Tonight will mark the 8th installment of The Ultimate Fighter and it should be a classic, since this young group looks to be one of the best in a long time. Over the years the finale has produced some class battles. A little history lesson below..
Kendall Grove vs. Ed Herman
The 6’6 Kendall Grove was a long shot to win Season 3, but with an inexperienced middleweight cast, he won out over Team Quest fighter Ed Herman in the finale June 24, 2006. But for a season that was low on talent, it was high on determination and grit. Herman and Grove personified that when they did battle in one of the most back and forth TUF fights of all time. Grove won the decision, but they both won the hearts of MMA fans all over the world.
Scott Smith vs. Pete Sell
Season 4 was the “comeback.” The UFC brought back former UFC fighters who had had some misfortune as of late inside the octagon. Smith and Sell were just looking to solidify their place under the Zuffa umbrella. The fight was full of heavy shots and high fives between the two former housemates. In the final moments of the fight Sell hit Smith with a wicked body shot and had Smith hurt bad. When Sell ran into finish the fight, Smith unloaded a desperate right cross that knocked Sell out cold. In just a few seconds, the UFC had both a best comeback and fight of the year candidate.
Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver vs. Jared Rollins
Participants of season 6 of TUF, WarMachine and Rollins took to the cage right before the TUF finals. Not much was expected of either, with both having lost decisively inside the house. But they put on one of the most memorable and bloody fights in UFC history. Rollins was controlling much of the 3rd and final round and just when you thought the wounded Koppenhaver could take no more punishment, he reversed his position, ended up on top and secured a 3rd round TKO win.
Roger Huerta vs. Clay Guida
Also from season 6 was the main event between Clay Guida and Roger Huerta. Both were trying to prove something: Huerta that he wasn’t an overhyped star who had been given easy opponents. And Guida, that his mid range success in the UFC was more a product of his difficult schedule and had nothing to do with his talent. They proved that they both have gigantic hearts. At one point, Huerta was dazed badly by a Guida right hand while he knelt on the cage floor. But just 2 minutes later Huerta was able to land a perfect knee that had Guida hurting, and secured a rear naked at 31 second into the 3rd round for the win.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin
What has been celebrated as the most influential fight in UFC history was Bonnar vs. Griffin 1 from Season 1 of the TUF finale. The UFC put up $10 million of their own money to finance the production of the show and they were banking on its success. These two delivered on April 9, 2005 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. The fight was epic. The finale did huge ratings and the UFC was well on their way to turning a corner on the MMA market, and becoming the fastest growing and most exciting MMA organization in the world.
Tell us what we’ve left out. Enjoy the fights everyone.