Breaking News: TUF 28 Coaches Announced.

The Ultimate Fighter season 28 Heavy Hitters will begin filming next week, and after plenty of speculation, it has been announced that the current UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum will be the head coaches as sports toughest tournament sets to take off once again. Gastelum’s wishes of a title shot have finally come true as coaches are scheduled to fight later this year.

Continue reading “Breaking News: TUF 28 Coaches Announced.”

News: UFC & PRIDE Veteran signs with Brave CF

Brave Combat Federation have announced the signing of PRIDE FC and UFC veteran, Cristiano Marcello and he will be making his return to the cage after a 4 year lay-off since 2014.

Continue reading “News: UFC & PRIDE Veteran signs with Brave CF”

BRAVE 13: Andy Young Interview – “The mental area is the most important out of anything”

On the 9th of June, Brave Combat Federation makes its European debut when it arrives to the SSE Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is a landmark occasion for the fast-growing promotion as it branches out for the first time into the continent.

Fitting for such a historic occasion, the card is packed with exciting fights as well as fan favorite names. In the main event we see bantamweight champion Stephen Loman (9-2) defend his belt in a rematch against highly touted SBG man Frans Mlambo (5-2), who looks to avenge his loss against Loman, this time hoping to walk away with a championship. In the Co-Main event we see Northern Ireland’s own and former UFC contender Norman Parke (24-6-1) take on Irish man Myles Price (10-6) in a very exciting lightweight match up.

Also on the card, we see two extremely entertaining fighters come head to head when Liverpudlian Bryan Creighton (8-6) takes on Belfast’s own Andy Young (11-10). While Creighton is coming off a 3 fight finish streak, Young is coming off a loss. However, it was to former top 5 UFC flyweight Ali Bagautinov who has beaten top fighters such as Tim Elliott, John Lineker and has fought current UFC flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson. With 11 Finishes between both fighters, this fight will surely live up to expectation and deliver a barn burner.

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The mental area is the most important out of anything, I will beat him there and take whatever I see to get the finish in this fight.”

After fighting one of the very best flyweights in Ali Bagautinov in Russia, Andy will be looking to get back to winning ways with a victory over rising British prospect Creighton. Andy is a dangerous fighter, both on the feet and on the ground, which we seen in an impressive victory over Dominic Wooding, a very hot young prospect, with a record of    3-0 (3 TKO) at BAMMA 28. Andy is currently 5-3 in his last 8 bouts, with 3 finishes. These wins include impressive performances over fighters such as Alexander Barabash and Aaron Aby. I caught up with Andy Young to get his thoughts on his upcoming opponent and how he feels to be fighting on such a huge card in his home town of Belfast.

Eamonn Scott: Andy, this is your first fight under the Brave banner. When exactly did you get the call about fighting for them and was there anything in particular that interested you the most about fighting for brave?

Andy Young: “I was contacted back in March about their plans to run a show in Belfast and to have me on it, I was thrilled to hear that BRAVE was coming to my home town, I heard a lot of great things about the promotion and how it’s run.”

ES: You make your return to your hometown in Belfast, which you have an excellent record in. What is it that’s so special about Belfast which also always seems to bring the very best out of you.

AY: “The energy of the people here is unrivaled! Belfast knows how to make some noise!  I get so much support and feel a real uplift getting to represent and get the win for them.”

ES: Northern Ireland has a thriving MMA scene at the minute. With fighters such as James Gallagher, Rhys McKee and Norman Parke, do you believe that this will only improve and how do you see the MMA scene in Northern Ireland at the minute?

AY: “It is scary to see how good the local scene is getting. The sport is becoming more and more popular and gaining great traction. There is a plethora of  talent, ability and skills in the new breed of upcoming mixed martial artists here, and for sure will only improve.”

ES:  You’re fighting against a very tough opponent in Bryan Creighton who himself is coming off an impressive 3 fight win streak. When this fight was proposed to you, what were your first thoughts on fighting Bryan?

AY: “I was excited to get an opponent who i know brings a great fight, he’s very game. well-rounded and likes to trade, so i know this will be fun!”

ES: You’ve fought top quality fighters in your career such as the former top 5 UFC contender in Ali Bagautinov. Do you thrive off facing the biggest names you can get?

AY: “There are a number of reasons to be in this sport, and one of the main factors is to compete against and be best in the world. I love and jump on the opportunities to do this.”

ES: Bryan has multiple wins by TKO, Sub and Decision, showing that he has skills in all departments. However, is there a particular area that you believe you can exploit and get the best over him in?

AY: “The mental area is the most important out of anything, I will beat him there and take whatever I see to get the finish in this fight.”

ES: How has this training camp gone for you? Is there anything specific that you have focused on in this camp and do you think you have improved it as much as you aimed to?

AY: “It has went great, I have made a few changes and stepped things up. It’s all about getting the right formula, I’ve enjoyed working all areas and getting a bit creative with things, it will all be on show 9th June.”

ES: You’ve been in this game for a while now, do you believe that you still have a lot to accomplish?

AY: “Yes, I want to be the very best version of myself in there and fully realise my potential. In addition, that UFC title will be in my hands by the end of my career.”

ES: Finally, if there’s one message you have for Bryan, what would it be?

AY: “Let’s put on a show and bring your best.”

This fight is surely going to live up to every expectation. With Andy young being the home town fighter, he is certainly going to receive an incredible atmosphere. Bryan Creighton will also be defending the best win streak of career, both fighters have a lot to defend in this epic Flyweight battle. SEE YOU THERE!

Top 10 Fighters To Come Out Of TUF

In 13 years and 27 series’ of The Ultimate Fighter, we have been treated to some great fights and all-around entertainment. The majority of the castmates never achieve their aspirations, but every now and again a real gem is born who takes the UFC by storm and proves that they belonged there all along. Now let’s take a look at the top 10 fighters to ever come out of MMA’s greatest reality show.

10. Matt Brown

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Matt “The Immortal” Brown has been ever-present inside the UFC for the past 10 years. Brown was on season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter and reached the quarterfinals, but lost to Amir Sadollah. Despite this, Brown got his shot on the finale card and made the most of the opportunity by knocking out fellow contestant Matt Arroyo in the second round. That performance was enough for “The Immortal” to gain a UFC contract. Since then Brown has earned victories over the likes of Stephen Thompson, Jordan Mein and Diego Sanchez. Thus cementing his well-deserved place on this list.

9. Diego Sanchez

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Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez is a fan favourite for good reason. You know as soon as the octagon door closes, if Sanchez is present inside the cage, you’re going to be treated to an all-out war. “The Nightmare’s” fighting style of bite down on your mouthpiece and swing for the fences has done the longevity of his career no favours, but nobody can name a boring fight which Sanchez has taken part in, and he will forever be remembered for his sheer determination to entertain everyone who was lucky enough to watch his fights.

8. Rashad Evans

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Rashad “Suga” Evans won season 2 of  The Ultimate Fighter as a heavyweight despite being much smaller than his counterparts. However, Evans moved back down to light heavyweight after winning the competition and has been present inside the UFC for 13 years and is still competing at the highest level of mixed martial arts. The pinnacle of “Suga’s” career has to be when he won the UFC light heavyweight title after knocking out Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 in 2009, but notable wins over Chuck Liddel, Tito Ortiz and Michael Bisping are all massive high points of Evans’ incredible career inside MMA’s greatest proving ground.

7. Ryan Bader

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Ryan “Darth” Bader first appeared on our screens on The Ultimate Fighter season 8. He made light work of the other competitors on the show and proved that being the No.1 pick was the right decision as Bader cruised through the competition to lift the trophy. Since winning the show, Bader has picked up many notable wins against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Quinton Rampage Jackon and Rashad Evans just to name a few. Bader never got to taste title glory in the UFC, but since signing for Bellator and making his debut in 2017, he has become their light heavyweight champion. He is also partaking in the grand prix tournament where the winner will be crowned the heavyweight titleholder. Bader won in his first round fight against Muhammed Lawal where it took only 15 seconds for the American to knockout his opposition.

6. Forrest Griffin

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Winner of the first ever series of The Ultimate Fighter, Forrest Griffin has to be given a spot on this list. Griffin had given up on his hopes of being a mixed martial artist, but UFC President Dana White was able to convince the American to take part, and thank god he did. Griffin beat Stephen Bonnar in the finale in what was voted the 2005 fight of the year. He went on to become the UFC light heavyweight champion when he beat Quinton Rampage Jackson at UFC 86. Griffin ended his career with a 19-7 pro record and was rightfully inducted into the UFC hall of fame.

5. Nate Diaz

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Nate Diaz competed in Pancrase, Strikeforce, and the WEC before winning season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter. The second degree BJJ black belt under Cesar Gracie has been present in the UFC for 11 years now and has some impressive wins on his resume. Stockton’s own Diaz has never won UFC gold but wins over Donald Cerrone, Gray Maynard, Michael Johnson and a certain Conor McGregor, are all incredible highlights in the 33-year-old’s career.

4. Tony Ferguson

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Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson applied countless times to be on The Ultimate Fighter but constantly got knocked back. Finally in 2010, after becoming the welterweight champion for PureCombat, “El Cucuy” got his call-up to feature on season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter. Ferguson found his feet fast with the step up of class of his opposition and was able to win the season in impressive fashion. Since winning the contract, Ferguson has had 13 UFC fights and has only lost one. Sitting on a 10 fight win streak “El Cucuy” is one of the top lightweights in the world, and the former interim lightweight champion will surely be in for a title shot when he comes back from injury.

3. Rose Namajunas

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Since losing to Carla Esparza in the finale of season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, “Thug” Rose Namajunas has been on a mission. Despite a close split decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the 25-year-old has won every other fight she’s been in. “Thug” Rose’s ability to finish fights no doubt played a huge part in her getting a title shot against the Polish assassin Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Namajunas beat the champion twice and is now the queen of the UFC’s strawweight division.

2. TJ Dillashaw

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It seems like an age ago, but it was only season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter we got our first glimpses of TJ Dillashaw. At the time Dillashaw seemed unsure of his own abilities and was quite picky about his opponents. Despite this, the American still made it through to the finale but lost to John Dodson. Since then, he has had a well-documented change of fight camps, and we have really seen Dillashaw blossom into one of the greatest fighters we’ve ever seen at 135lbs. Dillashaw has had two spells as the champion of the division, firstly beating Brazilian mastermind Renan Barao in spectacular fashion, and again by defeating Cody Garbrandt. A rematch has been scheduled between Dillashaw and Garbrandt and we can only hope its half as entertaining as their first encounter.

1. Michael Bisping

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Michael “The Count” Bisping won season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter and has been one of the most active fighters inside the UFC for 12 years. Bisping suffered knock-back after knock-back in title eliminators throughout his career but never was he distracted from his goal of becoming a UFC champion. Finally, in 2016, Bisping got his title shot in a short notice fight against the champion Luke Rockhold, which he won by first-round knockout. Bisping announced his retirement last week and hung up his gloves with a 30-9 pro record. The Hall Of Fame surely awaits England’s own Michael Bisping.

Ryan Cambridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated, Get To Know The Fighters

Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter is going to be hitting our screens very soon, now that filming has finished and the editors are doing their bit before the season premiers, Coaches Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, were no doubt super excited about making this season, with all the contestants being undefeated professionals. I wanted to take the opportunity before the show starts to dig deep into the fighters careers, and help you get to know the fighters a little before we see them go toe to toe in TV’s greatest challenge on their quest to become The Ultimate Fighter!

I was fortunate enough to catch some of the fighters for an interview which will also feature in this article. It’s going to be a long article, but I promise you by the end of it you will be more excited about a TUF season than you ever have before.

All interviews were conducted by myself Ryan Cambridge of MMAMotion

Featherweights

Jay Cucciniello

England’s own Jay Cucciniello is one of the most exciting prospects coming out of the UK. With a perfect 6-0 record, the Englishmen has never needed the judges to decide his fate as he has finished every single fight since turning pro. in 2010. Lightning fast fists and a slick submission game means that Cucciniello is definitely one to watch on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, as he looks to leave behind his days at AFL and EFC and lay down the law in mixed martial arts greatest proving ground. The Englishmen was also ranked in the top 10 of AFL’s K.Os of the year in 2016 with a crisp knockout victory over Kiko Marinho.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

JC: My dad was a massive reason for getting me into MMA always been fighting. My best MMA memory was watching Nick Diaz vs Robbie Lawler bad ass fight.

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?

JC: My work rate and heart is my strongest ability.

What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

I will bring breathtaking fights, lots of heart, and determination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler Diamond

Team Alpha Male’s Tyler Diamond has an impressive 9-0 professional record, fighting in different organisations since making his pro. debut three years ago. Diamond’s main home has been in GKO where he is the current featherweight champion. Diamond is a proven K.O artist, with five of his nine wins coming by way of knockout. The Californian will be hoping his time training with the likes of Uriah Faber, Cody Garbrandt, Joseph Benavidez and Andre Fili, will give him the advantage over guys who haven’t been as fortunate with the calibre of training partners as he has.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

TD: What got me first into MMA was when a couple of local fighters came into my high school wrestling room & wrestled with me. They noticed I was a tough kid & invited me to train with them once the season was over & I took them up on it. My first MMA memory was training in a garage with no electricity & doing a lot of sparring. I really enjoyed throwing hands & fighting dudes that were a lot older than I was at the time.

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?

TD: What sets me apart from most of the fighters in TUF is that they haven’t been through the division 1 wrestling grind like me. I train very hard & at a pace a lot of people have a hard time keeping up with & it sets me apart from a lot of fighters.

What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

TD: If things go according to plan I’ll bring an incredible fight every single time. I love to throw heavy hands, have a ton of heart & will never quit. It’s impossible for me to be in a boring fight. I can compete with anyone in the world & I’m ready to show that.

Thank you for answering my questions, do you have anything you’d like to add?

TD: Outside of fighting I really enjoy spending time with my family & being in the outdoors. Specifically, I love to hunt & have a deep appreciation for wildlife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Katona

Canada’s own Brad Katona is moving up a weight class from his usual bantamweight bouts. He has fought at featherweight before, so he must be comfortable with the extra weight and must enjoy the benefits of a lesser weight cut. Katona has fought in various different organisations while accumulating his 6-0 pro. record, where he has shown his impressive submission skills. Also known to take the fight the whole 15 minutes, the 26-year old feels confident he can always do enough to sway the judges to make the correct call when they are required.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

BK: My journey into MMA was very natural looking back on it. I was a big fan of Power Rangers when I was young so when my parents gave my brother and me our choice of taking hockey or karate classes; we chose karate. After getting my black belt when I was 14 years old it was then time to move onto another Martial Art as my interest in karate was starting to waver. I was fortunate enough to find the best Jiu-jitsu gym in my hometown, the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts and with the help of Curtis Brigham, my coach, the sport of MMA quickly became my passion. My earliest MMA memory was when I was very young. I remember watching when Ken Shamrock fought Tito Ortiz at UFC 40 with my dad. I had no idea who they were or what the sport of MMA was but I couldn’t stop watching.

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?

BK: I believe the intangible characteristics of a fighter are what set me apart from the rest of the cast. My mindset, focus and ability to draw energy from the stresses of fighting and the house are what will allow me to excel in the competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryce Mitchell

When you step inside the cage with Bryce Mitchell be sure of one thing, he wants to get you down to the canvass, make you wish you hadn’t been born, then submit your ass! The current V3 featherweight champion has a staggering eight submission victories in his nine undefeated pro. fights. He even won five of six amateur fights by submission. With submission skills that even Royce Gracie would appreciate, I’m sure “Thug Nasty” will go far in the tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suman Mkhitrian

Suman Mokhtarian was born in Iran and now lives in Australia and is the younger brother of Ashkan Mokhtarian who recently signed with the UFC. A submission specialist much like Bryce Mitchel,l the Iranian has won six of eight pro. fights by submission and is the first to ever win a fight via a “tee-pee” choke. Mokhtarian also has a knockout victory on his resume and the 25-year old is not afraid to stand the centre of the cage and exchange leather.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

SM: What got me into MMA was actually from my early memories I remember I watched TUF1 and thought it was some insane one-off show and one day I was sitting with my older brother Ashkan watching tv and on tv popped up local MMA and Robert Whittaker was making his pro. debut, my brother said he could do that but at the time had a drug problem so I put him down and pretty much told him there was no way he could and he wanted to prove to me he could do it cause I didn’t believe in him, I found a gym not too far away and I took him there to watch him get his ass kicked ….. the rest is history

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?


SM: My mindset and my ability to continuously grow, many of the guys came from years of training as kids or whatever, I’m one of the lesser experienced guys in terms of years so gives me the ability to be moulded more than others.
What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

SM: I believe I’ll bring the excitement that’s been lacking as of late. You’ve got your personalities outside the cage but I feel now in my career when the cage door shuts is when my personality shows and that’ll leave people always wanting to see more. I’ll put it on the line every time.
Thank you for answering my questions, do you have anything you’d like to add?
SM: Nothing really to add just thanks heaps for taking the time to reach out and speak to me, this season of the ultimate fighter I guarantee will go down as one of the greatest, don’t just support one fighter but all the fighters cause they’ve made this experience what it is. April 18th stay tuned 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dulani Perry

Dulani “FightGod” Perry is coming into this season with a perfect 4-0 record. The Paradigm prospect has wow’d many since debuting in 2016, With a submission victory and 3 decisions to his name “FightGod” will behoping to extend his perfect record throughout the show and into the UFC. Dont sleep on Perry’s hands either, he can drop any man on his night! 100% one to watch on this show, and will thrive under the pressure of The Ultimate Fighter.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

DP: What got me into MMA was getting tired of being a practitioner of karate where Self-Defense was more the goal and wanted to learn more how to simply “whip somebody’s ass” if I had to.

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?

DP: What sets me apart from the rest of the fighters on TUF is 1) that I am already successful previous to going on the show which shows that I already have a business mindset and that I can carry myself further in the business of the sport rather then just fight like millions of other fighters in the world can do. 2) im representing a whole culture of people (Urban Hip-Hop culture) that has not been tapped into the sport of mixed martial arts yet so I’m a huge eye opener to the unaware and drawing a whole new crowd of people to pay attention to the sport other then those whole already have been paying attention to it. 3) I’m just an all around more marketable human being then the rest of them being that other then just fighting I have so many other talents as well.

What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

DP: Just as I said earlier I feel I will put a whole new spotlight on this sport coming from people who don’t really no much of this sport now. (The youth of the urban hip-hop culture, specifically blacks and Hispanics from the inner low income cities of the United States and across the world). Which wat I believe will help lower the violence and poverty rates across the United States and also the world. And Finally I will just be bringing a whole lot of swag, a whole lot of flava and a whole lot of entertainment.

 

 

Kyler Phillips

Kyler “Matrix” Phillips is one of the most exciting prospects heading into this season. At the age of just 22, the American has won all five of his fights, three knockouts, one submission, and one decision. Phillips has got some of the fastest hands in MMA and has razor sharp elbows too. “Matrix” ground game is something to be admired as well, he is not happy to just sit in one position,  constantly trying to better his position and throw tremendous ground and pound in the process. Phillips has all the tools to go the distance this season, let’s hope he lives up to the expectations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricky Steele

Ricky “The Karate Kid” Steele is a fun fighter to watch, he is 5-0 and won all five fights by unanimous decision. Although Steele has yet to finish a fight, he always does enough for the judges to score the fight in his favour, and has proved to be a very tricky opponent as he’s more than comfortable regardless of where the fight ends up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightweights

Thai Clarke

Thai “Landshark” Clark is going to be a hard fight for anyone this season. He became an amateur fighter in 2011 and spent some time on the regional circuit before turning pro. in 2014. As a pro, Clark has a 7-0 record and has shown his dominance in abundance. The majority of “Landshark’s” wins have been via decision, but the 28-year old has knockouts and submissions in him, and I’m sure we will see just that in The Ultimate Fighter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Gianneti

Joe “Skeletor” Giannetti is a submission specialist of the highest calibre. He has one thing on his mind while fighting and that’show he’s going to get the fight to the floor. Then some perfectly executed Brazilian jiu-jitsu before finally putting you in a submission that you just can’t escape from. A pro. record of 6-0 and five of them victories have come by tapout. Giannetti has the tools to defeat any human in his way at 155lbs.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

JG: I’ve always gotten into fights growing up, because kids would pick on me for being fat, so my junior year of high school when people start talking about college and what they wanted to do with their lives I decided I was going to be a fighter, because it was the only thing I was good at. My senior year my wrestling team Couldn’t use the cafeteria for practice, so my coach brought us to his MMA gym south shore Sportfighting. I stuck around afterwards for jiu-jitsu class and I was hooked! the rest is history.
My first MMA memory is when I accepted my very first amateur fight and nobody could believe I was actually going to fight

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?


JG: Motivation. I know everyone has dreams and motivation, but I truly believe I have more motivation and a better reason to get out of bed in the morning to go train than anyone else.
What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

JG: I feel like I can bring exciting fights and an underdog story with me to the UFC. My team and I have to work for everything we have, we don’t have any “connections” to get guys to the UFC, just good work ethics and results.
Thank you for answering my questions, do you have anything you’d like to add?

JG: Only thing I’d like to add is I hope everyone reading this tunes into the show, enjoys it, and hopefully becomes a fan and joins me on this crazy MMA journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Gunther

John “The Machine” Gunther is one of the more versatile fighters on this season of The Ultimate Fighter. He can punch a hole through his opponents face leaving them on the floor wondering which day it is, catches them in a nasty submission and tries to pull off whichever limb he has hold of and he can grind out 15 minutes of hard graft to sway the judges in his favour. With a 6-0 pro. record, it’s going to take quite a fighter to take that clean record away from “The Machine”!

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

JG: I grew up doing judo. I never saw any MMA until about 6 years ago. There was a class at this community college I was going to in Mansfield oh. It seemed difficult/interesting so I tried it. My first fight was probably my first real memory. I just did it to challenge myself but then I was hooked. I started watching UFC, training all the time and became a full-blown addict.

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?

JG: I think the thing that distinguishes me from the other TUF fighters is my realization that if you don’t quit you can’t fail; and my willingness to work harder than everyone else.

What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

JG: I’m just gonna bring my mouthpiece and my cup! I’ll bring some friends in there if they let me! But hopefully, it’s a very one-sided relationship. Ideally, they’ll bring the things and I’ll do the taking! They bring opponents, I take them down. They bring the belts I get something to hold my pants up!

Thank you for answering my questions, do you have anything you’d like to add?

JG: I don’t want to dazzle you with my incredible math skills so I’ll just add something simple, 1+1= 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jose Martinez jr

Jose Martinez Jr has a 4-0 pro. record and has won two of the four fights by TKO. Martinez’ ability to close the distance, land shots and return back to a safe distance away from counters, makes him a real threat this season. With some serious ground and pound behind him, Ohio’s up and comer is not afraid to get taken down either, no opponent is safe anywhere inside the cage against Martinez.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luis Pena

24-year-old Luis Pena has answered all questions asked of him since turning pro. in 2016. Pena has a perfect 4-0 record and became the World Collide lightweight champion in his last pro. fight. Pena is another well-rounded fighter and is expected to go far in the tournament. Pena has never needed the judges to score the fight, with three submissions and a knockout victory, the 24-year-old much prefers to keep fate in his own hands. Favouring his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, some may take Pena’s stand up game for granted, but if you do that you’ll be spitting teeth in no time.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

LP: I was always a fan of MMA especially after I started wrestling. After dropping out of college I volunteered to help coach at my high school and worked in the back of a restaurant, eventually one of my old rivals from my high school days on the mat hit me up and asked if I’d help him come in and help one of his training partners get ready to fight a wrestler. I went in and the rest is history. I’ve been training and competing ever since.

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?

LP: I’m the complete total package. I’ve got the look, I can articulate myself well, have natural talent and physical gifts, as well as a champions mindset and incomparable work ethic.

What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

LP: I’m bringing them their next great star no matter what.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richie Smullen

Richie Smullen is one of the new exciting breeds coming through from Ireland. The 26-year-old has three wins and a draw on his record and has fought on two occasions for Europe’s top organisation BAMMA. Smullen is very bouncy like a boxer, always drifting in and out of the pocket delivering shots to put his opponent’s lights out. The Irishman also has two heel hook submission wins, so that’s definitely something to keep an eye out for on this season. Smullen will no doubt love the pressure of having SBG on his shoulders and will live up to the expectations of Coach Kavanagh and everyone at the gym.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Trizano

Mike Trizano, 6-0, two K.O’s, two submissions and two decisions, is there anything this kid cannot do? The 26-year-old takes in a wealth of experience too, being the ROC featherweight champion and even fighting for Bellator in his last fight. New Jersey’s up and comer seems patient in his fights, he’s more than happy to sit back and calculate, but the second you throw a sloppy punch, a Mike Tyson style left hook will come back at you. Folding opponents up like a deck chair seems to be a hobby of Trizano’s.

What got you into MMA and what is your first MMA Memory?

MT: I always wanted to fight and one of my friends told me about tiger Schulmann’s so I went and took a class and I was hooked ever since. My first MMA memory is when I won my amateur MMA debut, one of the best feelings finishing the fight by submission in the first round.

What sets you apart from the rest of the fighters in TUF?

MT: What sets me apart from the rest of the fighters is without a doubt my work ethic. Everyone is very talented especially at this level so outworking everyone is key to success.

What do you feel you’ll bring to the UFC if things go as planned?

MT: If all goes as planned I plan on bringing a lot of violence and blood in the UFC. The Lone Wolf always looks to feast on his opponent’s flesh.

Thank you for answering my questions, do you have anything you’d like to add?

MT: Always a pleasure. No one is more hungry than The Lone Wolf.

 

 

 

Allan Zuniga

Allan “Tigre” Zuniga has a 13-0 record. Yes, you read that right, 13-0! How he hasn’t found himself in the UFC already is a mystery. However, I am sure he is more hungry than ever to win the golden ticket to the UFC. Four submission victories and three knockout victories have placed “Tigre” as one of the favourites to run away with this season. When you watch Zuniga you can expect explosive punches and kicks from all angles and a slick submission game to back it all up. One of the front-runners for sure!

 

To summarise, this is going to be the best season to date without a shadow of a doubt. I’m so excited to see how this unfolds and I hope with my article that you’re just that little bit more excited too. Now you know a little bit more about the men stepping into the octagon to fight for the chance of a lifetime, and chase every mixed martial artist’s biggest dream, a contract with The Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Ryan Cambridge

The Ultimate Fighters 5 Biggest Underachievers And What They’re Doing Now

The Ultimate Fighter has been the golden ticket to the UFC for many mixed martial artists. The show has produced some of the greatest fighters in UFC history and has made champions with the likes of Michael Bisping, TJ Dillashaw, Matt Serra, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Rose Namajunas, all originating from the show. The show has just finished filming its 27th series which is expected to be on your screens in the near future. So as you can imagine in 26 series’ the show has had its fair share of unimpressive fighters, I’m going to take you through 5 great fighters from the show who for some reason couldn’t make things click inside The Ultimate Fighter or inside the UFC.

5. Nick Osipczak

Season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter saw Team UK coached by former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, and Team USA coached by Dan Henderson, go head to head in a special nations version of the show. In team UK was Nick Osipczak. The Brit had accumulated a 3-0 professional record before appearing on The Ultimate Fighter. He won his first three fights and was going strong. In the semi-final, Osipczak lost to Demarques Johnson in a fight Dana White called “One of the greatest fights in TUF history”.

Osipczak defeated Frank Lester in the finale of the show and was given a UFC contract. Just five months later, Osipczak also defeated Matthew Riddle, and things were looking good for the Londoner. That was until three decisions went against Osipczak and he was cut from MMA’s greatest proving ground, so he decided to stop fighting. Nick opened up his own MMA school in 2011, and after 4 years made a return to professional fighting saying he felt reborn. Despite a first round rear naked choke victory over Kyle Redfearn in Milton Keynes, Osipczak never returned to fighting.

Now Osipczak concentrates on his art.  An avid painter, Nick was selected to be the In-House artist for one of London’s top Interior Design shops and made a documentary “Hitting the canvas with Nick Osipczak.”

Artwork_by_Nick_Osipczak

4. Mehdi Baghdad

Mehdi Baghdad had two stints in The Ultimate Fighter. The first time was in series 22. He came into the competition with a vast amount of experience, an impressive 11-3 record, and held two different titles at other organisations before appearing on the show. Victory over Artem Lobov was a great start for “The Sultan”, but he crashed out of the tournament with a terrible performance against Julian Erosa. However, Baghdad still had two fights for the UFC and lost them both to Chris Wade and John Makdessi.

Series 25 Redemption dropped, and Baghdad got his second chance, but a fired up Jesse Taylor was too much for “The Sultan”  who for a second time found his TUF days cut short. Baghdad has fallen off the radar since and has been silent regarding his future. I hope we one day see the Frenchman back inside the cage but I certainly would not count on it.

3. Hayder Hassan

Hayder Hassan, much like Mehdi Baghdad, also had two separate opportunities to impress in The Ultimate Fighter. BlackZillians vs American Top Team was his first shot. Lightning fast power puncher Hassan, fought his way to the finale where he lost to top welterweight contender Kamaru Usman by arm triangle. Hassan got a single shot in the UFC but another submission loss, this time to Vicente Luque, meant that Hassan’s UFC career was short-lived.

Series 25 Redemption was Hassan’s second chance too. An 18-second K.O over Joe Stevenson got many excited, but a fired up Jesse Taylor had other ideas and he submitted Hassan leaving the American out of the competition.

Hassan has not given up hope on his dreams. He now fights at Pheonix Fighting Championships in Dubai. He lost his debut via DQ after landing elbows to the back of the head, which was a little harsh. Hassan will have his second fight for Pheonix against Pavel Kushch in Dubai. No date has been set, but I look forward to following Hassan in his career.

Hayder Hassan

2. Jonathan Brookins

Jonathan Brookins came to The Ultimate Fighter with an 11-3 record and lived up to his own expectations. He made easy work of his opponents before winning the competition by beating Michael Johnson in the finale via decision. But despite winning the show, his UFC career was far from what we had become to expect from Brookins.

A loss in his first fight to Erik Koch seemed a minor setback as he returned with a sensational knockout victory over Vagner Rocha. The UFC chose not to renew Brookins contract after two back to back submission defeats to Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirer.

The Ultimate Fighter winner was not done though, he is still fighting but in smaller organisations. A 3-4 record since his UFC departure is far from ideal for his fans, but they would be pleased with his recent victory over Decky Dalton at Bamma 28 back in February of last year.

1. Junie Browning

Junie Browning appeared on season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. He only had a 2-0 record, but he showed great potential and looked like a future contender very early on. Antics inside the house meant Browning was on thin ice from the start with Dana. A complete lack of respect, boozing, and starting fights with everyone in a 3-mile radius, gave us quite the entertaining show. But this showed mental fragility in Browning’s head, who was quite clearly crying out for some sort of attention.

Browning impressively fought his way to the semi-final before losing to Efrain Escudero. Browning fought on the finale card against Dave Kaplan and won in great style. But, he lost his next fight to Cole Miller, which ended “The Lunatiks” reign in the UFC. Browning went on to fight Scott Cornwell at MMA Big Show. Browning went on to lose his next five fights and he gave up on his fighting career.

Browning has since moved back to his hometown Lexington, Kentucky and has taken a coaches job at 4 Seasons MMA with long-time friend and trainer Michael O’Donnell. In recent posts on Facebook, Junie has claimed he has found a true passion in “being alive”, and has taken to training the students. After four years away from the sport, Browning won a fight against Jeremy Myers in his hometown but has since gone off the radar.

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Well, that concludes our list, I hope you have enjoyed the article and look forward to many more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter!

Ryan Cambridge