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Who stays and who goes?

A few weeks back we said that the TUF finale was an eliminator event, with a ton of fights looking like they were “win or you’re gone” situations. Now that the event has passed, let’s do a bit of speculation on what’s next for the losers from this event.

Dante Rivera: DROP. This guy got owned from start to finish. I was actually shocked that one judge scored the fight 29-28 as opposed to the rest who scored it 30-27 … then I realized it was Cecil Peoples, so it made sense that he got it wrong. Riddle actually did better than Rivera at all the shit that Rivera was supposed to be good at. This guy is just not UFC caliber.

Jeremy Stephens: KEEP. Personally, I think Stephens is too young and raw right now to stick around in the UFC, but I doubt that he’ll get cut. Dana loves the aggressive guys and Stephens worked his ass off. Again, I think he’d be well served with a fight or two in the minors, but expect to see him back in the prelims.

Luigi Fioravanti: DROP. This loss makes him 1-3 over his past four fights, and even his win against Luke Cummo was uninspired. Personally, I think he was booked on the card to make Diego Sanchez look good on television. While he gave his best performance in a long time, it’s just not enough to justify keeping him around. As a side note, dude looked a bit thick in the gut … perhaps a drop to lightweight might help him out?

CB Dollaway: KEEP (ugh). Yeah, there’s no way Dollaway is going away yet. Fortunately it will be easy to ignore him when he’s fighting on the prelims for the rest of his short UFC career.

Evan Tanner: DROP (double ugh). If there’s anyone on the card who needs to take some time beating up scrubs outside the UFC, it’s Evan Tanner. I think he did a pretty damned good job … better than the 30-26 scores would have anyone think. But that doesn’t change the fact that Kendall Grove fucked him up good in the second, and that Tanner still looks rustier than an old shed roof.

  • Hack Smarmold

    They made a Ric Flair reference in the broadcast tonight. You know what that means … Zach Arnold is compiling another one of his wheezing 10,000-word rants about the similarities between MMA and wrestling as we speak.

  • fightlinker

    Don’t forget to add Slim Jims as a sponsor to the list!

  • Echolocating

    Speaking of fucked up judging in the Riddle/Rivera fight, which judge scored it 29-28 for Tanner?

  • fightlinker

    Someone could (although I’m not saying I do) make an argument for giving 1st and 3rd round to Tanner. He had better control but he certainly got edged in the damage department. In the third I was really impressed at how he decided to go for broke and try to knock Grove out.

  • Echolocating

    I totally agree with how smart Tanner was in the 3rd round, especially the last half. He did exactly what he needed to do. So many inexperienced fighters seem to be happy waiting out the last round for the inevitable decision loss.

    I did wish that Tanner would have tried some dirty boxing, like Couture did on Silvia, but Grove showed a some amazing agility in delivering knee strikes and elbows from really close. That’s a tough thing for lanky guys to do.

    Anyway, I still don’t think a 29-28 score for Tanner makes any sense from a professional judge. But that’s why they get paid the big bucks, eh? ;-)

  • catch

    Damn, watching Tanner’s postfight interview on UFC makes me sad.

  • catch

    meant, not UFC

  • Reverend Clint

    I bet they keep Tanner around simply because this fight was pretty entertaining and he is a fan favorite.

  • kwagnuth

    Evan will be off to his next adventure.

  • Steve

    I hate to break it you Linker, but Dollaway isn’t going to be buried on prelims.

    He’s going to get the Leben treatment and be on the main card of the next half-dozen or so UFNs. Get used to seeing his ugly mug, because you are going to see a LOT of it over the next couple of years.

  • Lifer

    i scored it 29-28 tanner and the FL irc chat can verify this! that judge was the only person watching the same fight that i was apparently. Tanner for aggression and octagon control!

  • fightfan

    I guess the UFC will always need guys like Luigi, Sinosec, the C level fighters, in general. Whenever there is a TUF winner struggling or someone they need to STILL try and feed to Bisping……the UFC needs to throw them up against someone who they outclass greatly and can look like a superstar against.

    And as long as fighters have inflated egos, then we will always have guys coming in a -500 thinking they are a fight away from title contention.

    Smoke and mirrors. That is all it is. Diego will NEVER look like that against a top WW fighter, but they need to market him and at Luigi’s expense. I guess when your choice is leave the UFC or be someone’s stepping stone…..I guess you chose the stepping stone, even though you know you are nowhere near the class of fighter you need to be

  • Hammer

    Chris Leben, Sanchez, etc,

    How can D. White say the UFC has the top fighters?? It is hack talent at best and for me takes a lot of credibility away from any chest pounding the UFC does. Did anyone think the last fight on the card was one of the more athletic?? It was the two black dudes. I am trying to avoid the generalization thing, but I have to say it. The black guys looked way more athletic and fast compared to the rest of that card. I am not a blackophile.. I am just pointing out the obvious.. I think…

  • MadMan

    Who stays and who goes?
    Totally agree with fightlinker.

  • Cam

    “i scored it 29-28 tanner and the FL irc chat can verify this! that judge was the only person watching the same fight that i was apparently. Tanner for aggression and octagon control!”

    How does octagon control matter when you’re getting your ass kicked everywhere you take the fight?

  • Nate

    UFC will prob. keep Lugi, the standard is two in a row, not one, and a loss to Sanchez isn’t a disgrace, esp. since that fight was sick.

  • RoB

    DROP dollaway on account of his annoying fuckin face. ughhhh. god that upper lip makes me want to kill someone.

  • ruggertenthousand

    It was really sad to watch Evan Tanner. He is merely a shadow of his former self. He looked weak and soft; with no real plan. Back in the day he was ripped and would use heavy knees and elbows. He should pack it in and either coach/train, or use his popularity to make a living some other way.

  • Lifer

    maybe he should start his own camp out of his house or try to sail a boat.