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The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale results and post-fight analysis

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Tim B. takes a look at a TUF Finale that featured some decent action and a crazy finish in the main event.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

That was some finish to a weekend of great action. While the TUF 21 Finale couldn't possibly live up to the UFC 189 main card, headliner Stephen Thompson sure tried. Wonderboy came into the fight on a four-fight winning streak and a win over ranked Jake Ellenberger would slingshot him into the rankings. So he went out and did just that in spectacular fashion.

After getting dropped by a hard shot from Ellenberger, Thompson's flashy striking came out to play and he clubbed his opponent with a spinning hook kick. Ellenberger managed to get up but was clearly still wobbly, so Thompson brought it out to play again. Ellenberger even stepped back a bit as it was coming, but it connected and he fell straight back. Lights out. Wonderboy wins.

It's nice to have a fresh face in the welterweight rankings, because there are so many fun matchups for Thompson. As for Ellenberger, he was acting pretty weird on his way to the cage, to the point that the people watching with me asked if he was on drugs or something. I guess it was just his version of mental focus, but it definitely looked odd. It also didn't seem to help much either.

  • Kamaru Usman is a strong dude. He proved why BE has him as a top prospect, using a good takedown game to completely nullify Heyder Hassan in the first round and going back to it when he got clubbed early in the second. The highlight was the finish though - getting an arm-triangle against the cage without even having to pop out to the side? That's deadly.
  • Michael Graves and Vicente Luque didn't really belong on the main card, and that played out in the cage. Graves used a strong takedown game to win a decision, but it certainly wasn't very exciting.
  • I was really surprised that Jorge Masvidal had trouble making 170, but I wasn't particularly surprised about how his fight with Cezar Ferreira went. Masvidal gave up a takedown or two, but bided his time until he could connect with Mutante's chin. And once again, that chin didn't hold up. I thought the ref was a little late getting there, as Masvidal landed probably five undefended shots on the ground, but these things happen sometimes. Gamebred upped his boss level a degree with the post-fight interview too, calling out Matt Brown like only he can.
  • Angela Magana actually had a good first round against the debuting Michelle Waterson, almost securing an armbar. But then it was all downhill for Your Majesty, who was beaten up on the feet and worked on the ground. Eventually Waterson got the sub in the third round, and she should be a great addition to the strawweight roster. I hope they don't rush straight to a Waterson vs. Paige VanZant fight though.
  • It wouldn't be a Maximo Blanco fight if something strange didn't happen. He dropped Mike De La Torre early, but it hardly seems like he was in trouble. That was enough for Yves Lavigne though, who waved it off in 16 seconds while De La Torre looked on all confused. Sorry Yves, that was bad. Almost as bad as Maximo's confusing and awkward post-fight interview. Go back to tumbling, sir.
  • Josh Samman looked awesome against Caio Magalhaes. This isn't BE brethren talk (although his win totally made my night), this is legit - it was the best performance on the card. He smashed a guy that has won four in a row, topping it off by choking out a black belt. Magalhaes spitting blood at him afterward was pathetic though. Sorry you lost to BE's toughest writer, homie! Atta boy Josh!
  • Russell Doane was a huge favorite and he shouldn't have been. That was a big swing from his last fight, but Jerrod Sanders deserves praise for his relentless wrestling.
  • I applaud Dan Miller for trying to make a comeback after so long. Miller is one of the good guys in MMA and has gone through a lot outside the cage. Unfortunately he wasn't able to get it done against Trevor Smith, who smothered him and used up his gas tank. If this is indeed the end for Miller, I was a big fan from day one and I wish you well in life. You still have the scariest guillotine win of all time.
  • Oh, and the scores for that fight were downright stupid. To all the people saying "Miller didn't do anything in the second and third", Smith didn't do much either! You should have to be dominant to get a 10-8 in my eyes, and a few punches and some stacking does not equal dominance. That was the definition of a clear 10-9, that's it.
  • George Sullivan and Dominic Waters competed in your average lower-level welterweight fight. Nothing to write home about, went to a decision, wasn't very exciting. About the only interesting thing was another stupid scorecard (30-25?).
  • Willie Gates is known as a fast starter, and Darrell Montague knew that as a former training partner. He couldn't stop it though. Gates clubbed him early and got the TKO finish inside two minutes. His post-fight speech was up there for best of the night as well.