If there's any indication of what the UFC thinks of the TUF Nations cast, it's the status of the season finale. Most of the lineup consists of regular UFC veterans and a few newcomers, which basically gives away that the bulk of the Canadian and Australian TUFers will not be kept. It's bad news for them, but good news for fans as this is looking like a good season finale, and there are more fights headed to Quebec City. While not yet official, Mexican newspaper Milenio reports bantamweights Erik Perez and Alex Caceres will clash this April.
If true, this is an exciting match-up between two young, fringe top 10 fighters, with the winner almost certain to get a top 10 ranked opponent.
Caceres (10-5, 1 NC) is coming off a thrilling and dramatic late submission win over Sergio Pettis at UFC on Fox 10 in Chicago. "Bruce Leeroy" won with a rear-naked choke in the closing seconds of the 3rd, securing both FOTN and SOTN honors. The result gave Caceres a 5th straight win (although one was overturned to a no-contest after he tested positive for marijuana), and it was arguably his biggest W to date. Perez (14-5) tore through his first 3 UFC opponents, but his winning streak came to an end at the hands of Takeya Mizugaki, who came out of their August fight with a split decision. The Mexican did rebound with a decision win over Edwin Figueroa at UFC 167.
Meanwhile, the UFC has officially announced a bantamweight meeting between George Roop (14-10-1) and Dustin Kimura (11-1). Roop last fought in November against Francisco Rivera, who forced a TKO stoppage in the 2nd round. Kimura submitted Jon Dolos Reyes with an armbar last month in Singapore, extending his streak to 11 wins via anything except a kimura.
The TUF Nations Finale airs live on Fox Sports 1 and is headlined by middleweights Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy. In total, there are 11 fights rumored or officially on the fight lineup, including TUF Nations coaches Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke, plus the two TBD middleweight and welterweight finals of the reality competition.