Making the Grade: Passes/Fails from the 'TUF Nations' finale
We got the first two Canadian Ultimate Fighter winners, the biggest win of Tim Kennedy's career and a versatile victory from Patrick Cote.
You already know all about that stuff. At Haymaker, we go a little deeper. We read between the lines and results.
Here's what we took away from the TUF Nations Finale:
We have a feeling we're going to be having a lot of fun with Elias Theodorou in the future. The eccentric Canadian was laying one hell of a beating on Sheldon Westcott when he turned to the camera and said, "Hi mom!" That's way better than David Gardner yelling out "Hello Japan!" and then getting choked out by Shinya Aoki. This was some "American Psycho" type stuff.
Theodorou referenced his mom again talking to Kenny Florian after the fight, apologizing to her for using a dirty word during the interview. "The Spartan" is a little kooky and we need more of that in MMA. Plus, he's sporting some lustrous hair and is quite the handsome man. Not Carlos Condit handsome, but handsome nonetheless.
Ryan Jimmo isn't a very exciting fighter, that knockout of Sean O'Connell on Wednesday notwithstanding. But man, can we get a microphone in front of his mouth more often? The dude cut a faux Hulk Hogan promo saying he drank his protein shakes and read his science books, even adding in a "brother" at the end to Kenny Florian.
Better than all of that? Jimmo's robot dance. Just sublime. Between the KO and the hijinx, the Canadian made a bunch of new fans Wednesday night. Let's hope he doesn’t put them all to sleep the next time he fights.
Daniel Cormier, analyst
Awesome tie or no awesome tie, Cormier is looking more and more comfortable in front of the camera. Maybe it was the lead up to the Patrick Cummins fight when he dropped some funny lines. But DC was a little stiff as an analyst on FOX Sports 1 and FOX previously and now he has loosened up in a big way. He's becoming a breakout star on TV. Maybe not to the level of a Chael Sonnen, though it's clear he has a bright future in the industry.
Inappropriate call out
In today's UFC, calling out a potential next opponent after winning a fight isn't just smart, it's excellent for business. Challenging someone builds heat and points the UFC in the right direction of an interesting fight. And being that you chose the person to call out, you already have an idea in your head you can beat him or her. It makes perfect sense.
You know who you don't call out? A person whose spouse just died and is coming off a torn ACL. We love you, Sarah Kaufman, but can you leave Cat Zingano alone? There are plenty of able-bodied women in the UFC ready to go who didn’t just have their husband commit suicide three months ago. It just looks bad challenging someone who is obviously not going to be in top form the next time they fight and this is an even worse circumstance.
Maybe it was just Wednesday night, but that did not feel like your typical Canada card. Lots of empty seats and an uneven atmosphere were marks of the UFC's first trip to Quebec City. But hey, at least the organization didn’t have to abide by those ridiculous "mixed boxing" rules. There's your silver lining.
Honestly, though, the UFC is probably going to just have to bite the bullet on these Wednesday shows. Duluth, Ga., in January was even worse. But they make for good lead-ins for The Ultimate Fighter on FOX Sports 1, so they're likely here to stay. We'll have to see what the ratings look like.
There was a whole bunch of confusion when fans saw Nordine Taleb fight not once, but twice Wednesday night. How is that possible, you ask? Well, Taleb competed on the Fight Pass prelims of the TUF Nations Finale, beating Vic Grujic. Then, he was shown on the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 19, losing a fight to get in the house to Mike King. Previously, Taleb had lost on TUF Nations.
Does that make any sense? Not a whole lot. Taleb got hurt during TUF Nations, even though he lost. The UFC gave him another shot at TUF 19 (filmed in the fall) and he lost again -- but it was an extremely close decision with King. Maybe Taleb has written into his contract that he gets to be on every TUF from now. Can't wait to see him on TUF 20 with 15 women's strawweights. There's also going to be one hell of a language barrier on TUF Mexico and TUF India. It'll make for good TV, though. Taleb is the new recurring character on TUF -- like Puddy on "Seinfeld."
Noons def. Stout; Stout def. referee
As Brock Lesnar would say, Sam Stout was just making chicken salad out of … well, you know the rest. He couldn’t beat K.J. Noons on Wednesday night, so why not try to choke out the ref?
Stout was knocked silly by a right hand and then a follow-up left on the ground from Noons. He woke up with referee Phillippe Chartier on top of him, so Stout did what he was always taught -- keep fighting. Stout grabbed Chartier in a guillotine before realizing what he was doing, who he was doing it to and where the hell he was. Kind of embarrassing. But at least he got a 'W' out of it.