Currently, two versions of The Ultimate Fighter are airing, as the long-running United States version is on its 16th season and a newly minted “The Smashes” season is showcasing British and Australian fighters.

TUF 16 features a cast of welterweights, even though some of the fighters on the show are usually middleweights or lightweights. The Smashes features both lightweights and welterweights, though a few of the lightweights fight as low as bantamweight.

Many fans are pondering which class of talent will be better. One thing they always go back to, especially following the success of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, is that the U.S. talent has been tapped already due to the length of the show in the United States.

While one can argue that righteously, we must remember that Australia and the UK are still a few steps behind the United States and Brazil in terms of talent and depth.

From what I have seen so far, there are a couple solid prospects on the Smashes. Colin Fletcher and Norman Parke have certainly looked UFC ready on the show, though Richie Vaculik, fight two divisions above his normal 135 pounds, is a great fighter too.

Welterweights Robert Whittaker and Ben Alloway have been on my radar for a while, and with their knockout wins in the quarterfinals, they may be talented guys that can have a good run in the UFC.

Other than them, most of the other guys have not been as impressive, with the exception of maybe Manuel Rodriguez.

TUF 16 certainly has upside to it, though many fans have trashed the cast already.

Typical middleweights Sam Alvey and Bristol Marunde have looked drained in their fights so far, but they are definitely big-show ready. In addition to them, some other guys that have looked like good talents are Neil Magny, Mike Ricci, Dom Waters, Mike Hill and Joey Rivera.

These talents are more well-rounded than their British and Aussie counterparts and may be the better talent so far. Yes, a lot of American talent has already been tapped from the show, but they remain the hotter commodities.

That said, the guys from The Smashes will get their shot and prove themselves. There are definitely some good talents there, and they will prove it when given the chance.

Photo: TUF 16’s Mike Ricci (L) could be one of the biggest stars from this year’s crop of talent (Brian Townsend/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.