TUF 12 Wrap: Four Thoughts on Jonathan Brookins, Nam Phan and Team Koscheck
The 12th season of Spike's The Ultimate Fighter wrapped Wednesday night, closed out by a tremendous fight between Michael Johnson and Nam Phan for a spot in this Saturday's finals.
Here are four quick-hit thoughts from Wednesday's two-hour finale:
So that's why Jonathan Brookins was so important to Bellator
When a lawsuit was filed by Bellator Fighting Championships against the UFC regarding Brookins' use on this season of TUF, it should have been a bit more clear why they were upset—he's pretty freakin' good.
Brookins advanced to the finals with a dominant win over Kyle Watson and is set to take on teammate Johnson on Saturday. The 25-year-old Brookins (11-3) is a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the division in that he's got a unique look and unique attitude as compared to so many others in the sport.
Granted the results were obviously not known way back in August to Bellator, but the timing is definitely interesting. Whether or not they could have made him a star is debatable as they have to worry about getting regular TV slots first.
You know, that Bellator lawsuit has been on the back burner for months, but me thinks it may get heated up again very quickly after Saturday. It would be a shame to see Brookins win and not be able to compete due to legal issues.
Maybe he should get Roy Nelson's lawyer.
Michael Johnson vs. Nam Phan was a great fight
That was as good a fight as I've seen on TUF in a long time, and it was fitting that it was the final fight of the reality portion of the season.
If you notice in the final scene in the Brookins/Johnson face off, Brookins is completely sweaty while Johnson is dry. The fights actually happened in reverse order. Those Spike people are good like that.
Phan will get his shot to rebound this Saturday against veteran Leonard Garcia at featherweight, a very interesting fight and truly a must-win for both guys at this stage.
I had Johnson winning a razor-thin decision in the Phan fight but that third round could have been scored a 10-10. In the case of a draw, what would happen then?
The difficult legacy of Team Koscheck
Perhaps it was the act of coach Josh Koscheck or the team he put together, but that group of men clad in yellow were incredibly difficult to get behind. The majority were portrayed in such a way that it became easy to root against them and especially the show's Head Of Antagonism and VP of Pranks, Koscheck.
It really showed Wednesday in how the team essentially turned on Phan and made it more difficult for him to focus on the Johnson fight. Koscheck seemed concerned, but the fact he had to shush the team in Phan's locker room put a spotlight on the chaos he helped create.
Koscheck is a top welterweight and has earned his shot against GSP in just a few weeks. He did his part in making this season memorable in his patent dislike for his opponent, but at times, it seemed to take precedent over his coaching of his team and it ultimately showed in their performance.
An overall successful season
The aforementioned dynamic of Koscheck and GSP drove this season, creating an emotional backdrop and perfect sell job for their UFC 124 headlining fight on December 11th.
A Hollywood script writer couldn't have come up with a better dichotomy of personalities than both men—one a quiet bald champion who surrounded himself with similar personalities while the other was a loud, blond-haired California challenger who wants nothing more than to destroy the champion.
And of course, the fights were great. The lightweight division lends itself to more action-packed fights, and there were a few talents that could make their way into the UFC waters with some seasoning.
Other than Phan, four others will get a shot at making an impression as Kyle Watson fights Sako Chivitchian and Cody McKenzie takes on Aaron Wilkinson on Saturday's undercard. Look no further than TUF 11 alum Rich Attonito for what that opportunity can mean.
As the tryouts for season 13 are ongoing, plenty of UFC talents are angling for the coveted coaches' positions and the organization would be wise to use the platform to push some talents that could use some face time.
That being said, I think a Urijah Faber vs. Miguel Torres season leading to a No. 1 contender's match for the UFC Bantamweight Title makes too much sense not to do.
Hopefully, yellow won't be one of the color choices.
Josh Nason is a New England-based freelance MMA journalist that covers live events, has written for FIGHT! Magazine and frequently does radio/podcast appearances. He asks for your "like" for ESPN Boston to cover MMA. Follow him on Twitter.