Updated UFC Fight Night 81 Fighter Grades

francisco trinaldoJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night 81 in Boston, Massachusetts. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com Francimar Barroso vs. Elvis Mutapcic Barroso: Not the most impressive performance, but he got the better of Mutapcic on the feet. His size and strength advantage were what the main differences between the two fighters. Grade remains D Mutapcic: It was apparent that Mutapcic doesn’t belong in this weight class. He struggled with the strength advantage his opponent had. He had some opportunities in this fight, but froze when he needed to engage. Not sure he has what it takes to do well in the UFC. Debut grade is D+ at middleweight   Rob Font vs. Joey Gomez Font: Very good win for Font. His combination striking was on point and he really controlled this fight from start to finish. He may just be a guy to watch in this division. Upgraded from C to C+ Gomez: He seemed to have some Octagon jitters in his debut. He certainly has good hands, but it was clear he’s not on the same level as Font. Downgraded from C- to D+   Kyle Bochniak vs. Charles Rosa Bochniak: He took this fight on a couple days’ notice and didn’t acquit himself too badly despite being on the losing side of a decision. Skill level may not be the highest, but he makes up for that in aggression and determination. He should be a fun fighter for as long as he’s in the organization. Debut grade is D Rosa: I thought he would be more dominant in this win, but he did quite a bit of damage in this bout and showed he’s more than just a slick grappler. Grade remains C-   Ilir Latifi vs. Sean O’Connell Latifi: Devastating knockout punch very early in round one should get Latifi a ranked opponent his next time in the Octagon. Grade remains C O’Connell: Disappointing performance from O’Connell who could have really improved his stock in the organization with a victory over a quality opponent. We’ve now seen O’Connell’s ceiling and it won’t get any better from here on out. Downgraded from C- to D+   Daron Cruickshank vs. Paul Felder Cruickshank: Did really early on in this fight getting the better of the striking exchanges. His problem once again was inability to close out the fight. He struggles to put a consistent 15 minute effort in and it cost him against Felder. Grade remains C Felder: He rarely fails to put on an exciting fight. He showed a new wrinkle in his game with submission grappling getting the job done for him tonight. This was a good win for Felder to get him back on track. Grade remains B-   Maximo Blanco vs. Luke Sanders Blanco: He was out struck on the feet in all facets by the smaller, less physical fighter. Not a good loss for Blanco. Downgraded from C to C- Sanders: Impressive debut for the RFA Bantamweight Champion. He stepped in on short notice, up a weight class, and finished a solid fighter in less than a round. His striking was excellent against a powerful striker in Blanco. He could absolutely do some damage when he makes the drop to bantamweight. Grade remains C at featherweight. Debut grade at bantamweight is C+   Mehdi Baghdad vs. Chris Wade Baghdad: Never got going in this fight. He was taken to the ground early in the first round and was dominated on the ground. In under for him to have a lengthy career in the UFC, he will need to improve his ability to grapple. Grade remains D Wade: He’s shown improvements in each one of his fights. His ability to stifle opponents with heavy control on the ground makes me believe he’s going to do well in the UFC. He’ll be a tough out for some of the ranked fighters in the division. Upgraded from C- to C   Tim Boetsch vs. Ed Herman Boetsch: It’s time to hang up the gloves for Tim Boetsch. He stayed home for this fight camp and it showed in this fight as he was outworked by Ed Herman and finished in the second round. I’d be very surprised if we saw him in the UFC again. Downgraded from C to D Herman: Strong debut at light heavyweight. He showed some new wrinkles to his game with an improved jab combined with solid clinch work. Debut grade is C-   Patrick Cote vs. Ben Saunders Cote: Can tell he did his homework ahead of this bout. Avoided the submission attempts of Saunders and was able to batter him on the feet for a second round win. Cote continues to be one of the more underrated fighters in the sport. Grade remains C+ Saunders: When he’s not able generate opportunities with submissions, he gets into trouble. His chin is certainly a major concern and he was exposed in this fight. Grade remains C   Francisco Trinaldo vs. Ross Pearson Trinaldo: In a fight that was mainly a standup exchange, the Brazilian got the better of Ross Pearson. Trinaldo has improved significantly in his last few fights showing enhanced conditioning and better technical striking. He’s certainly a late bloomer. Upgraded from C to C+ Pearson: Really seemed to have difficulty defending strikes in the clinch. Could be on the downswing of his career. Downgraded from C+ to C   Travis Browne vs. Matt Mitrione Browne: Fight was close to even prior the eye poke. After that, Browne took advantage and really poured it on in the third round to get the finish. Grade remains B- Mitrione: No question that eye pokes impaired him significantly in this bout. His eye appears badly damage and now that his contract is up, one has to wonder if Mitrione returns. Grade remains C   Eddie Alvarez vs. Anthony Pettis Alvarez: Fought the fight he needed to by pushing Pettis against the cage and trying to control him. It was close, but he did enough to get two judges to give him the fight. A title fight is likely on the horizon. Upgraded from A- to Pettis: While his striking ability may be in the top five of the sport, he struggles against top opposition because he doesn’t know how to grind out fights. There’s a clear gameplan to beat him and multiple fighters have done it now. Grade remains A   Dominick Cruz vs. TJ Dillashaw Cruz: His movement really caused his opponent difficulties in the early rounds. He did slow down a bit in the championship rounds, but still got the nod on the scorecards to once again become champion. Grade remains A+ Dillashaw: He definitely forced the action in this fight. While his accuracy was not great last night, he had his best rounds in the fourth and fifth rounds. Usually, that’s enough to get the decision from the judges, but not on Saturday. Grade remains A+

Written by Jay Primetown

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