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The Ultimate Fighter 24: Revitalising a Show and a Division

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Ultimate Fighter 24

While “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show model is one that has evidently stagnated, the UFC have made numerous attempts in the past to shake things up.

From adopting a live format for season 15, to introducing women into the show on season 18, the promotion’s attempts to revitalise the show have largely proven unsuccessful.

While it is clear that the UFC have indeed made several attempts at reshuffling, it is also hard to ignore their flawed strategy of lazily dropping marketable faces such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor into various seasons. A short term fix for a long term problem, which the show’s poor numbers have reflected.

The Ultimate Fighter’s tired format coupled with pound for pound king Demetrious Johnson’s continued domination of the flyweight division provided the UFC with an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

The result — a slightly revamped season of the Ultimate Fighter containing an assortment of elite flyweights from various organizations outside of the UFC, with the eventual winner being granted a shot at flyweight gold. A season slightly reminiscent of ‘The Ultimate Fighter 4 The Comeback’.

This was a welcome change and brought about a much needed bump in the quality of competitors fighting on the show. More importantly the UFC hoped it would provide a gripping narrative to a flyweight title fight, a narrative that has rarely been seen any time Johnson has fought someone other than Joseph Benavidez or John Dodson.

With TUF 24 came a shade of hope. Hope that the UFC had pinpointed exactly what ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ was lacking, and what needed to be done to give it a new lease of life. What stands out above all else this season is the depth of quality. Each competitor from top to bottom has had legitimate success in their respective careers, something which was sorely lacking in previous instalments.

It seemed the UFC had finally rectified the underlying problem of quality which plagued the show in recent years, as opposed to blindly ignoring its glaring flaws and endorsing a product which they themselves clearly didn’t believe in. But still the numbers have been remarkably poor, which begs the question, why?

It seems as though any changes that have been made to ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ have become redundant for the simple reason that not many people care anymore. The frequency of seasons coupled with a relatively low level of quality in recent years seems to have damaged the product to the point of no return.

Although this season’s instalment of ‘TUF’ may not have proved a success in terms of viewing numbers, the depth of quality is undeniable and each fight on the show has reflected this. It is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for the show, should WME-IMG choose to continue the long running series which began back in 2005.

Whether or not ‘The Tournament of Champions’ has the desired effect on the flyweight division remains to be seen. It will hopefully introduce at least a couple of fresh faces into a division crying out for such a thing, and maybe even give ‘Mighty Mouse’ a run for his money in the process.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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