Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC 231

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 20: Jessica Eye poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on February 20, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 231 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com

Devin Clark vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Clark: His striking looked improved, but his inability to get the finish when it was well within grasp is a disappointment. He was ultimately knocked out and appears to be in quicksand in this division. Grade remains D

Rakic: He has the size and athletic build to be successful in this weightclass. He’s a bit too hittable on the feet and his chin is a question mark. That said he recovered well and finished his opponent in the opening round. Rakic is an interesting prospect and should receive a significant upgrade in competition. Grade remains C-

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Kyle Nelson

Ferreira: He absorbed the early storm by his debutant opponent and took over the fight once he his opponent showed a semblance of slowing down. Ferreira is a solid veteran that continues to show he belongs in the UFC. Grade remains C+

Nelson: He came out strong early, but once he had an adrenaline dump, he had nothing left for his opponent and was dominated. Debut grade is D

Chad Laprise vs. Dhiego Lima

Laprise: Former TUF winner Chad Laprise has now been knocked out in back to back fights. He was the technically superior fighter, but there are question marks now if he can take the damage. Downgraded from D+ to D-

Lima: He was fighting off his back foot and then with one punch the fight was over and he had his hand raised. I need to see more from Lima besides landing one punch before giving him an upgrade. Grade remains D-

Brad Katona vs. Matthew Lopez

Katona: His pace is consistent over three rounds and is technique is good enough to give opponents problems in the bantamweight division. Being undefeated doesn’t hurt with confidence either. Grade remains C-

Lopez: His striking has improved, but this is yet another fight where Lopez slowed down and couldn’t keep the pace necessary to win the bout. Downgraded from C- to D+

Eryk Anders vs. Elias Theodorou

Anders: He struggled to figure out the movement of his opponent and generally didn’t throw with the volume necessary to win, but he landed the far big punches and had Theodorou wobbled multiple times in the bout. Despite not getting his hand raised, he clearly invoked more damage. Downgraded from C+ to C

Theodorou: He has an unorthodox approach making it difficult for opponents to prepare for him. He took heavy damage in this fight, but did well to recover and out work Anders in round three to sneak out a decision. Grade remains C

Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica Eye

Chookagian: She has a good jab, but she only is capable of fighting as a counterpuncher. She loses too many rounds in MMA due to fighting this way as opposed to being the aggressor. In a close fight, judges will almost always side with the aggressor. Grade remains B-

Eye: She has done well since moving to the flyweight division. Confidence is so important to her success and right now she’s her most confident since joining the UFC. Upgraded from C+ to B-

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns

Aubin-Mercier: When tasked to fight others who are capable on the ground, he is at a loss for what to do. His striking is fairly stiff and he doesn’t seem to have the durability to contend with the better strikers in the division. Downgraded from C to C-

Burns: This was a complete performance from the Brazilian. He was much better on the feet and he dominated the exchanges on the ground. Burns has had a middling career thus far in the UFC, but appears to be turning a corner. Upgraded from C- to C

Nina Ansaroff vs. Claudia Gadelha

Ansaroff: Her jab was on point throughout this fight as she doubled up the strikes landed of her opponent for the biggest win of her career. Stuffing eight of ten takedown attempts of a very good wrestler like Gadelha is impressive as well. Upgraded from C to B-

Gadelha: Since her brutal loss to Jessica Andrade, she has not been the same fighter. I think it’s fairly similar to what happened to Renan Barao after his losses to TJ Dillashaw. A steep decline is in progress. Downgraded from B+ to B-

Jimi Manuwa vs. Thiago Santos

Manuwa: He was dropped early in this fight, but recovered and then hurt Santos with punches of his own in the opening round. However, in the second round he was floored by his opponent in what was a wild fight. Manuwa likely has a couple of fights left in his career and putting on a wild fight like this will secure him the opportunity to finish his career in the UFC. Grade remains C

Santos: His offensive style is as fun to watch as there is in the sport currently. Santos continues to rack up wins and will continue to get prime slots on big cards. He’s deserving of a top ten opposition in his next bout. Upgraded from B- to B

Kyle Bochniak vs. Hakeem Dawodu

Bochniak: He tried to make this a physical fight and was able to secure a few takedowns, but ultimately he was out classed on the feet and had no answers in the third round as he lost a decision to a better fighter. Grade remains D+

Dawodu: He had some struggles early with Bochniak’s style, but he got better as the fight wore on and more than doubled up on the strikes of his opponent. After a poor start to his UFC career, he’s now won two straight. Grade remains C-

Gunnar Nelson vs. Alex Oliveira

Nelson: He had some trouble with the physicality of Alex Oliveira, but once he had advanced position on the mat it didn’t take him long to get the submission. Good win for Nelson who continues to find himself in the lower half of the division’s top 15. Grade remains B-

Oliveira: He continues to struggle with fighters who can get him to the mat. Submission grapplers are his kryptonite and it holds him back from being a potential top ten welterweight. Grade remains C+

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valentina Shevchenko

Jedrzejczyk: This was as bad a matchup as there is for the former strawweight champion. She simply couldn’t outstrike the bigger, strong fighter. Having lost twice previously to Shevchenko in muay thai certainly didn’t help either. Grade remains A

Shevchenko: An all around beautiful performance where she out classed an excellent fighter. With the victory, a long title reign appears likely where she’ll have the opportunity to prove she’s the pound for pound best female mixed martial artist in the world. Grade remains A+

Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega

Holloway: In a fight where many thought this would be the end of his title reign, Holloway put in a master class striking performance landing nearly 300 significant strikes over the course of four rounds to earn a doctor stoppage victory. It’s Holloway’s 13th straight victory in the UFC; tying him for second most consecutive wins all time in the promotion. He’s without a doubt one of the best fighters in the sport. Upgraded from A+ to A++

Ortega: He put in a valiant effort against Holloway trying to strike with the best volume puncher in perhaps the sport’s history. It didn’t go his way, but he showed a lot trying to fight through despite taking a lot of damage. He’s the first fighter to give some problems to Holloway in the striking department despite being out classed. He’s the clear second-best fighter in the division and if Holloway does move up to lightweight, he will be in prime position to be the next featherweight champion. Grade remains A+


Written by Jay Primetown

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