TUF 17 Results: Power Ranking the 14 Fighters Left
The 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter has premiered and the dust has settled. Fourteen men have successfully earned their way into the house in a field that is arguably the most talented we have seen in a while.
The teams, coached by Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, have been picked with some surprising moves being made. Some guys surprised viewers, while others disappointed and failed to make the cast.
This is a deep talent pool that could potentially add great depth to the UFC roster.
Here is the first power ranking of the 14 fighters remaining on the show.
14. Kelvin Gastelum
Team Sonnen (7th pick, 13th overall)
Kelvin Gastelum was the last pick for Team Sonnen, which was not a surprise. He won a very close decision over Kito Andrews to get into the house in a fight that should have gone to the third round.
At just 21 years old, he is the youngest competitor on the cast. He is not experienced as most guys on the show, so he really needs to prove himself in his next fight.
Coming into his elimination-round fight, Gastelum had finished all four of his professional fights.
13. Adam Cella
Team Jones (6th pick, 12th overall)
It's really hard to get a feel for a fighter who fought for a very short time, especially when he is just 4-0 in his career.
Cella had an impressive showing on the ground, as he quickly armbarred Jake Heun to get into the house. No offense to Heun, but he is not the most skilled fighter to test your skills against.
I liked what I saw on the mat, but so many others had impressive, long-lasting performances. Another win could propel Cella up the rankings.
12. Dylan Andrews
Team Jones (7th pick, 14th overall)
Australia's own Dylan Andrews made his trip to the United States worthwhile, as he will take part of the 14-man field.
However, he was the last pick during team selections. That should only fire up the scrappy middleweight.
From the looks of his fight with Tim Williams, a guy I thought would make the final cast (before I knew he was fighting Andrews), Andrews looked like a good striker. He wasn't able to finish his opponent, but that may be because Williams was a tank.
I don't think he should have been the last pick, but he definitely is near the bottom here.
11. Collin Hart
Team Jones (5th Pick, 10th Overall)
Collin Hart was a man who wanted to make a quick Octagon debut on the season premiere of the show. He did so by quickly tapping Mike Jasper out.
Hart looked good everywhere he was. He has the potential to be a dark horse in this competition based on how much he can improve on what he showed in the Octagon already.
However, he did not look nearly as good as many of the other more athletic guys in the tournament. Hopefully for Hart, time can change that.
10. Kevin Casey
Team Sonnen (6th Pick, 11th Overall)
Kevin Casey is among the physically strongest guys on the cast, which he proved in his muscling victory over Eldon Sproat. He dragged him down and manhandled him like a rag doll.
He showed his jiu-jitsu game is tight, but we saw nothing of his striking in his premiere. On the ground, he got cut open by Sproat striking off his back.
That is somewhat alarming, but anybody who wants to grapple with Casey may be in over their head.
9. Gilbert Smith
Team Jones (4th Pick, 8th Overall)
Speaking of physically strong guys on the cast, none may be stronger than Gilbert Smith. That is exactly where my concern lies.
Though he manhandled Eric Wahlin in his opener, it was a quick performance. Many may view his dominance as scary, but his muscle mass tends to make me think that if he gets into an extended affair, he could gas easily.
We will find out soon, as he fights Luke Barnatt next week.
8. Luke Barnatt
Team Sonnen (1st Pick, 1st Overall)
Chael Sonnen may have picked Luke Barnatt a little too high, but one has to see the natural gifts the Brit has. His 6'6" height and long reach may be difficult for many guys to deal with.
Nothing looked to spectacular in his win over Nicholas Kohring, but he won in a "dogfight," as quoted by Chael Sonnen on the show. With his natural assets and crafty striking, he has the potential to live up to his pick number.
He will look to move up the rankings, as he takes on Team Jones' Gilbert Smith next round.
7. Tor Troeng
Team Sonnen (4th Pick, 7th Overall)
Tor Troeng was the guy many people thought was sending guys to the hospital on the show. After last night, that may not be true.
However, the fact he made mincemeat of a tall opponent in Scott Rosa cannot be overlooked. Though it wasn't the brutal display many expected it to be, he still got the submission win in dominant fashion.
Standby for confirmation on the "house terror" moniker, though.
6. Josh Samman
Team Jones (2nd Pick, 4th Overall)
Personality aside (as he rubs me the wrong way already), Josh Samman proved in his opening-round fight that he is a beast. He smashed Leo Bercier in a way so humiliating that he looked like an idiot doing it.
His double-fist smash looked stupid and really wasn't effective, but once he seriously started torquing his ground strikes, the fight was over quick. Those strikes are the type that send chills up opponent's spines.
Keep an eye on this guy.
5. Jimmy Quinlan
Team Sonnen (5th Pick, 9th Overall)
Jimmy Quinlan did not look like anything fancy in his debut, but that's the beauty of it. He was pure power on his takedowns and a wizard on the ground in beating Mike Persons.
On the show, Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones both touted him as having the best wrestling on the show they have seen. I would concur, as his slams and top game looked outstanding.
For a guy as inexperienced as a pro as Quinlan is, he is ranked high for now. We'll see if he can live up to his initial ranking here.
4. Zak Cummings
Team Sonnen (3rd Pick, 5th Overall)
Zak Cummings only needed one punch to end Nik Fekete in his fight to get into the house. That one punch against a tough guy like Fekete is enough to put him near the top of the rankings.
Cummings has good wrestling and he didn't even tease it in his opener. The punch he landed was nasty to say the least, and I expect big things from Cummings in this competition.
He said on the show he has tried out for the show on more than a few occasions, so it is good to see he made it to the house. Now he needs to show why he deserves to be here.
3. Robert McDaniel
Team Jones (3rd Pick, 6th Overall)
Robert "Bubba" McDaniel is another guy who said on the premiere that he has tried out for TUF multiple times, and he made the most of his time in the cage.
The Greg Jackson pupil and Jon Jones teammate was boring in the first round, holding Ryan Bigler against the cage for a majority of the time.
The second round was a different story.
After getting a takedown, McDaniel punished his opponent with nasty ground-and-pound. It was brutal and showed that he could be one of the favorites to win the season.
2. Clint Hester
Team Jones (1st Pick, 2nd Overall)
Pure power and athleticism are almost understatements considering what Clint Hester did in his opening-round fight against Fraser Opie. His striking was tight and nasty, while his ground game was surprisingly competent.
A guy like Hester is the type of fighter who really benefits from a show like TUF. With all of his natural ability and already solid skills, he could use the tutelage under his coaches to be a future player at 185.
For now, he looks like one of the best of the bunch. He is a scary dude with the ability to end a fight at any time.
1. Uriah Hall
Team Sonnen (2nd Pick, 3rd Overall)
Uriah Hall has an amazing combination of strength, power, speed, athleticism and skill that could be the key to him winning the show. He may have not been able to finish Andy Enz, but that kid had a beard on him that could absorb a small earthquake.
With his only losses coming against top UFC middleweights Chris Weidman and Costa Philippou, it's no wonder why Hall is being touted by the coaches as a potential winner of the show. He is a striker by trade, but showed great wrestling and submission grappling in the process.
Speed kills, and the fact is that Hall may be the speediest of the bunch.