MMA Gradebook: Rating Every Fight From UFC 243

By Kevin Wilson Oct 7, 2019

The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 243 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.

If you’re like us and watch an absurd amount of mixed martial arts each week, you probably wish there were 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 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 below, based on competitiveness, the skill and technique on display, excitement, and the story and drama of the contest. Wherever possible, the fights are described without spoiling the outcomes. Here's the MMA Gradebook for


Bruno Silva vs. Khalid Taha

Dominant performance from Taha, but this was still a fun fight. Silva came forward no matter how much damage he took, but Taha took him down in the third round and locked up an arm-triangle for the finish. It would have been nice if this fight had been closer, but it was still a good way to kick off the night.

Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim

A fantastic fight between two unknown but interesting future contenders. Kim was just more experienced and the better all-around fighter, and she picked Kassem apart for nine-plus minutes before finishing her late in the second round. Keep your eye on both women, as Kassem is just 23 years old and already looks promising.

Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn dos Santos

This was a tune-up fight for Anderson, and she put on the best performance of her career with a quick submission finish against Fairn dos Santos. This was Anderson’s first fight in her native country since 2014, and she certainly put on a show for the home crowd.

Jamie Mullarkey vs. Brad Riddell

For those looking for a wild fight that hit all three levels of fighting -- striking, grappling and clinch -- then this is the must-watch fight of the night. If you are looking for a closely contested bout with high-level technique, this is not the fight for you. The third round of this fight looks to be a contender for “Round of the Year,” but the winner was never really in trouble, which keeps the match from achieving five-star status.

Callan Potter vs. Maki Pitolo

It was a wild back-and-forth fight on the feet, but things got stagnant once they hit the ground. However, the striking exchanges throughout were enough to give this 3.5 stars. Potter had five minutes of top control time, which ended up winning him the fight.

Jake Mathews vs. Rostem Akman

This was not a bad fight, but compared to the rest of the card, it lacked anything to set it apart. Matthews handled Skman across three rounds and landed 61 of 136 strikes thrown to Akman’s 15 of 110. Matthews is now 8-4 in the UFC, and at just 25 years of age, he has plenty of time to round out his game and become a serious title contender.

Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro

Lately, the heavyweights have not been putting on great fights, but Tafa and De Castro broke that mold. Just when it seemed Tafa was getting the better of De Castro, the Dana White’s Contender Series alum landed a beautiful counter right hook that sent Tafa flying to the canvas for the knockout victory.

Dhiego Lima vs. Luke Jumeau

Too much action for a zero, but this was the one must skip fight of the night.

Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergey Spivak

Some may disagree with this rating since the fight had a lot of stagnant action on the ground, but the story behind the fight provides the reason for the high rating. This seemed like the classic UFC trick of putting a fighter like Spivak against someone it thinks could be a top star one day in Tuivasa and expecting the latter to put on a show in front of his home crowd. Instead, Spivak dominated the fight on the ground from the get-go and finished Tuivasa with a beautiful arm-triangle midway through the second round. Spivak is only 24 years old and could soon have a number next to his name.

Dan Hooker vs. Al Iaquinta

While most expected this fight to be closer, Hooker’s brilliant performance earns it an above-average rating. Hooker tripled the amount of strikes Iaquinta landed, and outside of a few moments, he was never really in danger. His outside striking and ability to keep the fight at his range looked unstoppable, and it would not be all that surprising to see him fighting for a title sometime in next few years.

Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya

If this fight was a bit closer or lasted longer, it might have netted five stars. Nevertheless, it wound up being the best fight on the card. Whittaker seemed like he knew he could not sit on the outside and outstrike the rangy Adesanya, so he pushed the pace and swung wild in the pocket. He landed a few nice right hands, but almost every time he came forward, Adesanya met him with a counter right hook. Midway through the second round, Whittaker forced a wild exchange in the pocket and landed a right hand, but the always-quick Adesanya countered with two consecutive right hands that set up the technical knockout and crowned a new undisputed king at 185 pounds. Advertisement

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