TUF 11 Finale Preview: Making Most of Second Chances, Kris McCray, Court McGee Ready for Finals Showdown

Mcgee_vs_mccray_medium Battling for The Ultimate Fighter season eleven title as champion and winner of the six-figure contract, UWC veteran and Team Ortiz/Franklin member Kris McCray (5-0, 0-0 UFC) will battle Team Liddell's Court McGee (8-1, 0-0 UFC) in The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale's main event. McCray remains undefeated with the bulk of his wins coming in Fairfax, Virginia-based Ultimate Warrior Challenge while McGee has dropped only one decision, to UFC veteran Jeremy Horn, in nine fights. He does, however, hold a win over The Ultimate Fighter season nine runner-up DaMarques Johnson.

McGee initially gained entry to the house with a narrow victory over Seth Baczynski, but later lost to Nick Ring in a controversial decision that many fans felt should have gone to a third round. After Rich Attonito's injury, McGee was brought back to battle Ring once again, but Ring had to pull out of the competition due to his own injury. James Hammortree was brought in as a replacement for Ring, and McGee defeated Hammortree via guillotine choke. McGee pulled off a rear naked choke finish of Brad Tavares in the third round in the semifinals to advance to the finale.

McCray defeated Cleburn Walker to gain entry to the house after Walker injured his shoulder. He battled Josh Bryant in his initial fight in the house, losing via decision over three rounds. McCray was able to get a second chance through the season's new wildcard system, and he took advantage of the opportunity by submitting Kyacey Uscola. McCray impressively took down and avoiding submissions against the highly experienced Kyle Noke to advance to the semi-finals, and he defeated Josh Bryant via decision in a rematch of their preliminary bout to advance to the finals.

There isn't much excitement for this finale of the season on my end. In watching the semifinals bouts involving both McGee and McCray, it was evident that this match-up will be won and lost in the gym. McCray's striking is less than average as he lunges with straight punches and doesn't seem to have good form. His wrestling, on the other hand, is highly effective, and while he isn't the most explosive takedown artist -- his ability to grab hold of guys in the fence and dump them has been a proven weapon to bringing a fight into his strengths on the mat.

McGee has some good defense standing in that he keeps his hands up and works straight punches, but Brad Tavares was able to throw a quick jab consistently in between his defense. McGee's power doesn't seem to be there either, and his lack of speed hurts his effectiveness. On the ground, he's got the size and ability to be a threat, but I think McCray has the advantages in that area of this fight.

Both men need to improve on the feet. McCray probably needs the most as his technique is awful, and he leaves his chin open. McGee's defense should be able to fend off any attacks on the feet, but he needs more explosiveness. He really lacked that type of threat in the Tavares fight, and I think he could improve that aspect of his game in training camp.

On the ground, I'm not exactly sure how this fight will play out. McCray has the proven takedown ability, and he can output some offense on the ground. McGee isn't exactly a slouch on the ground either, but I think he'll want to keep this fight standing against a lesser striker like McCray. It's the most obvious advantage in my mind.

It's a tough fight to call. McCray could surprise with some improved explosiveness in his takedown shot and added strength, but McGee has the potential to improve his striking to a level that would demolish McCray on the feet. It really depends on how these guys train for this fight. Conditioning is also a problem for McCray, and between these two types of fighters -- it could be his demise in this fight. McGee has proven he has lasting cardio over the course of his nine-fight career and in the house.

Strangely, I'm leaning toward McCray simply because his wrestling is very good against the fence. He knows how to latch onto opponents and put them on their back. My only worry is that he'll tire, or McGee will have improved his takedown defense enough to completely nullify McCray's attempts, leading to an one-sided battering of McCray at the better hands of McGee. There are just too many questions in this fight, so I'll go with the fighter with less questions that need to be answered. Court McGee via decision.


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