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 Bubba McDaniel of Team Jones and Kevin Casey of Team Sonnen.
Here are the power rankings for the show in the aftermath of the McDaniel-Casey 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
Gilbert Smith kicks off the power ranking due to his lack of cardio and unpolished skills. These shortcomings were displayed in his knockout loss to Luke Barnatt in the first round.
Smith has brutish strength, but lacks the gas tank to compete for an extended period of time. With all that muscle mass, he requires more oxygen to feed it, thus hurting his endurance.
He currently awaits an opponent for the TUF 17 finale.
Team Sonnen (sixth pick, 11th overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Eldon Sproat
First-round result: decision loss to Collin Hart
Wild-card result: corner stoppage loss to Bubba McDaniel
Two fights, two quits for Kevin Casey. In fights with Collin Hart and Bubba McDaniel, Casey looked as if he gave up.
He is officially out of the competition and awaits a fight on the finale. We will see how he fares in his next outing; hopefully, it's better than this appearance.
Team Jones (sixth pick, 12th overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Jake Heun
First-round result: knockout loss to Uriah Hall
Adam Cella is out of the tournament this season, but already has a confirmed date for his UFC debut. The young member of Team Jones meets Tor Troeng of Team Sonnen in Sweden, home of "The Hammer."
Cella is a stand-up fighter, but used his submission skills to get into the house against Jake Heun. In Troeng, Cella takes on a well-rounded individual who is as tough as nails.
Cella better bring his A-game, or he could be finding a new job in the aftermath of UFC on Fuel 9.
Team Sonnen (third pick, fifth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Nik Fekete
First-round result: decision loss to Dylan Andrews
Zak Cummings fell flat in his first-round scrap with Dylan Andrews, despite having a favorable matchup due to his wrestling. Instead, he spent a majority of the time fighting off his back and getting dominated.
Cummings now awaits a fight on the finale of the show. His feel-good story of trying out many times and finally making the show were derailed in the first round, but he can make it come full circle with a win at the finale.
Luckily, he matches up well with many guys on Team Jones' roster. That will make his fight interesting and close.
Team Sonnen (fourth pick, seventh overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Scott Rosa
First-round result: knockout loss to Josh Samman
Troeng was heavily hyped coming into the show, but ran into the buzz saw who is Josh Samman. Despite fighting hard, the Swede was left in a heap on the mat in an unconscious state.
Troeng is a well-rounded fighter and has the skills to win a fight wherever it's contested. He has the chance to prove that soon enough.
Team Jones (fifth pick, 10th overall)
Opening-round result: submission victory over Mike Jasper
First-round result: decision victory over Kevin Casey
The grinder of this season, Collin Hart is a cardio machine with solid wrestling and heavy top control. He proved this by dominating Kevin Casey in their forgettable first-round affair.
Hart appears as if he lacks a stand-up game, but if he can get the fight down, he can cruise to victory. He does have some submission skills, but would benefit from having a heavier ground-and-pound attack.
He may be the dark horse of the competition. He gets another underdog in Kelvin Gastelum in his next outing.
Team Jones (first pick, second overall)
Opening-round result: decision victory over Fraser Opie
First-round result: submission loss to Jimmy Quinlan
Clint Hester was an early favorite in the show due to his power and athleticism, but his ground game was exposed against the best wrestler-grappler combo in Jimmy Quinlan.
The former professional boxer is extremely powerful, as seen in his wicked body shots on Quinlan. The chink in his armor was exposed against Quinlan, though, as once he was down completely, he was quickly tapped.
At the finale, it should be fun to see him compete at least one more time for the UFC.
Team Jones (third pick, sixth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Ryan Bigler
First-round result: submission loss to Kelvin Gastelum
Wild card result: corner stoppage victory over Kevin Casey
Things started off poorly for Bubba McDaniel in his fight with Kevin Casey, but his second round saw him dominate the action with heavy top-game action and some solid ground-and-pound. The dominant second round by McDaniel forced Casey to quit in between rounds.
It wasn't the prettiest win, but he's in the next round. McDaniel gets a shot at redemption, despite losing to Kelvin Gastelum in the first round.
Let's see if he uses this second chance to make a run. He has to take on the toughest fighter in the house in Uriah Hall in his next outing.
Team Sonnen (seventh pick, 13th overall)
Opening-round result: decision win over Kito Andrews
First-round result: submission win over Bubba McDaniel
The surpriser of the season, Kelvin Gastelum looks to have a bright future in MMA at just 21 years of age. The wrestler upset Bubba McDaniel in their first-round bout, using superior wrestling and a surprise rear-naked choke to defeat the Jon Jones training partner.
I would still say that he is still a long shot to win the competition, but his development on the show has been crucial in the development in his game.
Keep an eye on Gastelum as his career progresses. For now, Collin Hart is next on his agenda.
Team Jones (seventh pick, 14th overall)
Opening-round result: decision win over Tim Williams
First-round result: decision win over Zak Cummings
Isn't it crazy to think that both last-round picks advanced to the second round?
Dylan Andrews was the last pick in the entire competition and ended up dominating Zak Cummings in his first-round affair. It was impressive to say the least, as it was seen as an unfavorable matchup for him.
The next round will be the true test for Andrews. If he can advance again, he will likely be one of the most overlooked fighters in TUF history.
Next up is fellow foreigner Luke Barnatt for Andrews.
Team Sonnen (fifth pick, ninth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Mike Persons
First-round result: submission victory over Clint Hester
Jimmy Quinlan, as I have been saying for a majority of the season, so far, is the best wrestler-submission grappler combo on the show. These skills carried him to dominating wins over Mike Persons and Clint Hester.
Quinlan's striking has yet to be really seen, but should he fail to get an opponent down, he may be in trouble. He has been seen as a one-trick pony on the show by multiple fighters, so we will have to see down the road.
Quinlan takes on Josh Samman next in a fight that has been requested since the first episode of the show.
Team Sonnen (first pick, first overall)
Opening-round result: decision victory over Nicholas Kohring
First-round result: knockout victory over Gilbert Smith
The tallest fighter on the show, Britain's Luke Barnatt, has shown to be well-rounded in both outings on the show. His gutsy performance turned knockout against Gilbert Smith immediately made him a contender in this competition.
He reminds me a bit of Kendall Grove due to his size and toughness. Grove won the entire series when he was on TUF, and Barnatt is hoping he can have the same fate.
Barnatt will be a tough matchup for anybody moving forward due to his physical gifts and underrated skills. He will need to use those gifts when he fights Dylan Andrews in the next round.
Team Jones (second pick, fourth overall)
Opening-round result: knockout victory over Leo Bercier
First-round result: knockout victory over Tor Troeng
Josh Samman is well-rounded from what we have seen on the show; he wrestled and pounded out Leo Bercier in his opening-round affair and outstruck Tor Troeng on the feet.
Samman is a physical specimen with the skills to back it up. He does have injury concerns, as explained on the show via a history of blood clots and a thigh problem.
If he stays healthy, he has a great shot to win the entire tournament. Before he runs the table, he must get by Jimmy Quinlan in his next outing.
Team Sonnen (second pick, third overall)
Opening-round result: decision victory over Andy Enz
First-round result: knockout victory over Adam Cella
The stud of the season so far, power striker Uriah Hall has been a polarizing figure on the show. Whether he is being to sensitive or picking potential fights with castmates, Hall has had a strange personality from the get-go.
In terms of fighting skill, Hall is the best we have seen so far. He hasn't been in trouble, he has been a powerhouse to reckon with and he has sent two victims to the hospital already (Andy Enz suffered a broken arm from a kick, and Adam Cella suffered one of the nastiest knockouts ever seen on TV).
Could he be a shoo-in for the final? He must get past Bubba McDaniel in his next fight, as well as two other men to be crowned the winner.