UFC 170 Results: Grading Every Debuting Fighter

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2014

Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) attempts to take down Cody Gibson (red gloves) during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

UFC 170 was a historic night for many reasons. Ronda Rousey defended her title for the second time in the shortest duration between defenses, and Daniel Cormier marked his territory at 205 pounds Saturday night in Las Vegas.

That being said, the event was also important because it was full of debuting fighters. Some of these guys are top prospects in the sport with the potential to be company staples and future contenders.

Let's take a look at each debuting fighter and grade their respective performance at UFC 170.


Yosdenis Cedeno

Yosdenis Cedeno came out on the losing end of the opening bout on the card against Ernest Chavez. For the most part, Cedeno looked like the bright lights were too much for him.

Early on, he showed great power and movement. In fact, he threw heat on every strike he threw but was exposed in one major aspect of the game.

He struggled to defend Chavez's takedowns and ground game. He looked like a novice on the ground, and that was only against a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Imagine him against a black belt.

The only saving grace for Cedeno was he lost a split decision instead of a full-out unanimous verdict. Either way, his performance was subpar.

Grade: D


Ernest Chavez

While Cedeno took the loss, Chavez took the win. It really wasn't the most impressive win, though.

Chavez was tentative and decent at best on the feet. The only place he really shined was on the ground, where he only looked great because Cedeno was such a novice.

In reality, he won't be that dominant on the ground against most guys in the lightweight division. Although he earned the win, he has got lots to work on when he gets back in the gym.

Grade: C


Aljamain Sterling

Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg made comparisons between newcomer Aljamain Sterling and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. This was because they both have great wrestling, athleticism and unorthodox striking methods.

To be honest, that was a solid comparison if you look at Jones' early work in the UFC and Sterling's performance Saturday night.

Sterling took on a gamer in Cody Gibson, who gave Sterling all he could handle. However, Sterling's strength, wrestling and quickness were too much.

Everything Sterling did looked competent. With Matt Serra and Ray Longo as his trainers and corner men, the future is bright for this undefeated bantamweight.

Grade: A-


Cody Gibson

In defeat, Gibson actually raised his stock as a fighter. He showed grit, determination and a will to win all the way until the final bell.

His wrestling looked to be sharp Saturday night, especially because he was grappling with a very good wrestler in Sterling. Some of the exchanges even saw Gibson get the upper hand.

Gibson is a bright prospect in a division dying for new stars. He and Sterling could be two new faces who bolster this shallow division.

Grade: B


Pedro Munhoz

To be fair, Pedro Munhoz was thrown in the deep end on short notice and wasn't expected to win his fight with Raphael Assuncao. All that considered mixed with the fact he wasn't finished by Assuncao, and Munhoz did a fine job.

Munhoz definitely needs to improve his striking, specifically with his hands. He showed some nice kicks, but if he can't string combos with his hands, it will be tougher for him to secure the takedown so he can work his great grappling.

He will need a rebound fight to really give him a litmus test. He was one of the top bantamweight prospects coming into this fight and was really shown that he is not quite ready for top-flight competition.

Grade: C


Patrick Cummins

Patrick Cummins did one thing great for UFC 170: He sold the fight.

When it came time to actually walk the walk, he was quickly dispatched. However, despite all the criticism hurled his way, Cummins took on one of the best fighters in the world on 10 days' notice in the co-main event of a pay-per-view. That must be admired.

In my opinion, Cummins is still one of the best prospects 205 has to offer. The problem was, like with Munhoz, you can't take a newcomer and put him against one of the best fighters in the division.

Let's give Cummins a mulligan. Next time out will really be the time we can judge Cummins on his skills as a mixed martial artist.

Grade: D-