I know. I’ve failed you guys. I completely missed UFC on FUEL TV 9. No tapology card, no pre-fight picks, no recap. Well, I’m here now and covering the card for April 13th’s show.
There was a lot on the line for tonight’s TUF 17 finale. The next coach for The Ultimate Fighter who gets to meet Ronda Rousey, potential title set up for Faber vs Jorgensen. The card is filled with talent and some fan less than favorites.
The night started off with Gabriel Smith squaring off against Bubba McDaniel. The two never saw eye to eye during their time in the TUF house. And as I was live tweeting the fight, I found not a lot of folks were McDaniel fans. Smith had a game plan to take McDaniel down and that’s pretty much all he looked to do. McDaniel was a more aggressive fighter in the striking game and showed superiority in experience as well. Smith achieved his goal, landing multiple takedowns but was still limited from there. Where Smith’s limits showed, McDaniel capitalized and secured a third round victory with a triangle submission.
The next fight was Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Travis Browne. This looked to be a chance for Gonzaga to get back into the conversation of rising talent. But as quickly as I typed that sentence, the fight was over. Gonzaga pressed Browne against the cage, looking for a double leg takedown and trying to avoid a striking battle with Browne. Browne countered with some heavy elbows and actually achieved a knockout. I contest that the elbows were to the back of the head but the commentators said they landed on the ear of Gonzaga. Gonzaga goes down and Browne may have secured a bonus with KO of the night.
My fight of the night was Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano. Absolutely wonderful to fight and a great show from the women’s division. Tate came out aggressive and took center of the ring. She took the fight to Zingano, but her aggression allowed opportunities for Zingano and she capitalized repeatedly. Tate was winning on my card the first two rounds. Both women had a variety of strikes land, numerous takedowns back and forth. It was an exciting, fast-paced, action-filled fight and we hadnt gotten through the first five minutes yet. But Tate got the better of the first two rounds. At the start of round 3, Zingano landed a takedown and proceeded to open up a can on Tate. When Tate got back to her feet, she ate a knee and went back down. Zingano continued with the ground and pound, only to allow Tate to her feet again. This is when she attacked mercilessly. Zingano landed at least 3 knees to the head and followed with an elbow and that was the end of Tate. Zingano will now go on to be the coach of the next Ultimate Fighter series against Ronda Rousey, setting up an eventual bout against Rousey. Absolutely wonderful fight, exciting from start to finish. The women’s division has failed to disappoint in two fights in the octagon.
The actual TUF finale was a battle between Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum. Hall was a heavy betting and fan favorite at the start of the contest, and it was obvious he bought into his own hype. A talented fighter, Hall thought he was Anderson Silva last night. Constantly backing away and dropping his hands, the difference was Silva actually lands devastating strikes and submission attempts, Hall did not. Gastelum took the fight to Hall from the start through the end. The first round was all Gastelum, save for a landed takedown in the final seconds of the round from Hall. Round 2 was more of Gastelum’s aggression, but Hall showed up about half way through the round. Some say he stole the round and I can sympathize with those arguments, but in my mind he did very little to actually win the round. Round 3 was more of the same for Gastelum, in a dominating fashion took the fight to Hall, landing takedowns and nice combos. The decision went to Gastelum, rightfully so, but it was a split decision. Upon reflection this morning, I’m still scratching my head how that is. I know I’m not an expert judge but it was a clear victory for Kelvin and anyone giving the fight to Hall clearly had a favorite coming into the match(this coming from someone who picked Hall to win, see tapology card below). Ultimately Gastelum won the contest, the trophy and the six-figure deal but Hall will also get a contract as Dana White is very high on the talented fighter.
The last fight of the evening was between Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen. Jorgensen is a talented fighter with good hands but from the start of this contest it was obvious he was overmatched. Faber’s speed and experience were consistently too much for Jorgensen. The fight lasted for four rounds surprisingly as Faber ended it with a rear naked choke at the 3:16 mark of round 4. Faber constantly pressured, was the dominant fighter in the clinch and on the ground and save for a few exchanges was the better fighter standing as well. Faber continues to rise back up the standings looking to be in line for another title shot against Renan Barao.
It was an incredible night of fights, a talent filled card and full of bonuses for KOs, submissions and epic fights. This was a great example of how you never know just how exciting the card can be, whether it be PPV or cable broadcast, and the actual event is up to the talent and the performance of the fighters. My favorite fight was Tate vs. Zingano, full of action and skilled fighters showing off a high degree of talent. Of the TUF coaches battle, some are saying that Tate went to the ground looking to defend or looking for a shot. I stand by the assertion that she was damaged from the knees and the elbow. She wasnt defending herself and was taking damage, I think it was a justified stoppage(links below). You can take a look for yourself, and as always tell my why I’m wrong in the comments or on twitter.
TUF 17 Recap and Results