In our second installment of our Ultimate Fighter Season 10 preview, we’ll take a look at eight more of this season’s contestants which include former IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson, Youtube-sensation Kimbo Slice, and former UFC and WEC fighter Wes Sims. Check out the first part of the series here. The season is shaping up to be a stacked show with a number of former collegiate and NFL players, top-notch wrestlers, and a few interesting personalities that will surely make this a must-see season for MMA fans.
Roy “Big Country” Nelson (17-4) is the odds-on favorite for this season of The Ultimate Fighter. He has a solid wealth of experience and skill along with an ample belly that he loves to rub following victories. He enjoyed a 6-1 record with the now-defunct International Fight League and became the promotion’s first heavyweight champion after defeating Antonio Jaoude. He defended his title twice during the first part of 2008 with wins over former UFC fighters Fabiano Scherner and Brad Imes. Following the demise of the IFL, Nelson lost via knockout to former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at EliteXC: Heat in October of 2008. His most recent bout was against anarchist and former PRIDE and UFC fighter Jeff Monson at March Badness back in March in which most fans feel Nelson was robbed of a legitimate victory from the judges.
Interestingly enough, Nelson got into martial arts after watching Karate Kid and American Ninja, and he’s been studying various forms of it for nearly 25 years. He’s currently a black belt under Renzo Gracie, and his unique size coupled with his grappling skills surprise most of his opponents. He isn’t shabby in the striking department either, so he could present problems for many of the contestants on the show with such a rich background in both BJJ and striking as well as the experience he has against upper-echelon competition.
Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson (4-1) doesn’t really need much of an introduction. The Youtube-sensation turned pro MMA fighter was the anchor for EliteXC, but it eventually came down to a crashing halt after Seth Petruzelli defeated Kimbo in October of 2008. Kimbo is mostly known for his street brawling videos that became highly popular among casual users of the Internet site Youtube. Their popularity soared enough to where he became somewhat of a cult icon among fight fans. A battle with Boston police officer Sean Gannon, a fight that Kimbo lost, propelled his popularity to a level in which many people wondered how Kimbo could do in the world of mixed martial arts.
Kimbo’s background stems mostly from traditional sports rather than martial arts. He was a star middle linebacker for Miami Palmetto High School, and he even received athletic scholarships to play for the University of Miami and Bethune-Cookman University in the Florida area. Unfortunately, Kimbo dropped out of school after a year and a half. He did eventually try out fo the Miami Dolphins, making the preseason squad, but he was unable to ever make the first team.
The biggest question for Kimbo Slice has been his skills in the cage. Most notably, his ground game will always be a question as he’s now unprotected by a promotion like EliteXC and can easily be dominated on the floor by the host of wrestlers. He’s been training with Gracie Barra in Tri County, California along with previous training from Bas Rutten. He’s also been working with a trainer from Bas’s gym, Randy Khatami, on his striking while Raul Montolfo, a Carlos Gracie Jr. black belt, has been helping him develop a ground game.
Most fans are a bit skeptical about Kimbo’s inclusion in this season of The Ultimate Fighter since many fans feel that the UFC will somehow try to continually keep Kimbo in the mix as a fighter even if he happens to lose immediately. It’ll be interesting to see how the UFC uses his popularity on the show, especially if he does happen to lose quickly.
Videos of prospects after the jump…
Wes Sims (22-12-1-2) is one of the most infamous names on the TUF roster this season. He’s most well-known for his UFC 43 performance in which he stomped Frank Mir with his feet illegally, leading to a disqualification. The rematch took place at UFC 46 in which Mir won the battle via TKO in the second round. The huge edge that Sims has over most of the guys on this season of The Ultimate Fighter is that he has fought some of the best the UFC has had to offer over the course of his lengthy career. The problem for Sims is that he needs to find the skills that he once had in order to truly shine on the show.
Sims is coming onto the show riding a three-fight win streak following a loss to former hockey enforcer Steve Bosse at TKO 34. He also participated on BET’s Iron Ring, and he claims that he’s a “certified black man” because of it. He’s one of the only contestants to ever say that he loved being in the TUF house because he was homeless living under the I-55 overpass in Cicero, IL when he got news that he had been accepted for the show.
Sims still remains a member of Hammerhouse, and he’ll likely be training at Xtreme Couture where both Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman currently train. He has knockout ability and submission skills, although he’s much more of a wild, aggressive fighter than actually technical. His experience should be a plus, but his aggression may very well be a dark horse attribute for him during the season. His mouth will also provide a lot of entertainment as well.
Darrill Schoonover (10-0) is one of the fighters that I’m most looking forward to observing on this season. At 6’2″, 250 lbs, he isn’t the biggest heavyweight on the show, but his skill-set is one of the most well-rounded we’ll see out of most of the contestants. He comes from a wrestling background in high school in Texas, but began training in jiu-jitsu, judo, and submission wrestling at the age of 17. He joined the army out of high school, but is currently on active reserve as he begins to make a name for himself within the sport.
Schoonover’s most recent fight was against former Indianapolis Colt and Strikeforce fighter Rex Richards at Shark Fights IV in Lubbock, Texas. He won the contest via TKO in the fourth round of the battle, but Schoonover will be the first to tell you that he was beginning to succumb to Richards’ power in the third round. Richards had only lost to current UFC fighter Shane Carwin at the time of the fight. Defeating a former NFL player might come in handy on this season.
Brendan Schaub (4-0) has a tremendous amount of hype surrounding him since he’s not only tore through his first four opponents with first round finishes, but he’s also trains with Shane Carwin. At 6’4″, 240 lbs, he’ll also be another lighter contestant. Schaub played four years of football at the University of Colorado, played for the Utah Blaze in the Arena Football League, and made his way into the big time with the Buffalo Bills. Unlike many of the other former NFL players on the show, Schaub actually quit football to pursue MMA.
Inspired to train after watching Bloodsport at a kid, Schaub made the jump to MMA after his football career and begain training at High Altitude MMA with Nate Marquardt. Unbelievably, Schaub won the Colorado State Golden Gloves boxing tournament with only… six months of training under his belt. He defeated a 8-0 boxing champ from Army to win the title. In another amazing feat, Schaub won the 2008 Colorado Open Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Absolute Advanced division championship and also defeated former UFC fighter Mike Nickels in the tournament with only… six months of training. I think you’re getting the idea. Schaub is a very quick learner.
Schaub trains on a daily basis with the likes of Shane Carwin, Nate “The Great” Marquardt, Keith Jardine, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, Eliot Marshall, Shawn Simms, Brian Stann, James McSweeney and Joey Villasenor. It’s safe to say that he has a plethora of experience at his disposal, and his mind seems to be right in terms of learning everything he needs to know about the sport. Look out, Schaub may very well be the real deal.
Wes Shivers (2-1) is another prospect that may be floating under the radar. He was a Junior College All-American football player as well as ranking up All-SEC honors at Mississippi State. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans and played for the Atlanta Falcons before giving up football for a chance at a normal life as a law enforcement officer.
His main style, according to his website, is catch wrestling. Much like Brock Lesnar, most of his coaches have stated that he’s not only an immensely large fighter, but he has been learning at a very quick rate… dubbing him “The Perfect Storm”. At one point, Shivers was listed at nearly 290 pounds, reminiscent of what many believe Brock Lesnar’s fight weight hits.
Shivers has been training with current UFC middleweight Alan Belcher in preparation for the show, so he’ll likely be adding some Muay Thai to his catch wrestling ability. Could he be a guy who has the size and power to steamroll through the show? His experience level isn’t high at all, so it’s a huge question how he’ll perform.
Abe Wagner (6-2) is a 6’4″, 265 lb former collegiate football player who grew up in Wisconsin. He played linebacker for Michigan Tech University while obtaining his degree in mechanical engineering. He began training in 2005, and he’s managed to find a camp in MidAmerica Martial Arts in Omaha, Nebraska with owner Aaron Cerrone and BJJ instructor Ed Shobe.
His most recent win was his most notable as he defeated Sherman Pendergarst at Victory Fighting Championships 25 via split decision back in December. He doesn’t seem to have the finishing ability that many of the other contestants have exhibited, and he’s shown that he is beatable this early in his career.
Mike Wessel (7-1) is one of the contestants on the show that had his shot in the UFC before actually being selected for this season. The former strength & conditioning coach for the University of Arkansas football program made his UFC debut at UFC 92 against kickboxer Antoni Hardonk, but lost via TKO in round 2. This will now be Wessel’s chance to expose himself to the casual fanbase and make a name for himself.
Wessel trains out of Westside MMA with Roli Delgado and Chris Hamilton, and he’s actually delved into the pro boxing circuit as well. He wasn’t overly impressive in his UFC stint, so I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for Wessel making a huge impact on the show.
This is a tough season to judge due to the sheer talent that stacks this season. Ultimately, I think Brendan Schaub, Darrill Schoonover, Justin Wren, and possibly Jon Madsen are all sleeper picks to knock off some veterans and potentially win the show, but I think Madsen is a long shot. Roy Nelson should win the show simply on his jiu-jitsu skills on the ground, but some of these powerhouse wrestlers could give him fits.
If Kimbo happens to make it to the finals, we should probably all shut our mouths and commend the guy for proving to the MMA fanbase that he’s legit, but I’m not holding my breath. His ground game would have to improve vastly, and I don’t see it happening. But hey… Kimbo and Wes Sims in the TUF house should be entertaining. If only Krazy Horse were a heavyweight… Enjoy this season of The Ultimate Fighter LIVE on SpikeTV following UFN 19 on Wednesday, September 16th.Brendan Schaub – Ring of Fire
Brendan Schaub – UWC
Wes Shivers vs. James Neely
Wes Shivers vs. Brad Tidwell
Wes Shivers vs. Jerry Carol
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