“Hoger” Gracie looked exactly as many might have predicted he would in his first Octagon bout: like every other Gracie before him. That likeness cost him his UFC debut. More importantly it made him look out of place on the biggest stage in MMA.
Gracie fell under the curse of all the Gracie fighters when it comes to mixed-martial arts. He had a linear strategy that his opponent prepared for. He did not have any semblance of striking to create openings for his ground fighting. When on the ground he was predictable in his set-ups, which were quickly rendered useless.
Despite how he looked in his debut, the UFC should not relegate Roger to no-name gatekeeper matchups. His name and ability hold enough clout to warrant another shot at a marketable name, albeit on the lower tier of the division.
UFC jitters are something many have to deal with, and at UFC 162 Gracie's opponent simply handled them better. In his return, the young submission fighter needs to show he can be a viable member of the middleweight division.