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TUF Nations Finale: Fighters Report Card

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TUF Nations Finale: Fighter Report Card

The Ultimate Fighter Finale
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

For a mostly unheralded fight card, The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale delivered more than its share of action as two Canadians walked away with six-figure UFC contracts, coaches Kyle Noke and Patrick Cote threw down and a feud between Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy was finally settled. Here is how 10 of last night's key combatants fared in their respective bouts.

K.J. Noons

kj noons, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

K.J. Noons

kj noons, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

There’s not much more you could’ve asked of K.J. Noons in his performance last night against Sam Stout. The former pro-boxer wasted no time knocking the veteran senseless with a scorching right hand and three ruthless follow-up shots on the ground to seal the deal. A vicious first-round knockout is about as well as you can do, and now all of a sudden, Noons is on a two-fight win streak. Grade: A+

Akira Corassani

akira corassani , ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Akira Corassani

akira corassani , ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Akira Corassani’s bout against top 10 opponent Dustin Poirier had all the makings of a trap fight, and in the early going, the technical Corassani looked the part of the spoiler rocking the heavily-favored Poirier early in the first round. Despite a valiant showing by Corassani, Poirier was no to be denied as he rallied to finish the Swede in the second. He was stopped by a better opponent, but Corassani showed he can hang. Grade: C+

Dustin Poirier

dustin poirier, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Poirier

dustin poirier, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

After being rocked mid-way through the opening round by the underdog, Akira Corassani, Dustin Poirier turned up the heat almost catching the TUF veteran in a Peruvian-neck-tie off of a scramble near the end of the first. Early into the second stanza, Poirier sealed the deal with a big uppercut and follow-up shots and ending the night for the upset-minded Corassani and continuing his climb up the 145-pound ladder. Grade B+

Sarah Kaufman

sarah kaufman, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Sarah Kaufman

sarah kaufman, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The former Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight champion notched her first UFC victory in a lopsided win over Leslie Smith. Kaufman was clearly the more skilled and seasoned combatant throwing accurate combinations to pepper her opponent over three rounds. The former champ is at a good position in the UFC women's 135-pound division, and with another win or two could be looking at a rematch with Ronda Rousey. Grade: A

Chad Laprise

chad laprise, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Laprise

chad laprise, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

In the TUF Nations welterweight final, Chad Laprise took a split-decision victory over fellow Canadian Oliver Aubin-Mercier. Laprise used impressive footwork and a varied attack to keep the judo black belt at bay and warded of his opponent with excellent defensive grappling. He’s still young at 25, but this Canadian prospect has potential moving forward in the UFC welterweight division. Grade: B

Elias Theodorou

elias theodorou , ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Elias Theodorou

elias thedorou, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

After having Sheldon Wescott stuck to him like glue for the majority of the first round, favorite Elias Theodorou found his range after weathering the initial storm. The second round was all Theodorou as the undefeated middleweight outclassed the clearly exhausted Wescott in every aspect and finished things up on the ground, pounding out a stoppage with only 18 seconds remaining in the second round. Grade: B+

Kyle Noke

kyle noke, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Noke

kyle noke, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

He may have come up short against the Canadian Patrick Cote in their showdown at TUF Nations Finale, but the quicker, more versatile Noke still impressed. He was constantly active on the feet firing kicks off of his lead leg to keep the powerful Cote at bay, and even caught “The Predator” rushing in with a knee in the second that had his opponent in trouble. It wasn’t a W, but it wasn’t the worst loss either. Grade: C+

Patrick Cote

patrick cote, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Cote

patrick cote, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Cote has been feared for the majority of his career for his knockout power, but against Kyle Noke, the former No. 1 contender at middleweight, opted to drag his opponent to the Canvas. Over three rounds, Cote was outworked on the feet in the opening minutes, but consistently found a way to take the dangerous Aussie to the ground and rough him up to claim the round. Not vintage Cote by any means, but it’s a win. Grade: B

Michael Bisping

michael bisping, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bisping

michael bisping, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bisping looked the part of a fighter coming off a year-long absence from the Octagon. He had some limited success when able to get off his trademark volume striking, but overall the No. 5 middleweight in the world struggled against underdog Tim Kennedy. Bisping was truly controlled for the first time in his UFC career by the American and simply wasn't the better fighter last night. Grade: C-

Tim Kennedy

Tim Kennedy, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Kennedy

tim kennedy, ufc
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Tim Kennedy did what no other fighter in the UFC has been able to do, and that is control Michael Bisping on the ground. Bisping is notoriously difficult to take down and even more difficult to keep down, but over five rounds, Kennedy was able to consistently drag the Brit to the canvas and keep him there to take home a unanimous decision. The former Army Ranger is now 3-0 in the UFC and making a name for himself at 185. Grade: B+