The UFC likes to reward loyalty, which explains why Stephan Bonnar is headlining the TUF 12 finale. If Bonnar wasn't opposite Forrest Griffin at the inaugural Ultimate Fighter finale, he would be fortunate to have a UFC contract, let alone find himself headlining a Spike TV show.
There just isn't room for a guy like Bonnar after the assimilation of the WEC's talent. The UFC just cut Gerald Harris, who was 3-1 in the UFC with a knockout of the night that ESPN included on SportCenter's Top 10. Todd Duffee was shown walking papers despite a UFC-record for quickest knockout because of concerns about his attitude. And Efrain Escudero: TUF winner, winning record in the UFC (3-2), lost to two talented prospects in Charles Oliveira and Evan Dunham? Last fought for Desert Rage in Somerton, Arizona.
What do you do with Bonnar anyway? A loss on Saturday will bring his UFC record to 6-7. A win won't help him much. We know he can't hang with the top end of the division. Mark Coleman - all of 45 years old and one dimension - outworked him for fifteen minutes at UFC 100. Can the UFC continue to justify throwing Bonnar onto cards while they are cutting better talent while still proclaiming to house the top fighters in the world?
We're getting both semifinal matchups tonight in a two-hour affair because of the Thanksgiving holiday last week. Here are the odds I'm handing out:
- Jonathan Brookins -150/Kyle Watson +150 - I started buying into Brookins after the Sevak fight. I think he's the only guy in the house who has any sort of potential in the UFC. Watson's a very smart, technical fighter, but Brookins is a much better athlete. Brookins keeps it standing, nullifying Watson's ground game, and takes a decision.
- Nam Phan -125/Michael Johnson +125 - Nam's the better fighter, but he's very small at 155. Johnson's top control isn't good and he'll gas if this goes deep at any sort of meaningful pace, but he can wrestle away two rounds from Nam. Phan controls the distance and out kickboxes Johnson to a decision.
Jonathon Brookins -125
Nam Phan +300
Kyle Watson +700
Michael Johnson +1200