Updated UFC 195 Fighter Grades

Brian Ortega 2Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 195 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com   Edgar Garcia vs. Sheldon Westcott Garcia: Was never in this fight. Once he was taken down by Westcott, he basically turtled up until the referee stepped in. This is likely his last fight inside the Octagon. Downgraded from D- to F Westcott: He did what he does best, score early in fights and put away poor opponents in the first round. Need to see Westcott challenged by a better fighter before increasing his grade. Grade remains D+   Joe Soto vs. Michinori Tanaka Soto: He did well in the stand-up exchanges, but surprisingly was taken down throughout the fight by his Japanese opponent. It was a close fight, but the judges got this one right. Soto has some decent skills, but nothing that makes me believe he could ever be an elite fighter. Grade remains C- Tanaka: In his first ever fight in the United States, Tanaka left with his hand raised. Certainly not his best performance, but he did well when he was able to get the fight to the ground, which is clearly his strong suit. He’s a young fighter and has room to grow. If he continues to work on his striking, he could do well in this division. Grade remains C-   Joe Duffy vs. Dustin Poirier Duffy: He’s a confident striker and will be a threat to nearly everyone in the division, but some holes were noticed after this performance including question marks about his defensive wrestling. Duffy had no answers when Poirier was able to take control on the ground and that’s why he left with a loss. Grade remains B- Poirier: He showed he can compete on the feet with Duffy, but his ability to mix in takedowns and dominate on the ground shows he has a well balanced approach to MMA and is a top 10 fighter in the UFC’s lightweight division. Upgraded from B to B+   Drew Dober vs. Scott Holtzman Dober: In a matchup, where he was looked as an underdog, Dober got the better of the exchanges on the feet and outwrestled a credentialed wrestler to earn himself a unanimous decision. Grade remains D+ Holtzman: One of the worst performances of the evening. He really struggled with Dober’s physicality, being taken down several times during the fight. It appears that Holtzman’s success on the regional scene was a matter of dominating inferior opponents. It’s difficult envisioning Holtzman having success moving forward in the UFC. Downgraded from C- to D   Nina Ansaroff vs. Justine Kish Ansaroff: She seemed to be in better physical shape than her previous fights and made this a lot more competitive than I thought it would be. Not sure if she’ll get another shot in the UFC, but I wouldn’t be against it. Upgraded from D+ to C- Kish: Disappointing debut from Kish who fought with reckless abandon at times. She is a skilled offensive striker and can do damage from top control, but she’s still a rather green fighter. Grade remains C+   Alex Morono vs. Kyle Noke Morono: I thought he was outmatched going into this fight, but he showed resilience and really inflicted damage on his veteran opponent. I don’t think he deserved the nod on the judges’ scorecards, but he got it and it is clearly the biggest win of his career. Upgraded from D to D+ Noke: In a fight where he had several advantages, he let Morono turn this into a brawl in which he suffered more damage than his opponent. Noke’s been through a lot of fights and looks to be on the downside of his career. Downgraded from C- to D+   Masanori Kanehara vs. Michael McDonald Kanehara: He took the fight to McDonald, controlling him on the ground for the first round and a half. One mistake by Kanehara led to a quick transition by the American and seconds later Kanehara was tapping to a rear naked choke. He’s a good fighter and will beat some quality fighters in this division. He was well on his way to doing so before that one grappling mistake. Upgraded from C to C+ McDonald: Perhaps it was Octagon rust, but McDonald was dominated on the mat showing no ability to get the fight back to the standing where he had advantages. However, Kanehara gave him an opportunity and McDonald transitioned with an excellent move to take his opponent’s back and find a rear naked choke. It was that brief moment of brilliance as to why most consider McDonald one of the best fighters in the division. He has flaws, but is one of the best strikers and one of the best at taking advantage of an opportunity at 135 pounds. Grade remains B+   Tony Sims vs. Abel Trujillo Sims: This fight showed what I had thought about Tony Sims heading into the the match-up. He’s a very competent stand up striker, but the rest of his game is very raw and he could be exposed in grappling/transition situations. Grade remains D+ Trujillo: He took advantage of what is essentially a white belt in grappling and got the win. Trujillo’s striking holes were exposed in this fight. While he has power in his hands, he will be picked apart by any fighter with any semblance of technical boxing ability. This is how the fight would of played out if not for the advantageous choke. Downgraded from C to C-   Diego Brandao vs. Brian Ortega Brandao: He was winning the striking and was able to score takedowns with regularity in the bout. Talent has never been the issue for Brandao, instead it’s avoiding mistakes and he wasn’t able to do that for the entire 15 minutes and it cost him the fight. Grade remains C+ Ortega: He’s not a great striker or a good wrestler, but his transition into submission attempts are at an elite level. Ultimately, it comes down to finding ways to win and Ortega is very good at that. I’d like to see him face a ranked opponent in next fight to see where he is at. Upgraded from C to B-   Lorenz Larkin vs. Albert Tumenov Larkin: Excellent use of leg kicks to make this fight competitive, but he was really outworked in the boxing where Tumenov’s combinations and body strikes gave him all sorts of problems. Needs to show he can win the big fight and he hasn’t done that yet in the UFC. Downgraded from B to B- Tumenov: His combination striking with volume is some of the best I’ve seen in MMA. Larkin made him pay with leg kicks, but Tumenov fought through that to win. He’s absolutely one to watch in this division, he needs to be tested against someone that has solid offensive wrestling before he can become one of the division’s top fighters. Grade remains B   Andrei Arlovski vs. Stipe Miocic Arlovski: Quick fight in which Arlovski’s chin was tested and it didn’t pass the test. Grade remains B Miocic: Statement win for Miocic knocking out a former UFC champion in the first minute of a fight. He’s shown enough to get the next title shot. Grade remains A-   Carlos Condit vs. Robbie Lawler Condit: Fought an excellent fight landing nearly two hundred significant strikes. I thought he clearly won three rounds of the fight, but two judges thought otherwise. It seemed that Lawler wanted it more in the fifth round which ultimately was the reason for the result. Condit’s an excellent fighter who appeared on ability and skill set to be right on par with the champion. Grade remains A Lawler: He has shown himself to be one of the best fighters in the history of the UFC in the fifth and deciding round. He’s outpaced and out fought Johny Hendricks, Rory Macdonald, and now Carlos Condit in the final frame. He’s an exciting fighter that never seems to be out of a fight even when he seems in trouble. Grade remains A

Written by Jay Primetown

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