Something I thought was interesting, or at least caught my eye, but did they only showed the “tale of the tape” for 2 fights? The reason I say this is because the two times I noticed it, two fighters had a 81 (Dom Waters) and 80 (Neil Magny) reach advantage over their opponents. Waters especially took advantage of that reach and made quick work of his opponent. If either guy can use that reach like Jones and not like Sruve, they will be tough to beat.
Judging by the first episode I think Waters, Alvey, Ricci and Diffley are the favorites to make it to the semis. Alvey showed crazy power, Diffley’s BJJ is the best in the house probably and with his experience as a coach, that could play to his advantage. Ricci has that quiet demeanor, kind of reminded me of Lauzon. Someone you think couldn’t hurt a fly, but once they’re in the octagon, everything changes.
Overall, the show was ok, same formula as years past (except for the last season), which could either be a positive or a negative, (if you go by the ratings, it’s a negative) but this brings me to a few thoughts about the series as a whole.
The UFC needs to focus more on finding good talent and less focus on casting obnoxious personalities like the red Mohawk guy (going by the previews, it looks like he has a few breakdowns). I don’t know who makes the final decision on who gets casted or not (from what I read I think the network has a huge say, at least that was when they were with Spike), but a guy who is 17-15 shouldn’t even be consider as a contestant. The whole point of the show is to find the next big thing and I think is safe to say that with a record like that, he’s not it.
Right now, TUF gets 2nd to 3rd tier fighters on the show while the 1st tier talent gets signed to a contract right away. Maybe the UFC doesn’t want to risk another company like Bellator beating them to the punch and signing them, but the UFC has to find a way to get that 1st tier talent on TUF. As it stands now, the UFC has signed better talent through free agency, than they have by TUF and if TUF is going to work, it should work the other way around.
Fighters like Hendricks, Pierce, Story, Hathaway and Ellenberger all made their UFC debut in 2009, that same year we had TUF US vs UK. Imagine if just 3 of those 5 fighters had been part of the show? Instead of having one of the weakest fighter lineups in all of the seasons of TUF, we would have had one of the strongest. Instead of Wilks vs DeMarques finals, we could’ve had a Hathaway vs Hendricks.
A lot has to do with timing and maybe those fighters couldn’t be part of the show or maybe they just didn’t want to be in it, but that’s when the UFC should step up and try to change their mind. They did a season of HW just to get Kimbo on the show (ratings, I know), but imagine if over the past few seasons fighters like Rory, M. McDonald, Oliveira, Hendricks, Gunnar, E. Siva or even Jones had been part of TUF? I realize that some of those fighters don’t speak English, but so what? They’re there to fight, not to make fools of themselves on TV.
Finally, I think for the next season of TUF we’ll some changes, I think the UFC will get its wish of moving it to a better night. I’m thinking Wednesday nights again, but it won’t be on FX, it will be on Fuel TV. I know what you’re thinking, nobody has Fuel TV, but that will change. I remember reading some time ago that Fuel’s contract with some of the cable/satellite companies was up sometime at the end of this year (I think it was October). I also read that FOX wants to increase its baseball coverage. How does this affect the UFC? If FOX gets the a bigger baseball package, it means that FUEL TV will be turn into a sports channel like ESPN and if that’s the case, you can bet more cable/satellite providers will want to carry Fuel TV.