TUF 8: The Standouts and Dark Horses

Kevin CurranSenior Analyst IAugust 19, 2008

The ultimate fighter has generated some excitement from the coaches it will feature on the show. However, the real excitement comes from the fighters competing for the contract. Since Spike TV just released the list I will give you my favorites.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS:

My first pick would be Lance Evans. Lance is the brother of big time fighter Rashad Evans, who is undefeated. Also since Rashad was a winner Lance may want to outdo his brother and finish some fights. Lance is inexperienced only holding a record of 2-2 professionally. However, this was when he was fighting at heavyweight. He will be a very large Light Heavy.

My next pick is Krzsztof Koszinski He will be the most experienced fighter in the division. Holding his own against fighters like Matt Horwich, Ben Rothwell, and Mike Whitehead will aid him in taking out less experienced fighters. Look out for this big boy. Also, if you didn't notice Rothwell is a heavyweight. Yes Soszynski was known to fight at 225. Also, training at Team Quest with Hendo and Lindland is a big deal. He's a good bet to win it all.

Last and definitely not least is Jason Guida. He is the brother of lightweight standout Clay Guida. Jason holds a 17-17 record professionally. This may not seem very good, but when you lose as much as you win, you learn how to avoid losing eventually. He has good ground skills holding 10 submission victories in his day and also has had fights with UFC vets Thales Leites, Terry Martin, and Marvin Eastman, as well as newcomer Rory Markham. With that resume the rest of the cast better be wary.

Dark Horse: Ryan Bader-He could throw a monkeywrench inn the whole thing with his wrestling.

LIGHTWEIGHTS:

My first pick in this division is Shane Nelson. Training out of Hilo Hawaii with BJ Penn shows that he has great potential. He holds a 9-3 record which is middle of the road experience for this show, but when you spar with the UFC champ everyday there can only be big things for Nelson.

My second pick is John Polakowski. I make this pick timidly because he is rather inexperienced, but all three of his fights have come in the WEC. This is a serious promotion and we saw what PRIDE experience did for Mac Danzig in TUF 6. He also trains in Chuck Liddels's gym which shows he could be a serious threat on the show.

Brandon Garner takes the third pick mainly because of hist KOTC experience and his win over Jason Dent in impressive fashion, taking only a little over two minutes to submit him. This shows great ground game that has always been good to fall back on for fighters who are getting beat with the hands. I think Frank Mir knows this best out of anyone.

Dark Horse: Efrain Escudero-Holding a 10-0 record shouldn't make him a dark horse, but his arena of victory and lack of standup skills may inhibit him. All of his victories come from submission. This makes him predictable.

Complete list of fighters (Courtesy of Sherdog.com):

Lightweight Cast:

Jose Aguilar
Age: 25
Trains With: Grapplers Edge
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Fernando Bernstein
Age: 25
Location: San Clemente, CA

Junie Allen Browning
Age: 22
Trains With: Four Seasons Martial Arts
Location: Lexington, KY

Rolando Delgado
Age: 26
Trains With: Westside Fight Team
Location: North Little Rock, AR

Joseph Duarte
Age: 24
Trains With: Unleashed Training Facility / Alliance MMA
Location: San Diego, CA

Efrain Escudero
Age: 22
Trains With: Southwest Martial Arts
Location: Tempe, AZ

Brandon Garner
Age: 26
Trains With: Team ROC
Location: Raleigh, NC

David Kaplan
Age: 28
Trains With: Lloyd Irvin Team
Location: Camp Springs, MD

Eric Magee
Age: 23
Trains With: South Shore Sport
Location: Rockland, MA

Brian McLaughlin
Age: 23
Trains With: Team Gracie Tampa
Location: Tampa, FL

Wesley Murch (Pictures)
Age: 25
Trains With: Trojan Gym
Location: Bristol, UK

Shane Nelson (Pictures)
Age: 24
Trains With: B.J. Penn (Pictures)’s MMA
Location: Hilo, HI

Phillipe Nover
Age: 24
Trains With: Team Renzo Gracie (Pictures)
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Ido Pariente (Pictures)
Age: 30
Trains With:
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

John Polakowski (Pictures)
Age: 26
Trains With: The Pit
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA

George Roop
Age: 26
Trains With: Ultima MMA
Location: Tucson, AZ

Light Heavyweight Cast

Ryan Bader (Pictures)
Age: 24
Trains With: Arizona Combat Sports
Location: Chandler, AZ

Antwain Britt (Pictures)
Age: 29
Trains With: Bombsquad MMA
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Jules Bruchez
Age: 30
Trains With: Ronan Dojo
Location: Lafayette, LA

Charles Diaz (Pictures)
Age: 25
Trains With: SD Fight Club
Location: San Diego, CA

Lance Evans (Pictures)
Age: 30
Trains With: TKO MMA
Location: Niagara Falls, NY

Karen Grigoryan
Age: 26
Trains With: RusFighters Sport Club
Location: Russia

Jason Guida (Pictures)
Age: 30
Trains With: Hellhouse Gym
Location: Chicago, IL

Ryan Jimmo (Pictures)
Age: 26
Trains With: Titans MMA
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Kyle Kingsbury
Age: 26
Trains With: American Kickboxing Academy
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Tom Lawlor
Age: 24
Trains With: American Top Team
Location: Oviedo, FL

Ryan Lopez
Age: 25
Location: Oklahoma City, OK

Vinicius Magalhaes
Age: 23
Trains With: Team Quest
Location: Temecula, CA

Eliot Marshall
Age: 27
Trains With: Eastern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Location: Boulder, CO

Sean O’Connell
Age: 24
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Shane Primm
Age: 23
Trains With: Team Gracie Tampa
Location: Tampa, FL

Krzysztof Soszynski (Pictures)
Age: 30
Trains With: Team Quest
Location: Temecula, CA

Much thanks to SHerdog for the complete cast.