TUF 18: Surprises from Niinimaki and Modafferi

| November 30, 2013 | 11:09 pm | Reply

The Ulitimate Fighter 18 / TUF 18It was a tremendously poor night of fights, both inside the TUF 18 Finale cage and with the constant bombardment of advertising throughout the evening. The horrible pacing of the show had me almost wishing I’d wasted money on a PPV. Men and women rose and fell with different tidbits catching my eye throughout the night.

Here’s what I keyed in on from the TUF 18 Finale.

Jared Rosholt vs Walt Harris: This may seem unnecessarily harsh, but in a sport that’s always grabbing at main stream acceptance and a casual fan base, why would you ever put this fight on? Jared Rosholt came into the UFC as a heavyweight wrestler whose NCAA career was based on hand fighting and a single leg fired from a position not well-suited to MMA. Walt Harris is green as grass, with his entire arsenal being a jab, a straight, a hook and a head kick off the rear leg. This fight had Useless written all over it, and delivered exactly what it said.

I understand the heavyweight division is weak and needs more warm bodies to fill it out, but there’s a reason it’s weak. Large athletes play other sports for far more money. I beg fight promotions the world over: Drop your heavyweight cap to 235lbs, and let’s cut out 80% of the crap fighters.

Tom Niinimaki: A great addition to the Bantamweight division, I felt Niinimaki was walking into a trap when he was matched with Rani Yahya, but he did his level best to prove me wrong. Showing outstanding functional grappling and a bit of a size advantage over the BJJ ace, Niinimaki moved deftly through positions and shut down the majority of Yahya’s offense in this bout; doing what very few fighters have done before. This sets up some interesting fights for the Finn, as the lion’s share of his time was spent working against a masterful opponent, while other members of the Bantamweight roster won’t have nearly as much to offer on the ground. Watch your backs!

Maximo Blanco vs Akira Corassani: First, let’s place the blame squarely on Blanco’s shoulders. I had an awful feeling this was going to happen, as Blanco needed to bring the fight to Corassani here and has a history of going a bit crazy in the heat of the moment. The knee he threw was clearly illegal when he threw it, though he was lining it up to throw as Akira came up off the ground. His mistake.

The thing is, there’s a big difference between intentionally fouling someone, and making an error on timing. Akira was a split second from rising, rather than kneeling or sitting on the mat and the blow was a mistake of timing, rather than a malicious offense. The DQ seems harsh in this case, as it could have just as easily been ruled unintentional and a NC, just as happened in Guillard vs Pearson a few weeks ago.

On a side note, Corassani’s behavior after the fact was straight out of pro wrestling. Having taken the illegal knee and three follow-up punches, he’s clearly rocked. He then rolls to his knees and sits back on his heels for a moment, surveying the situation as Yamasaki tells Blanco it was a foul. At this point, Corassani seems to suffer a massive concussion from the knee, collapsing and struggling for balance as the doctors watch over him. Considering Corassani had just had his ass handed to him in less than thirty seconds, I have no problem saying he hammed that up to get out of a royal beating and loss from Blanco.

Roxanne Modafferi: I didn’t write about Modafferi in my fight report for this event due to the late notice addition to the card, but I have to admit, she looked far better than she ever has. Granted, her skill set is five years behind the curve at this point, but the hop-run-and-dive approach she’s been using for the last decade was replaced with some functional footwork and a bit of gamesmanship for the first time in her career. Though I think she’s bound for JMMA or perhaps Invicta, I do have to admit someone has taught an old dog new tricks here.

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Category: Featured, MMA, UFC, Ultimate Fighter

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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