5 Early Favorites to Win The Ultimate Fighter

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2012

5 Early Favorites to Win The Ultimate Fighter

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    The Ultimate Fighter comes to you this Friday on FX, bringing you welterweight action. The coaches for the season are rivals Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson, who are sure to make this season interesting.

    With a number of big personalities on the show, it will be interesting to see how they interact with one another. Further than that, most of these fighters have big-show experience and were personally selected to participate rather than trying out for the season.

    Here are the five early favorites to win the show.

Sam Alvey

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    MMA Record: 19-4 (1 NC)

    "Smilin'" Sam Alvey may be a recognizable name if you are one who keeps an eye on Bellator. Alvey took part in one of their recent middleweight tournaments, where he was defeated in the opening round against Vitor Vianna by split decision.

    Alvey has a good wrestling base, which he uses to hand out brutal ground and pound. His wrestling could be seen in his split decision victory over top Bellator contender Karl Amoussou at Bellator 45.

    Alvey has to be considered a favorite due to his level of competition, size and skill. 

Igor Araujo

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    MMA Record: 22-6 (1 NC)

    Greg Jackson disciple Igor Araujo comes into The Ultimate Fighter as one of the most experienced fighters on the show. With nearly 30 pro fights, Araujo has spent time in such major promotions as M-1.

    Araujo is a dangerous submission artist, as displayed by his 17 tapout wins. He has won with such submission holds as armbars, arm-triangle chokes and kneebars.

    Araujo's experience and skill on the ground will make him a feared opponent to anybody. Add to that the fact that he is well-trained by one of the best around, and he must be considered a favorite.

Ricky Legere, Jr.

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    MMA Record: 14-4

    Ricky Legere, Jr. is a long-time King of the Cage veteran who will be coming into this show with a great amount of mid-level experience.

    Legere has finished 12 fights, with seven coming by knockout and five coming by submission. Some notables that he has defeated are Chris Spang and Waachiim Spiritwolf.

    His latest fight was in Strikeforce, where he was victorious via unanimous decision over the aforementioned Spang. Legere is very talented and could use this show to become a great fighter in the UFC.

Bristol Marunde

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    MMA Record: 12-7

    Speaking of fighting in Strikeforce in their latest fight, Bristol Marunde comes in as a favorite to win the show due to the level of competition he has faced and his all-around skill.

    Eight of his wins have come by way of knockout or submission. He has defeated Ultimate Fighter alumni Shane Primm and Noah Inhofer, as well as UFC veteran Jay Silva in his MMA journey.

    Marunde has faced top guys such as Ronaldo Souza, which may prepare him for anything. Marunde has one of the best chances to win this show.

Mike Ricci

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    MMA Record: 7-2

    A fighter who trains alongside Georges St-Pierre and the boys at Tristar Gym, Mike Ricci was once touted to be the next big thing in MMA. That was before he was knocked senseless by now Bellator champion Pat Curran.

    Either way, Ricci is still a talented fighter with the potential to be very good. He is 7-2 with four knockouts and a submission. In that time, he has beaten notable Canadians Jordan Mein and Jesse Ronson, proving his worth as a mixed martial artist.

    Ricci's background and skill speak for themselves. He has to be considered a favorite to take home the crown.