TUF Nations Finale Results: Grades for Every Main Card Fighter
The Ultimate Fighter Nations concluded Wednesday evening in Quebec City, Canada.
Featuring a main event between middleweight standouts Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy, this fight card was much anticipated by fight fans and critics across the globe. These two main event fighters engaged in heated verbal battles before the fight, and one man proved his worth, effectively shutting up his foe inside the Octagon.
In addition, The Ultimate Fighter Nations crowned two season champions, one at welterweight and one at middleweight. These two victors realized a lifelong dream to compete in the UFC, and the first stone on their new careers' path was laid.
Making the main card even stronger, the season's two coaches, Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke, squared off, with one man taking another step toward the top 10 of the welterweight division.
Who impressed, and who failed to capitalize on the moment?
Click on to see the full grades for The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale's main card fighters.
Dustin Poirier: B+
Dustin Poirier was heavily favored going into his matchup with Akira Corassani, and many fans expected "The Diamond" to take care of business inside the cage within a round or two at most.
He did just that, scoring a TKO victory early in Round 2.
However, the performance was not without its flaws.
In Round 1, Poirier looked sluggish and confused, and he got rocked badly by a huge punch from Corassani.
For the first three minutes, Poirier was thoroughly outclassed on his feet, but he bounced back with authority late in the round, pieced together a few nice submission attempts and set himself up for a stronger showing in Round 2.
After Poirier landed a vicious uppercut and some follow-up shots, Corassani turtled against the cage, and the referee was forced to intervene.
Once he woke up, Poirier looked great, but the early struggles keep him from earning an A in this one.
Akira Corassani: B
Akira Corassani got knocked out in Round 2 against Dustin Poirier at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale, but he looked much better than expected until the finish.
Corassani tagged Poirier in Round 1 and fought off a deep Peruvian necktie to survive and see Round 2.
Unfortunately, he could not maintain his momentum into the fight's second frame and was defeated just 42 seconds into the round.
Still, the former The Ultimate Fighter contestant elevated his stock by hurting Poirier and looking more polished than expected in this fight.
UFC President Dana White agrees:
I love that Akira asked for that fight and fought his ass off!
— Dana White (@danawhite) April 16, 2014
Chad Laprise: A
Chad Laprise looks really, really good.
During The Ultimate Fighter Nations, he participated in the fight of the season against Chris Indich and later earned the knockout of the season against fellow Canadian Kajan Johnson.
Taking on powerhouse grappler Olivier Aubin-Mercier at the finale, Laprise showed off a well-rounded game, shrugging off his opponent's takedown attempts and thoroughly outclassing him with superior footwork and offensive striking.
Laprise took home The Ultimate Fighter trophy and looks primed to break out in the UFC's stacked lightweight division.
I haven't felt this about a TUF competitor in quite some time, but Laprise looked like a veteran who can hang with the top 20 of his division Wednesday against Aubin-Mercier.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier: C
Olivier Aubin-Mercier was supposed to be the next Georges St-Pierre.
He's not. Not yet, at least.
While he impressed during his stint on The Ultimate Fighter Nations, he failed to rise to the occasion against Chad Laprise at the finale. He lost his first career fight due to his inability to mount any significant offense.
The fact that this was a split decision is insane in my eyes, as Laprise was clearly the better fighter inside the cage throughout all three rounds.
Aubin-Mercier has plenty to work on if he hopes to become a legitimate threat in the UFC moving forward.
Elias Theodorou: A+
Elias Theodorou looked good on The Ultimate Fighter Nations (he made it to the finale, after all), but he never looked overly explosive, strong or dangerous. He won a lot of decisions and controlled his opponents well.
Against Sheldon Westcott, however, Theodorou channeled a different beast.
He was quick. He was sharp. He was technical.
He destroyed Westcott en route to a second-round TKO victory.
I don't know if fighting at the finale hyped him up, or if he's made tremendous gains since his time on the show, but the results are clear: Theodorou is an animal.
He manhandled Westcott everywhere this fight went, and he showed that he is ready to begin his stay in the UFC's middleweight division.
What a showing for the Canadian.
Sheldon Westcott: D
Sheldon Westcott roared out of the gates against Elias Theodorou at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale, but after he was unable to secure an early finish, he had nothing left for his foe.
Put plainly, he blew his wad in one-half of a round.
That's not good.
From there, Theodorou completely dominated the fight, and Westcott played the part of punching bag and grappling dummy before he was finished in Round 2.
After he looked so good throughout The Ultimate Fighter Nations, this fight represented a disappointing step back for Westcott.
Kyle Noke: C+/B-
Kyle Noke and Patrick Cote squared off in the The Ultimate Fighter Nations coaches' fight, and they entertained the Canadian crowd in attendance.
For his part, Noke looked crisp on his feet but could not stop the takedowns and top game from Cote. The Australian's inability to escape from the bottom cost him the decision on the judges' scorecards.
He did not blow anybody away on Wednesday night, but he did rock Cote with a knee, and his conditioning and overall striking attack looked great.
He'll be fun to keep around for a few more fights inside the Octagon, but I don't see him making a run at the title inside the stacked welterweight division.
Patrick Cote: B
Patrick Cote completed the Canadian sweep at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale, beating Kyle Noke via unanimous decision.
Primarily known as a boxer with a granite chin, he surprised everybody by getting rocked by a knee, channeling his inner Georges St-Pierre and winning the fight through takedowns and ground-and-pound.
This wasn't the Cote we usually see inside the Octagon, but his performance was effective, and it won him the fight.
Like Noke, Cote may not make a run at the welterweight title, but he's a game opponent for anybody, and he works hard and makes sure he comes into the cage polished and ready.
He can become a solid gatekeeper at 170 pounds moving forward.
Tim Kennedy: B-
Tim Kennedy and Michael Bisping did not light the world on fire with their The Ultimate Fighter Nations main event, but they engaged in a solid scrap nonetheless.
Kennedy landed some powerful punches that stunned Bisping, and he added some takedowns and methodical top work throughout the five-round contest to seal the victory on the judges' scorecards.
While Kennedy won the fight, he looked a bit slow and sluggish, and Bisping landed a higher volume of strikes, as many anticipated.
The Army Ranger and Greg Jackson MMA product has plenty to work on before making a legitimate claim for the middleweight title, but defeating Bisping via unanimous decision provides a decent start.
Michael Bisping: C
Bisping, old friend, you failed to capitalize on a grand moment once again.
Long known as a fighter who falters when a title shot sits within his grasp, he could not handle Kennedy's grappling attack and sledgehammer punches at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale, and he dropped a unanimous decision because of this.
Now, he tumbles back down the ladder once again, and he is only getting older and more worn at this point in his career.
He showed off his legendary cardio and quick, pitter-patter striking game once again in this fight, but it was not enough.
Unless he evolves his skill set, Bisping will forever stand just outside the contender's circle at 185 pounds.
But, hey, not all is lost. Some guy named Anderson Silva is recovering from a serious leg injury, and he'll need somebody to fight when he comes back...