UFC 172 Results: Grades for Every Main Card Fighter

Matthew Ryder@@matthewjryderFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2014

UFC 172 Results: Grades for Every Main Card Fighter

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    The UFC returned to the airwaves on Saturday night, offering up UFC 172 to a debutante crowd in Baltimore. Headliner Jon Jones retained his title after turning back the challenge of Glover Teixeira, while Luke Rockhold and Jim Miller also impressed with great finishes.

    The promotion is off now until May 10, when they'll return with a Fight Night card in Cincinnati. That's a ways off, so in the interim let's take a look at some grades for tonight's main card talent.

Max Holloway

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    Holloway started the night off right, engaging in a back-and-forth tilt that ended in his favor when he locked in a guillotine in the third round. Many thought he'd struggle with Andre Fili, and while he did at times, he snatched victory immediately when it was presented.

    It's a big win for Holloway, a guy that the UFC is pretty high on. Finishes like UFC 172 won't hurt that fact, especially when they come at the end of an otherwise enjoyable tilt.

    Grade: A-

Andre Fili

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    Fili was something of a favorite going into his bout with Max Holloway, but despite some solid spurts it wasn't meant to be. He succumbed to a guillotine choke in the third round, losing out on a bout that could have easily gone his way had it gone to the scorecards.

    Overall it wasn't a truly disappointing showing, as he hurt Holloway a few times, with the submission the type of short-burst mistake that only costs you against high-end talent. It's a lesson that often can only be learned in the Octagon, and Fili learned it on Saturday night.

    Grade: B-

Yancy Medeiros

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    Medeiros is to be commended for accepting an opponent swap on short notice, though it was a major step up and a chance to make a quick name for himself, so the reward outweighed the risk.

    As it turned out, though, the risk proved considerable. Jim Miller almost effortlessly romped him, pounding away on the feet before locking in a vicious guillotine for the win.

    It was a learning experience for Medeiros, who got to see what it takes to succeed against a divisional stalwart. Look for him to be better next time out.

    Grade: D-

Jim Miller

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    Miller was on fire at UFC 172, buzz sawing Yancy Medeiros with stellar performance, a throw and then a quick guillotine. It was a vintage showing, the type that immediately gets people excited about the New Jersey native once again.

    There's little doubt that when he's on his game, his blend of aggression and technical acumen is among the best in the world for 155-pounders. He's a nightmare for anyone in that circumstance, and there are a host of interesting bouts for him going forward.

    Tonight was one to savor, and his best since a defining performance against Joe Lauzon in 2012.

    Grade: A+

Tim Boetsch

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    It was a hard night for Boetsch, who didn't even get a chance to work up a good sweat before tapping to a kimura at the hands of Luke Rockhold. He was clearly puzzled by the positional expertise of his opponent, and it cost him.

    There's not much else to say. Boetsch got beat, and beat bad. Given the promotion's penchant for cutting known names on a slide who might get paid a little too much, there's a real chance that the aging brawler might find his next fight in Bellator or World Series of Fighting.

    Grade: D-

Luke Rockhold

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    That was spectacular. Like, seriously spectacular. In terms of submission finishes at the end of pure grappling dominance, Rockhold absolutely blew it out of the water at UFC 172. He stuffed the takedown of Tim Boetsch, wrapped up an inverted triangle and then went to work on an arm until he scored a kimura.

    As an example of jiu-jitsu in action, it was as good as it gets in MMA: a blend of tactical and technical dominance that leads to an inevitable checkmate.

    Rockhold was a guy people respected coming into his bout with Boetsch, but he's a guy they're impressed with now. He's in title contention.

    Grade: A+

Anthony Johnson

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    Well, it's hard to imagine many people expected that. The good news though: Anthony Johnson is BACK.

    Johnson walked into the Octagon and laid an absolute trouncing on longtime contender Phil Davis, nearly finishing him on a couple of occasions and eventually taking a runaway decision. Few would have expected Johnson's success, much less for it to come so emphatically.

    There's no telling what this Rumble 2.0 might be capable of, but there are lots of reason to be excited going forward.

    Grade: A+

Phil Davis

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    To put it nicely, Davis struggled on Saturday night. He was bettered by Anthony Johnson to the tune of a 30-27 sweep of the scorecards and some serious reconsidering of his goals in MMA.

    He spent fight week talking more about Jon Jones than he did about Johnson, and it looks like that split focus might have cost him. It was likely his worst performance in the UFC, and he basically did nothing to begin walking a path to victory.

    No telling where he'll go from here, but he's going to want to forget UFC 172 as soon as possible.

    Grade: D

Glover Teixeira

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    Going into his Light Heavyweight title fight, most people expected Teixeira to rely on force and power to overcome his technical and athletic deficiencies as compared to champion Jon Jones. That's what he did, and it really didn't work out for him.

    While the early going saw Teixeira land some shots, he had little for Jones beyond that. As the fight drew on, he fatigued and Jones pulled away, but overall it looked very much like most would have expected.

    Not a crippling loss, but probably his last chance at glory considering he's almost 35 and already has a dozen years punched in the sport. A commendable show of will, but nothing beyond that.

    Grade: C-

Jon Jones

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    Jones came to Baltimore with a chip on his shoulder, clearly keen to fight fire with fire in his seventh UFC title defense. Instead of sticking to the safety of a takedown-oriented game plan, he stood in the pocket and traded with challenger Glover Teixeira, occasionally bullying him with elbows and other strikes against the cage.

    Overall it was another fight in an emerging pattern for the champion, where he's open to fighting opponents on their terms. When you expect to see him stand, he grapples. When you expect to see him grapple, he stands.

    It's a scary proposition for the light heavyweight class, one where the champion is so far ahead of his challengers as it is has now taken to dominating them where they're comfortable. That's a concern for another day though. For tonight, it's about Jones retaining his title in fairly impressive fashion.

    Grade: A