Fightcenter: TUF 12 Finale

Stephan Bonnar

Stephan Bonnar | Source: MMAWeekly.com

In MMA, the Octagon, Cage, or Ring is the ultimate proving ground for fighters. Here at Tapology, the Fightcenter takes on the burden of separating the pretenders from the experts. Read on to see who Tapology users are picking to come out on top at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale.

Stephan Bonnar vs. Igor Pokrajac

After embarking on a three-fight losing streak from 2009-10, TUF 1 finalist Stephan Bonnar bounced back in a big way at UFC 116 with a Fight of the Night victory over Krzysztof Soszynski. Dana White has stated repeatedly that Bonnar will always have a home with the UFC due to his role in one of the most important fights in MMA history with Forrest Griffin back in 2005; it seems unlikely that Bonnar will ever challenge for the light heavyweight title, but if he alternates wins and losses and continues to put on exciting fights for the fans, there’s no reason to dismiss White’s claim as ludicrous.

At its best, Bonnar’s bout with Igor Pokrajac represents the ultimate clash of gatekeepers. Should Bonnar come out with the victory, his Croatian opponent could be looking at his walking papers. Apparently, Tapology users feel that “The American Psycho” will still be too much to handle for one of the best fighters on the European circuit. 88% of users are picking Bonnar to win, with nearly half of them suggesting he will do so by stoppage.

Jonathan Brookins vs. Michael Johnson (TUF 12 Finals)

It does not seem likely that the TUF 12 cast will give us half as many UFC mainstays as the earliest tournaments did in 2005-06; however, midway through the season it was a foregone conclusion to most fans that Jonathan Brookins would be in the live finale. Heading into his finals bout with the solid-but-underwhelming Michael Johnson, he is being pegged as a 9-to-1 favorite by fans. After winning the lightweight tournament, it will be interesting to see whether Brookins stays at 155 lbs or makes the move to the new UFC featherweight division in 2011.

Johny Hendricks vs. Rick Story

In what is perhaps the most relevant fight on the card–at least from a rankings perspective–rising welterweight prospects Rick Story and Johny Hendricks will clash in what is shaping up to be an early Fight of the Night contender. With both men riding impressive four-fight winning streaks in one of the most stacked divisions in the sport, there is no doubt that this will be one of the most hotly contested bouts on the card. It is interesting, then, that 79% of Tapology users firmly believe Hendricks will keep his undefeated record intact by grinding out the tough Washington native.

Kendall Grove vs. Demian Maia

Demian Maia has been considered a top ten middleweight for some time now. Kendall Grove, however, has fluttered just outside of the rankings for years, often alternating wins and losses with some of the best up-and-comers in the division. This is by no means a loser-leaves-town match, but it will tell a lot about each man’s future in the division. Grove is capable of defeating most of the men in the division, but the safe bet in this contest is to pick Maia, who has only lost to two men in his career: Anderson Silva and Nate Marquardt.

Want to try your hand at the Fightcenter? Create an account today and make picks before the deadline to put your MMA knowledge to the test.

by Steven Kelliher
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