The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale Results: Grades for All Main-Card Fighters
Anyone else get the feeling like fighters are going for the finish way more than usual? It just seems like we've seen a ton of cards that have delivered in a big way recently.
The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Saturday night was one of those cards. Despite being thin on star power, there were several memorable fights throughout the night.
It wasn't a perfect evening, though. The bout between Melvin Guillard and Jamie Varner was cancelled during the prelims due to Varner throwing up in the locker room. And then there was The Ultimate Fighter final between Colton Smith and Mike Ricci which was very underwhelming.
But despite those low points, it was a very good night. Find out who had the best performance of the night.
Jonathan Brookins: C-
On paper, Jonathan Brookins was outmatched against Dustin Poirier in every facet of MMA. His only real strength has been his wrestling, but he couldn't even rely on that against Poirier, who is a very underrated grappler.
But Brookins showed that time at TriStar has helped develop his stand up, as he was able to put hands on Poirier early in the fight. Unfortunately, it seems like he hasn't been practicing striking defense. He left his chin wide open whenever he committed to a strike.
Brookins has probably reached his ceiling as a fighter. He'll never challenge for a belt, but he'll have a roster spot since he can be a solid gatekeeper.
Dustin Poirier: B+
It wasn't a perfect performance from Dustin Poirier at The Ultimate Fighter Finale. He got into punching exchanges with Jonathan Brookins, and at times, looked to have taken some unnecessary damage.
But he was able to overcome those early mental errors to establish his boxing. He dropped Brookins with what looked to be a jab and finished the bout with a D'Arce choke.
With featherweight still wide open, Poirier has plenty of time to work his way back into title contention. The win over Brookins is a great starting point.
Shane Del Rosario: D
I feel for Shane Del Rosario. He's obviously a talented guy who is a solid striker with decent grappling. In fact, he was one of those "must-watch" heavyweights expected to make a big splash in the UFC.
And early on in the fight with Pat Barry, he looked pretty good. His kicks were on point, and he did well adjusting whenever Barry would change stances. The grappling on the ground wasn't that good, however.
Unfortunately for Del Rosario, it seems like there are issues with his striking defense and training. He just fades and makes really dumb mistakes.
I'm not sure he gets another shot in the Octagon. Maybe he can win a Bellator tournament?
Pat Barry: B+
I love watching Pat Barry fight. Not because he's an exciting fighter (he is), but because he's the type of guy who enters the cage and is willing to go out on his shield.
It started off a bit rough for Barry. He was caught in several submissions and had to work his way out of them. But he was able to eventually take top position to end the first round.
That knockout? Epic.
And his post-fight speech was awesome. Seriously, I love me some Pat Barry.
Mike Ricci: F
The biggest takeaway from Saturday night? Just because you train with Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald doesn't mean you are Georges St-Pierre or Rory MacDonald.
It was a terrible fight. And Mike Ricci's performance was the worse of the two.
Yeah, he's a featherweight. But based on his takedown defense and grappling displayed Saturday night, he doesn't have much of a future in the UFC.
Colton Smith: B
Relentless grappling will win The Ultimate Fighter, but I don't think Colton Smith can remain competitive in the UFC's welterweight division.
He didn't offer much outside of positional control, and I think the welterweight division is too deep with grapplers for him to be effective.
But a win is a win. Welcome to the UFC.
Matt Mitrione: C+
All right, I know he was knocked out. I get it.
But until the finish, he looked great. His kicks were on point, and he was landing punches on Roy Nelson from range. He even did well in the clinch to avoid the takedown. Matt Mitrione didn't show any signs of being timid. Overall, it was a solid performance.
But the KO shows that he still has deficiencies in his striking defense. He needs to work more at head movement because the top of the division is filled with hard hitters.
Roy Nelson: A
Roy Nelson is doing it for all the big guys out there.
Nelson started slow against Mitrione but finished the fight with one of the best knockouts of the year. That three-punch combination was slick, and the ground and pound on the fetal Mitrione was brutal.
I'm note sure where he goes from here. He's said he has no interest in Shane Carwin, so I guess maybe a fight with Antonio Silva?