Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC 198

MaiaVictoryJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com.   Renato Carneiro vs. Zubaira Tukhugov Carneiro: He was able to stand with Tukhugov and compete on the feet with the powerful striker. For the most part he was the aggressor on the feet which certainly played a factor in him getting his hand raised. What impressed me the most was Carneiro’s takedown defense. He transitions very well in scrambles to get back to his feet. This was a solid win for him as he showed he’s capable of a long career in the UFC. Grade remains C Tukhugov: His striking is unorthodox and he throws big time power. His problem is his technique is not the most crisp and he tends to slow down in all of his fights. He’s a decent prospect, but needs to really work out the flaws in his game.  Grade remains C   Luan Chagas vs. Sergio Moraes Chagas: He fought excellent early in this fight. Showed excellent variety in his striking. His kicks are vicious both to the legs and mixing well to the head. He fatigued as the fight wore on, but that was to be expected on short notice. At only 22 years of age, he’s certainly a guy to watch progress in the UFC. Upgraded from D to D+ Moraes: The former world jiu jitsu champion has become a notoriously slow starter getting thoroughly outworked in the opening round. As the fight progressed, he really began to take over and show his veteran savvy. I thought he won the last two rounds of the fight, but the judges decided it was a draw. Grade remains C-   Patrick Cummins vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Cummins: He showed some improvements in his offensive striking specifically the use of leg kicks to the lead leg of his opponent. The problem for Cummins is his inability to take a punch. He gets hurt by any punch that lands. No matter how good he looks offensively, he’s only a basic punch away from being finished. Cummins MMA career will only go down from here as the knockout losses rack up. Downgraded from B- to C- Nogueira: He was sluggish and getting out struck on the feet. Luckily for Noguiera, he faced a fighter that would be hurt by the first punch he landed. Nogueira got the win at UFC 198, but I don’t see him having a career resurgence. Grade remains C   Rob Font vs. John Lineker Font: He looked scared of Lineker’s power. When he worked his jab, he had some mild success, but lack of power shots a real disadvantage in this one. Font was dominated in the third round and nearly finished. The reality is he’s not on the level of Lineker and this was too big a step up for him. Downgraded from C+ to C Lineker: His lack of size definitely came into play in this bout, but anything Lineker lands at the very least pushes his opponents backwards. He fought at a consistent pace throughout this fight which makes me believe he’s ready for higher level competition. Lineker is going to be a tough out for anyone in the division. Grade remains B   Yancy Medeiros vs. Francisco Trinaldo Medeiros: He showed so much resilience in this fight, but he’s simply way too hittable in the standup. He took a lot of damage in this fight and likely won’t be the same fighter after this one. Downgraded from C+ to C Trinaldo: His volume striking was fantastic in this bout and he landed shot after shot on his opponent. He was clipped towards the end of round two and was likely saved by the bell, but otherwise this fight wasn’t close. Grade remains C+   Nate Marquardt vs. Thiago Santos Marquardt: He landed some nice low kicks in this bout, but this was just a bad matchup for him here against a buzz saw. Marquardt’s been through a lot in MMA and it’s probably time to put away the gloves and start coaching full time. Downgraded from C to C- Santos: It has taken time for him to develop, but here’s become a very good MMA fighter. His leg kicks are fight finishers and he is a fighter I believe opponents will look to avoid facing. As long as he can keep his fights standing, he’s a top 10 middleweight. Upgraded from C+ to B-   Matt Brown vs. Demian Maia Brown: He’s a very good fighter, but takedown defense continues to be his Achilles’ heel. He needed to keep the fight standing and he was unable to do so. He got over aggressive when he saw a glimmer of hope which allowed Maia to secure another takedown and the win in this fight. Grade remains B- Maia: His submission grappling may be the best in the sport. He suffocates fighters, completely limiting their offense. Maia’s won five in a row and is deserving of a title shot. Upgraded from B+ to A-   Warlley Alves vs. Bryan Barberena Alves: He proved once again that he’s a very good one round fighter. If he’s unable to win with the initial blitz, he tires badly and struggles to get through 15 minutes. He’s talented and dangerous, but conditioning needs to improve before he can be talked about as a potential top 15 fighter. Downgraded from C+ to C Barberena: He’s not a great athlete or talent, but he’s unbelievably resilient and has a tremendous gas tank. Barberena is a nightmare matchup for opponents as he fights with a fantastic pace to tire out his foes and put himself in a position where he can take over late in fights. He’s now beaten Warlley Alves and Sage Northcutt back to back. He’s going to have a nice career in the UFC. Upgraded from C- to C   Corey Anderson vs. Mauricio Rua Anderson: Getting clipped in the final ten seconds of rounds one and two cost him the decision here. He was ahead in each of those rounds before those quick bursts. It’s unfortunate for Anderson as a win over Shogun would have catapulted him up the rankings. Grade remains C Rua: He still has very good hands, but the rest of his game is shell of what it used to be. He’s too slow to compete with the better light heavyweights. This victory will get him a few more fights in the organization against ranked opposition. Grade remains C   Cristiane Justino vs. Leslie Smith Justino: She did what she was supposed to do. She took her first fight in the UFC and won in less than two minutes. In my opinion, she’s the best female MMA fighter in the world. Grade remains A++ Smith: Props to Leslie Smith for taking this fight, but she had no chance in this one. Nothing gained, nothing lost by losing here. Grade remains C+   Vitor Belfort vs. Ronaldo Souza Belfort: The post TRT Vitor Belfort simply can’t compete with the elite fighters in the division. He’s been in this sport for 20 years and it’s hard to see him sticking around for much longer. Downgraded from B+ to B Souza: Jacare controlled this fight from start to finish. As soon as he was able to get Belfort to the ground, he was dominant in advancing position and hurting Belfort on the floor. He’s very much deserving of an opportunity to contend for the championship. Upgraded from A to A+   Stipe Miocic vs. Fabricio Werdum Miocic: He fought well early, mixing up his striking. With Werdum chasing after him, Miocic landed a life changing counter to floor his opponent. He’s athletic, well-conditioned, and has a solid all-around skill set. He’s a worthy champion. Upgraded from A- to A Werdum: His offensive striking is quick and he uses a lot of combinations. It’s impressive how much that area of his game has improved over the year. However, he simply can’t chase his opponent with his hands down. A disaster of a decision that cost him his title. Grade remains A

Written by Jay Primetown

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