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UFC TUF 28 Finale: Dos Anjos vs Usman - Nov 30


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Nearly forgot all about this. Don't even think we bothered with a thread for this season of TUF, did we? Are any of you watching? Anyone? Anyone there at all? 

I didn't bother either. As much as I love Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum as fighters, them coaching TUF does nothing for me. 

Anyway, the Finale is on Friday 30th November in Vegas. 


Rafael Dos Anjos vs Kamaru Usman

Justin Frazier vs Juan Espino - TUF Heavyweight Finals

Macy Chiasson vs Pannie Kianzad - TUF Featherweight Finals

Pedro Munhoz vs Bryan Caraway 

Darren Stewart vs Edmen Shahbazyan 

Ji Yeon Kim vs Antonina Shevchenko 


Rick Glenn vs Kevin Aguilar

Joseph Benavidez vs Alex Perez

Maurice Greene vs Michel Batista 

Leah Letson vs Julija Stoliarenko 


Roosevelt Roberts vs Darrell Horcher 

Tim Means vs Ricky Rainey 

Raoni Barcelos vs Chris Gutierrez


Nowt special but a few bits and pieces to look out for on there and I really like the main event. 



Dos Anjos vs Usman is a very interesting one. Huge opportunity for RDA to get back in the title mix or for Usman to score the biggest win of his career and put himself firmly in title contention. And of course, only one of those scenarios can happen here. 


Dos Anjos was one of the best lightweights in UFC history. He was the champion and during his time at 155 he notched up wins over the likes of Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone x2 and Benson Henderson. After suffering back-to-back losses to Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson, and increasingly struggling with the weight cut, he moved up to welterweight in 2017. He went 3-0 at 170 over just a 6 month span, beating Tarec Saffiedine, Neil Magny and Robbie Lawler in really impressive performances. He lost his last fight in July to some try-hard, cringeworthy, Trump supporting divvy. So he'll be looking to make a statement here and put himself back on track. 


Usman is 13-1 and hasn't lost since his second MMA fight back in 2013. A suffocating grappler whose style reminds me of Matt Hughes at his best. He's on a 12 fight win streak and has been vocal for a while now that he's going to take over the division. He had strong wins in the UFC over Leon Edwards, Sergio Moraes and Emil Meek but it was unknown how he'd do when he stepped up a level. He got the big name fight in May. His first 5 round UFC main event. Unfortunately it was against Demian Maia. Usman won but, as is fairly often the case with Maia 5 rounders, the fight was pretty shit. Maia's just so hard to look good against. Usman got the win though and that's no small feat. 

This is a great fight and an even harder test for Usman. RDA isn't quite the grappler Maia is but he's still fucking class on the mat. And on top of that he's got excellent cardio and really good striking as well, which is where Usman could come unstuck. RDA will undoubtedly be the most well rounded, highest level guy Usman has faced yet. If he passes this test he's ready for anyone. 



The 2 TUF Finals are going to be complete unknowns for me. I've just looked it up and apparently the semi finals start on this week's episode. I haven't watched a second of this season so I'll be going in blind. Have any of you been keeping up with it? Is there anyone worth getting excited about? 



Pedro Munhoz vs Bryan Caraway I'm neither here nor there on really. I like Munhoz but Caraway just bores me. All he ever had going for him was Miesha Tate and he's lost her. Who knows? Maybe now he's not carrying her bags for her he'll have more time to train. Seriously, he's not a bad fighter. Just don't find him particularly entertaining to watch. Hopefully Munhoz twats him. He's a good fighter. 16-3 with his only losses being close decisions. He won a cracking fight with Brett Johns in August. They had one of the best rounds of the year. 



Darren Stewart vs Edmen Shahbazyan is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH***. This could turn out to be a lot of fun. London's Stewart has become a highlight for me. He's had some really exciting fights in the UFC so far. He had an absolute war against Julian Marquez last December that was a real forgotten great fight from last year. He lost but it was such a brilliant fight. He's scored two impressive TKOs in his last two fights. I can't say I'm familiar with Edmen Shahbazyan but just looking him up I'm already interested in him. He was on Dana's Contender Series. Ronda Rousey is his manager. He's only 20 years old but he's had a very Rousey-like start to his career. He's 7-0 with 7 first round TKOs, 4 in less than a minute! Without even seeing Shahbazyan, this sounds like an explosive one on paper. 



Ashlee Evans-Smith vs Antonina Shevchenko is another fight that I'm looking forward to. And it's not because of Ashlee Evans-Smith. She's looked very average, 6-3 record, lost pretty much every time she's stepped up a level and her biggest claim to MMA fame so far is she beat transgender fighter Fallon Fox years ago. 

No, it's her opponent I'm interested in. 


Antonina Shevchenko is the older sister of current UFC title contender and all-round badass, Valentina Shevchenko. Antonina is unbeaten in MMA at 6-0 but those 6 fights were spread out between 2002 and 2018. Like her sister, she had a load of gaps in her MMA career because her primary focus was on Kickboxing. There she went 39-1 and won world titles. One thing I notice is that of her 39 wins in Kickboxing, she only had 6 knockouts. So she's not really a finisher. But what she'll bring is some great technique and bags of experience. And it's not like she can't finish. She's got a KO via fucking axe kick on her Muay Thai record and in her last MMA fight on Dana's Contender bollocks in June, she stopped her opponent with knees. If she's anything like her sister, I'm going to be a fan. 



Roosevelt Roberts vs Darrell Horcher sees another Dana Contender make their UFC debut. Fuck me, that show is throwing up a ton of fresh talent. They might as well bin TUF because if finding new prospects is the aim, DWCS is doing it better these days. This time we see Roosevelt Roberts for the first time in the Octagon. He's 24 years old and 6-0, all finishes. Horcher is probably best remembered for getting mauled by Khabib a couple of years back. I can't say I recall anything else about him myself. He's 13-3. 



Tim Means vs Ricky Rainey could be decent, although both guys are going nowhere. I've always quite enjoyed watching Means fight. His recent record isn't looking good but he's had his moments. He's one of those guys who's pretty much a journeyman but sometimes I watch him fight and wonder why he hasn't done better. He usually always looks like can hang when he's in with upper card fighters but it just never seems to pan out results-wise. Ricky Rainey is 13-5 and coming off a knockout loss to Muslim Salikhov in April. He spent a lot of his career in Bellator and was one of Michael Venom Page's early victims. 


There you have it. There'll be a few fights added yet. The 2 TUF finals, obviously, and maybe one or two more TUFers will make it. Like I said, nothing mind blowing on paper but RDA-Usman is a proper relevant matchup in the 170 title picture, the other Shevchenko's debut should be worth a look and that Stewart vs Shahbazyan fight has really caught my attention. It's got the feel of one of those cards that we're not arsed about going in but it knocks it out the park on the night. 


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TUF is the horse that’s been dead for years but they’re still flogging it. It’s just tired. They overdid it. Two seasons a year was fine when the format felt new and fresh but it’s too much IMO. And that’s just the standard TUFs. Then you add in all the international seasons and there were years when there were about 4 or 5 seasons in one year. It was always going to burnout eventually regardless, it’s the nature of reality TV. But they certainly sped up the process by milking it and stripping away some of the personality driven aspect the early seasons did so well and focusing almost purely on the fights. 

I knew TUF was officially dead to me when Conor McGregor coached at the height of his best period in the run up to fighting Aldo, and I wasn’t that arsed. Also, when Joanna Jedrzejczyk, one of my favourite fighters, coached and I barely took notice of it. I stuck with the Dillashaw vs Garbrandt season a bit more but it’s not the same.

It used to be that when they announced the coaches for the next Ultimate Fighter I’d be buzzing. Remember those days when just the announcement of who was coaching seemed like a huge deal? Now there’s times when they’ll be 3 episodes deep into a season before I even notice and I have to Google who’s coaching. I used to love speculating who might coach next time and how awesome it could be to have Fighter A coach against Fighter B. Now not only do I not care, all I see it as now is something that ties up a title and delays a title fight, it’s actually an annoyance to me now more than anything. And I don’t even know what would get me watching now. There are very few combinations of coaches that would even interest me these days. Team Khabib vs Team McGregor could be great if that rematch ever happens. It would also run the risk of a full scale brawl in the gym that results in actual fatalities. Team Cyborg vs Team Rousey would’ve been ace before Rousey’s aura was smashed to pieces. Team Bisping vs Team Romero would’ve been class as well but it wasn’t to be. I think the only possible one that would really hook me now would be a season with Ben Askren and Nick Diaz coaching. They’d both be wildly entertaining in that setting and I’d love to see how their personalities would clash. The fight itself would be a one way ragdolling though. 

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The problem with TUF is that most of the good fighters out there have been signed already.

What they should do, if they're hellbent on keeping it going, is to offer one season a year that follows a redemption theme, like the one Serra won. Guys who've been let go can be given the chance to come back and win a big contract, something like that.

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Yeah I’d be more into something like that. They’re finding more fresh talent through Dana’s Contender Series thing anyway these days. You look at the amount of new fighters on upcoming cards and there seems to be more coming off DWCS than TUF. So TUF taking on a redemption theme like TUF 4, giving ex UFC fighters a chance to get back in would be something that would differentiate it from the old stale show and from DWCS. And if it was only one season a year at least there’d be long breaks between seasons and it would feel more fresh by the time the next one rolled round. 

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I watched a few episodes, mostly revolved around Maurice Green's drinking, him & Anderson De Silva are both good kickboxers I had heard of, the Cuban wrestling guy is 1-1 with Cormier in wrestling but doesn't seem to have the explosiveness of a Yoel Romero.

They've sold the TUF mansion and Dana's/UFC bought land around the gym to expand it and make a small arena for fight nights (including renting it out to other promoters). If they do TUF it will only be 1 a year and won't be on TV, think the contender series is were they are going with it in 2019.

They've at least added a few girls to the Featherweight division, most of whom are too big for 135.

Think Usman takes the main, when everybody was calling out WW's nobody mentioned his name and Colby seemed a little scared of him at one of the press conferences, even Ben Askren didn't even mention his name when he called out the 170 division, even though on paper he's the better wrestler.

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That’s odd, it’s happened to me before but this time mine recorded. I just noticed tonight’s JDS-Tuivasa show which I’d set to record has deleted itself though so you’ll probably need to reset that if you haven’t already. Its a right ballache having to remember to check it’s still set to record right up to the day of. Kind of defeats the point of the thing in the first place. 

Usman looked great in the main. His best performance yet. I think he beat RDA better than Colby did myself. At this stage I don’t know if RDA is slipping or if it’s just that grinding style that gives him fits. He looked great at 170 until he ran into Covington and Usman. And even going back to his 155 days, there was the Khabib loss and he looked a beast before and after that too. He lost to Ferguson but at least that was competitive. I think it’s that relentless wrestler style he’s struggling with moreso than a real significant decline. If he fights a striker next he’ll probably look good again but either way it doesn’t bode well because the top end of the 170 division is full of great wrestlers with Woodley, Usman, Covington and now Askren coming in. 

I didn’t see a second of this season so the two TUF finals were a case of all 4 fighters being completely new to me. The men’s was a total squash. Espino looked good but it’s difficult to rate him because the fat guy was terrible. If he made it to the final then I guess I didn’t miss much skipping this season. Did he look good on the show? Why am I even asking, nobody watched. The women’s fight was better. Chiasson had a strong showing. Thought the other girl looked decent early but Chiasson pulled ahead in the grappling and closed the show in the second with the choke. 

Edmen Shahbazyan didn’t have it easy in his UFC debut. He came in with a little bit of hype off the Dana Contender Series, managed by Ronda Rousey etc. And an unbeaten Rousey-like record with all quick finishes. But Darren Stewart is never an easy night’s work for anyone and was a step up from the guys Shahbazyan had beaten. Thought he was good early on and seemed to throw Stewart off with the grappling but he faded horribly in the third and was fortunate to survive the round and that he’d built up enough of a lead in rounds 1 and 2 to take the decision. Stewart was visibly upset with the decision but he lost the first two rounds. A good third and a flurry weren’t enough to take the decision. Shahbazyan is young, he’s only 20ish, so he’s got time to improve. This might’ve been a case of him thinking he’d keep blowing everyone away quick so could serve as a valuable lesson. He can’t be coming in with subpar cardio in future or he’s going to lose that pretty unblemished record fast. 

What else? Enjoyed the Antonina Shevchenko fight. Really good striking as expected. Ji Yeon Kim was game but she just wasn’t equipped to beat Shevchenko. Interested to see how this plays out with the two sisters in the same division now. Obviously they won’t fight each other but if Antonina climbs the ranks she’s got a ceiling if Valentina is champ by then. She’ll have no real purpose in the division. Wouldn’t mind seeing Antonina vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk down the line either but that’s a way off yet. 

The Kevin Aguilar vs Rick Glenn fight was a lot of fun. Proper unexpected gem of a scrap. Aguilar is nails. Didn’t know him before but I’ll be looking out of him in future. 

That Maurice Green looked good. Huge fucker, good kickboxing and pulling off triangles off his back. Not bad at all. 

Munhoz bartering Caraway was good times too. Lovely stuff. Munhoz has been one of the unsung quality fighters on the undercards this year for me. Between this and his tremendous fight with Brett Johns a few months back he’s been great to watch in 2018. 

And Roosevelt Roberts really stood out to me on the prelims. Looked sharp and relaxed in the striking and that guillotine finish was nasty. It was the old Jones-Machida guillotine but he was somehow lifting Horcher up sideways. Liked his little callout of Mike Trizano too. 

Not a bad little show. 

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Only watched some of the prelims, ended up falling asleep but Benavidez was nearly robbed, a ref should never touch a fighter unless he's stopping the fight, Joe was punching him with no reply, the ref touches him, he stops thinking the fights over and by this time the ref let's it go and his opponent grabbed his leg trying a takedown and the fight continued, fortunately Benavidez did it again and the fight was rightly stopped.

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Usman was extremely impressive with a convincing decision victory over RDA. How we can get two judges with one scoring a 50-43 and another a 48-47 card, in a right as clear cut as that one, I have no idea. I agree with Wand on this one, I don't think RDA has really lost several steps or anything like that, I think it's more a case of very strong wrestlers with a super high workrate, are going to give him fits. Especially at Welterweight. A Jorge Masvidal, Stephen Thompson or Ponzinibbio would be interesting indicators of where he stands in the division going forward, to see how he fares against the top WW fighters with a strike heavy offence. It's a division with a lot of high level wrestlers the whole way through though, and it could be tough times from here on out for RDA.

Usman though, looked great with this win. The winner of Woodley/Covington should be his next destination in my book. Don't chance letting a Till or. Wonderboy derail him, when they aren't getting another title shot whilst Woodley is King.  

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On 12/1/2018 at 2:21 PM, wandshogun09 said:

At this stage I don’t know if RDA is slipping or if it’s just that grinding style that gives him fits. He looked great at 170 until he ran into Covington and Usman. And even going back to his 155 days, there was the Khabib loss and he looked a beast before and after that too. He lost to Ferguson but at least that was competitive. I think it’s that relentless wrestler style he’s struggling with moreso than a real significant decline. If he fights a striker next he’ll probably look good again but either way it doesn’t bode well because the top end of the 170 division is full of great wrestlers with Woodley, Usman, Covington and now Askren coming in. 

RDA is one of those fighters who'd really benefit from a division between lightweight and welterweight. He's a great fighter, but when you're facing guys who're at the upper size level of the weight class you're going to run into problems.

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