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Ultimate Fighter Finale: Results and post-fight analysis

A quick rundown of some of the action from the Ultimate Fighter Finale, including Carla Esparza's title win.

Carla Esparza was the favorite when betting lines opened for her Ultimate Fighter Finale bout with Rose Namajunas but that changed, and by betting time Esparza was at even odds while Namajunas was a slight favorite to pick up the victory.

I have to wonder if that wasn't the result of a little bit of wishful thinking.

Rose is an easy woman to root for. She's got a great personality, she's extremely fun to watch and her life story is compelling. But when presented with a big gap in experience and a huge gap in wrestling, it would seem like an easy decision to lean toward the more experienced wrestler.

After all, wrestling is what made the difference in the fight.

Namajunas couldn't stop herself from throwing kicks that presented openings and Esparza was able to take those openings, get the takedown and do good work from the top.

Rose is young, she'll bounce back. But her career needs to be handled the right way going forward.

  • Charles Oliveira looked very good battling off his back against Jeremy Stephens. He never let Stephens turn it into his type of fight, and really eventually forced him to fight on the ground, where Oliveira's dynamic attacking style allowed him to control the fight. Stephens is a good opponent for Oliveira in a situation like that, but the upper ends of the division won't prove as kind.
  • I like K.J. Noons more than most MMA fans. I think he's exciting and better than he gets credit for being. But he deserved a disqualification loss against Daron Cruickshank. There were multiple eye pokes and multiple cage grabs. At a certain point, if you foul repeatedly and one of those fouls leaves the other man unable to continue, you should lose the fight.
  • Jessica Penne and Randa Markos was a very fun fight. I'm not really sure that Penne stacks up any better in a rematch with Esparza, but it may be an inevitability with the way things could work out.
  • The big standouts for me on the undercard were Joanne Calderwood and Angela Hill. Both were impressive in their destruction of their opponents. Hill looked far better than I expected in her takedown defense and used that to build up a big led on the scorecards.