This past Saturday night, the UFC managed to put together a decent card, despite all the setbacks they suffered during the way. Following former bantamweight champion being forced to withdraw from his rematch against champion T.J. Dillashaw, UFC newcomer Joe Soto received the call just an hour before weigh-ins to step in for Barao. Without hesitation, Soto jumped on his chance to fight for the title in his first UFC fight. Although he lost, Soto put on a valiant effort and proved he is more than worthy of competing in the UFC.

So, how did all the main card fighters perform? It’s time for the official unofficial professor of The MMA Corner to dish out some grades.

Damon Jackson—D

The former ShoFights champion didn’t have the most impressive UFC debut. However, you do need to take the fact that he was making his promotional debut on the main card of a pay-per-view event. That added pressure plus Octagon jitters ended up not being a very good night for Jackson, as he was pretty much dominated by Yancy Medeiros. Speaking of Medeiros…

Yancy Medeiros—B

Medeiros controlled this fight from the time the horn sounded to start the match until he secured the fight ending reverse guillotine choke. Yancy looked on point, but you also have to take his opponent into consideration when giving him his grade. Had he had this performance against someone who had already established himself in the UFC, his grade would have been much higher. But under the circumstances he was given, he put on a solid B performance.

Carlos Diego Ferreira—A

Most within the media believed if Ferreira was going to win this fight, he was going to need to take the fight to the ground and either outwork or submit Ramsey Nijem. Ferreira surprised most everyone watching when he was able to take out Nijem with his incredibly improved striking en route to scoring a TKO victory in the second round.

Ramsey Nijem—D+

I was very tempted to give Nijem an F, but how could he have predicted that the ground wizard Ferreira’s striking would be so good? Odds are Nijem believed the fight would be contested on the mat. He was schooled on his feet and nobody saw that coming.

Shayna Baszler—C- – – – -

Her performance wasn’t so bad when you factor everything Baszler had going against her. First, she had not fought in a year and nine months. Second, she was up against an undefeated, very skilled fighter in Bethe Correia. Baszler put up a good fight in the first round, but the ring rust kicked in the second round.

Bethe Correia—B

Yes, Correia was put against one of the pioneers of WMMA. However, as I already mentioned, her performance possibly looked a little better than it was given everything her opponent had going against her. But nonetheless, the undefeated Correia proved she is a force to not be overlooked in the woman’s bantamweight division.

Tony Ferguson—B+

While this wasn’t the best Ferguson we have seen in the Octagon, he still put on a great performance against Team Alpha Male’s Danny Castillo. The first round was all Ferguson. While he was being laid on for the last 1:30 of the second round, Ferguson still did enough while the fight was on the feet to win the round. The fight ended up being a split-decision victory for Ferguson, in a fight that was actually scored correctly for a change.

Danny Castillo—D-

Castillo’s biggest accomplishment in this fight is earning the title of being the first person in the UFC to score a takedown against Ferguson. He didn’t mount much offence, but he did do enough in the third round to make that an easy round to score for him. His argument for winning the second was pretty weak; just because you’re on top of someone who is working submissions, landing strikes, and being active from their back does not win you the round. Sorry, that’s just not how it works.

Joe Soto—B

We all have to admit Soto did not fight like the 10-1 underdog the betting line suggested he was. He took the bout on less than one day’s notice, he had just fought three weeks prior, and he still managed to hang tough with the best bantamweight in the world. Not only did he hang tough, he landed some great strikes that had T.J. Dillashaw’s face busted up at the end of the fight. While he was on the wrong end of the head kick that would end up ending the fight, Soto shocked everyone who thought this was going to be a squash match.

T.J. Dillashaw—A

Dillashaw proved Saturday that he is a real fighter. Most champions would have decline a fight against a new opponent just mere moments before the weigh-ins were set to take place, but Dillashaw not only wanted to put on a show in front of his hometown fans, but also prove that he is the best bantamweight in the world. With the possible exception of the second round, Dillashaw put on a great show and a great fight for all that were watching, and ended the fight in the last round with a beautiful head kick.

Dillashaw is the real deal.

About The Author

Jason Lundgren

I have been an MMA reporter/opinion writer for over 10 years. I play WAY too many video games. I'm not on Twitter much, but follow me @JLundgrenSports