This Saturday April 13, the UFC presents The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale live on FX. In the main event, former WEC champion Urijah Faber takes on Scott Jorgensen. Before that fight, FX presents 4 additional main card fights, including the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, and a fight to determine one of the coaches for next season. In this Bloody Elbow fight card primer, we take a look at the main card action, breaking down everything you need to know about these fights. Be sure to take a look at our prelim primers, and check back later for Faber vs. Jorgensen.
The Ultimate Fighter 17 Live Finale airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday, April 13, on FX with the main card starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
This is the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, and it's an all Sonnen final. For those who have not watched this season, you've missed something special in Uriah Hall. The explosive and vicious striker has absolutely torn through the competition with three brutal KO wins - a spinning hook kick, a 17 second KO, and a TKO from his back against his opponent in top position. He's a scary fighter who won most of his fights on the show from sheer intimidation. He has good experience, and while he may not be the immediate title contender Chael Sonnen claimed on the show, he definitely is the most exciting TUF prospect in ages. Gastelum is the Rocky style underdog here. Picked last by Sonnen, the 21 year old showed great heart and improvement during the show, upsetting both Bubba and Josh Samman to get here. Gastelum is a decent wrestler on the mat and a brawling puncher with KO power on the feet.
When this fight was announced, it seemed like it was here for one clear purpose - to set up Rousey vs. Tate 2. Miesha Tate is the former Strikeforce champion who Ronda Rousey defeated for what is now the UFC Women's Bantamweight Title. More importantly, she was the first fighter to even give Rousey a fight, and is a brash talker. Dana White essentially confirmed the plan to build her up to another title shot when he announced that the winner here would not only get the next shot at Rousey, she would also get to coach against Rousey on the next season of TUF. Looking to spoil those Team Rousey vs. Team Tate plans is the undefeated Cat Zingano, a 5 year pro with solid wins over the likes of Carina Damm and Takayo Hashi. She last fought in Invicta in October, defeating Raquel Pennington via submission. Tate is coming off a win over Julie Kedzie in a great fight. Expect a potentially show stealing ground battle between these two ladies.
Outside of the main event, this is the only fight on the card to feature anyone with prior UFC experience. These two Heavyweights have both shown real potential at times in their careers, but are both in need of a win tonight. Browne made his UFC debut in 2010, and was immediately hailed by Dana White as a future contender. He had a good win over Stefan Struve in 2011, but since then has been in either unmemorable fights, or on the losing end, such as his last fight with Antonio Silva. That was the first loss of his pro career, and he's looking to bounce back. Gabriel Gonzaga challenged Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight title way back at UFC 74. He faltered after that loss, and was released by the UFC in 2010. After a win outside the promotion, he was brought back, and is currently riding a 3 fight win streak and coming off a submission win over Ben Rothwell in January - Gonzaga's biggest win in ages. The days of the Cro Cop KO kick are long past, but Gonzaga is still a viable Heavyweight.
Opening the show are two of this season's Ultimate Fighter contestants. Bubba (or, if you prefer, "Robert McDaniel"), made a big mark on the show. A training partner of Jon Jones, he came in with a lot of praise and a big ego. But he seemed to completely psyche himself out, mentally defeating himself throughout the show. He was upset in the first round by Gastelum, came back through the wild card fight, then was obliterated by Hall in the quarterfinals. He seems like a solid fighter if he can get his head on straight. Smith is a small Middleweight at only 5'9". He was eliminated early by a Luke Barnatt flying knee KO. Smith didn't show much in that fight. He's a 2 year pro with 6 fights, none against notable opponents. These guys are almost definitely fighting for their jobs.