Mairon Santos (@mairon.santos_/Instagram page)

The Ultimate Fighter 32: Preview of the Featherweights

The Ultimate Fighter reality show returns Jun. 4 for Season 32 in the long-running staple of MMA television. Coached by current UFC flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and former long-reigning champ Valentina Shevchenko, the show will feature eight middleweight athletes and eight featherweights on the cast. Here is a preview of the featherweight cast.

Favorite: Mairon Santos

I don’t think there is an analyst covering the sport that doesn’t think that Mairon Santos is the favorite to win this season. The knockout artist has a strong resume and a good amount of experience, which should aid him this season. Seven of his wins come by knockout. I expect him to lean on his striking this season and I think we could see him knock a pair of castmates out en route to the season finals.

Longshot: Roedie Roets

South Africa’s Roedie Roets has to be the longshot this season given his track record. He does have a good finishing rate with six finishes in seven wins. However, his opposition has been weak. There are not many opponents on this roster that he matches up well against.


Dark Horse: Nathan Fletcher

Flying under the radar is Nathan Fletcher, a guy who could absolutely contend for the TUF crown. Fletcher is a good young prospect known for his strong submission grappling prowess. He has some solid wins during his time with Cage Warriors. He has stepped up in competition level from fight to fight, so I expect him to be competitive this season.

The Rest

Edwin Cooper Jr. is a Jackson-Winklejohn disciple known for his strong striking ability. He’s a great athlete with good power and speed, which makes him among the most dangerous guys to stand across from on this season. He’s another one to keep an eye on.

Kaan Ofli is among the most experienced guys on this cast and could be another surpriser on this season. Most of his wins come by way of submission, though he has solid striking as well. He has a solid strength of schedule as well, meaning he has quality experience that should aid him on this season.

Zygimantas Ramaska is an underrated judoka with another strong strength of schedule. He has finished every single one of his fights and proven to be more than just a good grappler. He even owns a win over quality vet Gustavo Erak, which is a major scalp in his trophy case.

Guillermo Torres is the oldest fighter on this cast at 37 years old, but there’s a good reason he’s on the roster. He is an Olympic wrestler who took silver in the Pan Am Games in 2012. That type of wrestling is top caliber, which is invaluable on TUF. He will be a tough guy to deal with on this season.

Bekzhod Usmonov is a striker with bare knuckle experience, as well as other professional striking experience. That striking will make him fearsome in the cage, though he can be exploited on the mat. He, like Cooper, trains at Jackson-Winklejohn MMA.

Power Rankings
  1. Mairon Santos
  2. Zygimantas Ramaska
  3. Nathan Fletcher
  4. Edwin Cooper Jr.
  5. Guillermo Torres
  6. Kaan Ofli
  7. Bekhzod Usmonov
  8. Roedie Roets