Posted 04/17/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA

The Ultimate Fighter: Canada vs. Australia Finale Review

The Ultimate Fighter: Canada vs. Australia Finale went down last night, though you might find more people who sat through all 14 innings of the White Sox-Red Sox game than watched this card. This may shock you, but a B-level show headlined by two foreigners and chock full of squash matches and barely-UFC talent that started at 3:15 p.m. ET drew less than half the available seats at the Colisee Pepsi. (That’s an official attendance of 5,069 in a building that can hold as many as 15,000.) Those of you reading this may not be looking for my fresh takes as much as legitimately wanting to know what happened. Prepare for disappointment.

See Saw Hee Haw

Tim Kennedy won a convincing decision over Michael Bisping in one of the stranger – though compelling – fights in recent memory. Kennedy took Bisping down in round one and was able to control him for the majority of the round. In round two, Bisping held Kennedy off and maintained a vertical base. Bisping backed Kennedy into the cage throughout the round, but would back off and allow Kennedy space. Kennedy won the third round with a repeat of his first-round performance. The fourth round was close, and Kennedy secured the fight with more ground control in the fifth.

Kennedy’s ability to control Bisping on the floor was surprising, but the action on the feet had me scratching my head. Bisping wasn’t exactly cutting off the cage with Kennedy. He walked forward, and Kennedy, looking tired at points, would cede the space. Bisping would throw a small combo and back off, giving Kennedy room to circle and/or shoot. Heading into the fifth round, Greg Jackson was screaming at Kennedy to bend his knees and stay off the fence. While Kennedy heeded that advice, Bisping’s inability to capitalize made the entire matter moot.

To add to the madness, one of the judges scored the fight 50-45 for Kennedy. Rounds 1, 3, and 5 were all Kennedy, and round 4 could go either way. Round 2, however, was clear for Bisping. The FightMetric stats:

Kennedy 11 of 22 significant strikes | 0 of 3 takedowns
Bisping 17 of 49 significant strikes | 0 of 0 takedowns

Bisping was more aggressive, landed more strikes, and stuffed all of Kennedy’s takedowns. Not a single media outlet gave Kennedy a 50-45 card, and it’s likely every one of them scored round 2 for Bisping.

Moving on Down the Line

The UFC kept referring to this fight as a grudge match because Bisping has history with Kennedy’s Ranger Up buddy Jorge Rivera and everyone hates Bisping and both Bisping and Kennedy are kind of assholes. So a grudge was on the line! And then they sort of awkwardly squashed it at the end. Kennedy seemed genuine or genuine enough to play the babyface role, and Bisping kind of, sort of begrudgingly accepted a handshake, but it seemed like the last thing he wanted to do was shake Kennedy’s hand after losing in the manner that he did.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the fight wasn’t really close and no one really cared about it because it was in Quebec City at the oddest hour of a Wednesday night, so we’re not likely to see a rematch. So where do these guys go from here?

I talked about Bisping fighting a returning Anderson Silva should he beat Kennedy, and Bisping continued the story of his career by going out and putting up a turd. I’m not entirely sure this totally kills a potential fight with Silva, and in some ways it might help it. Both men are coming off losses, which the UFC likes to match together, and the loss puts Bisping almost entirely out of the title picture, though he would have been standing in line behind a few guys with a win anyway. This is one of the few money fights the UFC has outside of their champions (though Silva’s return should do well against anyone), and I still maintain this is the best sort of fight for Silva. Bisping’s not going to wrestle with him, and he’s not likely to hurt Silva on the feet. He’s still got a name in the sport, and they could sell out one of the bigger buildings in the UK (where Silva has history with Cage Rage).

Kennedy, meanwhile, likely steps into Bisping’s spot in the rankings.* He’ll be looking up at Silva, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Jacare Souza, and Luke Rockhold. Rematches with either Jacare or Rockhold seem likely. Both men defeated Kennedy in Strikeforce and may resist the idea, but they don’t have many other options with the UFC still publicly targeting Belfort fighting the winner of Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida.

* – Bisping’s currently tied at number five with Rockhold. Kennedy will likely end up in the six spot.

Pro Wrestling Shenanigans and Carnival Salesmanship

Despite being completely transparent and embarrassing, the UFC continues to celebrate the “six-figure contract” that winners of the Ultimate Fighter receive. Here are the details on that contract:

The winners of the first three seasons of The Ultimate Fighter competition, and certain runners-up depending on their performance in their competition finals, receive the touted “six-figure” contract to fight in the UFC. These contracts are specifically three-year contracts with a guaranteed first year. Each year consists of three fights, the first year’s purse per fight consists of $12,000 guaranteed with a $12,000 win bonus (a maximum of $24,000 per fight). The second year’s purse per fight is $16,000 with a $16,000 win bonus (a maximum of $32,000 per fight) and the third year’s purse per fight is at $22,000 with a $22,000 win bonus (a maximum of $44,000 per fight).

A TUF winner who goes 9–0 can earn $300,000 total on the contract, but only $150,000 is guaranteed for all three years if nine fights are fought. Some TUF competitors who did not win the series were also offered UFC contracts, although not on as attractive terms.

Call me crazy, but that’s not exactly a “six-figure contract.” That’s a “six-figure contract if you can make it through all nine fights of this deal otherwise it’s more like a first-year computer programmer’s salary contract.” And yet the promotion continues with the weird phrasing, which is basically a step up from WWE’s Money in the Bank.

Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter


Mike Fagan