UFC Fight Night 32: Grades for All Main Card Fighters
UFC Fight Night 32 was a heck of an event. Only two fights went to the scorecards, and seven of the bouts ended in the first round.
Vitor Belfort defeated Dan Henderson in the first round by KO. It was the first time Henderson has ever been put out in that fashion.
Ten other fights lined the card to help position it as one of more exciting of the year. The fighters put on a show in Brazil.
These are your grades for the main card fighters at UFC Fight Night 32.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Rony Jason
Rony Jason: D
I find it difficult to "fail" a fighter in a quick fight when he just got caught. A failure, to me, generally takes more than 40 seconds to accomplish.
Jason ducked his head at the wrong time, ate a head kick and went to sleep.
Jeremy Stephens: A
Stephens is seeing a resurgence at his new weight. This makes two impressive performances.
His knockout power is alive and well at 145 pounds, and he showed it on Saturday night. He looked fantastic at the weigh-in. This could be a move that slots him inside the rankings in the near future.
The featherweight division features a lot of power and plenty of unfavorable matchups for him. However, we will need to see him tested against those fighters to see if he still has the same issues at the new weight. But right now, he looks phenomenal.
Ryan LaFlare vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Santiago Ponzinibbio: C
Ponzinibbio was unable to win a round, but he was never completely out of the fight.
His best offense came in the second round. He had LaFlare running away, but he was unable to capitalize on his strikes. When he was taken down, he battled back to his feet.
He needs to work on his takedown defense, but overall he showcased some decent skills.
Ryan LaFlare: B
What LaFlare does isn't particularly pretty, but it is effective.
He stifled Ponzinibbio and came up with some excellent ground work. His use of the omoplata to reverse Ponzinibbio in the third round was fantastic. He moved his UFC record to 2-0, and his development as a fighter should be interesting to watch.
If he can develop his striking, he will be a dangerous fighter in the mid-tier of the division.
Brandon Thatch vs. Paulo Thiago
Paulo Thiago: F
Thiago has had a rough UFC career. The tough welterweight drew some of the toughest fighters of the division right out of the gate and proceeded to be a good measuring stick for others.
That's what he was on Saturday, and Brandon Thatch snapped the stick in half.
Tapping to strikes is almost an immediate F.
Brandon Thatch: A
Thatch entered the UFC with some hype, and through two fights, he has surpassed all that was said about him.
Destroying someone like Thiago is a big step forward in the welterweight division. This should set Thatch up for bigger and brighter things in the division.
In a night of quick performances, it is hard to say anything more.
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Igor Pokrajac
Igor Pokrajac: F
Pokrajac had a rough night. He didn't get a chance to show his stuff, and that would have resulted in a D grade. So why the F?
He tapped to strikes.
Rafael Cavalcante :A
"Feijao" had a poor UFC debut and some disappointing performances throughout his career. However, on Saturday, he looked sensational.
He destroyed Pokrajac in exciting fashion. That should earn him a nice fight in the light heavyweight division. He only needed to put in 78 seconds of work.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Daniel Sarafian
Cezar Ferreira and Daniel Sarafian: C-
This fight sucked the life out of the arena and everyone watching on television.
Why not a D or below? Because while the fight was a dud, they showed some fight IQ. When Ferreira sensed trouble, he took Sarafian down. Fight intelligence deserves to be rewarded.
And honestly, he might have finished Sarafian with the arm-triangle had Mario Yamasaki not stood them up for an unknown reason. If he lost the submission, he would have still been in side control. Part of this fight's blame belongs to the ref.
The fight was a snoozer, but the combatants redeemed themselves by at least showing some fight IQ.
Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson
Dan Henderson: D
It's hard to give someone an F when he simply got caught by one of the greatest finishers in MMA history. On the flip side, it's difficult to give him anything but a D.
This may be the end of the road for Henderson in the UFC. It was a disappointing result. There's not much to break down.
Vitor Belfort: A
Another brutal finish. This time over one of the toughest men in the sport.
Belfort solidified himself as a contender in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. There is a lot of discussion about his use of TRT, but he's abiding by the rules in place. We may not like it, but it is allowed and not illegal.
He's exciting. He's scary. He's "The Phenom."