The Ultimate Fighter has officially come to an end, finalizing their middleweight and bantamweight matchups. Unfortunately, it will not be a standalone event like it has been for previous seasons. The final bouts of the season will be held on the August 28th UFC Fight Night card headlined by Giga Chikadze and Edson Barboza.
Though it’s not confirmed whether the tweet above is true, it does bring an interesting idea to consider. Is this potentially how the UFC can have both brands co-existing? Can you go from one show to the next? Only time will tell. But what is confirmed is that the rest of the contestants will not be fighting on the same card.
Until then, below are the matchups we’d like to see on the finale card, including the bracket finals.
Aaron Phillips vs. Kemran Lachinov
This would be a fun one to watch. One of the season’s house favorites Aaron Phillips (Team Volkanovski), taking on the walking zombie, Kemran Lachinov (Team Ortega). Both fighter are comfortable standing and striking, and could produce fireworks.
Phillips was the first fight on TUF 29, which was a strategic move on the part of Team Ortega. He might have had the least amount of experience fighting on the show, and did not have much time to improve before his fight. The Alaska Native had the most to gain from the experience of TUF though, and we saw Phillips fight before he had time to really level up.
Lachinov is already a fan favorite with his willingness and ability to walk through strikes. He has high level experience as well, and is ready for UFC-level competition if the opportunity arises.
Ryder Newman vs. Micheal Gillmore
Micheal Gillmore (Team Ortega) came into the TUF house as a short notice replacement for Miles Hunsinger. Unfortunately for him, we was submitted by Gilbert Urbina and not given much chance to showcase his abilities in the cage. If UFC gives him a chance, the perfect matchup would be against Ryder Newman (Team Volkanovski).
Ryder fought up a weight class during the show and came in with one of the smaller records. His wrestling pedigree would be interesting to see against Gillmore if the fight were to happen. It would allow both men to truly showcase their full skillset after a full camp.
Andre Petrowski vs. Gilbert Urbina
Andre Petrowski (Team Ortega) was an early favorite to make to the finals at middleweight, and was even the first pick for Team Ortega. He has a very strong wrestling base, and uses that to dictate where the fight takes place. Petrowski has shown some improvement in his striking technique, and his right hand carries power that earns his opponents respect.
Gilbert Urbina (Team Volkanovski) on the other hand beat his first opponent that came in on 2 days notice, and dominated the fight. In his second fight, he fell short to finalist Tresean Gore. Though he did not make it to the finale, Urbina is extremely talented and could prove a threat in the UFC welterweight division. Though he fought up a weight class during the season, his cardio could get him the nod if this matchup was actually made.
Dustin Lampros vs. Dan Argueta
Both of these bantamweights had great first fights on TUF 29. Imagine Dustin Lampros (Team Volkanovski) and Dan Argueta (Team Ortega) throwing down on the finale card? It could very well be the best post-TUF matchup to make and it would be a fun stand-up battle that could launch both men into the UFC.
If coming off of some of the most memorable fights from the season isn’t reason enough to make this matchup, both men are 5-0, young, and love to finish fights. It’s a no-brainer matchup. We’ll definitely see both guys in the UFC soon enough.
Vince Murdock vs. Mitch Raposo
Can you imagine this fun scrap? Both guys are fun too watch and have potential to do big things in the UFC. Though we’d ideally like to see Mitch Raposo (Team Volkanovski) back in the flyweight division, he would fare very well against Vince Murdock (Team Ortega) with his fun style.
Vince was one of the older fighters in the house, but did prove that he still has a lot more fight left in him. Both men are extremely marketable and UFC ready. Whether they fight each other or other people, we’d like to see them both in the UFC sooner rather than later.
Josh Rettinghouse vs. Liudvik Sholinian
This would be a fantastic fight. Josh Rettinghouse (Team Ortega) risked losing his well-paying job to join TUF 29. That just shows how badly he wants this opportunity to fight in the UFC. Liudvik Sholinian (Team Ortega) showed his emotion and how important fighting is to him on the show as well. Fighting is in their DNA, and is a way of life.
Rettinghouse lost his first fight in a close decision that was arguably the fight of the season. In that fight, Rettinghouse was able to show he was probably the best fighter in the entire house. He is very well rounded, and deserves an opportunity to fight in the UFC.
Liudvik is also one of the more well-rounded fighters on the show, and showed an incredible amount of grit and heart in both of his fights on the show. Two of the most well rounded fighters would bring an intensity and a varying array of attacks and disciplines. The division needs it. But more importantly, the fans need it.