Perhaps the only thing more dangerous than accepting a coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter is being heralded by Dana White as “the next Anderson Silva” while still participating on the reality show. Ten seasons ago, it was Phillipe Nover who drew the unjust and bombastic comparisons to the pound-for-pound king. Though a loss to Efrain Escudero — who would also become one of the show’s more notorious washouts — in the season’s finale may have not derailed his hype train entirely, his consecutive losses to Kyle Bradley (ouch.) and Robert Emerson (OH COME ON!) surely did. But just as every story has a happy ending, Nover now earns his living pushing the stretchers, not lying on them.
This past season, we were similarly informed that Uriah Hall was “the nastiest guy in Ultimate Fighter history,” and told by Chael Sonnen himself that Hall was not only at Silva’s level, but above it. To be fair, there was plenty of visual evidence to lend credence to this claim, but that didn’t stop newcomer Kelvin Gastelum from spoiling Hall’s championship run before it could even begin at the season’s finale.
In any case, if Hall doesn’t want to end up changing bedpans for crotchety geezers in the future (not that there’s anything wrong with that), he better bring his A-game when he meets fellow TUF-finalist Nick Ring at the much anticipated UFC on FOX Sports 1:1 card in August. That’s right, Bostonians, not only do we get Overeem vs. Brown, Alves vs. other Brown, Lauzon vs. Johnson, and (potentially) Henderson vs. Grant, but now we get to see Uriah Hall’s make-or-break fight in the UFC. Expect some Eddie Gordo-level shit to go down in this one, Potato Nation.
Ring is also coming of a disappointing loss — a split decision to Chris Camozzi at UFC 158 – and has dropped two of his past three fights. We don’t want to say that the chair will be kicked out from underneath him with a loss here, but the noose is surely tied around his neck and BROOKS WAS HERE has already been carved in the support beam above him, so to speak. Rita Hayworth.
Do any of you guys remember how Soa Palelei was pulled from UFC 161 for not being a big enough name and replaced by Roy Nelson? Well it looks like the move was ultimately a blessing in disguise for the Aussie, as he has been booked against octagon newcomer Nikita Krylov at UFC 164, which goes down from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee on August 31st.
Palelei was originally scheduled to face the highly-touted Stipe Miocic on June 15th, a fight that he was a sizable underdog heading into, but now finds himself facing a guy who not only calls himself “The Al Capone,” but dresses like him in his fighter profile picture.
Known by the everyday world as Nikita Krylov (why anyone with the name of a James Bond supervillain would want a nickname in the first place is beyond me), this 21 year-old has gone undefeated in 14 contests, with not one of those fights making it outside of the first round. Sounds intimidating, right? Not to worry; a quick gander over Krylov’s list of opponents reveals nine…count ‘em, NINE opponents with no professional wins, ONE fighter with over six fights to his credit, and TWO winning records. Krylov may be the most feared can-crusher in all of the Ukraine, but Soa Palelei is on a whole. notha. level of can-crushing notoriety here. Expect Palelei to come in as a heavy favorite.
And in injury-shuffling news, the hotly-anticipated lightweight bout between Edson Barboza and John Makdessi at UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman has suffered a minor setback, as Makdessi has gone down with an undisclosed injury. Replacing him will be Rafaello “Tractor” Oliveira, who has gone 1-2 in his second octagon stint. After suffering a particularly vicious and prolonged beating at the hands of Yves Edwards at UFC Live 6 in 2011, Oliveira fought just once last year, scoring a unanimous decision victory over Yoislandy Izquierdo at UFC 148. At least we will see a knockout is what we’re trying to say.