The finale to The Ultimate Fighter Nations season went down in Quebec City, Canada in front of a spotty crowd. The event had very little excitement around it as the fights kicked off in the middle of the work day for most fans, and then the card actually ran over despite what seemed like an abundance time for the main card to play out.
This entire card smacked of the UFC not being overly concerned about it. The main event did turn out to be an intriguing and competitive match, but little else about the card contained both those qualities.
Thoughts about last night's fights:
- Tim Kennedy looked very impressive with his heavy top pressure wearing Michael Bisping down physically as the fight wore on. He also landed some heavy shots on the feet late in the fourth round. This was a legitimatizing and impressive win for Kennedy, and a fight that justly had five rounds as Kennedy really took the fight over in convincing fashion in the later rounds and gave a satisfying end to that fight.
- Patrick Cote got a workman like win over Kyle Noke, taking advantage of the Australian's lack of wrestling. Other than it was a fairly unremarkable fight.
- Elias Theodorou and Chad Laprise both rode superior athleticism and conditioning to wins in their respective Ultimate Fighter titles. Theodorou looked like the better athlete and better overall prospect, but as always with TUF products it is so early in their careers it is hard to tell.
- Dustin Poirier took a while to find traction against the scrappy and skilled Akira Corassani. Poirier is a strong grappler and clinch fighter, but he outside striking still needs work as Corassani was able to land strikes from distance. Poirier was able to attack on the ground and in the end finish Corassani with an uppercut on the feet. This seemed like a solid tune up fight for Poirier, who did seem to be working on his striking, before he jumps back into the deep end of the division.
- KJ Noons' boxing gets hyped often because he has professional boxing experience, and often it is a bit over played as Noons is far from a flawless boxer. But last night Noons showed off what makes him a dangerous striker with a counter overhand right that blasted apart the historically iron chin of Sam Stout. Noons might want to try out taking a few more fights at 170-pounds as his speed looked excellent, the addition of kicks was also a positive for Noons, but his grappling will likely remain a problem area.
- Leslie Smith has finally made it to the UFC, which is a good thing, but her total lack of camp coming in clearly impacted this performance. Sarah Kaufman has tightened up her boxing game, which has always been fairly solid, and she worked Smith over in this fight. Kaufman is an elite fighter in the women's division, and Smith is better than she showed last night.
- Ryan Jimmo should beat a fighter like Sean O'Connell. Despite Jimmo's reputation, which was well earned, as a less than thrilling fighter he is a talented and skilled competitor. Jimmo is in his early thirties and not going develop into a title challenger, but he is a fantastic litmus test for other Light Heavyweights.