Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC Fight Night 89

Stephen_Thompson_vs_Dan_Stittgen.0Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night 89 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com   Ali Bagautinov vs. Geane Herrera Bagautinov: Another fantastic performance from the Russian flyweight. He has great wrestling and ground and pound. He dominated this fight throughout the three rounds and is clearly one of the best fighters in the division. Grade remains A- Herrera: He had issues with Bagautinov’s wrestling, but he had his moments in this bout threatening the Russian with submissions. Reality is Herrera is not in the same class as Bagautinov. Grade remains C   Colby Covington vs. Jonathan Meunier Covington: An absolutely dominant wrestling clinic by Colby Covington. He went to his bread and butter early and his opponent had zero answers. He did what he was expected to do and did it well. Grade remains C Meunier: He took this fight on really short notice and it was, on paper, a really bad matchup for him. He had nothing to offer Covington in this bout. I’d like to see Meunier face a different type of opponent in his next fight.  Grade remains D   Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger vs. Randa Markos Jones-Lybarger: This was a fairly competitive fight, but she simply was unable to match the striking power of her opponent. Jones-Lybarger proved to be a tough competitor, but simply doesn’t excel in an area to make her a threat to the better fighters in the weightclass.  Grade remains C- Markos: Fought a decent pace throughout the 15 minutes of the fight. This was an improvement over previous fights where she slowed down significantly. She has good power for the weight class, but really doesn’t pose the volume that will be able to beat the division’s top fighters. Grade remains C+   Sam Alvey vs. Elias Theodorou Alvey: He has major issues with output. When he decides to fire, he generally has success, but this was not the night. Alvey didn’t know how to get inside his opponent’s range striking and easily lost a decision on the scorecards. Grade remains C- Theodorou: He continues to show why he’s a difficult fighter to beat. He rarely puts himself in trouble and his output generally wears down his fights. He’s a guy who’s probably on the fringe of the middleweight rankings. Grade remains C+   Chris Beal vs. Joe Soto Beal: He had a huge speed advantage on the feet and easily outlanded Soto in this fight. His problem is conditioning and when tired he does a poor job of defending positions and submissions. This is a fight Beal could of won, but gave it away. He showed better than I thought he would and should havewon the fight. Upgraded from D to D+ Soto: He struggled early on finding holes in Beal’s striking. Speed is certainly an issue for him in this division, but he’s a crafty veteran who finds ways to win fights. That alone will make him a tough out in this division. Grade remains C-   Krzysztof Jotko vs. Tamdan McCrory Jotko: The best win of Jotko’s career. He’s been a workman like fighter throughout his career, but this was a one punch knockout that puts him on the map in this division. He deserves a name fighter to really see where he stacks up next. Grade remains C McCrory: Put simply; he got caught. Downgraded from C+ to C   Misha Cirkunov vs. Ion Cutelaba Cirkunov: He’s got a decent gas tank and showed a nice varied skill set in route to a third round finish. It’s time for Cirkunov to face an upgrade in competition. Grade remains C- Cutelaba: He has really heavy hands and throws his strikes with real convicition. His problem is if he’s unable to knockout his opponent early, he’s going to struggle the farther the fight progresses. He’s a dangerous fighter, but ultimately limited Downgraded from D+ to D   Jason Saggo vs. Leandro Silva Saggo: He’s got a very good ground game both from top position and off his back. His striking has improved, but it’s still a real liability for him. His output in round three was the difference in this fight. He’s going to have real trouble as he faces better opposition due to his striking deficiencies. Grade remains C- Silva: He simply didn’t do enough in this fight to warrant winning the division. After losing round one, he did a good job preventing takedowns but lost this fight due to not pressing the pace in the final round. With that said, it was close and these fighters are at a similar level. Grade remains C-   Joanne Calderwood vs. Valerie LeTourneau Calderwood: A brilliant performance. She landed with conviction throughout the fight showing so much variety. She had LeTourneau finished multiple times before the referee stepped in. It will be interesting to see what the UFC decides to do with a potential flyweight division. Upgraded from C+ to B- LeTourneau: Dominated on this night by a superior fighter. She has some nice technical striking, but her wrestling game is poor and she can be beaten up on the feet. Downgraded from B- to C   Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Thibault Gouti Aubin-Mercier: Not a good performance for Aubin-Mercier, but he did what he had to do and was able to finish. He needs to improve his striking defense or he’s going to be brutally knocked out sooner rather than later. Grade remains C- Gouti: His striking was good and he had a much better opponent in some trouble in the first round. Conditioning was a major issue as he had nothing to offer in the second half of the fight. Given his performances in his two UFC fights, it’s hard to see him sticking around for a third chance in the promotion. Grade remains D-   Steve Bosse vs. Sean O’Connell Bosse: As good of a slugfest as there’s been inside the octagon in some time. Outside of showing a really good chin and recovery skills, I was particularly impressed with just how well he was moving late in the night. His conditioning seems to be very good. With this victory, Bosse guaranteed himself as long a career as he wants inside the Octagon. Upgraded from D to D+ O’Connell: He matched Bosse throughout the fight and was perhaps unlucky not to get his hand raised at the end of the bout. He certainly showed a more diverse skill set, but his punching power and movement were significantly diminished by the end of the fight. Like Bosse, he’ll be able to fight as long as he wants in the UFC. Grade remains D+   Donald Cerrone vs. Patrick Cote Cerrone: A beautiful combination of violence from the American. He manhandled the bigger fighter throughout the fight. Kicks, punches, and wrestling were combined seamlessly for a dominant win. It will be interesting to see if he decided to fight at lightweight or welterweight moving forward, but if he stays at welterweight he certainly looks capable to do some damage. Upgraded from B- to B Cote: He was just too slow for Donald Cerrone. He wanted a brawl, but his opponent too smart, too fast, and too good. This was the first knockout loss of his career. At 36 years of age, one has to think that his chin is no longer as forgiving as it used to be. Downgraded from C+ to C   Rory Macdonald vs. Stephen Thompson Macdonald: He was too tentative and got outstruck throughout the fight. He made some effort in the late rounds to turn moments of this bout into a dogfight, but it was too little too late. This is a crossroads for the Canadian fighter. He’s now out of contract could be pursued by other promotions. Grade remains A Thompson: He stumped one of the top fighters in the division. He was more cautious than normal, but he still showed his technical ability and really peppered his opponent late in the fight. With wins over Johny Hendricks and now Macdonald, he deserves a title opportunity in his next bout. Upgraded from A to A+  

Written by Jay Primetown

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