Another season of the Ultimate Fighter has come and gone with this go around introducing the world to a new bunch of bantamweights/featherweights. Some stood out over the past few months, others fell flat, but in the end this past Saturday night’s TUF 14 Finale gave the group of reality stars an opportunity to shine one last time before true reality set in.
For every TUF alumnus who even achieves status as a mid-card competitor there are five who fade into obscurity, while in many cases the success at a finale marks the pinnacle of a career rather than the first step on a path to greatness let alone a winning record inside the Octagon.
Below are some brief assessments of the potential displayed by each man starting from lowest and working up to the top two, neither of which will be a surprise to anyone who watched things unfold on Spike TV.
Josh Clopton – 30 years old and wasn’t even part of the main cast after losing in the qualifying round, lost a forgettable decision, i.e. he will never fight in the UFC again
Stephen Bass – Looked bad in his fight on the show, looked bad at the finale, and hadn’t fought for two years prior to last night, i.e. expect to see Bass vs. Clopton at an obscure show sometime in the next twelve months
Dustin Neace – A 23-18-1 record with back-to-back losses won’t cut it, i.e. he’ll need to win at least three in a row on the local scene to get another sniff from Joe Silva
Josh Ferguson – Vastly undersized and won’t make an impact at 135 pounds, i.e. he’ll go 2-1 in regional events before the UFC adds flyweights in 2012 and he’s re-signed
Dustin Pague – A disappointing fall from grace leaves Pague only ranked above Ferguson because he’ll probably get one more shot under the UFC banner, i.e. coming soon to a UFC on Fuel/FX undercard near you
Bryan Caraway – Caraway is great on the ground but chokes in big fights and has the flight-not-fight attitude Dana White isn’t appreciative of, i.e. he’s going to be paired with a veteran in his next bout with higher-ups looking to release him sooner than later
Steven Siler – Siler has youth working in his favor at 24, as well as a propensity for finishing opponents, i.e. he’ll get two more fights before finding himself at risk of release
John Albert – Albert was set up to lose to Pague after underperforming during the season but picked up his seventh stoppage in seven wins, i.e. could stick around until 2013 if he picks up a few undercard wins over the next few months
Roland Delorme – Being Canadian and, like Albert, finishing every opponent he’s beaten works in Delorme’s favor, i.e. will be booked on a Canadian card at some point next year and will get at least two chances to prove himself along the way if necessary
Louis Gaudinot – Gaudinot got thrashed in both of his bouts but should be a killer at 125 pounds, i.e. may get one more UFC fight and then need to hold things down outside of the Octagon if he loses, at least until the flyweight division finally shows up
Akira Corassani – A true character, Corassani was injured and didn’t fight Saturday but will get his shot sometime soon, i.e. given his personality should be sticking around for at least one more match-up win or lose in his debut
Johnny Bedford – Reminds me some of Matt Brown as a country boy who likes to scrap and has a well-rounded, ferocious style, i.e. he should be around for at least another eighteen months with the potential for an upset win along the way
Dennis Bermudez – Though he may have been a finalist Bermudez has lost three in a row (all submissions) and seems to get caught a lot while standing, could be one-and-done outside of TUF-related bouts depending on how things go in his follow-up fight
Marcus Brimage – Brimage is still raw but has a great camp and a highly-memorable demeanor, i.e. could be a future star depending on how he develops but will definitely be on the UFC roster for at least another year
T.J. Dillashaw – Dillashaw will recover from the sting of losing, re-group with his team, and come back stronger now that he’s been humbled by receiving his first career defeat, i.e. expect to see Dillashaw as a force at 135 for years to come
Diego Brandao – A fascinating talent who could be great if he streamlines his emotion or mediocre if he remains as-is, i.e. Thiago Alves at featherweight who will be a divisional staple for the foreseeable future
John Dodson – Dodson is the cream of the Ultimate Fighter 14 crop as far as where he could go, especially when the UFC ushers in 125ers, given his power, speed, and conditioning, i.e. he will fight for a flyweight title before the age of 30
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PHOTO CREDIT – UFC