TUF 7 Episode 9

There is no way I can compete with some of the other sites TUF recaps and I don’t intend to.  For a great show recap check out MMAMania or MMAJunkie. However, I do want to say a few things about the show in general and episode 9. 

Thoughts on Episode 9:

The first fight of the quarter finals was Jesse Taylor vs. Dante Rivera.  This wasn’t much of a fight.  Jesse took Dante downeasily for two round and Dante laid there and took some punishment.  There was some frustration from fill in coach Ramapage that the corner kept yelling out every submission Dante attempted.  The bottom line is that neither guys was too impressive.  I will give Jesse Taylor credit that he got on top and did his thing.  He can win against anyone because he is so strong and big at middleweight.  He just isn’t very exctiing to watch.  Dante looked horrible.  I don’t know if Dante will fight at the finale, if he does I expect a match between him and Matthew Riddle as they have gone back and forth a bit in the house.  I think Riddle would destroy him.  I don’t even know if Dante really beat Brandon Sene in the first fight.  Anyways, Jesse won that fight easily, I don’t know if he even took a punch.

       The second fight of the quarterfinals was Amir Sadollah vs. Matt Brown.  During the interviews Matt Brown came across very confident and Amir came across very doubtful of himself.   Everyone knew this fight would be a war.  The first round featured a lot of stand up.  I honestly do not know who won the round.  It could be scored either way, but I would give it 10-9 to Matt Brown, but Amir did have the harder shots and stayed aggresive.  Round 2 came out and Amir got some good hits.  Finally, he took Brown down where he submitted him with a triangle choke.  Let me just tell you that Amir is for real.  He impressed Dana.  White said that he thought Amir had a great chin and great heart.  I agree.  Amir could shock people in this.  He didn’t impress me against Gerald Harris, but against Matt Brown he did great. He just lacks some confidence.  An Amir with confidence can be great.  Perhaps it isn’t quite his time, but if he could hook up with a solid camp he could be a force anywhere.  Nevertheless, he is no pushover now and is in the semifinals.

Next week we will see the other two quarter final matchs of C.B. Dolloway vs. Cale Yarbrough and Tim Credeur vs. Dan Cramer.  Cale appears to be C.B.’s sacrifical lamb.  Tim and Dan was said in the previews to be a brawl.  That may favor Dan even though Tim is the favorite to win that fight.  Also, we will see a feud between Jesse Taylor and the incredibly annoying Jeremy May.  It looks like he causes Taylor to flip his lid.  Additionaly, the semi-final match ups will be announced.

Thoughts of TUF 7 (In General):

Many people have been critical of this season of TUF and I know the ratings are down lower than ever, but I have enjoyed it.  The big complaint was all the antics in the house got too much attention.  I agreed.  I am thankful that the focus is on the fighters and on the fights.  Some episodes have even shown two fights.  I loved the fight to get on the show aspect, even though I don’t know if the best 16 got on the show.  I think the house antics undermined the intent of the show and for the casual viewer turned people off not just to The Ultimate Fighter, but to MMA.  The fighters in the house showed themselved season after season to be foul mouthed, disresectful, violent, and destructive.  I was entertained by it, but it doesn’t represent MMA well.  I think in a society which is skeptical of mixed martial arts, the fighters need to go above and beyond and show people that MMA fighters have class and character.  TUF highlighted the opposite. So I think this season of TUF has been great.  I have enjoyed the fights.  I don’t know how many of these guys will make it in the UFC, but they have put on some good shows.  I think the fighters are better than last season, where Mac Danzig was the favorite to win from day 1.  I think C.B. Dolloway and Tim Credeur are still the favorites to sqaure off in the finale and the most likely to make an impact in the UFC.  Both are capable top 10 guys at middleweight.  I also think that Amir has shown some skill and heart.  Jesse Taylor can ground and pound well and may have a UFC future.  I even think Matthew Riddle could do well, as can Gerlad Harris.  Dan Cramer is a great fighter, who I am excited to see fight next week against Credeur, and I think Cramer could surprise some people.  That means I am picking 7 guys to be around in the UFC in a year.  That would fit the mold well with other seasons.  TUF 1 has 8 guys still in the UFC, TUF 2 has 9, TUF 3 has only 3, TUF 4 has 6, but also featured just recently cut Lutter and Din Thomas.  TUF 5 has 8 guys still around the UFC.  TUF 6 has 6 guys, but msot likely many of them will be cut this year. 

 

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Which TUF Season Produced the Best Fighters?

1. TUF 1

TUF 1 saved the UFC.  Dana White acknowledges that the finale fight of Bonnar vs. Griffin was a defining UFC moment, perhaps that is why Griffin is getting a title shot.  In this season you have 2 or 3 guys that could hold a title eventually.  Kenny Florian is looking dominant.  Diego and Josh both are doing well as is Mike Swick in the welterweight divison.  Chris Leben may never win a title, but he is winning a lot.   

Notable Alumni: Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Nate Quarry, and Chris Leben

2. TUF 2

This may not have as many stud fighters as season 1, but season 2 was good and produced 4 serious contenders (Stevenson, Marcus Davis, Keith Jardine, and Rashad Evans).   

Notable Alumni: Joe Stevenson, Luke Cummo, Josh Burkman, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Marcus Davis, Jorge Gurgel, Melvin Guillard and Rob MacDonald

3. TUF 4

The comeback season was a success.  Travis Lutter lost to Anderson Silva, but still looked good.  We will see how he does against Rich Franklin.  We all know of Matt Serra winning against St. Pierre.  Clementi, Cote and Lytle all have looked good lately.  This season has a lot of names that UFC fans know. 

Notable Alumni: Travis Lutter, Charles McCarthy, Jorge Rivera, Rich Clementi, Pete Sell, Patrick Cote, Matt Serra, Chris Lytle and Din Thomas

4. TUF 5

This season is still developing talent.  However, these lightweights are all contenders. I think this season has 5 or so guys that could be top 15 material in a stacked divison. 

Notable Alumni: Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz, Manny Gamburyan, Matt Wiman, Cole Miller, Corey Hill

5.  TUF 3

Not a bad season, but disappointing as far as how these guys have done after the show.  Bisping has done fair and dropped to middleweight and we will see how he does there.  Matt Hamill may be the success story of this show.  Kendall Grove has fallen hard.  Ed Herman can rise some if he keeps winning.   

Notable Alumni: Kendall Grove, Kalib Starnes, Ed Herman, Micahel Bisping, Matt Hamill

6. TUF 6

This show was the weakest of all.  We will see the effects of it.  In two years there may be two or three guys in the UFC from TUF 6.  Mac Danzig was so much better than everyone else on this season.  George can be decent and do well in the UFC.  Tommy Speer is so raw.  Matt Arroyo has good skills, but we will see.  Guys like Koppenhaver and Rollins have earned some time in the UFC, but I doubt it will last.  Watch for Mac though to climb the lightweight ranks. 

Notable Alumni: Mac Danzig, Tommy Speer, George Sotiropolous

The effect of the Ultimate Fighter on the UFC

ultimate-fighter.jpg

There is a lot of talk about which UFC divison is the stongest.  I have discussed my opinion before, but I was curious which divison has been best bolstered by TUF. Below I listed each current UFC fighter and their current divison.  Some guys have fought in the UFC and left for other organizations so I did not include them.  Some guys have fought at one weight and dropped down recently like Michael Bisping.  I made my decison based not solely on numer of fighters, but quality fighters and number of contenders in the divison from TUF. Here is my evaluation…

The least bolstered is the Heavyweight divison, because there are no current UFC TUF alumni in that divison.  Evans and Jardine comepeted in Heavyweight and then dropped to lightheavyweight.

The fourth most bolstered is the middleweight divison.  There are 11 TUF alums in the middleweight divison currently and none are real contenders right now.  You have a bunch of second tier guys in: Travis Lutter, Ed Herman, Kendall Grove, Nate Quarry and Patrick Cote.  Some of those guys are close to breaking through to contender levels.  I would say your most succesful guy has been Chris Leben and I believe Michael Bisping will be a contender, but contender is a tough word in a divison where Anderson Silva owns the belt.  I don’t think these guys could beat the top 4 or 5 in that divison.

The third best divison is the lightheavyweight divison.  However, these five guys are all above average guys.  I consider three of them legit contenders in the divison (Griffin, Jardine and Evans) and I consider Bonnar and Hamill the best of the second tier guys.  Bonnar and Hamill are slated to fight in April, the winner will become a serious contender threat and break into the top 12 in that divison.  I put them below the others sheerly because they don’t have as many alums in the divison now.

To be honest the second and first was a toss up between the welterweight and lightweight divisons who have both benefited from TUF competitors dropping to their weight classes.  Here are my arguments for both.  The welterweight divison has a champ in Matt Serra.  Also one could argue that they have 2 other top five fighters in Koscheck and Sanchez, making TUF alums 3 of the top five in that divison.  If you throw Marcus Davis, who is a serious contender is the mix you have some good fighters, not to mention guys like Mike Swick who have just dropped down.  The jury is still out on the TUF 6 guys.  We will have to wait and see who will stick around the welterweigh divison.  I look for Speer, Sotiropplous, and Arroyo to make a little splash. 

The lightweight divison has the most TUF alums by far.  Obviously, Joe Stevenson has been the most successful and could get a title shot.  They also have another top five guy in their divison in Kenny Florian.  Joe Lauzon is set to fight Kenny and could move into seriosu contention if he pulls out a win.  I wouldn’t overlook guys like Mac Danzig, Nate Diaz, Cole Miller, Manny Gamburyan or Gray Maynard.  Din Thomas has proven himself well and Rich Clementi and Jorge Gurgel are no scrubs.

If you made me pick the most benefited from TUF I would say the lightweights, with the welterweights close behind.  It is kind of interesting to note that in 2008 at least 3 guys from TUF will get a title crack (Serra, Stevenson, and Griffin) and possibly more. 

TUF will continue to have an impact on the UFC for the good.  They hope to help out the middleweight divison, but likely good welterweights will bulk up to get on the show and the best of the next season will help the welterweight divison most.  In my opinion, they need to help out the middleweight, but in order to do so the show has to feature light heavyweights.  I look forward to see the new twists and turns of TUF 7, and to see the impact of the future TUF alumni on the UFC.  Ultimate Fighter has been Dana White’s best move and he admits is helped the UFC greatly.

Heavyweights:

None!

Light Heavyweights

  • Stephan Bonnar
  • Forrest Griffin
  • Keith Jardine*
  • Rashad Evans*
  • Matt Hamill

Middleweights

  • Chris Leben
  • Nate Quarry
  • Michael Bisping
  • Ed Herman
  • Kalib Starnes
  • Kendall Grove
  • Rory Singer
  • Travis Lutter
  • Charles McCarthy
  • Pete Sell
  • Patrick Cote

Welterweights

  • Diego Sanchez*
  • Josh Kosheck*
  • Mike Swick*
  • Josh Burkman
  • Luke Cummo
  • Marcus Davis
  • Matt Serra
  • Chris Lytle
  • Tommy Speer
  • George Sotiropolous
  • Matt Arroyo

Lightweights

  • Kenny Florian**
  • Joe Stevenson*
  • Jorge Gurgel*
  • Melvin Guillard*
  • Rich Clementi*
  • Din Thomas*
  • Gray Maynard
  • Matt Wiman
  • Joe Lauzon
  • Rob Emerson
  • Corey Hill
  • Nate Diaz
  • Manny Gamburyan
  • Cole Miller
  • Mac Danzig*

*Is now fighting in a different divison than he competed in under TUF