Primer: ‘The Ultimate Fighter 9’ Finale

By Jake Rossen Jun 20, 2009
When “The Ultimate Fighter” premiered in 2005, fandom could barely conceal distain for what it perceived were a bunch of reality TV tomato cans, flash-frozen and easily consumed by veterans.

As it turns out, the show has spawned two light heavyweight champions, several legitimate contenders and one returning veteran (Matt Serra) who pulled off the upset of the decade when he gave Georges St. Pierre a Catholic school spanking at UFC 69.

Two more winners will be crowned on Saturday. Plus, season one winner Diego Sanchez faces Clay Guida in what will almost certainly be three rounds of anaerobic attribution.

What: The Ultimate Fighter: Team US vs. Team UK Finale

When: Spike, 9 p.m. ET Saturday

Why You Should Care: Because Sanchez might very well earn himself a lightweight title bid against the winner of the B.J. Penn-Kenny Florian bout on August 8; because both Joe Stevenson and opponent Nate Diaz need a flashy win to regain some momentum in the same division; because Melvin Guillard is too inconsistent to ever be a real contender but still has some of the most entertaining fights on television.

Fight of the Night: Damarques Johnson vs. James Wilks, the single US vs. UK final. Both have credible stand-up but not so polished that they’ll practice tactical evasion all night. They’ll slug.

Pre-Emptive Complaint: None. Free fights.

Watch Out For: The marked difference in performance from all “The Ultimate Fighter” cast members. Training with your own team and coaches, in your own city, is worlds away from having a go in the pressure cooker and alien environment of the show.

Hype Quote of the Show: “I want to fight the contenders so hopefully a year from now I can fight B.J. Penn if he’s still the champion. That’s my goal right now … I’m not even saying I’m a better fighter than B.J., but I’m a good enough fighter to where I can take B.J. out.” -- Guillard, in dire need of a pre-fight MRI.
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