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The Ultimate Fighter 5 - Who's Fighting?

By Robert Rousseau, ExtremeProSports.com

The Ultimate Fighter 5 Preview

Back on January 11, 2002, Jens "Lil Evil" Pulver did something at UFC 35: Throwdown that no other lightweight has been able to do since.

He defeated "The Prodigy", B.J. Penn.

Now he's looking to do it again: First as a coach going up against his former nemesis on TUF 5, then in their rematch set to take place at the TUF 5 finale in June.

Of course, B.J. Penn likely has other plans.

And now, with leakage of a photo of the TUF 5 cast, it appears that we know who the lightweights - yep, that's right, TUF 5 is going to be about lightweights only - will be.

So, let's get acquainted with these fighters, many of which have very little resume to discuss.

Alan Berubie -

Okay. Here's what we have on this fighter. Berube is 2-0 and fights for Real Fighting Championships. Further, he's won both of his fights via submission against fighters with losing records.

Yep, that's it.

Nathan Diaz -

Yes, he's the younger brother of Nick Diaz. So, if little bro is anything like big bro, that translates to toughness.

Diaz possesses an overall MMA record of 5-2 with two (T)KO's and three submission victories to his credit. Further, he, like his brother, works out of a good camp in Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. All of this would seem to indicate that he has a broad skill set.

However, Diaz has lost to the two best fighters he's faced in Koji Oishi and Hermes Franca.

Robert Emerson -

Emerson is a guy that has a lot to prove on the show. After all, he's only got a .500 record in MMA at 6-6. Further, only three of those wins came via stoppage ( Emerson has two (T)KO's and one submission victory to his credit ).

That said, Emerson- unlike a lot of the guys on TUF 5 - has really been in there with some good competition. After all, this is a guy that has lost decisions to Jens Pulver ( one of the TUF 5 coaches ), Melvin Guillard, and Donkonjonosuke Mishima. Further, Emerson trains with Marco Ruas Vale Tudo, so he gets to go with some pretty good guys in camp, particularly when it comes to grappling.

The fact that Emerson has never been stopped himself would seem to indicate a level of toughness. Could he be a guy that will benefit in a large way from a TUF 5 atmosphere?

Manvel Gamberyian -

Gamberyian holds an overall MMA record of 5-1 with two (T)KO's and two submission victories to his credit. Though he hasn't fought since January of 2004 - making him an intriguing prospect - he holds victories over UFC veterans Sam Morgan and Jorge Santiago.

Brian Geraghty -

Geraghty holds an overall MMA record of 17-9-1 with 10 submission victories and three (T)KO's to his credit. In short, he's accumulated many of his wins against lesser competition. That said, Geraghty looks to have some significant jiu-jitsu / submission fighting skills.

Corey Hill -

This is the summary on Hill's MMA career. He won one fight by TKO at a local show in Wyoming.

Talk about a question mark. No one really knows what he's capable of.

Joe Lauzon -

The fact that Lauzon - a fighter that just TKO'd TUF 5 coach Jens Pulver at UFC 63 - will be on the show brings some drama. Imagine coaching a kid that just knocked you out? Well, unless BJ Penn ends up with Lauzon, that's exactly what's going to happen.

That said, Lauzon is 14-3 with three (T)KO's and 11 submission victories to his credit. In other words, when he wins, it's always by stoppage. Further, Lauzon's three losses have also all come by way of stoppage ( two submission losses and one TKO ).

Taken together, Lauzon is a very good submission fighter that takes chances. Most of the time, these chances pay off for him. Sometimes, they do not. In addition, he's a good striker that has the ability to strike hard and quick, and has won his last four bouts. Still, he's only fought on one huge stage when he defeated Jens Pulver.

So, here's the question: Is Lauzon an up and coming elite fighter? Or is he just a pretty good fighter who pulled off a lucky punch on Pulver and is going to be exposed on TUF 5?

Probably the former. But we'll see.

Gray Maynard -

Maynard's overall MMA record is 2-0. So, not a lot on that front. However, he's a very intriguing prospect for the show because of what he did previous to MMA.

You see, Maynard was a two-time All American wrestler at Michigan State University. And we all know how elite wrestlers tend to do in MMA.

Brandon Melendez -

Melendez sports an overall MMA record of 7-5 with four (T)KO's and two submission victories to his credit. Further, Melendez fights out of a pretty good camp ( Elite Performance ).

That said, he's been stopped in every one of his losses, and four of those stoppages have come by way of submission.

Thus, Melendez may be one of those guys that doesn't want to play on the ground.

Cole Miller -

Miller sports an overall MMA record of 11-2 with two (T)KO's and eight submission victories to his credit. Miller has a very strong guard and submission skills. Further, his two losses have come via decision.

Thus, he stops a lot of people and is hard to stop himself. Though he's lost to the best fighter on his resume ( Takeshi Inoue ) Miller still may be game enough here to make some noise.

Matt Wiman -

Wiman sports an overall MMA record of 6-3 with two (T)KO's and two submission victories to his credit. In short, he hasn't beaten much in the line of elite competition thus far in his career. Further, he's lost his last two to the best competition he's faced in Nick Agallar (decision) and Spencer Fisher ( in his only UFC fight via a crushing flying knee at UFC 60 ).

Still, he did put on a good showing against Fisher up until the end (as a late replacement) which is probably the reason why White gave him a shot. Besides, that's what TUF is about, no? Giving guys the chance of a lifetime.

Gabe Ruediger -

Ruediger holds an overall MMA record of 10-3 with three (T)KO's and six submission victories to his credit. In his last fight, he was defeated via KO ( a punch to the body ) by Melvin Guillard. Still, Ruediger showed some mettle in that fight so it's not surprising that Dana White gave him a chance.

However, the fight against Guillard represents his only foray into a large market event ( the UFC ). Taken further, Ruediger is a ground fighter whose only losses have come via KO. Thus, his jaw and striking skills need to be questioned.

Marlon Sims -

Sims holds an overall MMA record of 3-1 with (T)KO's. In addition, he's running out of time in this sport, as he's 33 years old.

Sims hasn't fought anyone of elite status yet. That said, he looks to be a striker whose only loss came on the ground ( a submission defeat at the hands of Ryan Jensen, a decent fighter ). Further, he's a big and strong lightweight that may have difficulty dropping the weight.

Noah Thomas -

Thomas sports an overall MMA record of 10-4 with four (T)KO's and six submission victories to his credit. He seems pretty well rounded with his skills. Of course, he, like many on this list, hasn't fought against much in the line of experienced competition yet.

Andy Wang -

Wang sports an overall MMA record of 5-6 with all of his wins and losses but one coming via decision. Despite the poor overall record, Wang has won two in a row against decent fighters ( Jamal Perkins and Jimmy Smith ). Further, he once went the distance with Akihiro Gono, so he knows how to survive.

Wayne Weems -

Weems holds an overall MMA record of 9-2 with two (T)KO's and seven submission victories to his credit. He hasn't competed against much in the line of experienced competition yet. Thus, his strong record is hard to gauge. However, both of his losses have come by way of TKO.

Therefore, Weems may want to get things to the ground.

So, there's the apparent TUF 5 cast. Since this version of TUF won't be broken up into two weight classes, the winner is really going to have to do some damage and win a lot of fights. Looking forward to seeing how Penn and Pulver get along. Further, you've got to wonder if we're going to find one of those gems that just needed a chance with the right trainers and training partners.

After all, a lot of these guys are green. Thus, TUF 5 may truly serve to give a guy a chance that might otherwise not have gotten one.

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