Sunday 5 December 2010

Ultimate Fighter Finale Review By Shaun Nichols

This was the finale of the 12th series of the Ultimate Fighter and will be headlined by Jonathan Brookins who was the most impressive fighter of the series so far and who has used the rear naked choke to gain his victories against the number one pick of the series Michael Jordan. Jordan so far hasn't come across that well, he's won all his fights by decision. So going in, Brookins appears to be the favourite.
Show opens with Leonard Garcia facing Nam Phan, Phan reached the semi finals before losing to Jordan in the Ultimate Fighter and has now dropped down to featherweight. Following the UFC-WEC merger this is the first featherweight fight in UFC history for those of you that like your history trivia. Garcia is far more aggressive but is quite reckless, Phan is more measured and as a result is probably more effective. Opening round is very close and could have gone either way. Second round also is all about stand up rather than takedowns, Phan is very dominant in this round and arguably took it 10-8. Garcia starts final round really fast but as usual starts to tire half way through the round. Final round is similar to first round in that Phan is more effective but Garcia comes across as the aggressor. Phan should still the round. Judges are split, one judge gives it 30-27 to Phan however the other two judges score it 29-28 to Garcia. Phan is suitably shocked and the announcers and fans aren't too far behind. Garcia admits that Phan won the fight and offers to fight him again.
Up next is a fairly boring fight between Rick Story and Johnny Hendricks, problem was that the opening fight on the show was pretty exciting despite the poor decision. These fighters unfortunately cancelled one another out. Story wins first two rounds by being more aggressive, Hendricks manages to score the odd takedown but nevers manages to do a lot with it and maintain control for any period of time. Hendricks does have more success in the last round but doesn't do enough damage to win the round by more than a 10-9 margin. Story wins 29-28 across the board.
Two other fighters from the current Ultimate Fighter series are up next, both Cody McKenzie and Aaron Wilkinson reached the quarter finals. This is not a great fight as McKenzie traps Wilkinson with a modified version of the guillotine half way through the first round.
Demian Maia is up next against the winner of the Ultimate Fighter 3 in Kendall Grove. Maia is by far the better wrestler and completely dominates the opening two rounds. He doesn't seem to have any problems getting past Groves defence securing a number of takedowns. He doesn't seem especially bothered about the last round which Groves barely wins. Maia is given 29-28 decision on all three scorecards.
We know see interviews with GSP and Koscheck for next weeks UFC 124 PPV. Koscheck surprisingly doesn't try and be a heel only smirking when GSP is answering a question. To summarize Koscheck says that he's a much improved all round fighter from their first fight in 2007 and that GSP shouldn't underestimate him. GSP responds by saying that once he beats Koscheck for a second time, he won't fight him again and that he'll be looking forward to the next chapter of his career.
In our co-main event Stephan Bonnar who won the inaugaral Ultimate Fighter faces Croatia's Igor Pakrajac. Bonnar was very impressive here and comfortably won all three rounds. Pakrajac did occasionally look dangerous striking however Bonnar was able to regularly secure takedowns and maintain controls. Both fighters had a point deducted for illegal knees and punches respectively. So Bonnar settles for a 29-26 win across the board.
This leaves us with the finale, Michael Johnson surprisingly dominates the first round. It's fought completely standing up and he's a far better striker the Brookins who as to take a number of decent punches to the face. Brookins needs a completely different strategy or he's definitely losing. Fortunately for him he's able to do so and quickly secures a takedown. As a wrestler he is more skilled than Johnson and seems to have no problems in keeping control. This means that going into the final round it could easily go either way and is dependent on the round being fought standing up or wrestling on the mat. Brookins gets the takedown but with Johnson being against the cage he's not able to do a lot of damage. Standing back up it's advantage back to Johnson however Brookins does near the end hit another takedown and throws a few punches. It's not a big final round for Brookins but he's done enough to win the final round and therefore the fight 29-28 on all three scorecards to become the winner of the 12th series of Ultimate Fighter.

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