MMA Gradebook: Rating Every Fight From UFC 234

By Kevin Wilson Feb 10, 2019
If you’re like us and watch an absurd amount of mixed martial arts each week, you probably wished there was some sort of rating system so you’re not forced to sit through a boring fight waiting for something to happen. In order to help, we at Sherdog rate the fights on major cards for your convenience. If you happen to miss an event, check back here for ratings so you can pick and choose which bouts to watch and which to skip.


Fights are ranked on the scale shown here, based on competitiveness, the skill and technique on display, excitement, and the story and drama of the contest. However, just because a fight is one-sided doesn't mean it receives a bad rating. Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega, for example, would have scored high for Holloway’s showcase of technique and the overall drama despite it being a one-sided domination. With that out of the way, let's get into this week’s bouts.

Jonathan Martinez vs. Wuliji Buren

Fantastic back-and-forth grappling exchanges throughout the fight and some decent action on the feet earn the opening fight of the card a 3-star rating. Martinez was winning all of the striking exchanges but once the fight hit the ground it was anybody’s fight. Martinez ended up edging out a unanimous decision for his work on the feet. [3.0]

Jalin Turner vs. Callan Potter

Jalin Turner wasted no time getting his first UFC win, knocking out Potter in just 51 seconds. Potter almost locked up an armbar in the opening minute, but Turner got back to his feet and hit him with a lightning-quick 1-2 that dropped him, then finished the fight with ground-and-pound. Quick finish and an impressive showing by Turner get this fight 3 stars.

Kyung Ho Kang vs. Teruto Ishihara 3.5

Both men decided to stand and trade in the pocket from the very beginning of the fight and put on a show for the fans. Kang caught Ishihara in one of these wild exchanges in the pocket and quickly took his back and locked up a rear naked choke for the win. The crazy exchanges in the pocket and a first-round finish get this fight 3.5 stars.

Kai-Kara France vs. Raulian Paiva

Great back-and-forth action on the feet but nothing special enough to give this more than a slightly above-average rating. Paiva landed 11 more total strikes than France, but France’s strikes were more damaging and the two takedowns he landed allowed him to edge out a split decision victory. [2.5]

Shane Young vs. Austin Arnett

Young controlled the fight from bell to bell, but Arnett kept coming forward with combinations in the pocket. Young nearly finished the fight with just seconds to go, but Arnett was able to survive, and Young went home with a unanimous decision victory. The insane volume of strikes by both men and Arnett never seeming out of the fight despite clearly losing gets this one 3 stars.

Devonte Smith vs. Dong Hyun Ma

Fairly stagnant fight until the finish late in the first round that saw Smith drop Ma and finish him with ground-and-pound. If you missed this fight just skip to halfway through the first round and watch from there. Outside of the finish nothing much happened, so this fight gets an average rating. [2.0]

Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey

Although this was a horrible stoppage, this fight still gets a slightly above-average rating for the awkward finish alone. Crute dropped Alvey with a beautiful counter right hook, but walked away as if the fight was finished and allowed Alvey to get to his feet. Alvey was hurt, dropped again and finished with ground and pound. Alvey jumped right up after the finish and complained to the referee and it was sad to see this happen to Alvey again. [2.5]

Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem

The first round was mostly spent on the ground with De La Rosa on top looking to improve position but not striking enough. Midway through the second round, De La Rosa locked up a mounted triangle and switched between the triangle and an armbar before finally getting the victory with the armbar. Boring first round but the finish in the second gets this fight an average rating. [2.0]

Ricky Simon vs. Rani Yahya

Although Simon dominated the fight, Yahya never seemed out of it and landed some good right hands throughout that kept this exciting. Amazing performance by Simon as he picked Yahya apart on the feet and rarely let the fight hit the ground where Yahya is most comfortable. Yahya’s comeback in the second round after a likely 10-8 in the first and Simon’s showcase of technique earn an above average rating. [3.0]

Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Mariano

One of the worst co-main events of all time on paper ended up being a good fight that saw Vannata win by a last-second kimura in the first round. Vannata is predominantly a striker, but he took this fight to the ground early, landed some good ground-and-pound and locked up the kimura to top off the round. [2.5]

Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva

Although the rest of the card was fantastic, with the title fight canceled on the day of Silva and Adesyana needed to put on a show for the fans and they did just that. Many expected Adesyana to run away with this one but Silva showed at 43 years old he is still dangerous on the feet and can put up a good fight with one of the brightest young contenders on the roster. There was also an amazing showcase of technique throughout the fight and both men were routinely throwing unorthodox strikes. Adesyana was looking for the hook kick early on and even threw an inside crescent kick as a bit of a homage to Silva. Silva kept throwing the “Hugnado” kick which is a spinning heel kick to the legs that kickboxer Andy Hug popularized in the 80s and 90s. You don’t see these often and it's always a treat to see fighters using techniques that Hug revolutionized decades ago. This was a surprising back-and-forth fight that saw Adesyana win a close unanimous decision and definitely deserves the highest rating on the card. [4.0]

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