Vegas is once again the place where the UFC’s most popular original series takes place and 14 welterweights will be vying for a six figure contract in MMA’s premier organization.
Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos will be the coaches when TUF 13 hits Spike TV on March 30th
at 9:00 PM ET. Let’s face it, The
Ultimate Fighter is a soap opera for guys.
We may not want to admit it but the fights wouldn’t be nearly as
compelling unless there was drama in the house.
We get to know these combatants first as individuals and then as
fighters. It’s a unique perspective and
if you’re a UFC junkie, this is a speedball mainlined right into your living
rooms every week.
respect Brock Lesnar, I would prefer the more classically trained Junior Dos
Santos as a coach who may understand the nuances of developing a fighter rather
than focusing strictly on brute strength and overwhelming force. That assessment may not be fair to Lesnar who
could very well prove me wrong but my initial inclination favors those fighters
in the Dos Santos camp.
Twelve of the 14
contestants are homegrown American badasses, while one hails from England and
the other from Germany. Every fighter in
the competition has competed professionally in mixed martial arts and all have
bona fide records but remain unsigned, seeking an opportunity for a big money
contract and international exposure.
The cast of
characters this season range in age from 22 to 32 and two are undefeated while
only 5 of the fourteen have over 10 fights in their professional careers. Let’s take a look at these relative unknowns
and get a sneak peek at what TUF 13 has in store for us fans and UFC bettors this season.
Nordin “Fist of Tangier” Asrih
Age: 32 Trains: Dusseldorf, Germany – Pride Gym
MMA Record: 16-6-1
Asrih is the tribal elder in this season’s edition of TUF. He’s 32 years old and has more experience
than anyone in the competition. His
foundation appears to be rooted in boxing but 9 of his sixteen wins have come
by way of submission so he clearly has a lethal ground game in addition to
punishing fists. By the way, if you’re
confused by a German referring to Tangier, Asrih is of Moroccan descent.
Age: 28 Trains: Indianapolis, Indiana – Integrated Fighting
MMA Record: 10-3
Bailey is a jacked to the max division 3 wrestler who will need to
integrate and improve a standup game to balance a decent ground game. He’s a Strikeforce veteran and a man of deep
religious conviction. If he is to make
any headway in this competition, he’ll have to put his faith in a higher power
but put his competition flat on their backs.
Len “The Liger” Bentley
Age: 27 Trains:
Olympia, Washington – Victory Athletics
MMA Record: 9-4
Liger? Seriously, now is that best
he could do? A cross between a lion and
a tiger is evidently Len Bentley.
Bentley’s fights just don’t go the distance. He’s either submitting someone or being
submitted. He’ll need to throw some
punches if he is to retire his competitors and if indeed he does become the The
Ultimate Fighter, I’d suggest he retire that nickname.
Michael “Mick” Bowman
Age: 26 Trains: Liverpool, England – Wolfslair
MMA Record: 7-2
The lad from Liverpool is launching his own British invasion. At one point Bowman was 3-2 in his young MMA career
but has since won his last four fights.
Perhaps with some world class coaching, this Englishman could turn into
a mad dog (Joe Cocker’s album for anyone old enough to recall the reference).
Keon “The Black Assassin” Caldwell
Age: 26 Trains: Moultrie, Georgia – Team Reality
MMA Record: 8-1
At 6’1” Caldwell will have a height advantage over most of the
welterweights. He’s a devastating
striker and his nickname is quite apt as he does what any good assassin does
and that’s to get in and get out. Six of
his eight victories have come within round 1 and if he has any ground game at
all, he may spell big trouble for the competition.
Chris “C-Murder” Cope
Age: 28 Trains: San Diego, California – Arena MMA
MMA Record: 4-1
Another nickname change just begging to happen. Cope is another Strikeforce refugee looking
to catch Dana White’s attention. Cope
ain’t no dope when it comes to throwing hands as he has one punch power but he
had the tables turned on him when Josh Samman sent him to sleep in January of
Age: 26 Trains: Rockville, Maryland – Evolve, Team Lloyd
MMA Record: 4-1
Davis may not have a nickname but he certainly has a submission
game. None of his four wins have gone
the distance and he seems to be most comfortable when choking someone out from
behind. But then again, doesn’t
everybody feel that way?
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson
Age: 26 Trains: Ventura, California – Knuckleheadz Boxing
MMA Record: 10-2
El Cucuy is a Hispanic shape shifting boogeyman. Tony Ferguson wants his competitors to think
of him as exactly that. Ferguson is a
boxer, KO artist first and everything else takes a backseat. His last appearance was in September when he
delivered a 4th round knockout of Brock Jardine and won the Pure
Combat welterweight strap.
Age: 30 Trains: Marietta, Georgia – X3 Sports
MMA Record: 6-1
Clay is a quick finisher. While
that may not win him many dates, it certainly arouses the passions of the
people who pay to see a good fight. All
his fights have ended in the first round and that kill or be killed style will
keep everyone watching.
Myles “Fury” Jury
Age: 22 Trains: San Diego, California – Victory
MMA Record: 9-0
Fighting since he was 15 years old, 22 year old Myles Jury has perhaps
the most intriguing resume of any fighter entered this season. He is not only undefeated in 9 fights but has
won all within the first round. Fury
sounds like the right name for this young banger.
Ryan “The Kid” McGillivray
Age: 24 Trains: Edmonton, Alberta Canada – Legends Training
MMA Record: 11-4-1
While many in this competition will be looking to wow the audience with
vicious strikes, The Kid will have none of it.
Of his 11 victories, nine have come by way of submission. He’s no kid when he has you on the
Age: 22 Trains: Orem, Utah – River Academy/ The Pit
MMA Record: 4-1
Nijem is a wrestler first and a striker second. After starting out his career with a 1-1
record, he has since recorded three consecutive victories. He has been training with MMA veterans and
hopes to use their experience to springboard his career in the UFC.
Charlie “Superstar” Rader
Age: 29 Trains: New Orleans, Louisiana – Power MMA
MMA Record: 16-5
It’s kind of tough to have 5 defeats when your nickname is Superstar but
one thing is for sure, those hands have been responsible for plenty of his
opponents seeing stars, super or otherwise.
Rader has four consecutive wins coming into this competition and will
look to keep his streak alive until the showdown in June.
Javier “Chunty Boy” Torres
Age: 25 Trains: Las Vegas, Nevada – Team Tompkins
MMA Record 3-0
An undefeated amateur boxer, Torres has obviously adopted submission
tactics into his MMA arsenal when he submitted Jesus Flores with an arm bar in
the opening round of their fight in September.
Though he has the least amount of experience of all the contestants, his
9 amateur boxing matches should bolster his confidence as he battles more
experienced cage fighters.
How Will it Play Out
So that’s your list of welterweights for this season’s TUF on Spike
TV. Personally, I’d love to see Keon
Caldwell and Clay Harvison throw down early in the competition. These guys are all about the quick, lethal
strike and a match between the two would be MMA magic.
Naturally, Myles Jury will be a fan favorite
as he is undefeated and has dispatched his opponents with uncanny
alacrity. However, he is still only 22 and
battling more experienced martial artists may present a problem. Who will the sportsbooks favor, and which fighter will get you the best value in UFC betting? All of these questions will be answered soon.
Tune into see all the action and perhaps you
just may be witnessing the future UFC welterweight champion. GSP, are you watching?!