UFC Fight Night 25 Results: Grading Every Main Card Fighter
Just in case you did not know, Jake Ellenberger is for real, ladies and gentlemen.
When Ellenberger stepped inside the Octagon Saturday night in New Orleans, LA to face off against Jake Shields, Ellenberger made his case that he is ready to face the best the welterweight division has to offer.
It took Ellenberger less than a minute to hand Shields his second career TKO defeat. With this defeat, Shields has dropped two out of three fights since he made the drop to the welterweight division, while Ellenberger won his fifth straight since losing his UFC debut against Carlos Condit.
In other action, Court McGee made a successful return to the UFC after a string of injuries kept him out of action when he earned a decision victory over Dongi Yang. Also, Erik Koch spoiled Jonathan Brookins' featherweight debut, and Alan Belcher came back after two eye surgeries looking as good as he ever has.
But despite winning or losing, how did each fighter perform?
It is once again time for the unofficial official professor of Bleacher Report MMA to hand out each fighters' report card.
Jake Ellenberger: A
Jake Shields was the best opponent Jake Ellenberger had faced inside the Octagon since he lost his promotional debut against Carlos Condit. But, you would never have guessed that watching the ease with which Ellenberger dispatched of Shields.
It took Ellenberger just 53 seconds to blast Shields in the face with a knee, then follow it up with a barrage of punches that forced the referee to stop the fight.
To make a short story even shorter, Jake Ellenberger is ready for the best the welterweight division has to offer.
Jonathan Brookins: C-
Jonathan Brookins put up a spirited effort against Erik Koch. However, it was clear that Koch was the more well-rounded fighter Saturday evening.
While Brookins showed that he had a clear edge when the fight hit the ground, he was unable to get the fight where he had the advantage. When the fight was standing, his striking looked remedial when compared to the Duke Rufus trained Koch.
Brookins is by no means to be overlooked in the featherweight division, but it is clear that he has some glaring holes in his game that need to be addressed.
Alan Belcher: A
Just by looking at the fight, one would have never guessed that Alan Belcher was fighting for the first time in nearly a year and a half.
After suffering an eye injury that forced him to undergo two surgeries, Belcher returned to action looking the best he ever has. Once Jason MacDonald made the mistake of trying to pull guard, Belcher unloaded with punches and elbows until MacDonald verbally tapped out.
While Anderson Silva is the king of the middleweight division, Belcher threw his hat in to the mix of incredibly talented mixed of fighters who are trying to get their chance at dethroning the pound-for-pound king.
Erik Koch: B+
It may be possible that Erik Koch has been overlooked in the featherweight division. But after his performance against Jonathan Brookins, it will be difficult to overlook him anymore.
Koch showed his tremendous takedown defense over and over again when he was able to fight off nearly all of Brookins never-ending attempts to get the fight to the ground. When the two fighters were not clinched up, Koch showed that his striking must be ranked among the best in the featherweight division.
Koch may be ready to take on current featherweight champion Jose Aldo, but he may need another fight or two to persuade the UFC brass.
Jason MacDonald: D-
Jason MacDonald did have a tiny bit of success early in his fight against Alan Belcher. But whatever success he did have went away once the fight hit the mat.
Conventional wisdom would say that MacDonald needed to get the fight to the ground to avoid Belcher's superior striking. MacDonald did what he needed to do, but it still wasn't good enough.
The memories of his impressive performance against Ryan Jensen at UFC 129 are now long gone. If you are only as good as your last fight, don't be surprised if MacDonand got another set of walking papers from the UFC.
Court McGee: B
Court McGee's return to action against Dongi Yang was, to put it nicely, forgettable.
After nearly a year away from the Octagon, McGee came back and put on a not very entertaining performance en route to earning a unanimous decision victory. McGee never looked overly impressive, but he did what he had to do to get the job done.
Dongi Yang: C
As already mentioned, the fight between Court McGee and Dongi Yang was forgettable at best. While the match was competitive, the two fighters did not deliver a very entertaining bout for the fans.
Yang did have some success with his striking, but McGee's strikes were clearly doing more damage. Then towards the end of the fight, it seemed that Yang was running out of gas. Once that happened, he had no answers for anything McGee threw his way.
Jake Shields: F
At this point, it is safe to say that Jake Shields' move to welterweight has not served him very well.
Since making his UFC debut at 170 lbs., Shields has gone 1-2. His lone victory came against Martin Kampmann via a split decision that many believed could have very easily gone the other way.
While there were very unfortunate circumstances surrounding Shields leading in to his fight against Jake Ellenberger, he still chose to go ahead with the fight. But judging by his performances in the Octagon since making the drop to welterweight, would it had made any difference if Shields came in to the fight without the heavy heart he was clearly carrying with him?
Shields is still an elite fighter. However, at this point, one must wonder if he is better suited for middleweight.