The television broadcast for The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale started with the Fuel TV prelims. Seven of the show's eight competitors were fighters just coming out of the TUF 17 house. The only exception was Bristol Marunde. The TUF 16 veteran took the fight against Hester on just 10 days notice.
After a quick takedown to start the fight, Samman quickly found himself in trouble. He immediately found himself defending a triangle attempt that led to a very tight armbar. Samman was able to escape, but spent the rest of the round defending with Casey in his guard. The second round was an entirely different story. Josh grabbed a Muay Thai clinch immediately and brutalized Casey with knees until he dropped.
Coming off his semi-final loss to Kelvin Gastelum, Samman recovered here by showing a lot of heart in the first and a devastating finish in the second. Expect him to get similarly featured fight on a lesser UFC event in his next Octagon appearance. Casey will probably also get another chance in the UFC, but he'll definitely be fighting for his contract.
Barnatt and hart definitely put it all on the line in their 3 round fight. Hart took control early by pushing the action and getting inside Luke's reach advantage. Luke recovered later in the fight and was able to keep Hart back with straight punches for the most part. Hart was able to get inside repeatedly by winging hooks, but wasn't able to force he ground game he was looking for. Barnatt took the decision on all three judges' cards.
Barnatt's gonna get another chance in the UFC after that performance, but he'll need to work on exploiting his reach advantage in the mean time. Hart may get another chance for putting up a good fight, but he's not really "UFC caliber" and it would probably better for him in the long run to improve his skills before getting back in the Octagon.
Quinlan made it clear from the opening bell that he wanted to get Andrews on the mat. He had some small success with an early takedown, but couldn't keep Dylan down. When he tried to strike his way back into clinch range, Andrews blasted him with a right hook and caught him with an uppercut as he was going down. It didn't take long after that for the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Thos one's pretty simple. Andrews will get a couple more chances in the Octagon following that KO while Quinlan will be sent back to the regional circuit.
The opening fight got off to a slow start with neither fighter doing much to engage. That all changed late in the first when Hester landed a big right hand that dropped Marunde. Bristol managed to recover and finish the round, but was definitely worse for wear. Again in the second, Hester rocked Bristol with a violent upkick, but against was unable to finish. It wasn't until toward the end of the final round that Hester landed a Weidman-esque elbow that left Marunde seeing stars.
Despite missing out on the Knockout of the Night bonus, Hester undoubtedly had the most incredible KO of the event. That's a huge win for a fighter making his UFC debut, arguable more so for one coming out of the TUF house. It's no secret that Dana White has no love lost for the TUF 16 cast and typically that wouldn't bode well for Marunde. However, since he took the fight on such short notice, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get one last chance.