UFC 170

UFC 170 Results: Grades for Every Main Card Fighter

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2014

UFC 170 Results: Grades for Every Main Card Fighter

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The lights are barely off at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas following Saturday night's UFC 170, where Ronda Rousey retained her bantamweight title with a bizarre stoppage of Sara McMann.

    Daniel Cormier and Rory MacDonald also picked up wins on the night, an event for which many had low expectations going in. It may have slightly exceeded them by the time things came to a close, though, with a four stoppages in five bouts.

    Let's round out the night with a little report card action: Here are the grades for the fighters who competed on the main card of UFC 170.

Robert Whittaker

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    Robert Whittaker had serious problems with the highly technical striking of Stephen Thompson from the outset, eating shots and chasing his man around the cage.

    Most would have argued coming in that it would be in the best interest of the New Zealander to close the distance and bully Thompson, but he never got the chance. He chased the fight for how long it lasted, and then he got knocked out violently.

    Not a banner night for the youngster, but you can expect him to be back. Definitely one he'd prefer to forget, though.

    Grade: D-

Stephen Thompson

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    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

    Thompson looked incredible at UFC 170, moving freely and smoothly around the cage and picking apart his foe at his leisure. There was no point that he was in any danger, and the whole experience of crushing Whittaker was one that he made look frightfully easy.

    If he can continue to progress at this point in his career, it will be an impressive story, but for now, it's fair to simply be thankful for his thunderous finish and commitment to developing into a solid mixed martial artist.

    Grade: A

Mike Pyle

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Mike Pyle kept up his run of battering lower-ranked opposition at UFC 170, handling TJ Waldburger with relative ease. For a fighter with so many miles on him, he genuinely seems to be improving as he approaches 40 fights and 40 years of age.

    People have long lauded his ability to work guys over in the gym, and he supports the claims when he's given the right opponent. He might never get to the top of the welterweight heap, but a fight with someone in the top 10 could await him in his next trip to the cage.

    Added points for his tireless commitment to a finish, which he earned violently as the fight wound down.

    Grade: A+

TJ Waldburger

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    Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

    Waldburger struggled with Pyle from start to finish, outpaced and outgunned in every manner against the veteran. He was game and he never took a backward step, but every time he made any progress, he was quickly stifled. Pyle simply had more tools, and he used them better.

    The Texan earns points for refusing to go away until late in the third, but he may need to return to the regional circuit and tighten some things up before another bout in the Octagon.

    Grade: D+

Rory MacDonald

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    MacDonald came to fight with a little more enthusiasm than he had in his previous outings, showing some fire after a loss to Robbie Lawler in November. He took advantage of a stylistic matchup that was in his favor, he dominated the fight on his feet and showed solid grappling to stay out of trouble.

    There was still an element of risk aversion to his approach, however, as he relied on the same jabs and body kicks that became his hallmark during widely panned fights against Jake Ellenberger and BJ Penn. Even so, it's hard to complain about such a drastically improved outing.

    It's hard to know where he's heading from here, but he'll continue to get big challenges and has a more clear road to title contention with teammate Georges St-Pierre in a state of semi-retirement. If things line up over the next month, he might finally get a rematch with Carlos Condit.

    Grade: B

Demian Maia

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    Demian Maia started hot but faded in the second round, letting his encouraging first round fall by the wayside. Things looked good for the jiu-jitsu ace when he was able to ragdoll MacDonald to the mat and impose his will, but that element of the fight was contained almost totally to the early going.

    Time is running out for the Brazilian, who's approaching his late 30s (36) and has lost a couple in a row now. It's not for lack of trying, as he was competitive against Jake Shields and also in spurts at UFC 170, but he needs to turn it around in his next fight or he'll be a divisional afterthought.

    Grade: C-

Patrick Cummins

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Patrick Cummins got the UFC out of a tough spot coming into Saturday night, jumping from behind a coffee shop counter and into the co-main event of a card stacked with former Olympians and top contenders.

    He handled the fight week hoopla well and actually looked capable of handling life in the UFC in general, even if the fight went more or less exactly as most would have estimated.

    With a full camp and some more seasoning, Cummins might get somewhere, but Saturday night wasn't that night. You can't hate the guy for making an opportunity for himself. This wasn't the most reasonable measurement of his ability, but he definitely wasn't the best dude on the card Saturday night.

    Grade: D+

Daniel Cormier

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    An angry Cormier is pretty clearly not a Cormier to be trifled with, as Cummins found out on Saturday night. After some back-and-forth talk and a series of intense staredowns leading up to their fight, it was clear something serious was coming when the two men hit the cage.

    Cummins' commendable bravado notwithstanding, Cormier would not be denied in his first appearance at 205 pounds. He got after his newfound nemesis from bell to bell and showed that he could easily be in a title fight before the end of the year with another good performance against a more credible opponent.

    This was also his first stoppage victory in the UFC and only his second since 2011, so it's good to see that part of his game coming along as well.

    Grade: A+

Sara McMann

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    McMann looked great in the only truly open exchange of the bout, but that's where the good news ended in her first try at a major MMA title.

    Clinch fighting against the cage predictably went in the direction of the judo expert Rousey, and she was able to connect with a knee to the liver. The stoppage was probably premature, but it's largely irrelevantMcMann's first career loss was in the books by that point.

    She outlined a comprehensive game plan in her post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, one that certainly sounded good in theory, but she didn't get much of a chance to implement it. She was second-best Saturday night.

    Grade: C

Ronda Rousey

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    Rousey's star continues to rise as she defended her women's bantamweight title for the third time in her first year with the UFC, disposing of a fellow Olympian in a little over a minute.

    Talk is that she'll be leaving town for Hollywood until later in the year, and long-distance rival Cris Cyborg recently announced an intended drop to 135 with her sights on "The Rowdy One," so that could be on the horizon when she returns. If it isn't, you can expect that she'll be locking horns with Cat Zingano or Alexis Davis in her next fight.

    For now, though, she can enjoy the first non-armbar victory of her career and know that her hiatus was well-earned in dominating the very game McMann.

    Grade: A

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