With another episode of The Ultimate Fighter down, the field is beginning to thin out. Pretenders are being exposed, while contenders are making a case to become potential tournament champions.
The teams, coached by Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, continued training and prepared for a fight between Clint Hester of Team Jones and Jimmy Quinlan of Team Sonnen.
Here are the power rankings for the show in the aftermath of the Hester-Quinlan scrap.
Note: Rankings are based on a number of factors including but not limited to the following: overall record (before coming on the show as well as on the show), strength of competition (extra points given for how they have fared against current and/or former UFC fighters), number of decisive victories (extra points given for knockout and submission finishes) and the X-factor of their upside/ceiling.
Team Jones (Seventh pick, 14th overall)
Opening-Round Result: Decision win over Tim Williams
Dylan Andrews will fight the final first-round fight next week, when he meets the highly regarded Zak Cummings from Team Sonnen. The wild-card matchup will be decided when this fight is all said and done.
The striker from the land(s) down under is a noted knockout artist, though he was unable to finish Tim Williams in his preliminary fight. He will try to do so against a wrestler with power in his hands in Cummings.
A win over his adversary would launch him up the rankings.
Team Jones (Fourth pick, eighth overall)
Opening-Round Result: Submission victory over Eric Wahlin
First-Round Result: Knockout loss to Luke Barnatt
If it were up to me to decide who was in the wild-card fight, Gilbert Smith would be the last guy considered. Though a physical specimen (by the way, keep your shirt on bro), Smith lacks cardio and the striking skills necessary to thrive in this environment.
His best chance to beat Luke Barnatt was to drag him down and grind away at him. He failed to do that and ended up eating a nasty flying knee that resulted in a knockout.
If Smith doesn't get the wild-card spot, he will likely get a shot to prove himself at the finale. Hopefully, that's the next time we see him.
Team Sonnen (Sixth pick, 11th overall)
Opening-Round Result: Submission victory over Eldon Sproat
First-Round Result: Decision loss to Collin Hart
Kevin Casey is another guy that I don't think deserves the wild-card spot. He looked incredibly unimpressive against Collin Hart, utilizing little to no offense in the bout.
Casey is probably one of the most talented jiu-jitsu guys in the house, but his strategy against Hart was questionable at best. He needs to make up for that next time we see him, likely at the finale.
Team Jones (Sixth pick, 12th overall)
Opening-Round Result: Submission victory over Jake Heun
First-Round Result: Knockout loss to Uriah Hall
Adam Cella has potential. There, I said it.
Cella may have been on the receiving end of one of the nastiest knockouts of all time, but he showed some fearlessness and cojones, two things you can't teach.
His armbar win to get into the house was a thing of beauty, especially for a guy who considers himself a striker. I am actually excited to see this guy scrap again.
Team Jones (Third pick, sixth overall)
Opening-Round Result: Knockout victory over Ryan Bigler
First-Round Result: Submission loss to Kelvin Gastelum
Bubba McDaniel is one of the top guys in the running for the wild card, despite some people's outcry that he doesn't deserve it.
McDaniel is experienced, skilled and big for a middleweight. These are the type of "x-factors" that get a guy into the UFC after the show, even if he doesn't win the competition itself.
As stated, don't be surprised if McDaniel gets a shot at the last quarterfinal spot.
Team Sonnen (Fourth pick, seventh overall)
Opening-Round Result: Submission victory over Scott Rosa
First-Round Result: Knockout loss to Josh Samman
Tor Troeng is another guy I hope gets a shot at the wild-card slot, despite a knockout loss to Josh Samman last week.
Troeng is experienced and well-rounded. He does not really excel in one thing, as he is a jack of all trades.
He has value to the UFC due to his popularity overseas. I could see him sticking around in the future.
Team Jones (Fifth pick, 10th overall)
Opening-Round result: Submission victory over Mike Jasper
First-Round result: Decision victory over Kevin Casey
Not much excites me about Collin Hart, personality or fighting-wise. However, he is through to the quarterfinals and that's all that matters.
He grinded out a boring decision over Kevin Casey to make the round of eight, but it was in dominant fashion. We saw a top-heavy wrestling game, but it appeared that his striking is a glaring weakness.
Hart said on the show that he wants Uriah Hall next. Brave, but stupid.
Team Jones (First pick, second overall)
Opening-Round Result: Decision victory over Fraser Opie
First-Round Result: Submission loss to Jimmy Quinlan
Clint Hester has some nasty striking and unreal power. See what he did to Jimmy Quinlan's body in their fight, despite losing.
Hester was a victim of poor matchup-making by coach Jon Jones. He is one of the best strikers in the house and a former pro boxer, but he was put against the best wrestler/grappler on Team Sonnen.
He could definitely be a wild-card pick.
Team Sonnen (Seventh pick, 13th overall)
Opening-Round Result: Decision win over Kito Andrews
First-Round Result: Submission win over Bubba McDaniel
A guy who I previously had ranked last, Kelvin Gastelum shocked the world to make the quarterfinals when he outworked and submitted Bubba McDaniel. He looked very good in it and will get a shot to make the semifinals in his next fight.
Gastelum is a power wrestler with youth and unpredictability on his side. He has a great work ethic, which will benefit him, being just 21 years of age.
He will likely have to fight the top guy from Team Jones again, as he is currently the lowest-ranked Team Sonnen in the quarterfinals. That is likely what the coaches will pick, anyway.
Team Sonnen (Fifth pick, ninth overall)
Opening-Round Result: Knockout victory over Mike Persons
First-Round Result: Submission victory over Clint Hester
Jimmy Quinlan was touted as having one of the best all-around ground games on the show, and he proved it with his submission win over Clint Hester.
Quinlan uses a combination of power wrestling and technical grappling to improve position and dominate people. The Massachusetts cop has gone from a 3-0 unknown to a couple fights from winning TUF.
Quinlan is a guy that many guys likely won't want to face in the next round. His refined ground game is scary to any guy who has questionable takedown defense.
Team Sonnen (First pick, first overall)
Opening-Round Result: Decision victory over Nicholas Kohring
First-Round Result: Knockout victory over Gilbert Smith
The tall, lanky Brit that is Luke Barnatt could make a deep run in this tournament. He is well-rounded, scrappy and tough as they come.
He had some heat with Uriah Hall an episode or two ago, so we could potentially see those two duke it out down the road. However, it likely won't be next round, as it looks like the quarterfinals will have even numbers for both teams.
Team Sonnen (Third pick, fifth overall)
Opening-Round fight: Knockout victory over Nik Fekete
Taking the last fight before the wild card, Zak Cummings reps Team Sonnen against the ultra-tough Dylan Andrews.
Cummings, though he knocked out Nik Fekete to get into the house, owns eight of his 15 pro wins by submission. He has good wrestling, which is turn allows him to use ground and pound, as well as submission grappling, to earn stoppages.
My guess is that would be his strategy against a banger like Andrews.
Team Jones (Second pick, fourth overall)
Opening-Round Result: Knockout victory over Leo Bercier
First-Round Result: Knockout victory over Tor Troeng
Josh Samman had a health scare following his fight with Tor Troeng from last week, but he was cleared after thinking he had a blood clot in his leg.
Samman is a wrestler by trade, but showed some good striking against Tor Troeng. He knocked the Swede out with a brutal combination.
He is definitely a top choice to make the finale.
Team Sonnen (Second pick, third overall)
Opening-Round Result: Decision victory over Andy Enz
First-Round Result: Knockout victory over Adam Cella
Uriah Hall was a guy I called for the UFC to sign last April. Now, he is in the UFC, unleashing a fury of crazy strikes and boasting an uncomfortable personality in the house.
Hall is easily the most athletic, powerful guy in the house. His striking is second-to-none and he has shown he is a tough ground fighter when he fought Andy Enz to get in the house.
Who can stop this guy?