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 Dylan Andrews of Team Jones and Zak Cummings of Team Sonnen.
Here are the power rankings for the show in the aftermath of the Andrews-Cummings 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 (fourth pick, eighth overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Eric Wahlin
First-round result: knockout loss to Luke Barnatt
Now that Gilbert Smith is officially out of the wild-card running, we don't have to worry about him again until the finale. There, I expect he will take on a top guy who is not in the tournament final.
Smith has decent wrestling, weak stand-up and poor cardio. That was seen in his knockout loss to Luke Barnatt.
I have him as a long shot to win his fight on the finale.
Team Sonnen (sixth pick, 11th overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Eldon Sproat
First-round result: decision loss to Collin Hart
Kevin Casey got the wild-card spot for Team Sonnen, but let's face it; he got it because Tor Troeng is on a knockout suspension.
Casey showed absolutely nothing in his first-round fight with Collin Hart. He laid on his back for the better of 10 minutes and failed to mount any offensive.
We will see if he can redeem himself when he takes on Bubba McDaniel.
Team Jones (sixth pick, 12th overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Jake Heun
First-round result: knockout loss to Uriah Hall
Adam Cella will next be seen on the finale against an opponent to be named. He was ineligible for the wild card due to the near-fatal knockout he suffered at the hands (actually the foot) of Uriah Hall.
Cella looked to have some solid kickboxing and showed some competent ground-and-pound in his win over Jake Heun. We will see how the young fighter does come live-finale time.
Team Sonnen (third pick, fifth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Nik Fekete
First-round result: decision loss to Dylan Andrews
Zak Cummings was ranked as high as No. 3 on these power rankings, due to his drubbing of Nik Fekete. His latest performance was the reason he dropped as low as he did.
Despite hurting Dylan Andrews early in their fight, he spent most of the bout on his back. He was very uncomfortable there, not getting back to his feet and taking some major ground-and-pound from Andrews.
Next time we see Cummings will be on the finale.
Team Jones (third pick, sixth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Ryan Bigler
First-round result: submission loss to Kelvin Gastelum
It's no surprise that Bubba McDaniel got the nod for the wild-card spot on Team Jones. Not only was he one of the two members of his team not on medical suspension from a knockout loss, he is a training partner of Jon Jones.
McDaniel will now get a chance to bang with the man he called out originally: Kevin Casey. His superior kickboxing will contrast with Casey's jiu-jitsu to make for an interesting matchup.
I think McDaniel will prevail in this one.
Team Sonnen (fourth pick, seventh overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Scott Rosa
First-round result: knockout loss to Josh Samman
Tor Troeng's knockout loss made him ineligible for the wild card, but he will get his chance to shine at the finale. The UFC is lucky to have this guy, especially because he is popular in Sweden, a market the UFC is tapping currently.
Troeng went from top contender on the show to a heap on the mat when he lost to Josh Samman. Don't be fooled, though, as Samman is a top guy on the show and Troeng is incredibly well-rounded.
I am excited to see him get another chance with the UFC.
Team Jones (fifth pick, 10th overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Mike Jasper
First-round result: decision victory over Kevin Casey
Collin Hart has his spot in the quarterfinals, a spot he earned by outworking Kevin Casey in a 10-minute bout.
In looking at the quarterfinalists in the show, an obvious opponent Hart would want is Uriah Hall. He has voiced his distaste with Hall and has stated on the show he wants him as soon as possible.
I think his best matchup would be with Kelvin. Both guys are wrestlers with raw stand-up, so it could possibly prove to be his edge.
Team Jones (first pick, second overall)
Opening-round result: decision victory over Fraser Opie
First-round result: submission loss to Jimmy Quinlan
Clint Hester is officially out of the wild-card running. He was pretty much dead to rights when he was put up for the spot against coach Jon Jones' training partner, Bubba McDaniel.
Hester showed great athleticism, power and boxing in his short time in the competition. He has the raw talent to be a mainstay with the UFC, given the opportunity and right training camp.
For now, though, he needs to stay away from fighting wrestlers. That is, until he betters his defense on the shot.
Team Sonnen (seventh pick, 13th overall)
Opening-round result: decision win over Kito Andrews
First-round result: submission win over Bubba McDaniel
Quarterfinalist Kelvin Gastelum made it into the next round by upsetting Bubba McDaniel. His wrestling and grappling have proved to be dangerous tools, helping him advance to the next round.
In the quarterfinals, he has no matchup in mind, as he has not called anyone out. Obviously another match with McDaniel, the man in the wild card, would be good for him, as he already beat him pretty handily.
If not McDaniel, a date with Dylan Andrews would let him exploit his counterwrestling and attempt to dominate Andrews on the ground. That would get him a possible spot in the quarterfinals.
Team Jones (seventh pick, 14th overall)
Opening-round result: decision win over Tim Williams
First-round result: decision win over Zak Cummings
Dylan Andrews makes the jump from the bottom spot on the rankings to the top five with his impressive win over Zak Cummings. His boxing and top game looked solid, especially after his slow start.
Andrews has voiced he is willing to fight anyone. To me, his best matchup may be against Luke Barnatt, as Barnatt would engage him on the feet where Andrews is comfortable.
He would need to deal with Luke's reach, but his aggression could get him on the inside of the Brit's lengthy frame.
Team Sonnen (fifth pick, ninth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Mike Persons
First-round result: submission victory over Clint Hester
Jimmy Quinlan has the best combination of wrestling and submission grappling on the show. Wins over Mike Persons and Clint Hester back that up.
Josh Samman has called out Jimmy throughout the show, but that may be a tough matchup for him. However, I think Quinlan would take any fight at any time.
His best matchup may be against Dylan Andrews or Bubba McDaniel, if he gets past Casey as I predict he will. He could implement his wrestling and grappling skills on either man to get the possible win.
Team Sonnen (first pick, first overall)
Opening-round result: decision victory over Nicholas Kohring
First-round result: knockout victory over Gilbert Smith
Luke Barnatt is the tall, lengthy fighter on the cast this season. He has used this advantage in wins over Gilbert Smith and Nicholas Kohring.
Barnatt has expressed on the show his dislike of Uriah Hall (who hasn't though?). I don't think they would match up teammates at this point, even though they stupidly did last season when the numbers were even, but he could see him down the road.
If given a member of Team Jones, his best matchup would be against Collin Hart. Hart would look for the shot but may struggle against Barnatt's length and takedown defense, which the Brit could take advantage of.
Team Jones (second pick, fourth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Leo Bercier
First-round result: knockout victory over Tor Troeng
Josh Samman just misses the top spot in the rankings, though he may be a better ground fighter than Uriah Hall. Samman's time on the show has showcased his strength, power, wrestling and striking; all of those have been showcased positively.
Samman has stated on the show that he wants to fight Jimmy Quinlan. That would be a good matchup for him, as he is strong, good at wrestling (which is Quinlan's strength) and has better stand-up than the Massachusetts native.
Right now, I think Samman could be on his way to the finals. That is, if he stays injury free.
Team Sonnen (second pick, third overall)
Opening-round result: decision victory over Andy Enz
First-round result: knockout victory over Adam Cella
Uriah Hall has been at the top of the rankings since the first episode. That is just a testament to how talented he is and how great he has looked on the show so far.
Hall has drawn fire from several different men on the show, including Luke Barnatt and Collin Hart. That is where he could find an opponent.
Hart would be a great matchup for Hall. He is a wrestler who showed very questionable stand-up against Kevin Casey in the short time they were on their feet.
Seeing as Hall is the best striker on the show, that would be an easy fight to get him in the semifinals, should he get it.
I don't usually do this, but here are the matchups I would make for the quarterfinals:
Uriah Hall vs. Collin Hart
Jimmy Quinlan vs. Josh Samman
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Dylan Andrews
Luke Barnatt vs. Bubba McDaniel (with a win over Kevin Casey)
I chose the Hall-Hart fight based on the animosity Hart has toward Hall. Plus, Hart is the weakest link on Jones' team in my eyes, and Hall is the best fighter on Team Sonnen.
Josh Samman wanted Jimmy Quinlan, and that's what we will give him. It's an interesting matchup that puts one of the best fighters on the show against the best pure ground fighter.
In a battle of last picks, Kelvin Gastelum and Dylan Andrews should square off to see who the better man is. It would be a battle of grappler vs. striker, as well as young fighter vs. experienced veteran.
As for the last fight, Luke Barnatt and Bubba McDaniel should fight as a default. That being said, it could be a very fun fight, as both men are good strikers.