The Ultimate Fighter 17 quarter finals breakdown

March 20, 2013

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The Ultimate Fighter 17 quarter finals breakdown



John Boldrick – March is a time known for tournaments. All across the United States college basketball teams compete to see who truly is the best. Student athletes take part to show off their skills and hopefully get noticed by a pro scout. March Madness sweeps the nation. This year, The Ultimate Fighting Championship has given fans its own tournament. The Ultimate Fighter Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen started in January and runs until the finale in April. This month, the quarter finalists became evident, as the first round of the reality show came to a close. Here’s a look at the eight men moving on to the elite eight.

Luke Barnatt- Big Slow might have the best physical tools of anyone this season. He’s a 6’6 middleweight with a 77.5 inch reach. That’s intimidating. After a decision win to get into the house, Barnatt was given the first matchup, a fight with Gilbert Smith. While much of the fight was spent in close quarters along the fence, Barnatt was able to land a huge knee to drop Smith and seal a win. The finish is nothing new for Barnatt, as he owns four of his five wins by way of stoppage. The big man also has some submission skills, as he’s choked out two opponents with a rear naked. As the competitions first pick, the man from Cambridge is expected to be a real threat in the rounds coming up.

Uriah Hall- The odds on favourite since episode one (or three, depending how you look at it), Hall reaffirmed that status with his highlight reel KO of Adam Cella in the season’s third episode. It’s no doubt that Hall has the standup to go far, however we have yet to really see him tested on the ground. Working with head coach Sonnen Jiu Jitsu coach Vinny Magalhaes will likely fix any holes Hall has in his game. Another thing Hall has going for him is his professional record. He’s 7-2 with the only two losses coming to current top middleweights Costa Phillipou and Chris Weidman. Anything but a spot in the finals for Hall could be considered a disappointment.

Collin Hart- The first in a long line of talented Jiu Jitsu fighters, Hart may have one up on the rest of the season. He defeated fellow BJJ practitioner Kevin Casey in the opening round of the tournament to showcase his ground skills. Hart is the only person to win their qualifying fight by submission and not lose in the tournament. Three of his four professional wins have come by way of submission; it’s obviously what Hart’s game plan is. In order to get the fight to the ground, Hart uses his clinch work while also processing some nice trip takedowns. Fighters should be weary of going to the ground with Hart.

Kelvin Gastelum- Starting out as the second last person picked, Gastelum knew he had something to prove. Out of the gate, he was chosen to fight third round pick Bubba McDaniel in a fight where his chances looked grim.  With underdog status, Gastelum came out for his fight knowing he had to push the pace and take the fight to McDaniel. In an early candidate for Fight of the Season, Gastelum submitted McDaniel in the second round with a rear naked choke, proving he was picked far too late. Gastelum has finished all of his fights outside the house and will be looking to keep that tradition alive in the next rounds.

Josh Samman- Could the fourth time be the charm for Josh Samman? He previously tried out for the reality show three times, each ending in disappointment. Now, Samman has finally made his way into the house and hasn’t looked back. In his first round matchup, Samman KO’ed the Scandinavian fighter Tor Troeng and put the rest of the house on notice. With a 9-2 pro record at 25 years of age, the additional wait could prove beneficial for Samman, as he looks to be really rounding into form here.  The man from Tallahassee also has some big fight experience on his resume, as he has a win over Ultimate Fighter 13 contestant Chris Cope, as well as a loss to Dan Cramer in Bellator.

Jimmy Quinlan- In his first round match-up, Quinlan proved the old adage of styles may fights. Crash was matched up with second overall pick Clint Hester. With his mission simple, Quinlan proceeded to take Hester down and feast on him in the first round of their fight. One problem. Hester got up and punished Quinlan for the rest of the round. The second was supposed to be a tale of two game plans, but then Hester took Quinlan down. Once in his world, Quinlan was able to use his BJJ and force the tap, while a shocked cast looked on. While he may be the least experienced fighter to move on, Quinlan’s heart and perseverance shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone.

Dylan Andrews- Last but not least, Dylan Andrews. Andrews was the last pick on the show, came out to show that he should have been regarded higher. The 33 year-old Australian is the oldest of the group, and holds a career record of 15-4. He’s fought such big names as Jesse Taylor, Shonie Carter and Brian Ebersole, holding a win over Carter. In his first round match-up The Villian defeated fellow veteran Zak Cummings. In the fight, Andrews used his overwhelming ground control to keep the fight where he wanted it while delivering ground and pound. Every fighter should be on the lookout for Andrews, as this crafty veteran has a number of tricks up his sleeve. It’s interesting to note that not only is Andrews older than his coach, Jones, but he also has had more fights.

Bubba McDaniel- If Kris McCray can do it, why can’t McDaniel? The return of the wildcard slot this season means someone who lost their first round fight gets another shot, and that man is Casey. Originally eliminated after a loss to Kelvin Gastelum, McDaniel earned his way back into competition after a win over Kevin Casey in which he looked like a different fighter. The Jackson’s MMA fighter is seen as a threat to win the tournament and why not? He’s fought some big names in Alexander Schlemenko and Gerald Harris. He has more wins than anyone in the house with 20and he’s submitted 15 fighters. One of the biggest advantages McDaniel has is his training partner at Jackson’s, Jones, is also his coach here.

Quarterfinal Fights

–          Luke Barnatt (Sonnen) vs. Dylan Andrews (Jones)

–          Uriah Hall (Sonnen) vs. Bubba McDaniel (Jones)

–          Josh Samman (Jones) vs. Jimmy Quinlan (Sonnen)

–          Collin Hart (Jones) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (Sonnen)

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