After UFC Fight Night 9, Spike TV gives us the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 5. Like the previous season – where the two winners earned a title shot (unless they pissed it away by not making weight) – there is a twist to the basic formula. This time around, there will only be one winner, as all 16 fighters are in the Lightweight (145-155) division. The two coaches have been known for a while, but the list of rumoured fighters can be considered a spoiler.
Jens “Little Evil” Pulver – A former UFC Lightweight champion known for his punching power, a left hook in particular. His return to the Octagon did not go according to plan, losing in 48 seconds to Joe Lauzon. More on that in a bit.
“The Prodigy” B.J. Penn – A former UFC Welterweight champion, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter known for his sick level of flexibility. Similar to another Hawaiian, Joe Riggs, Penn has fought in several weight classes, moving up as high as Light-Heavyweight.
As is tradition, the coaches will fight one another, possibly to determine an opponent for current Lightweight champion Sean Sherk, who should be returning from medical suspension around now. Pulver and Penn have fought before, way back in early 2002, when Pulver retained the Lightweight championship by decision. Five years is a long time, and it’ll be interesting to see how these two have changed since then.
Fighter names were listed on DeathValleyDriver.com and then cross-checked with Sherdog.
Allan Berube There’s apparently about 100 different ways to spell this guy’s name it’s even inconsistent on the official records of his two fights. Berubie won both fights by submission in the first round, so this tells us… nothing, really.
Nathan Diaz Nathan is the younger brother of Nick “Gomi killer” Diaz, and like his brother, practices Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Unlike his brother, Nathan (who is 4″ shorter) has won the majority of his fights by tapout and seems to prefer the ground game.
Robert Emerson Emerson is a Vale Tudo fighter who spent the early part of his career losing a lot of decisions, including one to Jens Pulver. Other notable losses came at the hands of Dokonjonosuke Mishima and Melvin Guillard.
Manvel Gamburyan Manvel apparently hasn’t fought professionally since early 2004, and as Mikey Burnett showed, not fighting for a long time isn’t necessarily a good thing. His last three opponents, at least, have some name recognition to UFC fans Sam Morgan (W), Jorge Santiago (W) and Sean Sherk (L).
Brian Geraghty What are the odds of there being two Brian Geraghtys? One’s an actor who had a part in Jarhead, the other has a 17-9-1 record as a fighter. It’s probably a good thing that this guy is the fighter.
Corey Hill Corey has had all of one (ONE!) fight as a mixed martial artist. Not a lot of information on this guy.
Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon Yep, this is the guy who was last seen handing target=new>Pulver a TKO loss. If I were to guess, Lauzon was brought in to spice up the “reality” element of the show, but given that TKO, I’d say that he’s no pushover.
Gray Maynard Oh, hey, another guy with a 2-0 record. At this point I’m wondering where the Sam Stouts, Mark Hominicks and Ivan Menjivars are (even though the latter two are flyweights). Hell, they could’ve thrown Florian or Danny Abaddi back in there. OK… maybe not Abaddi.
Brandon “The Murderer” Melendez Gotta love that nickname. Melendez fights under Jeremy Horn, and recently suffered a four-match losing streak before rolling over a couple of tomato cans in 2006.
Cole Miller Cole has a nice 11-2 record (8 by submission) and fights with American Top Team. The most surprising thing? His manager is listed as “Captain Miserable”, Charles McCarthy.
Gabe Ruediger Gabe is a former WEC champion who had the misfortune of meeting the heavy hands of Melvin Guillard, getting knocked out via a body punch that looked even more painful in slow motion. Gabe’s most recent losses have come against Guillard and Hermes Franca, so there’s no shame there.
“Mr. Indestructible” Marlon Sims Sims is a former Muay Thai fighter, and at 33 is a bit older than many of the fighters in the house. With a nickname like Mr. Indestructible, I’m expecting Sims to get a lot of focus in the “reality” portion of the show. If he has a “Mr. I” costume (yes, I know the I in that case stands for Immortal) he’ll instantly become my favourite fighter ever.
Noah “The Red” Thomas Sporting a 10-4 record, Noah Thomas has fought mainly in the Colorado area. His most recent fights have ended up in submission victories, and hopefully the Tapout/KO bonus will encourage him to go for more of those during the show.
Andy Wang Sherdog only has one Andy Wang listed, and he’s a 5-6 Middleweight from Hawaii. If this is the right guy, then 10 of 11 fights going the distance says that I’m not gonna like watching him fight.
Wayne “The Wayneiac” Weems Weems immediately earns my dislike thanks to a nickname similar to Tim Sylvia. Maybe Randy Couture could smack him around for five rounds as well. He’s got a 12-2 record fighting in the Midwest, and with his boxing/wrestling background, I could see him becoming a pet project for Pulver.
“Handsome” Matt Wiman Matt Wiman was last seen on the receiving end of a flying knee by Spencer Fisher. He made the mistake of letting his guard down and paid for it by becoming highlight reel fodder. He’ll be looking for redemption.
And there you have it. Keep reading Inside Fights for show recaps, and look to Reality Dish for episode commentary.
Sir Linksalot: The Ultimate Fighter
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