TUF 27 Roster Rundown: The Featherweights

TUF 27 Featherweight Tournament Competitors

Look, The Ultimate Fighter hasn’t been what it used to be, but TUF 27 is shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet. It’s by far their most lethal group of prospects in the history of the TUF house; a house that has seen several champions and MMA legends walk through it.

These guys are the future of our sport, but how many of you know the fighters participating?

Chances are, you don’t at all. Well, we should fix that shouldn’t we? Let me give a quick rundown of the contestants before you plop down in a couple of hours to watch it play out. We start with the featherweights of which there are several exciting warriors.

Jay Cucciniello (8-0, 1 NC)

Cucciniello is a UK born fighter, but has since moved to Malaga, Spain with his good friend Luke Barnatt. The two now train together in Barnatt’s gym and hope to bring Spanish MMA to the top.

Inside the cage, Cucciniello earned the Ansgar Fight League featherweight championship just about a year ago after knocking out Spaniard Daniel Requeijo. The win earned him his first regional belt, but it was certainly not his first finish.

In nine career fights, Cucciniello has finished his eight wins in spectacular fashion; 3 by KO and 5 by submission. In his most recent outing, the Brit earned a first round submission victory at EFC 64 and was promptly given a shot in the TUF house.

Tyler Diamond (9-0)

Tyler Diamond is a stud. He trains with Team Alpha Male, thus making him an obvious choice for this season of TUF, but of course Dana wouldn’t put this guy in the house purely because of who he knows.

He was 7-0 as an amateur and now he sits at 9-0 in the professional ranks. He’s fought on such shows as King of the Cage and Tachi Palace along with earning a featherweight title at Global Knockout 11. The belt was captured via first round submission and in fact represented the first submission of his professional career.

Til that point, Diamond was a knockout artist with a few decisions mixed in. He hopes to bring some of that maniacal magic to the TUF 27 house.

Brad Katona (6-0)

Katona is a Winnipeg, Manitoba native who began his martial arts training at five years old. At the age of 15, he earned his karate black belt and has since been a Canadian boxing champion turned MMA fighter.

He’s got six wins under his belt and though finishes have been a bit difficult to come by, Brad Katona is surely a threat. In fact, I may even call him the wild card of the featherweights. His skill is second to none and has obviously helped him remain undefeated over the years.

But let’s face it, every single fighter in this tournament has an impressive background. We’ll see how he holds up under the lights of the TUF 27 house.

Bryce Mitchell (9-0)

“Thug Nasty” crashed onto the world stage a couple of years back when he submitted Jorge Medina in the first round at WSOF 27. The win earned him some serious recognition and even resulted in him spending some time with the guys at Serra-Longo honing his skills.

But that single win isn’t his only career highlight. Eight of his nine wins have come via submission and only once has an opponent survived past the second round.

His most recent appearance on the regional scene saw him defend his V3 Fights featherweight title for the first time. The fight was the first of his career that went the distance, but was no less impressive a performance. Beyond that, he’ll likely be one of the more charismatic contenders on TUF 27 so get familiar.

Suman Mokhtarian (8-0)

The Aussie’s have a representative! At 8-0 Suman Mokhtarian is objectively one of the most exciting featherweights in this star-studded cast. Why? Because of how he’s earned that spotless record.

His win at Hex 9 came via Teepee choke…A GODDAMN TEEPEE CHOKE! Who does that? And if that isn’t enough to pique your interest, he followed the win up with a submission via twister at Hex 10.

Two of the rarest submissions in the MMA game, or any grappling venture for that matter, and he hits them in consecutive outings. Suman is a wizard on the floor and is going to be a hard dude to handle. His brother Ashkan is already a UFC rosteree. Can Suman join him?

Dulani Perry (4-0)

Perry’s a six foot featherweight with a long reach to match. That physical advantage has allowed him to defeat all four pro opponents, but hasn’t helped much in the way of a finish. His only stoppage win came in his debut via submission, but since then it’s been a steady diet of decisions including two split’s.

But that doesn’t begin to describe him as a fighter or a man. He’s a bit…..polarizing. His trash talk and antics inside the cage have drawn the ire of his fellow LFA foes and his approach to the game has done much of the same. His belief is that fighter’s shouldn’t take risks in the cage. He’s considers himself a mental martial artist with an interest in competing, not fighting.

Thus, we may not get too many highlights out of his in cage exploits. But outside of it, memories should be made.

Kyler Phillips (5-0)

A veteran of the Dana White Contender Series, Kyler Phillips has made an impact in his brief career. His 46 second knockout on the show caught the eye of the big boss and allowed him to enter the TUF 27 house as a contender. Prior to the devastating performance, “Matrix” finished three opponents under the CXF banner and earned a unanimous decision victory at LFA 13.

Phillips has benefitted from training with some of the best fighters on the planet at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Az. There, he has become a well-rounded threat who hopes to join the UFC in the coming months. Let’s see how his stint on the show went first.

Ricky Steele (5-0)

Yet another darkhorse addition to the featherweight contenders of TUF 27.

Ricky Steele hasn’t competed in pro MMA since his last win at RFA 35 a bit over two years ago. The win was his fifth, all coming by way of unanimous decision. Though he’s defeated some very talented opponent’s, it’s tough to gauge exactly where he’ll land amongst this crop of hearty warriors.

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