MMA Gradebook: Rating Every Fight From UFC 240

By: Kevin Wilson
Jul 29, 2019
If you didn’t see Saturday’s UFC 240 card live, but like me you can’t miss out on a single fight, you’re in for a long night. The past few weeks have been rough for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and this card was no different. Very few finishes -- or even close fights for that matter -- and the event didn’t have the star power to begin with. I suggest skipping most of the card as not many fights got above an average rating but there were some surprises throughout the night.

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 UFC 240: Holloway vs. Edgar.

Erik Koch vs. Kyle Stewart

Longtime UFC veteran Koch returns to the Octagon for just the fifth time in 5 years, notably moving up to welterweight after a career spent primarily at 145 pounds, to take on Kyle Stewart who is looking to get his first UFC win after dropping his debut earlier this year. Most of this fight took place on the ground and the winner was rather dominant, so we didn’t get many good grappling exchanges and the striking exchanges were few and far between. [2.0]

Gillian Robertson vs. Sarah Frota

Promising American Top Team prospect Gillian Robertson steps inside the Octagon for the second time this year to take on Frota, who moves up to flyweight after missing the strawweight limit by a whopping eight pounds in her UFC debut in February. Just like the previous bout, most of this fight took place on the ground but this was much more exciting. Both women reversed and ended up in dominant positions to get off some good offense, but the winner’s grappling was on another level. [3.0]

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

The flyweight division is not dead, as we kick off the ESPN prelims between two top-5 fighters who could be fighting for the next shot at Henry Cejudo’s smaller belt. Pantoja is coming in on a three-fight winning streak while Figueiredo is coming off a loss to Jussier Formiga just four months ago. This was by far the best fight of the night and proved once again why we need the flyweight division. Back and forth action on the feet for the entire fight and multiple near finishes and momentum shifts earn this one 4 stars.

Gavin Tucker vs. Sung Woo Choi

Nearly two years after having his perfect record -- and his jaw -- busted by Rick Glenn, Canada’s own Tucker returns to the Octagon to take on Choi, who is still looking to get his first UFC win after losing his debut three months ago. Most people probably rated this higher but after a couple of boring grappling affairs earlier in the night, the last thing I wanted to see was Tucker shoot for 13 takedowns. But this was far from a bad fight so this gets an average rating. [2.0]

Hakeem Dawodu vs. Yoshinori Horie

Former World Series of Fighting standout Dawodu returns to the Octagon for the first time this year to take on the debuting Horie who went 8-1 in Pancrase. This would have received the highest rating of the night if it was a remotely close fight but it still ended up giving us some of the best action of the night and the winner looked like a top contender. [3.0]

Alexis Davis vs. Viviane Araujo

Former title challenger Davis returns to action for the second time in just four months to take on Araujo who won her first UFC fight two months ago. Both women threw a high volume of strikes and kept a breakneck pace for all three rounds. Outside of the five-round main event, these two combined for the most strikes thrown on the night. The fight could have gone either way, but it was the takedowns from the winner that sealed the victory. [3.0]

Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Krzysztof Jotko

This fight is an absolute must-watch for the winner's celebration at the end but the actual fight was nothing special. The fight was close and delivered a few good exchanges on the feet but nothing above average. [2.0]

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Arman Tsarukyan

“The Canadian Gangster” returns to fight in his home country after losing two in a row for the first time in his career. He steps in the cage with the 22-year-old Tsarukyan, who impressed in his debut earlier this year. Yet another grappling-heavy fight with not much action. The winner looked better than ever and will certainly be a top contender in the future. [2.0]

Geoff Neal vs. Niko Price

Rising contender Neal steps inside the Octagon for the fifth time to take on Price, who is coming off a “Performance of the Night” victory over Tim Means in March. Finally, a good fight. I was torn on this or Pantoja vs. Figueiredo as the fight of the night and I finally decided they were on the same level for very different reasons. Both men pushed the pace for the entire fight and the loser kept coming forward and forcing exchanges in the pocket no matter how much damage he was taking. If you only watch one fight from this card, make it a coin flip between this and the flyweight bout. [4.0]

Cristiane Justino vs. Felicia Spencer

One of the greatest fighters this sport has ever seen starts her comeback tour tonight against fellow former Invicta FC champion Felicia Spencer. I absolutely didn’t expect this fight to go down how it did, but I’m happy it did. People expected Cyborg to run away with this one and instead we got a rather close fight that was the perfect primer for the main event. [3.0]

Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar

The greatest featherweight of all time returns to the Octagon to defend his title against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in a fight that has been years in the making. Holloway is coming off a brutal loss to Dustin Poirier just four months ago while Edgar hasn’t fought in over a year. I hate to say it, but this was the most average fight I have ever seen. I expected either a quick finish or a five-round war and we got neither. Holloway picked him apart for most of the fight but wasn’t near as urgent as usual and didn’t do anything for his legacy in my mind even with the win. Edgar did exactly what I thought he would do but at 37 years old he just doesn't have the athletic step he needed to compete with Holloway. I was disappointed in this fight but lots of fans loved it so don’t take my word for it. [2.0]

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