MMAjr Staff Grades: UFC on FOX 13 edition

Josh Hedges|Zuffa LLC|Zuffa LLC Following every event, the MMAjr staff grade the event based off of how stacked the card was, how good the fights were, finishes, and more.  They also grade the winning main card fighters on their performances. UFC on FOX 13 took place live from the US Airways Center in Phoenix on Saturday, Dec. 13.  In the main event, Junior dos Santos defeated Stipe Miocic in a close decision following a 25-minute war.  Co-headlining the event, Raphael dos Anjos earned a title shot with a dominant win over Nate Diaz. EVENT GRADES Nick: I’m going to give UFC on FOX 13 an A.  Like I expected, the event featured great matchups, exciting finishes, and was very stacked for a free event.  I enjoyed the main card very much, and both preliminary cards were also fantastic.  I probably would've given the event an A+ but there were a few strange and disappointing moments. For example, a middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Ed Herman was cancelled because Brunson fell ill on fight day, and Jamie Varner knocked himself out and following the fight retired. Also, Joe Riggs also strangely tapped out and he said in a backstage FOX interview he said he tapped because he thought his neck was severely injured.  Nevertheless, I loved the event, one of my favourites of this year. Chris: UFC on FOX 13 was pretty entertaining from start to finish, therefore earning an A. The FOX cards always have lots of good match ups on it and this one remained the same. Very few heavyweight fights excite me going in, but this had a few intriguing match ups between highly ranked heavyweights. The main event between dos Santos and Miocic was one of the best heavyweight fights of recent memory. It was another weird night for MMA as we saw punches after bells, controversial 'sucker punches', two fights ending due to self injury, and lastly some 'Stockton slaps'. It was certainly an entertaining night and another successful FOX card. FIGHTER GRADES Junior dos Santos Nick: This was a very tough fighter to grade because it was far from a dominant performance, but still got the better half of his opponent in a 'Fight of the Night' affair. I'll give the former champion a B just for effort, he kept fighting despite clearly slowing down in the later rounds.  He gave Miocic the toughest fight of his fourteen fight career, and 'Cigano' had far from a perfect performance.  He was hit a lot, taken down once, and was in trouble a few times throughout the five-round war. Chris: It may seem harsh, but I am going to give Junior dos Santos a C+. 'Cigano' did come out victorious and proved once again why he is the second best heavyweight in the world, but it was a much tougher fight than many expected. Stipe Miocic proved that he is among the best heavyweights and deserves only the toughest opponents, but dos Santos just didn't look the same. Dos Santos has taken so many beatings and this was another one. It was really almost hard to watch. Dos Santos is truly too tough for his own good. Miocic landed a multitude of punches that would knock almost anyone out, but the former UFC Heavyweight Champion stayed in it. It was a very entertaining fight and that is the only kind of fight that Junior dos Santos takes part in, but I wonder about his future and how much more damage he could take. The choice is obviously his and he will decide what is best, but I don't know how much longer I want to see him take this kind of punishment. Rafael dos Anjos Nick: I cannot give the future title challenger Dos Anjos anything other than an A+ for his dominant decision win over Diaz.  He displayed excellent striking, mixed in some takedowns, and landed dozens of deadly leg kicks that almost took Diaz's legs out from right under him.  His game plan was picture perfect, and you cannot get a more dominant victory than his at UFC on FOX 13. Chris: Rafael dos Anjos deserves an A+ without question. He has now put together the two best performances of his career in back-to-back fights. Dos Anjos came in with a perfect game plan and absolutely dominated Nate Diaz like not many have before. Although Khabib Nurmagomedov soundly beat him only eight months ago, he is injured and dos Anjos is clearly deserving of a chance at the UFC Lightweight Championship. Alistair Overeem Nick: First round finishes are always tough to grade, but I'm going to give 'Reem' a B+.  He was expected to win here in amazing fashion, and yes, he did pickup a first round stoppage win but it wasn't ridiculously impressive.  He did not pickup an overhand right knockout, but instead laid deadly ground and pound on 'Skyscraper'.  He actually went for a takedown, despite having K-1 champion credentials.  His game plan was good against the almost seven foot tall Stefan Struve, not allowing him to use his range on the feet and long limbs on the ground. Chris: Alistair Overeem finally got back on track and for that he deserves a B. Overeem surprised many and took the fight down and absolutely dominated Struve. Overeem clearly had a great game plan to nullify the reach of Struve and he executed it to perfection and was able to finally put an opponent away. Matt Mitrione Nick: Similar to Overeem's finish, Mitrione picked up a quick TKO win over Gabriel Gonzaga so I'll give him a B+ as well.  Before the first round stoppage, he was tagged once or twice, but ultimately his rapidly improving striking got the best of the former title challenger and he got the job done early. Chris: Matt Mitrione continues to grown and improve in the octagon with every fight. Once again, Mitrione made quick work of his opponent as he picked up the TKO victory over the former title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga. He has shown strides in improvement and has looked next to perfect in the last couple fights he has had. This performance by Mitrione deserves a grade of an A.

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