UFC's Ultimate Fighter 19 season finale: Saturday's finals are set, season wrap

TUF 19

By Josh Nason, Wrestling Observer

After Wednesday's episode, the finals are now set for this Sunday's Ultimate Fighter finale, putting an end to a season Dana White said was the worst in the show's history. 

Due to a lack of interest from readers and yours truly, there was no recap of last week's show, but here's the quick recap before we get into this week's show:

Pat Walsh (Team Edgar) wanted more workouts and due to the Team Edgar schedule, that wasn't going to happen. He asked to train with Team Penn, and got permission...kind of. He trained, and then got taken to task by his teammates and his coaches. Yes, his coaches said he could, but yet, he got yelled at. Weird. Walsh got emotional and stormed out of the locker room, but Edgar and coaches talked to him to bring him back. Not exactly what you want before the biggest fight of his career.

In any case, this was one of the most entertaining fights of the season, a full three rounds of standup. Anderson got the u/d victory, but Walsh earned the 'zombie' nickname from White due to his fighting style. He's really a 185-er and this effort likely gave him another UFC opportunity.

This was a good episode and worth a watch this weekend if you need just one more hour of MMA in your life.

Back to this week's finale:

Dhiego Lima took just 34 seconds to submit Roger Zapata in the first round, moving onto the 185-pound finals. Zapata hit Lima with a punch and Lima hit his back. He chased him and then got submitted by a tight armbar quickly. Lima was limping leaving the cage, but the show was taped so long ago that it doesn't matter. Zapata didn't seem too broken up about it, which was odd. He's fighting a weight class above where he should be, so it will be interesting to see if they bring him for a 170-pound bout.

Chuck Liddell stopped by a Team Penn practice on behalf of longtime coach and friend John Hackleman. He worked with Daniel Spohn, the light heavyweight facing Matt Van Buren in the semifinals. I still find it amazing that he's booked for national car battery ads that current UFC talent can't seem to get into. Spohn is confident, but hasn't made much of an impression other than 'boring' on the show. This is an important fight for him tonight.

But after a great first round, Van Buren shocked everyone by beating the shit out of Spohn in the second round, earning a big TKO win. He cracked him with a hook and dropped about 15 elbows to his head, completely dazing him. He did come back and catch Van Buren with a punch, but MVB roared back to finish it off. Spohn thought the stoppage was premature, but if you watch this fight, he's the only person thinking that.

The Finals:

- Matt Van Buren (Team Edgar) vs. Corey Anderson (Team Edgar) -- 205
- Dhiego Lima (Team Edgar) vs. Eddie Gordon (Team Edgar) -- 185

TUF 19 Final Thoughts:

Yeah, this season was boring with a rewatchability score of -143. It starts with the coaches, two guys that no one really cares about seeing fight each other. There was zero heat this season between Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn, and it definitely hurt the show -- a point amplified when the fights were dull. The fact Penn got swept shows that as nice a guy as he is, he didn't really care that much. I don't think he drafted his team that badly.

As far as opportunities for the cast, Ireland's Cathal Pendred is getting another opportunity despite a lackluster performance. As I wrote earlier, Walsh should get an opportunity but there's no one else on this season that really deserves another opportunity with 500+ guys already under contract.  

My hope is that after TUF 20, the concept goes to a Fight Pass only format with just non-US countries involved. Unless you get rid of the core concept -- fighters on two teams competing in a tourney -- there's nothing else outside of live gators at cageside that can make TUF different enough to care. After this next all-female season, there's nothing left for TUF to prove. Let it die, Dana. Let it die.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?