Notes From A TUF Weekend

With two shows in the books and two weeks until UFC 155, lets wash some of this pay dirt and find some gold nuggets from the UFC on FX 6 and The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale. The big news coming out of Australia from UFC on FX 6 was two new Ultimate Fighter winners being crowned in Robert Whittaker from Team Australia in the welterweight final, and Norman Parke from Team UK in the lightweight final. Hector Lombard returned to form in his knockout win over Rousimar Palhares, bringing him to 1-1 in the UFC. Speaking to John Anik in the cage post-fight, Lombard called out Michael Bisping, an unlikely next opponent due to Bisping being booked against Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 on January 19th. With the way things have played out in 2012, it's not out of the question for a Lombard/Bisping fight to come about, especially since in-cage call-outs have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies. The main event saw Team UK coach Ross Pearson return in the 155 pound division and knock-out Aussie team coach George Sotiropoulos in the third round. Pearson returned to 155 lbs after a drop to 145, citing a loss in his punching power as a reason for the move back up. I can't disagree.

Also on the card was Chad 'Money' Mendes, who got a second straight first round knock out over short notice replacement opponent Yaotzin Meza. Chad Mendes has one loss in his mma career, in his title fight against Jose Aldo in January of 2012. A rematch with Aldo might not be in the immediate future, but there are enough featherweights to give Mendes, dare I say, an even match up. Two quick knock outs should tell you that this man is ready for a step up in competition, especially having the learning experience of both his first pro loss and a loss in a title fight under his belt.

The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale was the first TUF finale that saw only the two finalists from the show make it to the finale. Usually the UFC gives the shows contestants a final chance to fight their way in on the main card of the finale but with the addition of the lower weight classes, the prevailing philosophy is that roster space is harder to come by when you have upwards of eight divisions. The finale fight itself sure wasn't 'Bonnar/Griffin', but it did give us a new Ultimate Fighter in Staff Sergeant Colton Smith, who smothered Mike Ricci in a onesided decision. After the fight Smith gave credit to Ricci, calling him a '155 pounder', and mentioned afterwards that he also would be looking to drop to lightweight for his next UFC fight.

I wrote a separate post about Steve Mazzagatti and his refusal to do his job, so I won't go into his performance here. The TUF Finale on Saturday also had 'From Hell' Vinc Pichel, holder of one of the coolest octagon nicknames, against the debuting Rustam Khabilov, who outperformed anyone's expectations, aside from Greg Jackson's, and suplexed Pichel into oblivion several times. Joe Rogan said it best when he describes Khabilov's belly-to-back suplexes as being used 'as a weapon' against Pichel. These were hard to watch, and I'd also like to shout out to Dr. Johny Benjamin ( @DrJCBenjamin ) who on twitter said the following:

"I'm a spine surgeon and I'm telling you that kid needs to placed in Miami-J brace and have a CT of his neck...STAT!"

Need I say more?

In the main event of the TUF Finale, where traditionally the opposing coaches would square off, Roy Nelson knocked out a short notice replacement in Matt Mitrione. Mitrione is one of those few guys who have had their entire professional career inside the UFC, which is a feat in and of itself. This win edges Nelson forward, but we all knew he has the power to knock out anyone who is willing to place their face in the right spot. Overall this weekend gave us 21 UFC fights, three new Ultimate Fighters, one more reason to dislike Steve Mazzagatti, and plenty of LOL tweets from @GFKonMMA.

Did we learn anything new about the biggest winners and losers? Is The Ultimate Fighter still the launching platform to UFC success it once was? Does Dana White know any other female fighters first and last names besides Rhonda Rousey? I'll let you be the judges.

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