You know, it really speaks volumes about what The Ultimate Fighter has become when the greatest display of MMA from the past season came during an event that featured next to none of the show’s participants. Add in the fact that the Ricci/Smith “finale” was the MMA equivalent of watching two illiterates play Scrabble (BRYNDEX is so a word!) and that should give you a good indication of the Tijuana back-alley abortion that TUF 16 truly was. Hell, 12 of the show’s 16 contestants have already been cut from the UFC’s roster and even the coaches couldn’t care less.
What does this all add up to? Mainly, a payout that is as abysmal as the show itself, save a few exceptions. Granted, the money almost seems fair considering the talent levels of the guys involved, but we’ll be damned if it isn’t semi-depressing to look at all the same. So check out the salaries along with our thoughts after the jump and let us know who you think got royally screwed.
If you haven’t been keeping up with a television series, taking the time on a Saturday night to watch the series finale is a gigantic waste of time. Heading into the finale of a season that we could not have cared less about, the UFC realized that they were facing this exact problem. The promotion realized that if the finale was going to generate any kind of interest, it would have to actually place as little emphasis as possible on the fighters from the show. Rather than focusing on the contestants, the finale was a card packed with current UFC talent.
In an effort to ensure that this wouldn’t backfire, the promotion made sure that the guys filling in for whoever was actually on this season of The Ultimate Fighter were guys you’ve heard of. One great fight led to another great fight, and pretty soon we were anticipating one of the best free shows we’ve been given in a while. As we wrote yesterday, on paper, this card wasn’t so much a TUF Finale as it was a genuinely stacked lineup of free fights that included one main card match between two guys you’ve never seen before.
Even though injuries scrapped the fight between this season’s coaches (as is tradition), and Jamie Varner was forced off of the card at the last minute (more on that later), this event exceeded all of our expectations. Actually, that puts things too mildly: this may have been, top to bottom, the best event of 2012. Let that sink in: A TUF Finale produced a legitimate candidate for Event of the Year – when was the last time we’ve been able to say THAT?
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t watched a single episode of The Ultimate Fighter this season. (Spoiler alert: You haven’t). Tonight’s TUF 16 Finale on FX is still one of the greatest free cards of the year, partly because there aren’t any TUF also-rans mucking it up.
Taking us through the play-by-play this evening is Level 8 Liveblog Wizard Anthony Gannon, who will be updating us with main card results after the jump beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and please, please, please, leave us some comments in the comments section.
We know it’s confusing, so we’ll try to make this as clear as possible…
- The weigh-ins for tomorrow night’s TUF 16 Finale are scheduled for today at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT, and you can watch them live in the player above. We’ll be liveblogging the FX main card broadcast tomorrow night beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
(“I’m sorry, you were saying something about The Ultimate Fighter picking guys with silly gimmicks over those with actual talent nowadays?”)
Last weekend, the UFC dropped off one of the most stacked cards of the year in our lap for free. This weekend, not so much. Make no mistake, we will be treated to two, count ‘em two free fight cards this weekend, but both events will have to do a lot in the exciting finishes department to compensate for the lack of drawing power they posses, especially when compared to the bird-flipping, toothpick-chewing, f-bomb-dropping goodness that was UFC on FOX 5.
Kicking off the weekend’s action will be UFC on FX: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson, which kicks off live on FX via tape delay starting at 9 p.m. EST. Although it’s been dubbed a UFC on FX event, we might as well refer to it by what it truly is, the TUF: Smashes Finale, because in no other universe could you justify having two middle of the pack lightweights (or whatever Pearson is these days) coming off losses headline an FX card. The man in clown attire pictured above apparently made it all the way to the finals, which should either tell you that the UFC has completely given up on finding actual talent on TUF these days or that you should stop being so damn judgmental. Either way, I haven’t seen an episode of the show, which takes us to Saturday’s event…
Keeping with the tradition established in the last ten or so seasons of the American version of TUF, on Saturday we will be treated to a TUF Finale event that pits one of the show’s coaches against a complete outsider due to the other coach suffering an injury. There’s also the welterweight finals matchup between Colton Smith and Mike Ricci — two guys we’re sure you’re familiar with — so join us after the jump to get the inside scoop on the fights you might actually be interested in seeing this weekend.
Barry’s last Octagon appearance ended in a TKO loss to Lavar Johnson, which dropped his UFC record to 4-5. Meanwhile, Del Rosario suffered the first defeat of his career during his promotional debut at UFC 146, when he was steamrolled by Stipe Miocic. In other words, a bad loss for either fighter could seriously reduce his job security. Considering the stoppage ratios of both men — Pat Barry has only gone to decision once in 12 pro fights, and Del Rosario has only been out of the first round once in 12 pro fights — it’s very likely that this fight will end with somebody getting KTFO’d. So who’s it going to be?
Dos Santos made his UFC debut almost four years ago at UFC 90, and three days before the fight Dana White posted footage of JDS hitting mits on his online video blog. Dos Santos’s hands looked incredible, and suddenly money came pouring in on the heavy underdog to beat Fabricio Werdum, which he did in devastating fashion. Since then, Dos Santos has put together the best resume in UFC Heavyweight history, destroying everyone in his path. So, is Mir going to be just another notch on JDS’s belt, or will JDS have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon Sunday morning? Join me as I break down each fight on UFC 146′s main card, and don’t forget to come back to CagePotato tomorrow night for our liveblog of the event.
They say that styles make fights, and Saturday night’s heavyweight championship is going to be a clash between two men who are the best in the division at their chosen styles. Junior Dos Santos is so confident in his boxing skills that he says he could hang with the Klitschko brothers with three months’ training, and Frank Mir’s jiu-jitsu is so good that he broke Minotauro Nogueira’s arm after Nogueira had Mir teetering on unconsciousness. Both of these men have a wealth of Octagon experience, but neither man has ever fought into the championship rounds of a fight. That shouldn’t be an issue Saturday night, however, for this fight will probably end well before the final bell.
For Dos Santos, the game plan is simple: keep this fight on the feet. Dos Santos’ belief in his hands has to be at an all-time high, as he’s coming off his knockout of previously undefeated former champion Cain Velasquez in 64 seconds. If JDS can control the Octagon against Mir and use his superb counter-punching, I can see him finishing Mir early. Dos Santos has very quick hands for a heavyweight, and his uppercut is devastating. Just one counter hook or uppercut, and it could be lights out for Mir.
(Let’s be honest, you’d pay to watch these three knuckleheads do *anything*.)
As Danga pointed out yesterday, injuries and surprise drug tests have led to all five of UFC 146‘s main card bouts being altered since they were first announced, which puts “Dos Santos vs. Mir” right up there with MMA’s most cursed events of all time. But let’s be fair — the UFC originally promised us ten aggressive heavyweights bashing the hell out of each other, and they’re still giving us just that. So is UFC 146 a rag-tag bunch of scab-fights, or a compelling lineup in itself? Let’s break it down…
Original main event: Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem Current main event: Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir Advantage:Even. Luckily, our schizophrenic contributor Josh Hutchinson has already presented bothsides of this issue, and I’m leaning towards the idea that Mir as a main-event replacement isn’t a total disaster. At first, we had the two best heavyweight strikers in MMA slugging it out for supremacy. Now, we have…well, who knows? Mir’s brilliant ground game opens up a whole new set of outcomes for this one. And isn’t MMA at its best when it’s chaotic and unpredictable? (I know, some of you just watch for the big muscles, but I’m a true fan, okay bro?)
Original co-main event: Cain Velasquez vs. Frank Mir Current co-main event: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva Advantage:Original. And I only say that because Velasquez vs. Mir felt like less of a squash match. Bigfoot really could have used a softer landing in the Octagon; making his UFC debut in a pay-per-view co-main event against a juggernaut ex-champ like Velasquez smells like serious trouble for the Brazilian, who already failed a chin-test against Daniel Cormier in September.
(You know, there probably is a dude out there whose ‘ultimate fantasy’ involves Arianny Celeste and a few thousand limes, and when he sees this video he’s going to absolutely lose his shit. Props: officialbudlight)
Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how your site can join the MMA Link Club…
- Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum Head to Head: Who Will Win This Saturday? (LowKick)
- TUF 12 Winner Jonathan Brookins Returns to Featherweight This September Against Eric Koch (Five Ounces of Pain)
- Shane Carwin: “I Can’t Recall Much of the Fight” (5thRound)
(“Most enjoyable thing I’d never do again? Definitely eating that live wolverine.”)
After years of bouncing from one regional event to another, Jeff Monson will finally return to the big leagues next month. ShoSports has confirmed that the former UFC heavyweight title contender will take on wrestling ace Daniel Cormier (7-0, five wins by first-round stoppage) at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum, June 18th in Dallas. Cormier was originally supposed to face undefeated rising star Shane Del Rosario at the event, but Del Rosario had to withdraw after being seriously injured in a car accident.
(Sign on the dotted line, or continue to get steamrolled by guys who look like ‘Spitting Image’ puppets. Your choice, pal.)
As first reported by MMAWeekly, Strikeforce is looking to make its pay-per-view debut sometime in July; date and venue are TBA at this point, though July 2nd is already booked for UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber. In an attempt to give the Strikeforce PPV some superfight muscle, the promotion has reached out to Fedor Emelianenko’s camp to offer the Last Emperor a fight against reigning light-heavyweight champ Dan Henderson. The fight wouldn’t necessarily be for Hendo’s belt — it could take place at a catchweight or at heavyweight, depending on how negotiations shake out.
Emelianenko vs. Henderson makes even more sense in light of Saturday’s controversial draw between Gegard Mousasi and Keith Jardine. Mousasi was originally supposed to face Mike Kyle, in a bout that was thought to be a 205-pound title eliminator. Instead, Mousasi faced late-replacement Jardine and was unable to secure a victory, which makes the LHW contender picture a little more complicated. Strikeforce’s July card is also rumored to feature the return of former light-heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal taking on 4-0 submission whiz Roger Gracie.
(“OK Shane, now make vacant, dead-eyed love to the camera … beautiful …” Pic: DwightMcCann.com)
Remember the clamor of self-righteous public outcry that sprang up a couple weeks ago – mostly from the vigilant moral watchdogs who write for this website – when it seemed like Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was already angling to get Fedor Emelianenko back in his company’s heavyweight tournament mere moments after his loss to Antonito “Bigfoot” Silva via aura-shattering doctor stoppage? What about all those so-called alternate bouts, we shrieked, voices cracking. What about 10-1 Chad Griggs and poor, overlooked Valentijn Overeem? What about Shane del Rosario, who we thought clearly put himself in the pole position with his slick submission on Lavar Johnson during the closing minute of the first round? We were fucking outraged. Oh, the hypocrisy!
You’ll be seeing all these guys on tomorrow night’s Showtime broadcast of “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva” — and maybe subbing in for one of the main competitors later if they should fall victim to broken hands or licensing issues. So give ‘em a look and enjoy…
(“Dear Scott Coker, How do you like me now, bitch? XOXO. Love, Sarah.” PicProps: Strikeforce)
When Sarah Kaufman let it be known this week that she didn’t appreciate having her women’s welterweight title defense against Roxanne Modafferi relegated to the second-string series of America’s second-string MMA promotion, she said she planned to prove she deserved better. In a blog published on Pretty Tough Fighter.com, Kaufman said she would use her bout with Modafferi to demonstrate herself – and, by extension, the entire women’s 135-pound division — worthy of inclusion on one of Strikeforce’s “big shows.” Well, after Friday night’s performance, let us just say: We’re reading you loud and clear, Sarah.
Kaufman turned in one of women’s MMA’s more impressive (and ugly) knockouts last night, when she hoisted Modafferi off the mat and shut her lights out with a slam near the end of the third round in their fight at Strikeforce Challengers 9. If a finish like that doesn’t erase the memory of her previous fight and earn the now 12-0 Kaufman the respect and fanbase needed to be included alongside, say, “big stars” like Bobby Lashley or Herschel Walker on one of the Strikeforce’s A-list broadcasts, we’re not sure what will.
Weigh-in results for tonight’s show in Everett, Washington are below. Set the DVRs now, Showtime subscribers. And please throw down some MMA FightPicker guesses if you haven’t already!
Shane Del Rosario (243.6) vs. Lolohea Mahe (264) Sarah Kaufman (134) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (133.4) Cory Devela (171) vs. Bobby Voelker (170.4) Abongo Humphrey (202.6) vs. Mike Kyle (205.8) Caros Fodor (155.6) vs. Thomas Diagne (156)
– Why is a 9-0 steamroller like Del Rosario fighting a 4-1-1 novice who’s coming off a loss?
– Why is that fight headlining this card, as opposed to the women’s title fight?
The answers are: 1) It’s Strikeforce, do you really expect brilliant matchmaking? 2) As rumor has it, Strikeforce is displeased that Kaufman’s last three fights have gone the distance. So they’re pretty much going to stop pushing her. Anyway. Die-hard fightpickers can check out the full set of pool questions for this event after the jump; please make your selections at fightpicker.cagepotato.com or apps.facebook.com/mmafightpicker.
Unrelated: Our good friends at AskMen.com have released their 2010 Great Male Survey, which is honestly one of the greatest sociological research projects of our time. Over 100,000 men participated, giving their opinions on sex, grooming habits, current events, and so much more. Things we learned: 49% of men would punch a co-worker in the face if they could get away with it. 3% of men feel that MMA is too violent for their tastes. 19% of men would track their partner’s movements ("with a GPS implant, for example") if they had the ability. 53% of men feel that "sex addiction" is just a convenient excuse for guys who get caught cheating. Well, obviously.