Ben Saunders has been through the rigors of both The Ultimate Fighter tournament and a Bellator season-long event.
This evening, Saunders will face Raul Amaya in the season eight welterweight semifinals at Bellator 90.
Back in 2007, he took part in TUF, and went on to post a 4-3 record with the UFC before leaving the company following back-to-back losses to Jon Fitch and Dennis Hallman.
Saunders (15-5-2) has gone 7-2 since, including recent wins over Brian Warren and Koffi Adzitso. During a recent interview with FightLine.com, he explained the differences between TUF and Bellator’s tournaments.
I would have to say they were both tougher in different areas. TUF was crazy living together, and above all not knowing who you would be fighting or when you would be fighting until 24-48 hours ahead of time. That made weight cutting (which I never did before but once) and gameplan preparations a real hardship. But I enjoyed my time on the show and saw it as a vacation and seminar experience, loving most of all of the time spent there, knowing it was such an amazing opportunity to be chosen. I felt very honored, and fortunate to be there, and hardly saw any negative even in the grueling times. As for Bellator I feel it’s just a more professional approach in that we know who, when, and where we are fighting ahead of time. We get to prepare like professionals with our own teams. But I do feel it is harder as the level in competition surpasses that of my time on TUF.
Saunders advanced to the semifinals of the season six tourney for Bellator before falling to Bryan Baker. He also made it to the finals in season five, but was defeated by Douglas Lima.
It’s nice to hear some insight into the workings of both tournaments by someone who has experienced each of them. I have to admit I agree with Saunders’ statements concerning the matter completely.