And so it was, the final episode in one of the best seasons in the history of The Ultimate Fighter. With only two fights left to decide this week’s TUF Finale finalists, there was no shortage of drama and shocks in this episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen. This edition saw the semi-finals between second favorite Josh Samman and perennial underdog Kelvin Gastellum as well as the tournament’s last pick Dylan Andrews and KO machine and all-round Terminator Uriah Hall. Here’s the last five things we learned *sniff*…
#1 I want a Harley Davidson
At the very beginning of this episode, Dana White brought the coaches and final four to check out the local Harley Davidson shop and get the grips with their potential future best friends. As we learned in the very first episode, the winning coach and fighter of this season would win their very own custom Harleys with all the bells and whistles. While I’ve never been a big fan of motorcycles, the idea of customizing your own chopper any way you want is a tantalizing one. However, the guys seemed to have more fun trying on all the Harley clothing as opposed to trying out the bikes. Take from that what you will.
#2 Sonnen doesn’t hide his lofty expectations of Uriah Hall
In another Chael Sonnen team talk special, we saw the light-heavyweight “number one contender” telling the group that he firmly believes that even before fighting Andrews, Hall is ready and could beat anybody in the UFC’s middleweight division, even including “that puke” Anderson Silva (whom he refused to name). While I scoffed at this notion, seeing as how Hall hasn’t fought anybody of note yet and hasn’t really been tested at the top level, there may have been some validity upon viewing his later dismantling of Dylan.
#3 Josh Samman vs. Kelvin Gastellum
This fight was awesome and its outcome was synonymous with everything that’s great about TUF – the underdog coming out on top and upsetting the odds. The fight began with both men not afraid to exchange, before Kelvin got the takedown on Josh. Josh wasn’t content to just lie in wait, and went for an armbar from the bottom, with Kelvin defending it well. They regained their feet briefly before Josh’s failed takedown attempt resulted in Kelvin regaining top position and finding side-control. Landing some elbows, Kelvin showed great awareness of Josh’s submission attempts. Then Kelvin managed to transition to Josh’s back beautifully, sinking in the rear naked choke and forcing Josh to tap out. The sub-dream of the Hall/Samman is over but how good will it be to see this 21-year-old underdog in the final this weekend in Las Vegas? Awesome.
#4 Uriah Hall vs. Dylan Andrews
This fight’s winner might not have been in doubt at the start, with the main questions being just how long Dylan would last unfortunately. As it was, he hung in well for the entire first round, as Hall landed some very stiff jabs, leg-kicks and combos, with Dylan offering little or no offense. He was understandably tentative in the first round, with Uriah expressing his frustration on more than one occasion. In the second round Dylan engaged a bit more, failing with his first takedown attempt before succeeding with his second. Uriah went straight for the Kimura lock, with Dylan doing well to defend whilst landing some punches to Uriah’s ribs. Losing the armlock, Uriah then proceeded to unleash some punches from full guard before somehow sweeping Dylan into full mount and relentlessly ground and pounding his opponent for the finish. Wow. Maybe Chael was onto something? It’s now Gastellum vs. Hall in the final. Rocky vs. Drago. Team Sonnen vs. Team Sonnen.
#5 Uriah Hall is the most exciting TUF prospect ever
Hall is easily the most dominating and promising fighter in the history of The Ultimate Fighter. With three first-round knockouts where all three victims were (briefly) hospitalized as well as second round TKO win that displayed some great ground skills and serious ground n’ pound, the signs are there that he may be around the UFC for a long time to come. Then again, weirder things have happened than underdog Gastellum upsetting the odds and becoming the new Ultimate Fighter.
The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale takes place this Saturday night in Las Vegas, N.V. The event is headlines by about bantamweight bout between Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen, Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastellum to name the new Ultimate Fighter as well as number one contender’s fight for the women’s bantamweight title between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.
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