Excerpt below taken via FOX Sports. Read the full article here.
Four fights into the new season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and it’s clear the flyweights didn’t just come out to put on a show. They came to steal it. The latest installment of the long running reality competition series introduced 16 flyweight champions from around the world, all vying for a shot at champion Demetrious Johnson when the season is over.
It was clear just how deep this tournament would be after No. 1 ranked prospect Alexandre Pantoja had to gut out a scrappy performance from No. 16 seed Brandon Moreno in the first fight of the season just to get into the second round. That pace has continued with the next three bouts as well and it doesn’t look like it will slow down until the season is over.
Unlike some past seasons where reality trumped competition, the flyweights on the show this year are all gunning for one thing — the 125 pound UFC championship.
“No one here is brought in to be a loose cannon on TV or to just blow up,” Joseph Benavidez told FOX Sports about the talent rich flyweights on the show this year. “All these guys are just good fighters and they just happen to have great stories. I couldn’t be more happy with the ways the fights have gone.
Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, who coaches on the show opposite Benavidez, says that the performances through the first four fights speak to the depth of the talent on the show this season. Only a single bout — the matchup between Kai Kara-France and Terrence Mitchell — was considered lopsided after France earned a vicious first round knockout, but everything else has been a dog fight.
“I think the show speaks for itself,” Cejudo said. “You see a fight like Alexandre Pantoja versus Brandon Moreno, that first fight just set the bar. Following that seeing Kai knock out Terrence Mitchell and then Yoni Sherbatov and Damacio Page, you really cannot pick a better season than TUF 24. This is the elite of elite. Clash of styles, clash of cultures, it’s one of a kind.”
Every season of the show has ended with fighters getting contracts to compete in the UFC, but only on a couple of occasions have titles ever come into play.
Don’t miss a special compilation of the first four fights from “The Ultimate Fighter” this season on Sunday on FOX. Check your local listings for times.