Updated UFC 196 Fighter Grades

Jason-SaggoJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 196 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com.   Julian Erosa vs. Teruto Ishihara Erosa: Outside of being long for the weight class, he has nothing to suggest he can compete in the UFC. Poor footwork, terrible chin, and no punching power made him a sitting duck in this bout. This is likely his last fight in the organization. Downgraded from D+ to F Ishihara: Impressed me in this fight. Fought aggressive against a fighter who was afraid to engage. Mixed in leg kicks effectively as well. Curious to see how he does against a step up in competition. Upgraded from D to D+   Jason Saggo vs. Justin Salas Saggo: He didn’t show much on the feet and was taken down. On the ground, he showed beautiful skills from his back and then was absolutely dominant from top control, finishing his opponent with strikes. He’ll bea  tough out for many in the division. Upgraded from D+ to C- Salas: His offensive wrestling is the best part of his MMA skillset. He was exposed by a far superior grappler and when controlled on his ground, he had nothing to offer. Downgraded from D+ to D   Jim Miller vs. Diego Sanchez Miller: He defended takedowns poorly, allowing Sanchez to have success for the majority of the fight. He wasn’t able to mount a comeback as conditioning gave out on him late in the contest. Downgraded from C to C- Sanchez: He went back to his fundamental pressure wrestling game. He did well against Miller, putting on pressure and not allowing his opponent space to operate. Grade remains C   Darren Elkins vs. Chas Skelly Elkins: Typical Darren Elkins fight where his relentless pace wore out his opponent. After losing the first round, he took over in dominant fashion in the final two rounds to get the win. Grade remains C+ Skelly: He did decently in the first round, but conditioning once again gave out on him. He had no answers for Elkins’ wrestling and pace in the final two rounds to lose a clear decision. Downgraded from C+ to C   Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Vitor Miranda Guimaraes: He had moments in this fight pressuring his opponent with takedown attempts against the cage, but he struggled to finish them. On the feet, he was picked apart by Miranda. Hard to see him having success in the UFC. Grade remains D- Miranda: He did what he was supposed to do in this matchup. He’s a smart striker and showed vicious finishing ability with a head kick followed up by strikes. I’d like to see what he does against better competition before raising his grade. Grade remains C-   Erick Silva vs. Nordine Taleb Silva: This was booked as an opportunity for Erick Silva to get a much needed quick stoppage and he failed to do so. He was tentative on the feet and his opponent caught him for the knockout. It’s safe to say that Erick Silva is not the fighter he once was. Downgraded from C+ to C- Taleb: Biggest win of his career. He’s a big welterweight and that shows in the cage. His striking has improved and with improved confidence we are seeing improved results. Upgraded from D+ to C-   Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Brandon Thatch Bahadurzada: It was clear early on that he wasn’t intimidated by Thatch’s size and strength. A competitive fight on the feet, but what really changed the fate of the fight was his advantage on the ground. Thatch had no answers and proved incapable of fighting out of danger. Grade remains C Thatch: He didn’t seem as dangerous as previous fights and really struggled defending takedowns and grappling. The Colorado fighter is at a crossroads in his career and I’m not sure he’ll be able to rejuvenate it in the UFC. Downgraded from C+ to C   Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko Nunes: She had success on the feet as well as controlling her opponent on the mat in the first two rounds. Like many of her fights, she faded late and had to survive in the final round to get the win. Nunes is one of the best fighters in the division and is certainly in title contention. Grade remains B+ Shevchenko: Fought a tentative fight. Whether it was her opponent’s fight-ending power or PPV jitters, it was not Shevchenko’s best performance. Before she knew it, she was down two rounds to the Brazilian and needed a finish to win. She fought better in the final round, but lost a clear decision. Downgraded from B to B-   Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawler Anderson: He had an opportunity to make a statement and make a jump in the light heavyweight rankings, but this was a rather flat performance. He fought better later in the fight, but nothing from this performance makes me believe he’s a future title contender. Grade remains C Lawler: He made this a more competitive fight than the betting odds indicated. Physically, it’s going to be hard for him to beat the bigger fighters in this division. He could be used as a gatekeeper for rising fighters at light heavyweight. Grade remains C-   Ilir Latifi vs. Gian Villante Latifi: Won the grappling battle and did enough on the feet to win a decision. Not his best performance, but good enough to get the win over his ranked opponent. Grade remains C Villante: Seems to be regressing. His wrestling hasn’t proven to be the advantage many thought it would be. His conditioning is also a concern especially as he faces above average fighters. Not sure where Villante goes from here and like others on the card, appears at a crossroads. Downgraded from C- to D+   Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate Holm: Fought more tentative than her fight against Ronda Rousey. She got the better of Tate on the feet, but both times she was taken to the mat she was absolutely dominated by her opponent. She made a big mistake in the final round giving Tate her back and it cost her the title. Downgraded from A+ to A Tate: Fantastic grappling from Tate threatening with submissions in both opportunities she had to get the fight to the ground. Huge win for Tate especially getting the submission in the fifth round. If she didn’t get the submission, the fight likely would of ended in a draw or a decision loss and she would not have won the championship. Upgraded from A- to A   Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor Diaz: He was able to survive the early power and pace McGregor offered. As the fight progressed into the second round, Diaz’s tremendous conditioning took over as McGregor faded. When the fight went to the ground, he had a huge advantage, making quick work of the featherweight champion with a submission victory. Easily the biggest win of Diaz’s career. Due to the strange circumstances (weight, short notice, etc) of this bout, It will be interesting to see how the UFC books him in his next fight. Upgraded from B+ to A- McGregor: The one thing that stood out was McGregor’s power didn’t translate as much fighting at 170 pounds. Diaz was able to take McGregor’s shots and eventually wear him down with jabs and continuous pressure. Assuming McGregor sticks to featherweight, he’s definitely one of, if not, the best fighter in the division. If he decides to fight at lightweight, he will be very good, but just how good is dependent on his power being a factor. Downgraded from A++ to A+ (at featherweight)

Written by Jay Primetown

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