Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC Fight Night 91

John LinekerJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com   Devin Clark vs. Alex Nicholson Clark: He was winning this fight until a late strike in round one stunned him and he was finished with three seconds left in the round. Tough loss for the hometown fighter. Downgraded from D+ to D Nicholson: He won this fight, but he did nothing to show me he’s going to be able to beat even marginally good fighters currently on the UFC roster. Still very one dimensional. Grade remains D   Matthew Lopez vs. Rani Yahya Lopez: He showed well in the first round, but slowed down tremendously in the later portion of the fight and got stuck in grappling exchanges with an excellent jiu jitsu fighter. He’ll do fine in the UFC, but this was a tough opening fight for him and a good learning experience. Debut grade is D+ Yahya: He dominated the grappling exchanges and showed why he’s considered to have one of the best submission games in the UFC. He’s a solid gatekeeper in the bantamweight division. Grade remains C-   Scott Holtzman vs. Cody Pfister Holtzman: He did what he needed to do to win this fight. He outlanded his opponent and landed some timely takedowns. Getting sweeped to his back while in top control is not a good sign though. Not being able to get a finish against the worst fighter in the division is the reason his grade is not raised here. Grade remains D Pfister: Outside of a decent offensive wrestling game and being tough, he offers nothing to scare his opponents. His striking is of no concern to opponents and he has done nothing when in top control. Tough to see him get another fight in the UFC. Downgraded from D to F   Cortney Casey vs. Cristina Stanciu Casey: An absolutely dominant performance. She took Stanciu to the mat twice and landed some great elbows in both exchanges. The second exchange on the ground caused Stanciu to turtle and the ref to step in. Upgraded from D+ to C- Stanciu: Poor performance from Stanciu as she was unable to get going on the feet and had zero response on the ground. In a division with very few first round stoppages, this was a surprise. Stanciu will likely get one more chance in the UFC, but gaining some more experience elsewhere wouldn’t be bad for her. Downgraded from D+ to D   Sam Alvey vs. Eric Spicely Alvey: He dominated this fight from start to finish. He was able to stop Spicely’s takedown attempts and he hurt him repeatedly on the feet. He showed nice variety by finding a choke for the win. Easy win for Alvey and he should be able to get back in the cage within a couple months. Grade remains C- Spicely: His inability to secure a takedown was the beginning of the end for Spicely. He offers nothing on the feet and he takes a lot of damage. Hard to see Spicely getting another fight in the Octagon. Downgraded from D to F   Katlyn Chookagian vs. Lauren Murphy Chookagian: Her movement was on point and she had a jab to match it. After being taken down for majority of second round, she kept her distance in the third and stuffed the takedowns. Big win for Chookagian in her UFC debut. Debut grade is C+ Murphy: Her persistence and push on the feet will only get her so far. Her strikes simply don’t pack too much punch and she’s unable to hurt her opponent unless she’s got top control. Her game can frustrate some opponents, but the better fighters can gameplan around it and beat her. Grade remains C   Ben Nguyen vs. Louis Smolka Nguyen: He looked dangerous early on in the stand up as well as the grappling, but he lost positions multiple times and once Smolka increased his output Nguyen had nothing to offer. Nguyen had done well against bottom tier fighters and pitted against his first top 15 opponent, he was beat up and dominated. Downgraded from C to C- Smolka: His best performance inside the Octagon. His transitions and scrambles were super slick and he wreaked havoc from top control. It took him awhile to get the finish, but he got the job done. Big win for Smolka and he should get a top 10 opponent next. Grade remains C+   Keita Nakamura vs. Kyle Noke Nakamura: He needs to do a better job of defending strikes, but he’s got a great chin and once he starts landing he has a nice urgency to push the pace. He’s gone a bit under the radar thus far in his UFC stint but this fight should get him a bigger opponent in his next bout. Upgraded from D+ to C- Noke: Outside of his leg kicks to the lower body, Noke has nothing to threaten his opponents with. He’s hittable on the feet and his ability to take damage diminishes with each passing fight. Combine that with a poor gas tank and Noke could be on his way out of the organization. Downgraded from D+ to D   Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Daniel Omielanczuk  Oliynyk: He fought well early on, but conditioning did him no favors as the fight wore on as he got beat up by the more fresh fighter both standing and on the ground. At 39 years old, hard seeing him having more than a couple more fights in the Octagon. Downgraded from D+ to D Omielanczuk: Perhaps the most surprising three fight winning streak in the UFC currently. He weathers the storm and then takes over late to win. He’s not a world beater, but conditioning at heavyweight can go a long way. Upgraded from D- to D   Tim Boetsch vs. Josh Samman Boetsch: He fought smart and got the fight to the ground where he had a big advantage. He did well to keep top control and reigned in shots to earn himself a stoppage win. A win he desperately needed. Upgraded from D+ to C Samman: A real head scratcher from Josh Samman. He kept forcing the fight into the clinch where Boetsch was able to work in takedowns. Poor game plan. His inability to defend takedowns is a real issue and one that will likely see him out of the UFC within a year if he doesn’t correct it. Downgraded from C to  C-   Tony Ferguson vs. Landon Vannata Ferguson: He’s proven to be the most entertaining fighter in MMA. He wants to get hit and he’ll come back at you with even more. He was clipped a couple times in this fight, but he really took over in the second round and found a submission that Vannata couldn’t get out of. Grade remains A- Vannata: For a guy on two week’s against a top five fighter in the division, Vannata showed himself extremely well. He nearly finished Ferguson in the first round with a head kick and follow up. Vannata certainly proved he can compete with top fighters. A lot of potential, but needs to work on his striking defense. Debut grade is C+   John Lineker vs. Michael McDonald Lineker: A nightmare matchup for any fighter who can’t put him on his back early and often. He hits as hard as anyone in the division and can take a punch just as well. He finished McDonald decisively in this bout and is one fight away from a title shot in my opinion. Upgraded from B+ to A- McDonald: He got into a fire fight with a guy who is at his best in that type of fight. A terrible game plan from McDonald who hasn’t looked good since he returned from injury earlier this year. McDonald is still young, but he needs to reevaluate his approach moving forward. Downgraded from B+ to B

Written by Jay Primetown

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UFC Fight Night 91 Closing Odds and Results

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