After a wild season filled with highlight-reel finishes, dramatic comebacks, and health-related drama both in and out of the cage, we now know the two finalists for season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. Heading into tonight the general consensus was that Josh Samman and Uriah Hall would defeat their respective foes Kelvin Gastelum and Dylan Andrews. Did it come to fruition? Or are we in store for a surprise matchup this Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas? Below are the "as they happened" recaps of both fights:
Josh Samman (Team Jones) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (Team Sonnen)
Round 1 - Herb Dean is the referee. Early feeling out process before Gastelum shoots and completes the takedown. Samman is in full guard, trying to set up an armbar but is otherwise held down successfully by Kelvin. Samman tries remaining active off of his back and now Gastelum is in side control. Samman is able to get back to his feet after a brief scramble. Samman firing knees to the body from the standing clinch but Gastelum takes it to the ground and starts throwing strikes. Samman is covering up but some punches are landing. Gastelum scores with some elbows from half guard. Samman gets it back into full guard. Gastelum lands a good left hand. Samman is warned for grabbing the fence with one minute left in the round. Gastelum takes the back, has both hooks in, locks in a rear-naked choke and Samman taps! Gastelum is through to the final. Official Result: Kelvin Gastelum def. Josh Samman by 1st round submission (RNC).
Uriah Hall (Team Sonnen) vs. Dylan Andrews (Team Jones)
Round 1 - Steve Mazzagatti is the referee. Andrews has already lasted longer than Bubba McDaniel. Push kick by Hall. Two uppercuts inside from Uriah and then he misses with the high kick. Andrews not attacking much at all in the early stages. Hall comes up short on the jab and then on a combination. Andrews moving forward now but not landing strikes. Now he lands a good right. Hall doubles with a leg and high kick. Hall attacking Andrews with the lead leg. Hall fires a left to the body. Not too much in the way of hard damaging punches or kicks thus far. Hall gets a nice spinning back kick to Andrews' stomach. One minute left in the round. Strong jab by Uriah, it's been his best punch. A front kick to the body. The round ends and I score it 10-9 Uriah Hall.
Round 2 - Hall is really aggressive with his kicks. Andrews whiffs on a right hand over the top. Hall jabbing Andrews easily and Andrews is bleeding on the right side of his face. This is not really competitive. Andrews shoots for a single leg takedown and Hall tosses him away. Hall is killing Dylan with the jab. His whole face is covered in blood now. Hall dodges several of Andrews' strikes but Andrews gets a takedown! Hall appears to be working on a kimura. He has the right arm and he's trying to lock it up. Andrews is not landing anything of note beyond elbows to the thigh. Hall straightens the right arm out as Andrews throws soft lefts to the body. One minute left in the round. Hall still hasn't let go of the kimura attempt. Now he does give up the arm but starts throwing strikes off of his back. Andrews is hurt and he's rolled over! Hall pounces and Andrews is taking more shots and the fight ends. Uriah Hall is incredible, and he's fighting Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday night. I think Dylan's nose is broken. Official Result: Uriah Hall def. Dylan Andrews by 2nd round TKO (strikes from bottom, then top position).
TUF 17 Middleweight Final: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Uriah Hall in a battle of Team Sonnen picks.