Jay Primetown gives his thoughts on each of the fighters who competed at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. Jay gives his letter grades for each fighter on TheMMA-Analysis podcast which can be found on MMAOddsbreaker.com.

Don Madge vs. Fares Ziam

Madge: He won this fight, but it was an ugly performance that didn’t provide a glimpse at his technical ability. Downgraded from C- to D+

Ziam: He was able to hurt his opponent in the striking exchanges and late in the fight he wasn’t able to fend off takedowns either. It’s hard to see Ziam doing well in the UFC. Debut grade is D-

 

Omari Akhmedov vs. Zak Cummings

Akhmedov: His offensive wrestling was solid throughout the fight securing takedowns in each round to earn a decision.  Grade remains C-

Cummings: He had some success on the feet dropping his opponent in round one, but was unable to stop the takedowns throughout the fight.  Grade remains D+

 

Muslim Salikhov vs. Nordine Taleb

Salikhov: He’s starting to round into form in the UFC as he has now recorded back to back knockout victories.  Grade remains C-

Taleb: He’s now been finished in three of his last four fights. At an advanced 37 years of age, his skills are starting to deteoriate. Downgraded from C- to D+

 

Belal Muhammad vs. Takanori Sato

Muhammad: The heat in the arena didn’t slow him down as he was able to earn a rare stoppage victory in the UFC. Look for Muhammad to get a step up in competition in his next bout.  Grade remains C-

Sato: He was out struck on the feet and dominated on the mat. He just wasn’t able to compete with Muhammad.  Downgraded from D+ to D

 

Ottman Azaitar vs. Teemu Packalen

Azaitar: He looked really good in his UFC debut. He threw power strikes throughout the fight and ended the fight with a huge right hand.   Debut grade is C-

Packalen: He has now been knocked in the opening round in back to back fights. It’s unlikely he gets another fight in the UFC. Downgraded from D to D-

 

Liana Jojua vs. Sarah Moras

Jojua: Once she was put on her back, she had no answers. A bad debut. Debut grade is D-

Moras: She still fights way too often off her back, but getting in top position in this fight is exactly what she needed as she was able to get the win via technical knockout. Grade rem

Lerone Murphy vs. Zubaira Tukhugov

Murphy: He looked competent on his feet, but our of his depth in the grappling exchanges as he gave up six takedowns in this draw. Debut grade is D+

Tukhugov: I thought he did enough in this fight to win, but the judges said it was a draw.  Grade remains C

 

Joanne Calderwood vs. Andrea Lee

Calderwood: She landed over one hundred stikes this fight and out struck her opponent in all three rounds. This was a good result for Calderwood and solidifies her in the top ten of her division.  Grade remains C+

Lee: She took a step up in competition and wasn’t up to snuff as she was out struck throughout the fight. She will have an opportunity again, but this was certainly a step backwards.  Downgraded from C+ to C

 

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Mairbek Taisumov

Ferreira: Perhaps his best win in the UFC, the Texas based fighter has now won five fights in a row and is emerging as a top fifteen lightweight.  Upgraded from C+ to B-

Taisumov: He was strong in the opening round, but his volume was low and ran out of gas in the second round. A poor performance. Downgraded from B- to C+

 

Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Curtis Blaydes

Abdurakhimov: This was a terrible matchup for him as he was taken to the mat five times and finished via ground and pound in round two. Grade remains D+

Blaydes: He made fairly easy work of his opponent. The best part for Blaydes was that he only absorbed three strikes in this fight. He should be able to return to action as quickly as possible. Grade remains A-

 

Islam Makhachev vs. Davi Ramos

Makhachev: He’s quickly rising in the UFC as he has won six fights in a row and is taking very little damage. He should challenge a top ten opponent in his next fight. It’s time to see where he truly is. Grade remains B

Ramos: In a fifteen minute, it’s stunning that he only landed seven strikes. There’s no excuse for that. Ramos has his flashes, but there are way too many lulls when he fights to believe he can challenge the better fighters in the division. Downgraded from C to C-

 

Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder

Barboza: This was a really competitive fight, but he fell a bit behind in the final round and it cost him the fight. Barboza is an excellent striker that is entertaining to watch, but his body of work shows he’s a level below the elite in the division. Grade remains B

Felder: In his last three welterweight fights, he has beaten Charles Oliveira, James Vick, and now Edson Barboza. This is a nice set of wins as Felder solidifies his position in the lightweight division. Look for him to fight another top ten fighter in his next bout. Upgraded from B- to B

 

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier

Nurmagomedov: Another fight, another impressive performance from the undefeated lightweight champion. The Eagle secured seven takedowns in this fight, none more important than the one in the third round that provided him an opportunity to take the back and earn a rear naked choke for the victory. With the win, there’s no denying that Nurmagomedov is one of the best fighters in the world and perhaps even the best. Grade remains A++

Poirier: He had been on a terrific run, but like all others before him, he had no answers for the ferocious grappling of Khabib Nurmagomedov.  Grade remains A


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