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TUF Luck…Mallory Looks at Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter

By Mallory Mahling
Apr 4, 2007, 09:33


Mallory will have coverage of UFC Fight Night and The Ultimate Fighter Debut Thursday night right here on World Wrestling Insanity

The fifth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" begins tomorrow night on Spike TV. The spotlight this season will be on the 155-pound Lightweight Division, and the coaches will be former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver and former UFC Welterweight Champion B.J. Penn, who is now competing as a lightweight. One of the twists this season will be a fight between the coaches on the June 23 TUF Finale. The two fought previously in January of 2002 and Pulver won that one by decision. Reportedly, there is already an intensity between the coaches, and legitimate heat is always good for ratings.

As for the sixteen TUF competitors, they are a diverse bunch with nicknames that range from a polite "Handsome" to a disturbing "Murderer." One is a high school teacher. One hopes to be a lawyer when his fighting days are over. They have trained with some of the best and are ready to take this next step up the UFC ladder.

In a nutshell, here are the guys we will get to know over the course of this fifth season:

- Joe Lauzon. I'm looking forward to the dymanic between Lauzon and Pulver, since it was 22-year-old Lauzon who knocked Pulver out last October, thereby throwing a monkey wrench into the big plans for Pulver's return to UFC. It just goes to show you that these matches are not predetermined. His victory over Pulver notwithstanding, Lauzon is eager to learn from the TUF coaches and his housemates.

- Nate Diaz. Nate is the brother of the always charming Nick Diaz. Just kidding. He's 21 years old and trains at the Caesar Gracie Academy in Stockton, California.

- Andy Wang. Wang, 29, is a high school social studies teacher. He also has a Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu, which probably keeps his students on their best behavior.

- Gabe "Godzilla" Ruediger. Ruediger, age 29, got his nickname in Japan as a result of a tattoo he sports. He trains at Team Quest South in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and has a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

- Allen "Monstah" Berube. Berube, 32, is from Maine and a big fan of lobsters apparently (another of his nicknames is the "Crustacean Sensation"). He owns two "Monstah Lobstah" restaurants in the Tampa area, where he trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the Gracie Academy.

- Robert Emerson. Emerson, 25, is from Newport Beach, California. He enrolled in karate at age 10 and took up wrestling in high school.

- Manuel Gamburyan. Manuel is the cousin of UFC's Karo Parisyan and trains at the Hayastan Academy in North Hollywood where judo is his specialty.  He is known as the "Pitbull" for the intensity he brings to his fights.  You've been warned.

- Brian Geraghty. This 26-year-old is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he took up MMA in high school. He is looking forward to working with the coaches and is eager to make the most of his opportunity on the show.

- Corey Hill. Admirably, Hill counts his parents among his role models. Family is important to him, and he has a wife and two young children waiting at home for him. Wrestling and striking are his strengths, and jiu jitsu will be his focus on "The Ultimate Fighter."

- Gray "The Bully" Maynard. Maynard is 27 years old and trains with Team Couture in Las Vegas. He was a stand-out wrestler at Michigan State and previously trained with B.J. Penn who was preparing for a fight and sought out Maynard's wrestling expertise. "The Bully" nickname comes from his bull terrier.  Uh huh.

- Brandon "The Murderer" Melendez. He doesn’t look like a murderer, but apparently he looked like one to an announcer at a Salt Lake City TV station that aired his matches. Melendez is 23 years old and trains at Elite Performance with Jeremy Horn.

- Cole "Magrinho" Miller. "Magrinho" is Portuguese for skinny, but don't let the nickname fool you. Miller trains with the American Top Team and has an impressive 19-3 MMA record.

- Marlon Sims. Sims is 33 and trains at the Freestyle Fighting Academy in Miami, although he is a native of Sonoma, California, and trained with Frank Shamrock at the Napa Lion's Den.

- Noah Thomas. Thomas is a former Marine who trains in Loveland, Colorado, with Infinity Martial Arts. He has received a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Royce Gracie and does impressions of Matt Serra and Ross Pointon. Wonder how his impressions will be received in the TUF House?

- Wayne Weems. At age 24, Weems had a harder road than most growing up. He discovered MMA at age 21 and it quickly became his passion. He trains with Team Miletich.

- Matt "Handsome" Wiman. Wiman is 23 and trains with the Tulsa Top Team. He got the "Handsome" nickname from his mother when he was a child.  Wiman made his UFC debut last May, but was beaten by Spencer Fisher.

UFC Fight Night Card

TUF 5 debuts tomorrow night on Spike TV immediately following UFC Fight Night. Match-ups for Fight Night include:

Joe Stevenson vs. Melvin Guillard

Justin McCully vs. Antoni Hardonk

Dokonjonosuke Mishima vs. Kenny Florian

Keita Nakamura vs. Drew Fickett

Seth Petruzelli vs. Wilson Gouveia

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Nate Mohr 

Forrest Petz vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka

Roan Carneiro vs. Rich Clementi

Naoyuki Kotani vs. Thiago Tavares

You know the drill -- not all fights will air on live TV.  Check local listings for time and channel.  And enjoy the show!

* * *

Thanks for reading and see ya next week.

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