The UFC runs more events than ever, with 10+ fights occurring 2-3 times a month on cards ranging from PPV, FOX, FS1, FS2, Fightpass, etc. At times it seems as though the bulk of prelims—and even some PPV main card fights—pit Anonymous Fighter vs Guy You Think You've Heard of Once. To be honest, it gets hard to sort through the multitude of guys currently serving the UFC as "independent contractors." So, in an attempt to keep a record of the guys who fight each week, and maybe, have a better understanding of quality and depth in each division, the following is my diary of sorts from the last UFC event. I don't know what this, or what it will become, but maybe after a few events I'll have a better picture of each weight class. I am no scout, or expert in each discipline of martial arts plied in the UFC. However, I have watched a lot of events since 2010. Since I am such a big baseball fan, fighters are rated on a 20-80 scale. For those unfamiliar, 50 is average (for their weight division), 60 is "plus" or above average, 70 is "plus plus" or, well above average, 80 is perfect, and incredibly rare. 40 is below average, 30 is well below average. It stands to reason any fighter well below average may not be UFC material. At first, it will be difficult to gauge where everyone falls within the scale. I think 50 would be a fringe top-15 fighter, while plus fighters are top-10 or better. 80's are rare. Demetrius Johnson may be the only example of an 80 in the UFC right now, maybe Jon Jones before the fall.
A fighter's "standing" score will be determined by their striking ability: power, accuracy, ability to land from a variety of ranges, striking defense, takedown defense (ability to keep the fight standing), movement, athleticism, ability in the clinch, etc. "Ground" score includes takedowns, top control, ability to throw ground strikes, advance position, secure submissions, get up when on bottom, threaten submissions from guard, defend when on bottom, etc. Scores do take level of competition into account. So, the more impressive performance against the better fighter earns a higher score. Tough to score a plus score, 60+, against a fighter with a losing record. Most fighters on minor cards, and prelims, are going to score <50, while ranked fighters generally should be >50, with the occasional outlier.
Yes, this is several days late; everyone has moved on to UFC 214, and with good reason! Unfortunately, I had other priorities this week. So, if you'll indulge me, let's go back to last Saturday's event, and assess all of those who competing on that card. You can find my earlier posts from this series by searching the fanposts section. Next up is UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones. [I'll be in Cooperstown Sunday for the Baseball HOF induction ceremony Sunday, but I still intend to have that up by Monday. Then later next week I will update my comprehensive UFC Rankings, where I rank every fighter (by weight class) who has competed since UFC FN 112: Chiesa vs Lee. Let me know what you disagree with (or agree with) in the comments section.
UFC on FOX 25: Weidman vs Gastelum
Chris Weidman 10-3 (WME record)
Standing: 60 Weidman controlled the distance well, using leg kicks, and front kicks to the body. He landed with his hands better after, taking Kelvin down a few times. I don't see any more than just above-average power from his strikes, at least on his feet. Very strong. Weidman has shown he can get hurt on his feet. Prior to this victory, he'd lost three straight fights by T/KO, and was stunned early by Vitor in their bout.
Ground: 70 Weidman went back to his base to secure the victory against Gastelum, reminding us he's perhaps the best offensive grappler/wrestler in the division. He's been successful on more than 50% of his takedown attempts in his UFC career, and landed seven (of thirteen) against Gastelum. He changes levels very well. He maintains control on top. He has good ground and pound. Oh, and, despite not submitting an opponent since 2011, showed he still has some incredible chokes.
Overall: 65 This was the bounce back performance Weidman needed. He utterly dominated a definite top-ten opponent, and showed he still has the skills to succeed at the top of the division. It'll be interesting to see where Weidman goes from here. He's recently lost to Romero and Rockhold (although, at least Mousasi, who would've been ahead of him, has departed). And, the division is still held up with a lazy, scared, not-interested-in-actually-defending-his-belt-media-whore-coward in Michael Bisping, and an injured Robert Whittaker. Souza and Romero are coming off of loses. Rockhold is fighting Branch, instead of waiting. It seems Derek Brunson is available, and although that may not propel Wiedman forward much with a victory, it'd solidify his position more.
Kelvin Gastelum 8-3 1 NC
Standing: 55 Gastelum has some good boxing, and surprisingly, above-average power at this division. He's T/KO middleweights: Nate Marquardt, Tim Kennedy, and Vitor (although that became a no contest). He even dropped Weidman at the end of the first round, and pounced before the bell rung. He just couldn't finish the fight. Gastelum really struggled with distance. He had to work really hard to get another going against Weidman, even just to feint and land a leg kick. Gastelum has proven to be able to hold his own here against several middleweights, but not against Weidman.
Ground: 45 Kelvin was consistently taken down by Weidman. He did well to avoid damage, and return to his feet for awhile. However, he was eventually just overwhelmed, and Weidman grabbed dominate position, and choked him out.
Overall: 55 Chris Weidman just showed Kelvin Gastelum exactly how far he can go at middleweight. He cant beat the big boys in this division. He's just outsized, and overmatched. I hope he can figure things out, and return to 170 lbs in the near future, because he is a potential title contender there. His WW record is 5-2, with his only loses coming by split decision to Neil Magny and [current champion, WAR MAIA] Tyron Woodley. His grade would likely tick up to 60 at 170, maybe even higher depending on his return fight.
Darren Elkins 13-4
Standing: 45 Elkins relies on pressure and volume, rather than beautiful technique on his feet. He swings wildly counter, not afraid to take shots. He is extremely active in the clinch, like few fighters are, and he is also difficult to separate with once he''s latched on. He has fringe power. Elkins has T/KO eight eights in his career, but only three of them have come in the UFC, despite the majority of his wins taking place within the UFC.
Ground: 60 Elkins is a tenacious grappler. His takedown accuracy is only 36%, but he gets nearly three every 15 minutes. Once on the ground, he has some good skill, with the ability to pass, and threaten with submissions. He had the most success against Bermudez when he took his back in the first. He had good control from the position, and landed some big elbows even from Dennis' back.
Overall: 55 Elkins' 13-4 record in the UFC is pretty impressive. He's now won five in a row, including the last two against ranked opponents. Elkins isn't the prettiest fighter to watch, I mean his style, but he gets results, and is very difficult to deal with. Of the guys ranked ahead of him, Elkins has only faced (and lost to) Jeremy Stephens. So, there are opportunities ahead of him, and when I look at the top-ten, there are winnable fights there. He's not beating Jose, Max, or Frankie though, and I also suspect he loses to Lamas, KZ, and Swanson. I suppose it'd be too easy to set him up with the Moicano-Ortega winning this weekend?
Dennis Bermudez 9-5
Standing: 55 He was winning the fight from boxing distance and out. Good leg kicks that looked to be bothering Elkins, and physically buckling him at times. He has above average power, and lands a good hook, and straight right. Occasional spinning elbow or backfist can land, and look dangerous. Bermudez does not often fight smart though. He throws high kicks against a much bigger opponent, and he slips reaching for Elkins' head. Elkins then took control on the ground, and won the round on two scorecards. He also abandoned leg kicks in the second round, aka the round he definitively lost. Finally, he engaged the clinch way too often, when he was having significantly more success at distance. Bermudez has some weapons on his feet, but he did not play to his strengths considering the matchup. Bermudez does have great takedown defense. He was taken down three times this fight on ten attempts, and has a UFC career takedown defense % of 86%.
Ground: 45/50 Bermudez' base is wrestling, but he spent too much time trying to grapple with Elkins. Despite landing nearly four takedowns per 15 minutes, at a success rate of 41%, he landed just one takedown, while attempting six against Elkins. Bermudez can generate good ground and pound, and threatens with at least one submission a fight. However, he did not have much control of Elkins in their grappling exchanges. On bottom, Bermudez struggles defensively, and has lost the majority of his losses by submission.
Overall: 50/55 Long gone is Bermudez' run of seven straight victories, including a win over current champ, Max Holloway. In fact, since that run, which ended in 2014, he's just 2-4 with the victories coming against Rony Jason and Tatsuya Kawajiri, while losing to any fighter I'd estimate at "50" or above: Lamas, Stephens, Korean Zombie and Elkins. There are way too many holes in his game. I think he's, unfortunately, reached his peak, and may never find his way back into the top-ten. After a run against monsters in the division, and Elkins, who imagine isn't fun to fight, I hope Bermudez gets a step back in competition, and a chance to reset himself.
Patrick Cummins 6-4
Standing: 45 Very active, throws often. Good movement. Both help to set up his level changes. His hands found a home in the second and third round when Villante was too stationary. Physically strong in the clinch. Fringe average power though. He took some shots, and looked hurt at several times throughout the fight, but just kept coming, and also had to deal with a significant cut over his head from a headbutt in the first. High IQ, picked up his pace in the second and third round after losing first, and getting hurt early in second.
Ground: 55 He won this fight on his feet, but he is a wrestler by trade, and would prefer grinding his opponents on the ground, and against the fence. However, he struggled to take Villante down, and was only successful on one of eleven takedown attempts. In his UFC career (10 fights), he averages 5.34 takedowns per 15 minutes.
Overall: 55 Cummins is nothing fancy, and he is probably never going to be a title contender at 205 lbs. However, he is going to be a tough obstacle to overcome for up-and-comers. His only losses come to Daniel Cormier, OSP, Glover Teixiera, and Rogerio Nogueira (who I always assume is retired, but will take a fight out of the blue every 18 months or so). His pressure is tough to deal with although, he can be knocked out. I wonder how some of the fresher fighters we've seen recently would deal with him (Rountree, Dominick Reyes, even Jared Cannonier if he sticks around at 205). Right now, I feel he's still too much for all of them.
Gian Villante 5-6
Standing: 55 Villante has a good jab when he wants to use it, and legitimate plus power—when he lands his right had, it lands heavy. However, he has terrible strike defense. He gets hit way too often. His sig strikes absorbed per minute is 5.49 compared to a 4.15 sig strikes landed. He was far to immobile in the final two rounds, and when he did try to evade Cummins' pressure, he backed up in a straight line. He also slowed down significantly after a good first round, and hurting Cummins at different points throughout the fight. Villante does have great takedown defense though; his UFC career percentage is 82%, and he was taken down just once despite eleven attempts by Cummins.
Overall: 50 Villante Is frustrating to watch (if you want to invest any interest in seeing him win anyways). He let's his opponents back into fights. He did it here again against Cummins. Now he has a losing record in the UFC, including his last two in a row, and three of his last four. His best win, I suppose, came against Corey Anderson back in 2015. However, Anderson is a much better fighter since then, and he was winning the fight before Villante knocked him out. Villante should get a relatively easy bounce back fight, following this poor run. However, until he improves his strike defense, he isn't going to be a credible threat in the top-15, and his record does not support his placement as a ranked fighter.
Jimmie Rivera 5-0
Standing: 60 He is quick, with tight punches and sharp kicks. Mixes in strikes to the body and legs well. Gets in and out well, closes quickly, and escapes without being countered. He's never been taken down in the UFC, though Almeida never threatened with an attempt this fight. Rivera lacks top end power; he's gone to decision in over 2/3 of his fights. He scored some knock downs due to precise technique and timing.
Ground: 45 He can grab the occasional takedown, but is not overly offensive from top position.
Overall: 60 Rivera is now 5-0 in the UFC, and four of those wins have come against quality competition (current or former top-15 fighters): Pedro Munhoz, Iuri Alcantara, Urijah Faber, and now, Thomas Almeida. Despite having a stacked top-ten, 135 has three clear top-three, the current and former champions: Dominick Cruz, TJ Dillashaw, and Cody Garbrant. However, Rivera is pushing himself into that ground, and I think he did the right thing calling out Cruz. He will earn a title shot with just one more win. Although, I believe he belongs near the top of this division, I do think any of those top three guys will beat Rivera, and he'll settle in as a top-5 135'r for now.
Thomas Almeida 5-2
Standing: 55/60 Almeida has won four of five UFC fights by T/KO, earning him a reputation as a dangerous striker who can win in a flash. Unfortunately, he couldn't muster anything quite so spectacular this fight, but he continued to prove his qualities nonetheless. He looked slow against Rivera, and had trouble countering against him. Almeida had much more success moving forward. Good feints, reminding Rivera that he needs to be cautious against him. Flashed above-average power, and show nice high kicks. Good career takedown defense, and was only taken down twice on six attempts by Rivera, getting up fairly quick each time.
Ground: 40 Almeida has never landed a takedown in the UFC (seven fights), and he did not attempt one against Rivera. He was taken down twice (and knocked down a couple other times), but avoided damage, and quickly got back to his feet each time.
Overall: 55/60 Almeida has only lost to Cody and Rivera in the UFC, those are both top-5 fighters. He's just 25, and should continue to grow as a fighter. I wish he had more of a ground game, but it doesn't look like a significant part of his game right. He's still one of the best finishers in the division. This loss doesn't drop him far, and he could eventually become an elite fighter at 135.
170: Zaleski dos Santos def. Lyman Good SD
EZ dos Santos 3-1
Standing: 50 ZDS' was the less technical fighter on the feet. His punches are wide, and look slow. However, he has above-average power in his fists. He landed with more frequency as the fight drew on, and his movement seemed to improve as well. He has nice, sharp leg kicks. Good diversity in his strikes, and he landed some wild techniques: spinning back fist, flying knee, etc. He does leave himself exposed to the counter. I question his fight IQ; he did a few minor things to influence this, i.e. circling towards power hand, and immediately getting smacked with it, repeatedly getting his kicks caught, etc.
Ground: - They each landed a takedown, but the fight didn't take place here.
Overall: 45/50 dos Santos improves to 3-1 in the UFC. He has good power, and overall striking package. However, some of the divisions better counter strikers will have no trouble taking advantage. ZDS also does not appear to have much of a ground game, and was successful on just one of his fourteen takedown attempts this fight. He could certainly could take some guys near the top-15 by surprise, but I think he's going to settle in just below that ranking threshold.
Lyman Good 1-1
Standing: 45/50 Crisp, quick punches. Good strike defense through the first two rounds. In round three, he kept getting tagged while marching down ZDS; Good's movement became predictable. Physically strong, and looks like he could do really well in the clinch, landing some strong knees there. Good takedown defense; he was taken down just once in fourteen attempts. He also has a chin, taking some good shots from dos Santos.
Ground: - Good was 1/1 in takedowns, but the fight did not really take place here. They each got up fairly quick after being taken down, and they each were only taken down once.
Overall: 45 Good is another in a long...modestly long line of former Bellator champions to make their
way to the UFC. He had been out for over two years, since his UFC debut, and premiere victory. Good is a solid welterweight with some skill. However, I think he is more strong depth, than future top-15 fighter.
Eryk Anders 1-0
Standing: 55 Plus power. Good job of cutting Natal off when he tried to circle. Physically strong, and shuck Natal right off when he tried to clinch. Flashed a head kick. Relies heavily on his left hand, and does not mix his strikes as much as I'd like. Nice finishing sequence with left hands.
Ground: 45 He can land a take down, and set up the one he landed well with a left hand, before changing levels. Once down, he has heavy ground-and-pound, and he looks to deliver it as soon as he's on top. Did not spend much time on the ground, and landed an illegal knee as he and Natal were getting up.
Overall: 50 This is a good debut performance by Anders. He has good power, and shouldn't get muscled around easily by some of the divisions better grapplers. However, before I get too bullish on him, I'd like to see him fight again. He looks for the finish with every strike he throws, and I wonder how his gas tank holds up.
Rafael Natal 9-7-1
Standing: 35 "Sapo" has never been more than a fringe striker, and now at 34, he's clearly well below average. He wasn't able to persuade Anders to wariness this fight, and—no matter how far he backpedeled—he couldn't avoid the left hands of Anders. For most of the fight, I couldn't tell if Natal had been hurt, and was on wobbly legs, or if he was just desperately trying to evade the pressure, and power punches of his opponent. Natal's UFC carreer TD defense % is 77%, but he was taken down by Anders, passed, and pounded on pretty hard.
Ground: 45 Natal is BJJ black belt with eight submission victories, but none since 2013. He missed his only takedown attempt this fight, but it's only been 18 mo. Since grappling-heavy performances against the likes of Kevin Casey, Tom Watson, and Chris Camozzi. Even when Natal is focusing on his base, he often looks to use takedowns to win rounds, and regain control, then finish the fight.
Overall: 40 Natal may see his name removed from the UFC's roster soon, considering he's lost three straight fights. He may get another shot; he's a long tenured member of the middleweight division, this was a short-notice opponent, and his other two losses during this streak were to Tim Boetsch, and the interim champion, Robert Whittaker. Natal has seemed like the guy just outside the top-15 who the UFC feeds to one of their favorites to give them a win—it generally works unless you're Uriah Hall...
Alex Oliveira 7-2 1 NC
Standing: 55 He is a plus athlete: power, burst, speed. His strikes don't look very technical, and he throws his right hand very loosely at times. 51% sig strike accuracy in UFC career. Demolished LaFlare with a right hand, and walked off Mark Hunt style. Despite being dragged down by LaFlare in the first, he has a good takedown defense % of 62%.
Ground: 50 Oliveira is well rounded. He has won fights by choosing to grapple instead. That's how he beat KJ Noons, three TDs first round submission, Joe Merritt, five TDs, James Moonstari, 2 TDs, Will Brooks, 4 TDs, and Tim Means, six TDs with a rear naked choke finish in the second. He averages 3.42 TDs per 15 minutes, which is more than one per round on average.
Overall: 55 Oliveira has now finished two quality welterweights, Ryan LaFlare and Tim Means, and before moving up he defeated Will Brooks at a catchweight (since Oliveira missed weight). He is an excellent athlete, and can win the fight standing or on the ground. Oliveira is more than a little wild with his techniques, and it can cost him, but he hasn't lost since Cerrone beat him in early 2016, when they were both still at lightweight. There's some new blood in the top ten at 170 lbs, and I think Oliveira belongs in there with Colby Covington and Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Ryan LaFlare 6-2
Standing: 45 LaFlare immediately closed distance, and initiated the clinch. However, he did not set up his takedowns, or level changes well with strikes, and this cost him when he got destroyed by a right on his way inside. He has below average power, and usually tries to keep the distance with leg kicks and a jab before changing levels and getting the fight to the ground. LaFlare has had good takedown defense in his UFC career.
Ground: 55 He immediately clinched with Oliveira, and was able to drag him to the ground. Once there he fended off a triangle, which left him in side control. He had great control, but did very little damage to Oliveira, while he was on top. He has a 50% TD accuracy in his UFC career, and averages 2.46 takedowns per 15 minutes. However, despite all of that top control, he only averages .2 submissions per 15.
Overall: 50 LaFlare is still 6-2 in the UFC. He has a few good wins too against John Howard, Mike Pierce, Court McGee, and even top-ten welterweight, Santiago Ponzinibbio. He is a very effective top control wrestler. However, he doesn't do enough damage, with either GnP or submissions, when he is able to get the fight to the ground, and pass guard. He's below-average standing, and can't go charging in to clinch.
Chase Sherman 2-2
Standing: 55 Looked well composed, taking the center of the octagon and controlling the distance. He was the more technical fighter on the feet. Good combinations that he consistently finished with a kick. Mixed in some nice knees from thai-clinch. Good variety of strikes, and he reacts to his opponent, striking what is offered, i.e. Grabowski covered his face, so Sherman unloaded a flurry of shots to the body. He hurt Grabowski's lead leg due to his leg kicks. Probably just average power at 265, but that's enough. Very active. Good at range, and in the clinch. Perfect 5-5 defending the takedown against a talented grappler. Sherman does have a penchant for blocking overhand rights with his head. He consistently just let Grabowski hit him, absorbing the blow. Well, that may work against Damian Grabowski, but it won't against many heavyweights. Somewhere Mark Hunt watched this fight, salivating.
Overall: 50 Sherman has now won two in a row, drawing even in four UFC fights. He has good size, and a great toolbox of skills on his feet. He's also yet to be taken down in the UFC. He is a smart striker as well, and capable of unloading in volume. Sherman does need to work on his strike defense, and should start trying to evade some of the shots he's absorbing. It's fun watching him get into slobber-knockers, but not the best way to preserve the longevity of his career, or winning streak. He's one to watch at 265 moving forward. I'm trying to think of the best matchup for Sherman. Curt Bladyes, Justin Willis, and Junior Albini are the three heavyweights coming off of wins the last month. Willis and Bladyes are both primarily grapplers, and Sherman just won a convincing decision against a grapple only heavyweight. Albini is a striker, but very young in his UFC career, and wouldn't want to match him up with Sherman at this stage. I suppose Bladyes would be the biggest test for Sherman. But, I think Sherman would destroy him on their feet.
Damian Grabowski 0-3
Overall: 25 Grabowski's headed out of the UFC after losing his first three fights in a row, including two first round T/KOs. He's a former BJJ champion in Poland and Europe, with 11 submission victories to his name. However, he was not able to put his grappling skills to use in the UFC. Grabowski lost convincingly in the stand up in each of his fights, and was unable to get to the ground at all.
Jeremy Kennedy 3-0
Standing: 40 He did not throw many meaningful strikes while standing. He has below average power. Some good knees from the clinch, but he was so effective at taking down Bochniak, that he rarely had time to throw from the clinch before they were on the ground. He did get hit quite a bit in the third round, when Bochniak was letting loose, but overall he had good strike defense. He has yet to be taken down in the UFC.
Ground: 55 Kennedy is very good at getting the fight to the ground. He was successful on 8 of his 14 takedown attempts, and is 56% during his UFC tenure. He also gets seven takedowns per 15 minutes, which is just shy of one every two minutes. Despite having so much top position on the ground, Kennedy was not always effective with GnP. He did land some good shots when Bochniak was trying to get up though. Kennedy has dominated his opponents on the ground in his first three UFC fights, but he has yet to earn a finish.
Overall: 45 Kennedy is an above-average grappler with good top control. However, he struggles to damage his opponent from those positions. He also lacks bite in his strikes. Kennedy has thus far been able to dominate due to his grappling prowess, but he's going to hit a wall when he is unable to take down opponents so easily.
Kyle Bochniak 1-2
Standing: 40 Arguably winning the striking exchanges on their feet, most definitively in the third round. Showed fringe-to-average power. Unable to stay upright, and was consistently taken down by Kennedy. Interestingly, Bochniak's takedown defense is actually a solid, 67% through three UFC fights, he was just overwhelmed by Kennedy.
Ground: 35 He did well defending once on the ground, was able to either keep guard, or fight back to guard, and did keep getting up. He was just quickly brought back down often enough.
Overall: 40 Bochniak is just 1-2 in the UFC. He was dominated by a bigger and more superior grappler this fight. But, even his stand up and boxing looks below average in this division. He will get another opportunity though.
Marlon Vera 4-2
Ground: 50 Vera clutched Kelleher's arm in the clinch, and held it as Kelleher swung him, and then took him down, with a seemless transition to an armbar, Vera won by submission in the first round. Vera's takedown accuracy is just 30% in his UFC career, and he averages less than one every 15 minutes. However, he is a good scrambler, and a BJJ black belt.
Overall: 45 Vera has now won three fights in a row, including finishes in his last two. The elite fighters at 135 are some of the p4p best: Cody, TJ, and Cruz, and the top ten is full of quality, save for Brian Caraway. I'd like to see more of Vera's stand up before declaring him an emerging fighter at bantamweight.
Brian Kelleher 1-1
Overall: 40 Kelleher's first two fights in the UFC both ended in the first round. He's lost by submission, and he's won by submission. This fight, he was very quick closing distance and changing levels. However, he had difficulty finishing the takedown until after Vera had his arm well controlled. He could have some success with pressure and grappling, but I don't see him as an average fighter in this division. He looks like fringy ground fighter and below average in the stand up.
265: Junior Albini def. Timothy Johnson TKO Rd. 1
Junior Albini 1-0
Standing: 50 Avoided the clinch well, and created separation after Johnson did press him against the cage. His hands look powerful and quick for the division. In addition to showing some heavy body kicks. He has good movement/foot work as he moves forward striking.
Overall: 45 It's difficult to grade newcomers, especially at heavyweight, where every guy should be able to knock the other one out with a good punch. Albini hasn't lost a fight since he competed at middleweight, and he now weighs 264 lbs. So, that was a long time ago. He's just 26, and looks like he could be an interesting prospect. The elite heavyweights are killers, so it's likely he will be brought along slow for now, but it's shallow division as far as quality contenders go.
Timothy Johnson 3-3
Standing: 35 Relentlessly pursues the clinch. Threw some knees from there once he got it. Looks like below average or fringe power for Heavyweight. Good takedown defense in his UFC career. Was leveled by a right hand from Albini.
Overall: 40 Johnson is that typical below-average heavyweight, who needs to grind out his opponent to win. The only way for him to have an exciting fight, is to see him get knocked out. Ok, that was not very nice. Johnson does his best work in the clinch, but Albini was able to create separation, and land a big shot. Johnson is not a versatile striker, and relies on pressure, and control in the clinch.
Shane Burgos 3-0
Standing: 55 Really good strike defense. Good boxing, pumping a jab often, and landing his overhand right with frequency. Average power ticks up due to precision of strikes, and technique. He knocked Pepey down on three occasions, but didn't want to risk following him to ground, where he potentially could finish the fight. He stuffed all fourteen of Pepey's takedown attempts.
Ground: 45 It was not a part of his game plan to go to the ground. However, he was still able to get a takedown on Pepey. It looks like he can produce some nasty ground and pound. Four of his first five professional wins came by submission, but he hasn't gotten one since then (five fights later).
Overall: 50 Burgos is a rising prospect at 145. He has good size, 5'11", and is just 26. He has good boxing, strike defense, and takedown defense, with just enough ability on the ground. He should get a big step up in competition next time out.
You can see I have Burgos rated ahead of Kennedy, who is another 3-0 145 lb. Prospect. I'd be willing to bet Burgos has the better career moving forward.
Godofredo Pepey 5-5
Standing: 40 After 10 UFC fights, Pepey still has little in the way of technique. He launches big looping overhands, and telegraphed high kicks. He has decent power though (I suppose that's the upside of throwing with all your might constantly. He moves a lot, but is easily countered when throwing a punch. He also doesn't have much in the way of takedown defense, although to be fair, Pepey is more than willing to give his opponent a takedown in order to get the fight tot he ground. Pepey can shock his opponents with a flying knee, as he did against Noad Lahat. However, his opponents are now expecting the wild strikes, and he has trouble surprising with those techniques now.
Ground: 45 Pepey's game plan often revolves around getting the fight to the ground. One problem: He cannot get a takedown himself. Through ten UFC fights, his takedown accuracy is 7%, SEVEN! Against Burgos he was 0-14. Pepey has long limbs, and exceptional acumen to throw up a submission out-of-nowhere. However, he often has to resort to pulling guard, or trying to scissor a triangle on in the air. Since most of his opponents are wise enough not to follow him to the ground now.
Overall: 40 It's amazing Pepey is .500 in the UFC. He simply is not very skillful, despite his experience inside the octagon. And since he hasn't learned yet, I'm willing to bet he never does. Still, he is extremely fun to watch, and never quits. He keeps trying to wing punches, kicks, and pull guard to sneak in a finish right up until the end of the fight.
Chris Wade 4-2
Standing: 35 Wade relies largely on his grappling. He throws strikes to set up takedowns, and to initiate the clinch. He is not active with his hands; he throws more kicks than punches. Well below average power. He has never finished an opponent by T/KO. In his UFC career he has landed just 1.7 sig strikes per minute.
Ground: 50 Very effective wrestler. He changes levels quickly to engage clinch. He was just 3 of 8 in takedown attempts. However, he had significant ground control in each round. Wade did not make the most of his opportunities on the ground though. He could not muster damaging ground and pound, even when in half guard or side control, instead choosing to stay top heavy and simply control his opponent. Wade did use a guillotine to reverse position in the third round.
Overall: 45 Wade has been able to carve out some wins in the UFC when he can out-grapple, and control his opponent. However, as we saw against Khabilov and Makhachev, he struggles when his grappling is neutralized (in those fights he was dominated on the ground himself, and he lacks the striking skills, or power, to win a fight on his feet.
Frankie Perez 1-3
Standing: 40 He was the more active fighter while standing, especially in the second and third rounds. Fringe power. Could not prevent Wade from closing distance, and latching onto him. Entertained Wade in the clinch at times when he could have/should have separated. Fringe power.
Ground: 40 He scored on 60% of his takedown attempts (3 of 5). However, he was not able to control Wade. On bottom, he did well to get back to guard when Wade passed, and limit damage, but was unable to get up at times, and spent large stretches on bottom, which cost him the fight. He isn't much of a threat to submit. He's attempted just .3 submissions per 15 minutes in the UFC.
Overall: 35 He's just 1-3 in the UFC, and isn't great at any particular skill. It's very possible this was his last fight, in a deep lightweight division.
All statistics used obtained from Fightmetric.com