4 Potential Breakout Stars from TUF 19

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2014

Frankie Edgar, right, in action against BJ Penn during their UFC fight at the TD Garden on Saturday, August 28, 2010 in Boston, MA. Edgar retained his UFC lightweight title via unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan

The Ultimate Fighter 19 is already under way, as we are two quarterfinal bouts into the season. Despite the fact that this installment of the show doesn't come in with great hype, as much of the attention is on the all-female TUF 20 later this year, it has the potential to be an explosive season.

The cast features middleweights and light heavyweights, with the latter weight class needing some depth in the UFC ranks. There are some good-looking scouts that could end up becoming stars if they take the Kelvin Gastelum-like approach to fighting.

With that, let's now take a look at four potential stars that could come out of the show based on personality and handy work in the cage.


Cathal Pendred

Cathal Pendred had a considerable amount of hype coming into this season due to his time as champion in the Cage Warriors promotion and his association with current UFC rock star Conor McGregor. Not only that, but his intense, take-no-prisoners attitude has won him some respect from fans.

He didn't have to fight to get into the house, as the opponents the UFC lined up for him all backed out of the fight. However, he finally got to show his stuff in the first middleweight quarterfinal when he used a grinding approach to wear out and beat Hector Urbina.

His resume speaks for itself. He owns wins over three UFC veterans in his time as a pro, including Che Mills and Nico Musoke.

His style isn't going to get him confused with Edson Barboza anytime soon, but he is very effective. He has decent hands, good takedowns and smart instincts in the cage. He is already a hero in Europe, but he has a chance to be even bigger in the United States.


Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is the least experienced pro in the house alongside Corey Anderson. He owns just two pro wins according to Sherdog.com, but that didn't keep him from dominating his fight to get in the house.

Stephens used his impressive wrestling base to completely overwhelm former Bellator champion Lyman Good in the elimination round. He showed great explosiveness and wrestling in that bout, allowing him to take Good to the mat with ease.

His style isn't what will make him a breakout star from the show. It's his seemingly intense personality and exchange with Dana White in the first episode that had the boss himself impressed with the kid.

After disposing of Good, Stephens told White that, "Bellator champs don't belong in the UFC." That tickled White in the right way, replying that he, "liked this kid."

I am sure there will be promoters and detractors of Stephens, but one thing is certain: He's in the driver's seat to stardom if he keeps up the intense attitude.


Dhiego Lima

Name recognition is everything when it comes to fanfare in certain sports. That is especially the case in MMA where you are a self-contracted businessman.

Dhiego Lima has that name recognition. He is the brother of Bellator Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima and Dhiego has earned a reputation as a top prospect in his own regard.

Lima is an exciting fighter just like his brother, utilizing power strikes and solid jiu-jitsu skills to win fights. He took out a tough fighter in Adam Stroup to get into the house, despite likely being at a size disadvantage to most of the field.

If Lima can be as exciting as he's been in the regional promotions, he has the personality to put him over the top with MMA fans. His combo of name recognition, personality and skill are something that gets fighters far in their careers. 


Dan Spohn

Dan Spohn is a beast. There is no doubting that.

Spohn already has the knockout of the season in the bag after his one-punch, send-'em-face-first knockout of Tyler King, a man clearly larger than him.

In examining Spohn's record, he looks like a Bellator reject with three losses in that company. However, upon examination he was finished once and the other two bouts were split decisions that could have easily gone his way.

He is a beast in terms of power. Everything he throws has bad intentions on it, which is something fans can appreciate due to the fact all fans love finishes.

Spohn is a silent assassin. He's not Julian Lane in terms of wild-and-out personality and he's no Chael Sonnen in terms of self-promotion. He is just a guy with some gloves in a cage looking to punch your head into the nose-bleed section.