On Saturday night, the latest season of the UFC's reality show culminated with The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. In the main event, former WEC champion Urijah Faber pulled off a fourth round rear naked choke victory over Scott Jorgensen. However, the biggest story of the night, was the ultra-hyped TUF 17 competitor Uriah Hall getting upset by Kelvin Gastelum in the co-main. Now let's take a look at the night's winners and losers.
Urijah Faber - Last summer, Faber lost his 5th consecutive title fight in a unanimous decision to current Bantamweight champ Renan Barao. While many have joked about and questioned his repeated title shots, Faber continues to prove why he's always fighting for the strap. In his last two fights he's proven why he's a perennial contender. Both Ivan Menjivar and Scott Jorgensen are top Bantamweight fighters and both men were choked out by Faber.
Kelvin Gastelum - Gastelum came into the fight at a 3:1 underdog and facing all the hype the UFC machine could put behind Uriah Hall. While Hall certainly seemed to buy every bit of his own hype, Kelvin didn't. He was able to hold his own on the feet and hit the takedowns he needed to win the fight. It wasn't the best fight last night, but Kelvin did what it took to claim the TUF contract.
Cat Zingano - Another underdog heading into the event that did more than rise to the occasion. Cat found herself in trouble after giving up the first round in her contendership fight against Tate. She rallied late in the fight and threw out some absolutely brutal knees in the 3rd round to score the TKO. That earned her the biggest opportunity of her MMA career. She's now set to coach opposite champion Ronda Rousey in TUF 18 and challenge for the title after that. And for a little icing on the cake, she got a $50K FOTN bonus.
Travis Browne - In his last outing, Browne gave up a devastating loss in a match that many thought he should have been able to win. There was a lot of pressure on him to get back to his winning ways in this fight. He definitely stepped up to the challenge and scored a surprising KO over Gonzaga from a typically defensive position.
Cole Miller - Coming into the TUF Finale, Miller was on a two fight losing streak. While Siler and Phan aren't the lowest rung of the Featherweight ladder, they're not that close to the top either. Miller needed a win here and he got it with a first round submission.
Scott Jorgensen - He's long been recognized as one of the top talents of the Bantamweight division. But, his UFC career has seen him repeatedly fall just short of the elite of the division. For the third time since the WEC merger, Scotty has fallen short when matched against top 135 lbers. It's looking like his title shot at WEC 53 will be the peak achievement of his career.
Uriah Hall - There probably hasn't been a more hyped TUF finalist since Dana said Philipe Nover was the second coming of Anderson Silva. Hall had all the tools he needed to win this fight the way the UFC wanted, but failed to put them all together. He seemed to be showing off in the first round which led to him ending up on his back. The following two rounds weren't much better and he lost all the momentum he had heading into the fight.
Miesha Tate - Like her opponent, Tate had the biggest opportunity of her career looking her in the face Saturday night. Unfortunately for her, she fell short of reaching her goal. As one of the few women under UFC contract, Tate isn't in danger of losing job here. But, it certainly slowed her return path to a title shot.
Gabriel Gonzaga - Two and a half years ago, Gonzaga retired after giving up a decision to Brendan Schaub. Heading into the TUF 17 Finale he'd strung together two UFC vicories and a win over Browne was all he really need to solidify his relevance at the top of the division. Instead, he got knocked out from a position that's typically viewed as relatively safe in an MMA fight. A suspect chin is a liability in MMA, even more so for a Heavyweight. After that fight, iit's hard to see what Gonzaga has to offer the UFC outside of being a mid-tier gatekeeper.
TUF losers - It's not at all unusual for the season's competitor's to get a fight at the TUF Finale. But that's pretty much their one last chance at impressing the UFC brass. Smith, Casey, Hart and probably Sicilia and Lawrence most likely just gave their last effort in the Octagon.