Updated UFC 192 Fighter Grades

Sage-NorthcuttJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 192 in Houston, Texas. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com Derrick Lewis vs. Viktor Pesta Lewis: Showed improved cardio, eventually stuffing Pesta’s takedown attempts. Once he was able to stop the takedown, he was able to control the fight. In top control, he is excellent and can finish fights with ground and pound. Upgraded from D to D+ Pesta: He does well to score takedowns with trip attempts. His striking though is some of the worst in the division. If he’s unable to get top position, he’s going to be trouble. That’s what happened in the second half of the fight. Grade remains D+   Chris Cariaso vs. Sergio Pettis Cariaso: Inability to defend takedowns makes him a limited fighter. Combine that with lack of power and his only way to win is to outpoint opponents. Downgraded from B- to C Pettis: Seems to struggle in third round of fights. His offensive wrestling has improved and that will help him moving forward. Cariaso is a decent fighter and this was a good win for the young Pettis. Upgraded from C to C+   Sage Northcutt vs. Francisco Trevino Northcutt: Impressive debut. Once he had his opponent in a compromising position he went in for the kill. Excellent speed and athleticism jumps off the page. How he handles adversity against quality competition will determine his ceiling. Upgraded from C+ to B- Trevino: Entered this fight over the weight limit and put in a poor performance. Had no answer for Northcutt’s blitz. This is likely Trevino’s last fight in the UFC as he’ll likely be cut after this performance. Grade remains D   Angela Hill vs. Rose Namajunas Hill: She’s pretty good on the feet, but her ground game is very green and was exposed again in the submission game. Until she improves her grappling she’ll remain a below average UFC fighter. Downgraded from C- to D+ Namajunas: Out of action for 10 months, Namajunas looked sharp in her return. Striking was diverse and when she was able to work in some grappling, she did very well. She’s a top 10 fighter, but needs to show she can contend the wrestling-heavy attacks of many in the top of the division before one can anoint her a title contender again. Grade remains B   Islam Makhachev vs. Adriano Martins Makhachev: Came out aggressive causing Martins some issues early, but that same aggression came back to haunt him as he got clipped by a Martins counter that floored him. He certainly has talent, but this is a major setback. Downgraded from B- to C+ Martins: Seemed a bit sluggish at the start, but he quickly picked it up. He’s a savvy veteran and deserved to be ranked among the UFC’s Top 15 Lightweights. Grade remains B   Alan Jouban vs. Albert Tumenov Jouban: Had no answers in this bout. Jouban has made a career of coming back in fights after being hit. At UFC 192, he was simply overwhelmed by a better fighter. Grade remains C Tumenov: While this wasn’t booked to be a showcase, it certainly was Tumenov’s coming out party. He has excellent hands and disguises his strikes well. He has a lot of variety in his strikes which makes it difficult for his opponents to know what’s coming next. Upgraded from B- to B   Daniel Hooker vs. Yair Rodriguez Hooker: He’s a young fighter, but seems to have hit a ceiling. Lack of speed to hurt opponents consistently. Plus, he doesn’t have much of a wrestling game to control fights. He’ll fight for three rounds, but has no standout traits. Grade remains C- Rodriguez: Athleticism jumps off the screen. He’s improved a lot since his time on TUF. His offensive wrestling has gotten better, but he tends to take off the third round in fights and that’s not a good sign. He needs to fight strong from start to finish to show me he’s ready for higher level competition. Grade remains C   Jessica Eye vs. Julianna Pena Eye: Has good hands for this division, but fight IQ continues to let her down. Fought in tight spaces with Pena when she should of tried to create space and score on the feet. Eye’s career ceiling seems to have already been hit. Downgraded from B to B- Pena: Her ground game is one of the best in the division. When she’s in top control, she can suffocate opponents. Her standup game is a work in progress and she may be exposed by the division’s top fighters with her rather lackluster strike defense. Still, a win over Jessica Eye is a worthy win and puts the division on notice. Grade remains B   Ali Bagautinov vs. Joseph Benavidez Bagautinov: Made this fight closer than I thought it was going to be. He caused more damage in this fight than his opponent did despite being on the wrong end of the scorecards. I think he’s competitive with just about everyone in the division. Upgraded from B+ to A- Benavidez: When faced against good wrestlers, Benavidez tends to end up in close fights. It seemed like he over thought this fight. He’s still the second best fighter in this division, but his decline does seem to be on the horizon. Grade remains A   Shawn Jordan vs. Ruslan Magomedov Jordan: Struggles against fighters who can establish distance. He really had difficulty landing strikes in this fight. Jordan will continue to stick around in the UFC, but this fight showed his limitations. Grade remains C- Magomedov: He may not have the most entertaining style, but his defensive wrestling has improved and his ability to use reach to his advantage is near the top of the division. Magomedov is the first prospect we’ve seen in the heavyweight division since Travis Browne and Stipe Miocic were making their way up the ranks. Upgraded from C to C+   Ryan Bader vs. Rashad Evans Bader: The former All-American wrestler has improved significantly the past couple of years. What stands out most is how much his striking has improved. He has a decent jab and a sneaky right which caused Rashad Evans all sorts of problem. Upgraded from B+ to A- Evans: Age and ring rust are certainly factors as this fight showed that Rashad Evans is no longer an elite light heavyweight. He was outstruck by Ryan Bader and really had no answers in this bout losing a 30-27 across the board decision. Downgraded from B+ to B   Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson Cormier: After he scored an early takedown, he struggled in the wrestling department against Gustafsson. The fight therefore turned into a very similar fight to that of Gustafsson’s fight with Jon Jones a couple years ago. Cormier was able to score on the inside. The difference in this fight was Cormier’s ability to force the clinch and score with upper cuts at close range. Cormier is the second best fighter in this division and he’s proven that by beating Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson. Grade remains A+ Gustafsson: This fight was a lot closer than I thought it would be. From my perspective, I had it two rounds a piece heading into the fifth round. Gustafsson did well to stuff Cormier’s takedown attempts. He hurt Cormier badly in the third round, but ultimately needed to do a better job at keeping Cormier at distance to win. Still, he proved he’s able to compete with the two best fighters in the divisions in Cormier and Jones. Upgraded from A- to A

Written by Jay Primetown

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