Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC on ESPN+ 8 in Sunrise, Florida. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com.

Dhiego Lima vs. Court McGee

Lima: He showed improvements in his movement as he did well against a high cardio opponent. With back to back wins, he’s showing confidence. Upgraded from D- to D

McGee: He just doesn’t have the punching power to even make his opponents flinch. If he can’t score takedowns, he will struggle mightily to win fights. McGee has talked about retirement and that’s never a good sign for a fighter’s performance.  Downgraded from D+ to D

 

Jodie Esquibel vs. Angela Hill

Esquibel: She’s too small for the division and continues to get picked apart from the outside. I don’t see much of an opportunity for her to be competitive in the strawweight division. Downgraded from D to F

Hill: Her striking was solid in this fight and she out classed an opponent in a fight that was setup nicely for her. It doesn’t tell us much about Hill’s future in the division, but this was a good night for her. Grade remains C-

 

Jason Gonzalez vs. Jim Miller

Gonzalez: His striking looked fluid, but once he was taken down he had no answers for the veteran grappler. Tough return from a lengthy absence. Downgraded from D+ to D

Miller: In his 32nd UFC fight, Jim Miller looked good once again as he out classed a solid striker by taking him to the mount where he knew he could dominate. Solid win for Miller who still has a few fights left before he calls it a career. Grade remains C

 

Gilbert Burns vs. Mike Davis

Burns: He looked good in this fight. He had good pop in his hands, but the key was getting his opponent to the mat where he possessed a monumental advantage. Burns has now won four of his last five fights and is on a roll. Grade remains C

Davis: He had some success on the feet which makes me believe he can stick in the UFC, but he’ll need to improve his grappling if it will be a lengthy stay in the promotion. Debut grade is D+

 

Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba

Esparza: Timely takedowns, top position, and a few key strikes on the feet allowed Esparza to win rounds and ultimately the fight against a tricky opponent.   Grade remains B-

Jandiroba: She certainly is crafty on the mat from top position and made it competitive with Esparza despite being put on her back during each round. She has a future in this division and should have some success.   Debut grade is C+

 

Andrei Arlovski vs. Augusto Sakai

Arlovski: He seemed to get the better of the striking, but was unable to land anything to change the course of the fight. At 40, he’s a gatekeeper to the middle of the division. Grade remains D

Sakai: He didn’t do much to show he’s ready for a step up, but he was competitive against a former world champion and that means something. Downgraded from D+ to D

 

Takashi Sato vs. Ben Saunders

Sato: He had some struggles in round one dealing with Saunders’ length and clinch game, but once he was able to separate and land, he had a major advantage. Sato fought for a teammate who recently passed tragically in a motorcycle accident and was able to get an emphatic finish.   Debut grade is D+

Saunders: He had success in the clinch, but his durability is a major concern and it was only a matter of time before he was going to get dropped. Saunders has taken a lot of damage in his career and he’s just not competitive in the UFC anymore. Downgraded from D to D-

 

Thomas Gifford vs. Roosevelt Roberts

Gifford: He was able to push Roberts back at times, but he was too easy to take to the mat. He showed durability and could have some success in the future. Debut grade is D

Roberts: I thought he would be able to finish relatively quickly, but he was forced to go 15 minutes in this bout. He showed a decent top wrestling game, but will need to continue to refine his skills if he’s going to be a top 15 lightweight at any point in his career. Upgraded from D to D+

 

John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen

Lineker: He did what he always does and that’s throw heavy punches. He certainly had some issues with Sandhagen’s length but also his variety. Lineker was strong in the final round and nearly got the finish in the final seconds. This fight could have gone either way at the scorecards. Downgraded from B+ to B

Sandhagen: This was a real coming out party for him. He was able to absorb Lineker’s power punches as well as any fighter in recent memory. His ability to use his length and throw with volume make him a tough opponent and a fighter that in my eyes is one of the 15 best bantamweights in the world. Upgraded from C to B

 

Ion Cutelaba vs. Glover Teixeira

Cutelaba: He had his opponent in major trouble, but again showed that outside of the first round he really struggles. His lack of endurance is a major issue and holding him back from a being a potential threat in this weightclass. Grade remains C-

Teixeira: He has taken real damage early in fights and is nearing the end of his career. However, he finds ways to fight through adversity and ultimately get the job done. Another good win for the Brazilian as he continues to stay relevant at light heavyweight. Grade remains C+

 

Alex Oliveira vs. Mike Perry

Oliveira: His ability to go for the spectacular is fun to watch, but if he doesn’t finish early he struggles to put on a high pace over three rounds. Oliveira has talent, but just couldn’t keep up with Perry’s output. Downgraded from C+ to C

Perry: He hits hard and is able to throw with power for all 15 minutes. He’s an entertaining fighter that will continue to do well in striking heavy bouts. Upgraded from C to C+

 

Greg Hardy vs. Dmitri Smoliakov

Hardy: This matchup was taylor made for him. Hardy had no problems in this bout as he quickly found the knockout. He’s still green, but the talent is evident. Grade remains D+

Smoliakov: He fought afraid in this bout and was unwilling to engage with Hardy. It was only a matter of time before he was going to be beaten.  Grade remains F

 

Jack Hermansson vs. Jacare Souza

Hermansson: An astonishing performance from the European middleweight. In his first fight against a top middleweight, Hermansson put on an incredible pace both on the feet as well as from top position when he secured takedowns. At this point, he’s in title contention. Upgraded from C+ to B+

Souza: He had some really good moments in the third round, but in between he was beat up by a longer, better conditioned fighter. Jacare is still a dangerous opponent, but it’s clear he’s not the fighter he once was.  Downgraded from A- to B


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