Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC Fight Night 88

Cody-Garbrandt1Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night 88 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com   Chris De La Rocha vs. Adam Milstead De La Rocha: The California based heavyweight proved he’s a tough guy, but that’s simply all he is. He doesn’t have the technical ability to compete in the UFC. He took a lot of damage in this bout and the referee did a good job stopping this one before he took more damage. Grade remains F Milstead: He showed his best attribute throughout this fight and that’s quickness; both in his hands and movement. I’d really like to see him move down to light heavyweight as I think he could have a decent career in the weight class. He looked good tonight, but size disadvantage will be a major issue at this weight. Grade remains D   Bryan Caraway vs. Aljamain Sterling Caraway: Had real problems in round one, but outworked Sterling in rounds two and three to win a decision. Without a doubt, the biggest win of Caraway’s career. Upgraded from B to B+ Sterling: His grappling in the opening round was unconventional and very effective. Conditioning was a major issue for Sterling as it prevented him from gaining positions in the second half of the fight. It was a close fight and it should be interesting to see what improvements Sterling makes from his first career loss. Downgraded from A- to B+   Shane Campbell vs. Erik Koch Campbell: A bit too predictable on the feet, but he’s not a bad striker. Where he is flawed is on the ground. He simply has too many holes in his ground game to do well in the UFC; especially in a division with so many great wrestlers and submission artists. Grade remains C- Koch: He showed a nice balance to his game. He was able to land on the feet and had major success on the ground. Given this was his first fight in two years, this performance went better than expected. I’d like to see how he does against a better-rounded opponent before increasing his grade. Grade remains C   Jake Collier vs. Alberto Uda Collier: He was in real trouble multiples times in the first round after having his nose broken at the beginning of the fight. He recovered well and made some good adjustments in the second round to get the finish. Good win for him especially given the circumstances. Upgraded from D to D+ Uda: He fought well early. He showed how effective he is in the Thai clinch and that he can hurt opponents. His mistake was not finishing the fight when he had the chance. I didn’t like the way the fight finished as it looked like he wanted the ref to call it. Not a good sign moving forward, but would like to see more before changing grades. Grade remains D+   Jordan Rinaldi vs. Abel Trujillo Rinaldi: He fought with a solid game plan and the fight was looking like it was his heading into round three. The short notice nature of this fight had him in a difficult position in round three which allowed Trujillo to take advantage in the final round. All in all, Rinaldi performed better than expected as a big underdog. Grade remains D+ Trujillo: For the first time in his UFC career, Trujillo fought against adversity claiming a third round in a fight that was one round a piece. That alone is a major positive in his development. With that said, he fought an overmatched guy who took this fight on just a week’s notice. Grade remains C-   Jessica Eye vs. Sara McMann Eye: Fought really tentative in this fight. She once again was unable to get back to her feet after being taken down. Not sure how much longer she’ll stick in the UFC given her recent results. Downgraded from B- to C+ McMann: First round was rather tentative, but she went to her bread and butter in the final 10 minutes to take an easy decision. If she continues to go to her wrestling and works on her entries into takedowns, she could very well be a top five fighter in this division within 12 months. Upgraded from B- to B   Josh Burkman vs. Paul Felder Burkman: He was much more competitive on the feet than I thought he would be. He slowed down a bit in the second half of the fight and that was the difference on the scorecards. Grade remains C Felder: Even though he has a good skill set, he simply has way too many periods of inactivity in his fights. He’s at his best landing in volume, whether at range or in a brawl. He makes fights that he should easily win into a competitive contest. That’s not a good recipe for prolonged success. Downgraded from B- to C+   Lorenz Larkin vs. Jorge Masvidal Larkin: Does a great job combining leg kicks with his quick hands. This was a really good 15 minute performance by him. He’s certainly a fighter on the rise in the welterweight division. Upgraded from B- to B Masvidal: He had his moments in this bout, but a rare time he wasn’t the quicker fighter. Larkin landed the biggest strikes in this competitive contest which ultimately was the difference in this bout. Masvidal has now lost three of his last four fights by split decision. Grade remains B   Chris Camozzi vs. Vitor Miranda Camozzi: He was very good in this fight. He continued to show his high output on the feet, but where he had the biggest edge was on the ground. Ground and pound was ruthless on the evening. Camozzi’s second stint in the UFC has been a successful one. Grade remain C- Miranda: The Brazilian was exposed in this fight by his American counterpart. His leg kicks were predictable and he had nothing to offer on the ground. A rather disappointing performance from the former TUF Brazil fighter. Downgraded from C- to D+   Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story Saffiedine: Fought a rather lethargic fight. Not being able to win this fight at range is not a good sign for his career moving forward. His takedown defense was on point, but inability to contend with Story’s volume was the reason he didn’t get his hand raised. Grade remains B- Story: Coming off a two year layoff is not easy, but Story fought with at a great pace and made it a difficult fight for his opponent. This was a solid win and should see him get another name opponent in his matchup. Upgraded from B- to B   Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens Barao: He had an excellent first round. His problem was that once he slowed down, he had little to offer against the stronger, more powerful fighter. Size difference no longer an advantage for him at featherweight. Barao is a good fighter, but his days for contending for championships is over. Grade remains B Stephens: He had trouble with Barao’s speed early in this fight, but once he started landing he took over the fight. Most other fighters would have been put away by the strikes Stephens landed. He did an excellent job stuffing Barao’s takedown attempts. This was the biggest win of his career. He’s close to an upgrade. Grade remains B   Thomas Almeida vs. Cody Garbrandt Almeida: He’s a fighter that usually needs a few minutes to get into a fight. Garbrandt never gave him the opportunity to do so. Almeida has been clipped in quite a few fights at this point; he needs to improve his striking defense if he’s ever going to be a champion. Downgraded from B+ to B Garbrandt: A breakthrough performance for the Ohio-born Garbrandt. He put the pressure on Almeida from the start and found openings against the super talented striker. He’s earned himself a top ten ranking and likely a fight with a veteran next. It will be interesting to see who the UFC pits him against next. Upgraded from C+ to B+

Written by Jay Primetown

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