Shamidkhan Magomedov (L) (LFA)

The Ultimate Fighter 32: Preview of the Middleweights

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 middleweight cast.

Favorite: Shamidkhan Magomedov

The clear-cut favorite here has to be Shamidkhan Magomedov, the LFA Welterweight Champion. He is a Master of Sport in wrestling in his native Russia with a purple belt in BJJ to boot. He will be fighting up a weight class, but he is a big welterweight, so it shouldn’t affect him a ton. If he sticks with a game plan of close the distance, drag down his opponents and score from top position, he will not only take minimal damage, but work his way into the finals.

Longshot: Tom Theocharis

Given his 64% win rate and losses to subpar talent, casting Tom Theocharis on TUF seems like a questionable call by the UFC. However, the fact he is a knockout striker and his fights don’t go to decision could be why, as well as the obvious call by the UFC to include eight fighters from eight different countries. Theocharis is a disciple of Chris Horodecki, possessing a similar style. He has a long road here, though, as he will face a cavalcade of wrestlers and grapplers in this season, which he has struggled against.


Dark Horse: Ryan Loder

Keep an eye on Team Alpha Male’s Ryan Loder. The 32-year-old wrestler has the skill set to be successful in the TUF format. Like Magomedov, if he sticks to a wrestling-heavy approach to ensure he takes minimal damage, he could be a threat. He has lower name recognition than guys like Magomedov and Mark Hulme, but he could have TUF finale written all over him.

The Rest

Giannis Bachar of MMA Masters is among the most dangerous guys on this season. He’s a proven knockout artist that goes into the fight with bad intentions. He holds a KO win over UFC veteran Carlo Pedersoli, so you know he’s on the level to really compete this season.

Omran Chaaban is another fighter that will have to prove himself on this season. He is a good submission artist, but his wrestling to get the fight to the mat will be tough against some of the guys on this cast with good wrestling like the aforementioned Magomedov and Loder.

Mark Hulme is a teammate of UFC Middleweight Champion Dricus du Plessis and a guy with a wealth of experience. He’s been fighting professionally since 2014 and fought for a number of larger regional MMA promotions. He is very well-rounded and a guy many fans project to be a contender on this season.

Paddy McCorry is another longshot that will have to prove himself on TUF. He’s the least experienced fighter of the bunch, though he is a finisher and an aggressive fighter. If not for nothing, the experience he gains on this show will be huge for him going forward as a pro MMA fighter, whether he wins or loses the show.

Robert Valentin is another long-time veteran of the sport that is looking to score big. He’s a well-rounded fighter, though his submission game is his tool in the cage. Experience definitely matters on TUF, so that will definitely be an ace in the hole for the Swiss fighter.

Power Rankings
  1. Shamidkhan Magomedov
  2. Mark Hulme
  3. Ryan Loder
  4. Giannis Bachar
  5. Robert Valentin
  6. Omran Chaaban
  7. Paddy McCorry
  8. Tom Theocharis