The UFC has developed a hardcore following over the years, and Wednesday’s The Ultimate Fighter Nations finale, which features the likely war between Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy in the middleweight division, is the perfect main event.
While the top fight on the card is must-watch television, many fans are focused on the next crop of young talent that has showcased its skills on The Ultimate Fighter. With two fights to determine which men get UFC contracts, these brawlers will be battling for their livelihood.
Add the coach for Team Australia, Kyle Noke, going head-to-head with the coach from Team Canada, Patrick Cote, and this edition of UFC Fight Night will make Wednesday the best day of the week.
Here is all the vital viewing information for The Ultimate Fighter Nations finale.
Where: Colisee Pepsi, Quebec City, Canada
When: Wednesday, April 16
Time: 7 p.m. ET (3:15 p.m. ET for prelims)
Watch: Fox Sports 1
Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass
|Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale Fight Card|
|Weight Class||Fighter 1||Fighter 2|
|Fight card (Fox Sports 1)|
|Middleweight||Michael Bisping||vs.||Tim Kennedy|
|Welterweight||Patrick Cote||vs.||Kyle Noke|
|Middleweight||Sheldon Westcott||vs.||Elias Theodorou|
|Welterweight||Chad Laprise||vs.||Olivier Aubin-Mercier|
|Featherweight||Dustin Poirier||vs.||Akira Corassani|
|Preliminary card (Fox Sports 1)|
|Lightweight||Sam Stout||vs.||KJ Noons|
|Women's Bantamweight||Sarah Kaufman||vs.||Leslie Smith|
|Light Heavyweight||Ryan Jimmo||vs.||Sean O'Connell|
|Bantamweight||George Roop||vs.||Dustin Kimura|
|Preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass)|
|Lightweight||Mark Bocek||vs.||Mike de la Torre|
|Middleweight||Nordine Taleb||vs.||Vik Grujic|
|Welterweight||Richard Walsh||vs.||Chris Indich|
|Bantamweight||Mitch Gagnon||vs.||Tim Gorman|
Breaking Down the Main Event
When Michael Bisping (24-5) squares off against Tim Kennedy (17-4) on Wednesday night, each man will be looking for the definitive knockout that will help solidify his case for an eventual title shot.
Even MMA Insider and oddsmaker Adam Martin is torn about who will win this fight:
Kennedy has won three straight fights. He submitted Trevor Smith, won a decision over Roger Gracie and knocked out Rafael Natal, and he is looking to assert himself as one of the best middleweights in the sport.
This will be Kennedy’s third fight in the UFC after coming over from Strikeforce, but the veteran Bisping will not make earning a victory on Saturday easy for Kennedy. With Kennedy falling short in both career fights for the Strikeforce middleweight title, this will be his opportunity to show he can raise his game in pivotal moments.
While Kennedy has put together a solid career in the sport, Bisping told Damon Martin of FoxSports.com about his perception of his challenger heading into their fight: "This is Tim Kennedy's big shot. He's fighting me, they'll be more people watching it so he's trying to get as much as he can out of it. He'll get a few more Twitter followers and then everybody will forget who Tim Kennedy is."
Bisping is a talker, and he shared more of his thoughts on Kennedy via Vine:
The English star is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and one of the biggest names born out of The Ultimate Fighter series. It’s fitting that he will headline the finale of The Ultimate Fighter Nations.
Despite two losses in his last four fights, Bisping is still regarded as one of the toughest fighters in the division and a gatekeeper for championship contenders. The biggest issue will be how well he has healed since enduring an eye injury in late 2013.
With both men hungry to get back on the right track and willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen, this main event should be a bitter battle that embodies the true spirit of the sport.
For the young athletes trying to enter the sport as part of The Ultimate Fighter, there will be no better teaching tool than the battle between Bisping and Kennedy.
*All stats via UFC.com.