The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale took place at Las Vegas, Nevada's Mandalay Bay Events Center and opened with a trio of Featherweight fights that were streamed live on Facebook and YouTube.
Despite giving up a lot of height and reach, Palaszewski seemed to find his range first, answering Miller's jabs and kicks with some sharp combinations. Miller shot in and took Palaszewski down with a little over a minute left in the round and quickly took Bartimus' back and got the rear naked choke submission.
Both men came into the bout off two consecutive losses. Miller improves to 8-5 in the UFC and 19-7 overall. Palaszewski drops to 1-3 in the UFC and 36-17 overall. He will likely be cut by the promotion.
Maximo Blanco gets his first UFC win in a wild three round brawl against Sam Sicilia
Two brawlers laid everything on the line in an early contender for Fight of the Night. Maximo Blanco's edge in hand speed and wrestling skill gave him the edge over Sam Sicilia in a fight that featured more head trauma than strategery. If Ref Kim Winslow had docked Blanco a point for fence grabbing rather than warning him a minimum of 9 times it might have been a tie.
Blanco edged Sicilia in the first round, scoring with jabs and leg kicks. Sicilia dropped Blanco early in the second round with a hard right hand. Blanco forced a clinch and managed to recover as Sicilia failed with a guillotine attempt. Blanco turned things around when the two began to brawl wildly in phone booth range, hurting Sicilia and following up with a take down. Blanco's nose got busted up from a knee to the face in the exchanges. He then landed a few elbows from mount before Sicilia gave up his back and then managed to stand up.
Blanco came out aggressive in the third and backed Sicilia up against the cage wit ha barrage of strikes. Sicilia answered with a hard right but Blanco hurt him with a combination. Sicilia tried to shoot but was easily stuffed. Blanco dominated position on the ground and threatened some subs in a series of scrambles before Sicilia stood up. Blanco got a duck under take down but Sicilia stood right up and landed some hurtful punches. Blanco landed an axe kick to Sicilia's face and then sprawled off a TD attempt. Blanco worked a front headlock for most of the final minute before Sicilia stood and winged punches to end the fight. Wildly entertaining fight.
Blanco, a veteran of Japan's Sengoku Pancrase promotions, came into this bout 0-2 under the Zuffa banner with a submission loss in Strikforce to Pat Healy and a split decision loss to Marcus Brimage in the UFC. He improves to 9-4-1 (1 NC) with the win.
Sicialia came into the Octagon off a loss to Rony Mariano Bezems and is now 1-2 in the UFC and 11-3 overall.
The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale results: Maximo Blanco def. Sam Sicilia via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
It will easily take me longer to write up this fight description than the one minute, 35 seconds it took Featherweight Daniel Pineda to submit Justin Lawrence. He had to take Lawrence down twice but the second time was the charm as he quickly got side mount and went to work on a kimura. He had to finish it one-handed ala Phil Davis but he got the tap.
Pineda was in a must-win predicament as he came into the bout following two straight losses. He improves to 3-2 in the UFC and 18-9 overall.
Lawrence drops to 1-2 in the UFC and 4-2 overall. He will be looking over his shoulder in the coming weeks and hoping that the next time UFC matchmaker Joe Silva calls it will be to offer him a fight, not to tell him he's been cut by the promotion.
The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Results: Daniel Pineda def. Justin Lawrence via submission (kimura) at 0;35 of Rd 1