The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale – THE BRITISH ARE COMING!!!
So last week I made my picks for “UFC Fight Night” in Abu Dhabi and I did pretty well going 5-2 with 2 no contests (Yahya vs Bedford was ruled a no contest and Camozzi vs. Craig fight was cancelled due to Andrew Craig’s injury). On the PickAFight APP, I ended up in the top 5 with 260 points and MYMMANEWS founder and reporter Eric ended up 2nd place overall with 300 points (kudos to you kind sir).
The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale will air on April 16, 2014 in the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The card is stacked and it will feature a main event between Michael “The Count” Bisping and Tim Kennedy. This card has 13 fights so let’s get started:
Mitch Gagnon (10-2) vs. Tim “The Psycho” Gorman (8-2)
The first fight of the evening will be a bantamweight bout (135 lbs) between UFC vet Mitch Gagnon against new comer Tim Gorman. Gorman, who was on TUF 18 but was forced to leave the competition due to an injury, has won his last three fights via TKO. Gagnon lost his UFC debut via submission to Brian Caraway and has since found success in the organization winning his last two fights via submission. Gagnon has won all 10 of his fights via submission, and I think that he will make it 11 wins via submission with his experience and ability to take Gorman to the ground.
Pick: Mitch Gagnon via Submission, Rd. 1
Richard “Filthy” Walsh (7-1) vs. Chris “The Savage” Indich (6-1)
Both fighters were on Team Australia in this season’s competition and they have a great amount of respect for each other. I think this will be a close fight with both opponents knowing each other quite well from training and the judges will decide the victor of this bout. I am leaning toward Walsh as I feel he will be able to score the take downs and control the fight on the ground.
Pick: Richard Walsh via Decision.
Nordine Taleb (8-2) vs. Vic “The Spartan” Grujic (6-2)
Taleb represented Team Canada and Grujic Team Australia this season. Taleb has great striking and Grujic has a significant edge in the grappling (Victorian and Pan Pacific BJJ champion and gold medalist). Grujic needs to take Taleb to the mat and control the fight there, if this fight is kept standing, I think Taleb will make Grujic take a nap on the canvas.
Pick: Nordine Taleb via TKO Rd. 1
Mark Bocek (11-5) vs. Mike “El Cucuy”De La Torre (12-3)
Mark Bocek is no stranger to the UFC having fought 12 times for the promotion (7-5). He has notable wins over Dustin Hazelett, Nik Lentz, and John Alessio. De La Torre will be making his UFC debut and he has finished 11 of his 12 opponents (five via tko/ko and six via submission). Bocek has a solid wrestling and jiu jitsu foundation which he uses to control his opponents on the mat and win on the judges’ scorecards. De La Torre trains in the MMA Lab with fellow teammate Benson Henderson, who has fought and defeated Bocek via decision at UFC 129. I think the combination of ring rust from Bocek (has not fought since November 2012) and a good training camp that De La Torre is in, “El Cucuy” will make a successful debut.
Pick: Mike De La Torre via Decision
George Roop (14-11-1) vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Kimura (12-2)
This is a must win fight for George Roop (3-4 in UFC). He is a scrapper win or lose, and he will have the edge in striking against Kimura, whereas Kimura will have the edge in grappling. Roop holds a significant size advantage at 6’1″ towering over the 5’6″ Kimura, that height and reach advantage will be key to keep the fight standing. I think Kimura will get this fight to the ground and submit Roop and win the SOTN.
Pick: Dustin “The Diamond” Kimura via Sumbission Rd. 2
Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo (18-3) vs. Sean “The Real OC” O’Connell (15-4)
Some Lightheavyweight action between two good wrestlers with solid punching power. O’Connel will be making his UFC debut bringing a six-fight winning streak to the table. Jimmo has been on a roller coaster ride in the UFC (2-2 UFC record) winning and losing every other match. Jimmo came into the UFC with a 15 fight winning streak. I am leaning towards a close fight with Jimmo pulling out the win.
Pick: Ryan Jimmo via Decision
Sarah Kaufman (16-2) vs. Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (6-4)
Sarah Kaufman was scheduled to fight two other opponents on this card (Shayna Baszler and Amanda Nunes). Both opponents dropped out to injury and Leslie Smith stepped up. Don’t let Smith’s record fool you, these two fighters last met at Invicta 5 last April and Kaufman squeaked out the split decision victory (some called it controversial and felt that Smith won). I think this will be another tight battle as both females have a solid ground game and it will come down to over who controls it and scores more take downs. Smith has guts for taking this fight on such a short notice, this might also be a disadvantage to her endurance in the later rounds.
Pick: Sarah Kaufman via Decision
Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout (21-9-1) vs KJ “King” Noons (12-7)
Both fighters are excellent strikers and it is going to be a stand up clinic. I think this fight will go the distance with both fighters getting bloodied up, the minor edge will goto Stout with having a better wrestling background to fall back on and being the “Country favorite”.
Pick: Sam Stout via Decision
Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (15-3) vs. Akira Corassani (12-3)
Poirier is coming off of huge back-to-back wins over Erik Koch and Diego Brandao. Corassani is doing well for himself as well with a three-fight winning streak inside the UFC. This is an important fight for both of these guys in the featherweight division. A win for Poirier could be enough to push him to a top contender for the title (or perhaps the next in line). Corassani could make a big jump in this stacked division as well if he gets this win on his resume. I think Poirier has the edge all around and he will finish this fight convincingly and earning a KOTN award.
Pick: Dustin Poirier via TKO Rd. 1
Chad “The Disciple” Laprise (7-0) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (4-0)
The TUF Nations welterweight finalists will battle it out for the contract. Both Canadian fighters are undefeated and will showcase the classic “grappler vs. striker” match, with Laprise being the striking specialist and Aubin-Mercier the grappling the specialist. Aubin-Mercier, a black belt in judo and brown belt in BJJ, has submitted all of his opponents. Aubin-Mercier is going to control this fight with his grappling and throws, neutralizing Laprise’s dangerous striking and submitting him in the 1st round.
Pick: Olivier Aubin-Mercier via Submission Rd. 1
Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou (8-0) vs. Sheldon Westcott (8-1-1)
The TUF Nations middleweight finals will showcase another pair of Canadians with the undefeated Elias Theodorou going to war against Sheldon Westcott. Theodorou is all about cardio, cardio, cardio (I forgot to mention cardio). Westcott is a dangerous striker who is always looking for the finish. I think “The Spartan” will win this fight and start his journey as the “next big thing” in the UFC.
Pick: Elias Theodorou via TKO Rd. 2
Patrick “The Predator” Cote (19-8) vs. Kyle “KO” Noke (20-6)
Both of these UFC vets are well rounded fighters who have faced tough competition in the UFC. Both fighters have been out of fighting for over a year as well, this might cause some rust. Cote having this fight in his backyard will play an advantage.
Pick: Patrick Cote via Decision
Michael “The Count” Bisping (24-5) vs. Tim Kennedy (17-4)
These two have been exchanging verbal assault and the tension is building up. Kennedy has great cardio and he is strong, especially on the ground. Bisping’s advantage will be his striking and his reach advantage on Kennedy. I don’t like to pick against Tim Kennedy because he really is a tough-as-nails military bad ass (Army Ranger, qualified Special Forces Sniper) and he proves the doubters wrong. I also think if I pick against Kennedy that Eric will ban me from this site being that is one of his favorite fighters! I feel that Bisping will keep Kennedy at bay and pull out a hard fought decision and FOTN.
Pick: Michel Bisping via Decision
Thank you for reading. If you have not done so yet, purchase the PICKAFIGHT APP ($1.99 USD) and make your picks! It is a fun game and see how well you know your mma!