Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC 201

Karolina-KowalkiewiczJay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 201 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com Cesar Arzamendia vs. Damien Brown Arzamendia: His offensive skills look decent enough, but he leaves himself exposed on the feet and he got clipped and knocked out relatively easily. This doesn’t bode well for his chances to receive another fight in the UFC. Downgraded from D- to F Brown: He’s still very hittable on the feet, but he showed improved accuracy in his striking and ability to finish. That alone moves him up a notch in my lightweight rankings. Upgraded from F to D-   Michael Graves vs. Bojan Velickovic Graves: When he was able to get the fight to the ground, he’s work rate on the mat was terrific and controlled the exchanges. In the standing exchanges, his lack of length in the weight class will have him struggle to land against top opposition. Grade remains C Velickovic: He had Graves a bit confused on the feet, but really wasn’t able to land any significant strikes. His takedown defense was strong in this bout which was a key component in him able to squeak out a majority draw. Grade remains C   Wilson Reis vs. Hector Sandoval Reis: His grappling is one of the best in the division and his ability to find dominant positions on the mat goes right along with it. Reis was able to latch in a submission in record time and likely finds himself remaining in title contention after his shot was pulled out from under him. Upgraded from B- to B Sandoval: His aggressive approach on the feet was commendable, but he left himself vulnerable to the takedown and was quickly submitted on the mat. Not the best debut, but he certainly showed some flashes. Grade remains D+   Damian Grabowski vs. Anthony Hamilton Grabowski: Slow, plodding, and can’t take a punch. The worst possible combination in the heavyweight division. It’s unlikely Grabowski sees another fight in the UFC after losing in the first 20 seconds of his UFC 201 bout. Downgraded from D- to F Hamilton: Made quick work of his opponent. It will keep him around in the UFC for another couple of fights, but he needs to show he can beat a step up in competition before going up in rating. Grade remains D-   Jorge Masvidal vs. Ross Pearson Masvidal: He utilized his length well in this fight to use a nice varied game plan of punches and leg kicks. Masvidal did nice work targeting the body and then landing high with his hands. Despite not finishing the fight in the second round, I liked how he was aggressive in going for the finish. Grade remains B Pearson: Simply couldn’t keep up with Masvidal’s approach. Size and length certainly played a part for that in Pearson’s move up to welterweight for this fight. Grade remains C+   Ed Herman vs. Nikita Krylov Herman: Fought well in close range, but simply too slow to keep up with Krylov and he paid the price when a head kick landed flush putting him away. Downgraded from C- to D+ Krylov: Speed a huge factor for Krylov as he easily outlanded against Herman. His head kick knockout was a thing of beauty as he finished in stunning fashion. Solid win over a veteran opponent. Grade remains C-   Ryan Benoit vs. Fredy Serrano Benoit: Landed the bigger, more effective strikes to sneak out a victory despite being taken down five times in this bout. Benoit isn’t a world beater, but he’s shown to be an action fighter who can beat the bottom tier talent in the UFC. Grade remains D+ Serrano: He landed some power takedowns, but was unable to do much with them. A poor round three was the difference in a very close fight. This fight convinced me that Serrano is not going to be a late bloomer that has the ability to push towards the top of his division. Grade remains D   Erik Perez vs. Francisco Rivera Perez: A more balanced skill set was the difference in this matchup. Perez was competitive on the feet, but being able to get the fight to the ground where he had the advantage was the difference. Grade remains C+ Rivera: He’s a heavy hitter, but when things don’t go his way on the feet, he doesn’t have much else to go to. Disappointing performance from Rivera in a fight he could have won. Downgraded from C+ to C   Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger Brown: He’s been vulnerable to body kicks throughout his career and he was caught with one in this fight. This is two straight fights being finished for Brown certainly a cause to drop in the ratings. Downgraded from B+ to B- Ellenberger: Stunned Brown early, but appeared to be fading until he landed an incredible body shot to put his opponent away. A much needed win for Ellenberger who needed this to stay in the UFC. Upgraded from C to C+   Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Rose Namajunas Kowalkiewicz: Tremendous effort in the final two rounds to take this fight and put herself into title contention. She was excellent in the clinch landing knee strikes to Namajunas’ body to slow down her opponent. Once she was able to do that, she was able to regularly outland. In the third down, she scored a knockdown and followed it up with effective ground and pound to secure the win. Kowalkiewicz is likely next in line for a shot at the champion. Upgraded from B to A- Namajunas: Fought well early on, but the body shots took the wind out of her sails slowing her down significantly. Namajunas was running on fumes after round two rendering her ineffective in the final frame; a round she desperately needed. Grade remains B+   Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley Lawler: He’s looked vulnerable in past fights in that he’s been hurt in different scenarios. Lawler needed to be mindful of Woodley in the early rounds as he has perhaps the biggest punching power in the weight class. Unfortunately for Lawler, he was unable to land Woodley’s nuclear hands and was knocked out before he could recover. After this kind of loss and the wear and tear Lawler has taken on, I expect to see his skill set start to diminish. Downgraded from A to A- Woodley: He knew he needed to jump on Lawler early if he was going to win this fight. He did exactly that knocking down Lawler on his first big connection. I really like his instincts and aggression to go in for the finish when he knew he had his opponent hurt. Woodley is the new champion and likely will see Stephen Thompson in his first title defense. Upgraded from A- to A

Written by Jay Primetown

Leave a Reply

Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Recap: July 2016

MMA Odds and Ends for Tuesday: Nick Diaz’s suspension is over, five fights announced for UFN 96