraded from B- to B   Jessica Eye vs. Miesha Tate Eye: She has a really nice jab when she’s able to keep her opponent at distance, but striking defense is a concern as well as defending the takedown. She’s a solid fighter, but just hasn’t put all the pieces together to be considered championship material. Downgraded from B+ to B Tate: Got touched up early in the fight, but found a hole in Eye’s defense landing the overhand right with regularity. She dropped Eye a couple of times during the fight and scored in top control to win an easy decision. Next up she gets a third shot at Ronda Rousey. Upgraded from B+ to A-   Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw Barao: Looked better in the second fight with Dillashaw than the first time they fought, but still Dillashaw’s speed and conditioning were the difference. As the fight wore on, Barao got tired and a finish seemed inevitable. I think it’s time that Barao moves up to featherweight where he should be better conditioned with an easier weight cut. Downgraded from A+ to A Dillashaw: Excellent performance from Dillashaw controlling the fight from beginning to end. His speed and quality of combinations were simply too much for Barao to handle. He proved tonight that he’s a different class than the former champion. A fight with Dominick Cruz is upcoming to decide the best fighter in the history of the division. Grade remains A++

Written by Brian Hemminger

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