The Ultimate Fighter marks the beginning of this year’s much anticipated International Fight Week with Israel Adesanya headlining against Brad Tavares.
It’s fair to say that The Ultimate Fighter has run it’s course and TUF 27 marks the penultimate series before it’s scrapped altogether once the new big money TV deal sets in later this year.
While it does allow fighters to earn their way into the UFC, ratings have been on a steady decline over the years and since The Contender Series’ inception on UFC Fight Pass, it’s not necessarily a viable product in which to scout future talent as it once was.
The card takes place on Friday night in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena with 10 scraps on tap.
The card itself isn’t exactly the greatest in truth but the headline slot between Brad Tavares (17-4) and Israel Adesanya (13-0) is an intriguing contest.
The Main Event
Tavares is set to make his 17th appearance inside the Octagon this Friday and the 30 year old is hoping he can knock off one of the middleweight division’s hot prospects along with a five fight win streak.
The heavy handed Tavares is coming off an impressive TKO finish of Krzysztof Jotko back in April and is certainly aspiring to keep the momentum going.
Israel Adesanya is no slouch and is quickly becoming one of the UFC’s most talked about fighter ever since he made his presence felt against Rob Wilkinson earlier this year.
With twelve TKO/KO finishes to his credit, it’s obvious where is strength lies.
However, Tavares is a tricky customer on the feet also but if there is a weakness to Adesanya’s game, it’s likely to be off his back which is an area that Tavares may wish to exploit on Friday night when the pair go head to head.
The Rest of the Card
Irish eyes will glued to the early prelim action as Richie Smullen (3-0-1) prepares to make his UFC debut against Luis Pena (4-0).
Smullen, who didn’t manage to compete on the show due to a leg injury gets a second bite of the cherry and is looking to follow in fellow SBG team mate, Conor McGregor’s shoes with a successful stay in the UFC.
Smullen’s last fight was against former BAMMA lightweight champion Rhys McKee in an all out war which resulted in a majority draw.
Smullen’s crafty work on the ground may surprise a few but will have to be on par with Pena who is a submission specialist of his own having finished three of his last four opponents by rear naked choke.
This could well prove to be an instant classic with two grappling experts making their UFC debut.
How To Watch
The Ultimate Fighter 27 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 11:30pm (BST)
Televised preliminary action begins from 1am (BST) on BT Sport 2. The main card gets underway on the same channel at 3am (BST)
TUF 27 – Card
- Brad Tavares vs Israel Adesanya
- Barb Honchak vs Roxanne Modafferi
- Alessio di Chirico vs Julian Marquez
- Michael Trizano vs Joe Giannetti
- Montana de la Rosa vs Rachael Ostovich
- Oskar Piechota vs Gerald Meerschaert
- Matt Bessette vs Steven Peterson
- Alex Caceres vs Martin Bravo
- Luis Pena vs Richie Smullen
- John Gunther vs Allan Zuniga