Updated UFC 194 Fighter Grades

MMA: UFC 194-Proctor vs MustafaevJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 194 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com   Marcio Alexandre vs. Court McGee Alexandre: He’s got an interesting approach to MMA with a heavy karate focus. He’s got nice leg kicks, but he doesn’t have a lot of pop in his strikes nor much of a ground game. He’ll likely be cut from the roster after this loss. Grade remains D+ McGee: As expected, a sluggish start from McGee. After a few minutes, he really picked up the pace and controlled the fight. Takedowns were the key as he was able to take Alexandre to the mat and pile on the strikes. Solid win, but need to see how he does against better competition before I’d consider increasing his ranking. Grade remains C   John Makdessi vs. Yancy Medeiros Makdessi: He out struck Medeiros for large portions of the bout. Lack of power was held against him as Medeiros wild, less accurate striking was rewarded with a close split decision. Tough loss for Makdessi as I thought he deserved the nod. Grade remains C+ Medeiros: He struggled at times with Makdessi’s technical ability, but his size, reach, and wild approach gave him some opportunities in this bout. It was close fight and Medeiros showed he’s of similar overall ability to Makdessi. Upgraded from C to C+   Magomed Mustafaev vs. Joe Proctor Mustafaev: He’s a scary man. Vicious striker with some of the best knee strikes I’ve seen in the sport. He’s a top 15 lightweight already in my eyes and a matchup most in the division will look to avoid. Upgraded from C+ to B Proctor: He landed a few leg kicks, but once Mustafaev turned on the aggression he had no response. He simply isn’t in the same class. Tough fight for him. Grade remains C   Kevin Lee vs. Leonardo Santos Lee: He came into this fight confident and in my opinion overlooked his opponent. Lack of head movement was his ultimate downfall. He left himself open to strikes throughout the fight and Santos was able to catch him on the button and finish him. This was a bad loss for Lee who had previously been on a four-fight win streak. Downgraded from C+ to C Santos: A career best win for the TUF Brazil winner. He’s a very big lightweight with unorthodox striking and a great jiu jitsu game. I hadn’t thought too highly of Santos before, but his striking improvements combined with his grappling pedigree is changing my opinion of him. Upgraded from C- to C   Warlley Alves vs. Colby Covington Alves: He’s a very good first round fighter with an excellent guillotine choke. He was looking for that choke from the opening bell and took advantage of a good opportunity. I still have big question marks about his ability and conditioning if he’s unable to score an early finish. Grade remains C+ Covington: His method to secure single leg attempts by putting his head up in his opponent’s armpit was a recipe for disaster. He’s got a very good wrestling game, but inability to change gameplan given his opponent makes me question his ceiling as a fighter. Downgraded from C+ to C   Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger vs. Tecia Torres Jones-Lybarger: A big fighter for the weight class. She struggled with Torres’ speed and movement, but had a few moments in this fight against one of the division’s best fighters. Debut grade is C- Torres: Excellent footwork and speed allowed her to nullify a significant size and reach disadvantage. Her combination work on the feet is right up there with the champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She should get a number one contender fight in the first half of 2016. Upgraded from B to B+   Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Saenz Faber: For the first time I can remember, conditioning was an issue for him after nearly finishing his opponent in the second round. He made great use of elbows in his striking doing quite a bit of damage to his opponent. He’s still a very good fighter, but he’s on the downside of his career. Grade remains A- Saenz: He’s gone from relative unknown to a guy MMA fans will recognize as a guy with a lot of heart and raises his game against the division’s best. He didn’t win on Saturday night, but proved he’s one of the divisions’ 10 best fighters. Upgraded from C+ to B   Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens Holloway: Not only did he outstrike Jeremy Stephens, but he secured a takedown and threatened with submissions. He’s developed into an elite featherweight. Upgraded from A- to A Stephens: He simply doesn’t have the technique to challenge Max Holloway on the feet. He began to do better late in the third round when he fought with recklessness. He needed to make this fight into a 15 minute brawl and was unable to do that. Grade remains B   Demian Maia vs. Gunnar Nelson Maia: An absolute grappling clinic by the Brazilian fighter. Slick transitions standing, in top control, and off his back. He dominated this fight and made his claim for a top contender fight. Upgraded from B to B+ Nelson: He showed that’s he an excellent grappler, but not at the same level as his opponent. Humbling fight for Nelson. He should be a better fighter after this loss. Grade remains B-   Yoel Romero vs. Jacare Souza Romero: He was great in the first round nearly finishing Jacare with a spinning back fist. He slowed down as fight progressed, but hung on to get a close win. He’s deserving of a chance at the title. Grade remains A Souza: He was very close to being finished in the first round. He recovered well making it a competitive fight with Romero. He’s an excellent fighter, but age will catch up with him sooner rather than later. Grade remains A   Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman Rockhold: He did an excellent job defending takedowns and making Weidman work. The fight changed significantly in the third round when Rockhold was able to secure a takedown off a wheel kick attempt from his opponent. Once in top control, he had his way with Weidman battering him until Herb Dean stepped in and ended the fight. Rockhold showed he’s the best fighter in the division. Upgraded from A+ to A++ Weidman: He made a bad mistake losing position and giving Rockhold the opportunity to score in mount. Weidman’s technical skill level in the striking is also not on the level of Rockhold. The better fighter won and is the deserved champion. Downgraded from A++ to A+   Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor Aldo: As great of a champion as he has been, it looked like the moment was too big for him. When the fight started, he had the deer in the headlights look. I still think he’s better than the rest of the division, but it seems like he met his match. Downgraded from A++ to A+ McGregor: He may have the best hands in MMA. Super accurate striker with dynamite in his left hand. He faced a guy who hadn’t lost in 10 years and knocked him out in less than 20 seconds. He’s proven he’s the best fighter in the division and did so by one of the most shocking finishes in the history of the sport. Upgraded from A+ to A++

Written by Jay Primetown

Leave a Reply

Five Crazy Props that Cashed Big for the TUF 22 Finale

MMA Odds and Ends for Monday: UFC 194 Highlights, UFC 196 adds Hendricks vs. Thompson