Well, another season of The Ultimate Fighter has officially come to a close, as the TUF Nations Finale went down last night from Quebec City, Quebec. While the event did not deliver as I thought it would, it did feature individual performances that we won’t soon forget. Tim Kennedy put on arguably his best performance, as he won a pretty clear decision over Michael Bisping. The victory by Kennedy is surprising because despite the fact that Bisping was not a heavy favorite, he was expected to easily outpoint Kennedy.
In the battle of coaches, Patrick Cote edged out Kyle Noke. The win gave team Canada a clean sweep, as earlier in the night, Elias Theodorou and Chad Laprise were named ultimate fighter winners at middleweight and welterweight, respectively. The main card was kicked off by a fight of the night performance by Dustin Poirier and Akira Corassani; a fight won by Poirier via TKO. Six of the eight undercard fights went to a decision. However, the prelims weren’t all bad. After all, it did give us two spectacular finishes, as K.J. Noons finished Sam Stout in 30 seconds and Ryan Jimmo KO’d Sean O’Connell in the first round.
The event, as a whole, gets a C- from me. But that was in the past. As is becoming a tradition in the MMA world, I will attempt to put on my best impersonation of Joe Silva and figure out what’s next for the winners of this event. Let’s take a look.
Dustin Poirier vs. the winner of Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens
Look, I understand that Poirier already has a loss to Cub Swanson, but that was before Poirier went on his current 3-fight winning streak. We all expect Chad Mendes to get the next crack at Aldo, so that leaves these three guys to sort out rankings 4-6 (Ricardo Lamas is number three). With Lamas out of the title picture for the foreseeable future, whoever comes out of this three man tournament, will be a legitimate challenger. The only way this doesn’t happen is if the winner of Swanson vs. Stephens fights the winner of Aldo vs. Mendes. It’s a win-win for the fans, no matter what happens. Poirier, or Poirier 2.0 as I like to call him, has been on a tear, lately. He absolutely deserves the winner of Swanson vs. Stephens, and I think that the UFC will ultimately agree.
Chad Laprise vs. K.J. Noons
Chad Laprise has already made it clear that he is dropping to 155, so a fight with Noons, who was also victorious last night, could be on the horizon. Look, I realize that this might be too much too soon for Laprise, but I am firm in my beliefs that we shouldn’t coddle ultimate fighter winners as much as we are used to. Besides, it’s not like Noons is a top 15 fighter, at the moment. A fight between these guys intrigues me for one reason, to see the brilliant striking exchanges that are sure to take place. Let’s find out if the UFC’s latest investment is a solid one.
Elias Theodorou vs. Cesar Ferreira
I totally get that the UFC usually matches up winners with winners, but surely they’ll make an exception for this fight. We all know that the UFC has an affinity for booking fights between winners of the ultimate fighter, which makes it all the more likely that this fight happens. Both Theodorou and Ferreira are massive middleweights with heavy hands and a solid base. Watching these two throw down would be the closest we ever get to watching Vitor fight TRT Vitor. Bad joke? I know, but shouldn’t you have expected that by now?
Patrick Cote vs. Mike Pyle
There comes a time when I have to pat myself on the back for booking such a great fight. This is one of those times. Both fighters, particularly Mike Pyle, have dramatically turned their careers around. Pyle is 5-1 in his last six, with his only loss coming via knockout to Matt Brown. Cote, who was once cut by the UFC, is now 3-1 since returning. This includes his current 3-fight winning streak. These guys probably aren’t going to get close to a title shot at 170, but that’s ok, because fights like this will put their value to the UFC on full display.
Tim Kennedy vs. Jacare Souza
On August 21, 2010, Jacare Souza fought Tim Kennedy for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight title. That fight was won by Jacare. Now, here we are nearly four years later, and that fight could happen again. In fact, it should definitely happen, with the winner getting a crack at the middleweight title. I understand that Kennedy is not the title contender everyone wants, but after his performance against Michael Bisping, how can he even be denied of his opportunity to earn a shot? We know that Lyoto Machida is getting the next shot at Chris Weidman. We also know that Vitor Belfort is waiting in the wings. The winner of this fight would make for a legitimate challenger after Machida and Belfort get their shots. Make it happen, UFC.
Other fights to make:
Sarah Kaufmann vs. the winner of Tate vs. Carmouche
Ryan Jimmo vs. Fabio Maldonado
George Roop vs. Mitch Gagnon
Mark Bocek vs. the winner of
Michael Chiesa vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Nordine Taleb vs. the winner of
Daniel Sarafian vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
Richard Walsh vs. George Sullivan