The Ultimate Finale 17 prelims preview

April 11, 2013


The Ultimate Finale 17 prelims preview

John Boldrick – Saturday’s Ultimate Finale continues the tradition of showcasing past and present contestants of the show. We will be treated to a total of seven prelim fights, featuring some of the UFC’s veteran talent as well as a slew of new comers. This year, the youngsters’ get the will take the televised prelims spot, while ZUFFA veterans fill Facebook. There’s no complaining about placement though, as a night of free fights is never a bad thing.

Maximo Blanco enters the octagon knowing this fight could be his last. Blanco debuted for Strikeforce in 2011, and was defeated by Pat Healy. Fast forward to his octagon debut and he was defeated by Marcus Brimage. Here, the highly tempered fighter needs to get it together. He was on a six fight win streak before signing with ZUFFA, but the success hasn’t translated. A dynamic striker, Blanco owns seven career wins by (T) KO, including a 2010 stoppage of Rodrigo Damm.

His opponent is former Ultimate Fighter contestant Sam Scillia. The owner of some heavy hands, Scillia won his fight to get into the house in eight seconds. The success didn’t continue, as he was eliminated in the first official round of the show. He bounced back with win over BJJ ace Christiano Marcello at the finale, but dropped his next fight to Rony Jason. He’s on the bubble here. Scillia has only been (T) KO’ed once in his career (against Jason), so this one could turn into an extended stand up clash.

Another season’s Ultimate Fighter alum finds himself on the card. Justin Lawrence came from behind at his finale to KO John Cofer and earn himself a contract. In his first post Ultimate Fighter matchup, Lawrence was TKO’ed by Max Holloway in a sparring-esque striking battle. It was a setback for the 22 year old prospect who has a future in the sport. A kick boxer who started training at the age of six, Lawrence looks confident in his striking, but lacks true ground skills. He has shown to be effective at keeping the fight standing.

Young Daniel Pineda is already a veteran in the UFC. The 27 year-old fighter has had 26 pro fights, including four in the UFC. He won his first two for the promotion, defeating Pat Schilling and Mackens Semerzier but has since dropped back to back fights against veterans Mike Brown and Antonio Carvalho. A native Texan, Pineda has become known for his jiu-jitsu game. He owns 11 career wins from the tap out, including five by rear naked choke. Last time out, Pineda was KO’ed quickly, never truly getting his standup game going. Here, he should look to take the fight to the ground.

One has to wonder if Cole Miller made the right decision. After finding some success at lightweight, Miller dropped down to featherweight and hasn’t found desired results. He’s 0-2 since the drop and likely fighting for his job. One positive of Miller is that even when he losses, it’s exciting. Look at his last fight with Nam Phan for example; it was a hard fought split decision that’s saw both fighters leave it in the octagon. While an undeniably skilled ground fighter, Miller has a tendency to get into slug fests, which could cost him here.

Miller’s opponent is one of the most seasoned members of the UFC roster, Bart Palaszewski. A veteran of 56 pro bouts, Bartimus must also figure his job is at stake. Since a KO win in his UFC debut, Palaszewski has dropped his last two fights. He’s been beaten in the grappling portions of the fights, which could continue here against Miller. Bartimus should look to use his power and keep the fight standing. While he has 11 wins via submission, Bartimus should look to avoid mat work if at all possible.

Kicking off the televised prelims will be Clint Hester. Team Jones’s first pick, Hester was seen as one of the favourites from the get go. In his first round matchup, Hester faced off with Jimmy Quinlan. Hester’s standup skills were on display, but it was clear he struggles on the ground. A second round mistake in judgment cost Hester the fight, as he was submitted in the second round. Hester should avoid mental mistakes and keep the fight standing if he wants to walk away with a victory.

Hester’s opponent will be a competitor from last season’s Ultimate Fighter, Bristol Marunde. A former IFL competitor, Marunde made it to the quarter finals before losing to Neil Magny. A member of Syndicate MMA, Marunde is a very well rounded fighter with a good ground game.  He’s won 5 fights by submission and 4 decisions while taking home 3 knockouts, showing his ability to fight anywhere. Possessing a record of 12-7, Marunde has his fair share of losses, however most have come to well known competition.

One of the season’s major underdogs, Dylan Andrews, did very well in the competition.  A New Zealander, Andrews used an imposing ground game to defeat Zak Cummings in the first round. He followed it up with a KO of fellow commonwealth fighter Luke Barnatt to advance to the semis. All good things must come to an end though, as Andrews was unable to get past favourite Uriah Hall, falling by TKO. Here, Andrews should use his standup skills and experience to get the better of his opponent.

Jimmy Quinlan didn’t have much experience coming into the house. With only a 3-0 pro record and a deeper root in BJJ, many though Quinlan would get ran through. That wasn’t the case. Quinlan defeated Clint Hester in the first round, showing heart and a great work effort. Quinlan was eliminated in the next round after a loss to Josh Samman. In this fight, Quinlan should look to his bread and butter, his BJJ, to take home the victory.

First overall pick Luke Barnatt returns to competition as Big Slow looks for a win. Barnatt defeated Gilbert Smith via violent KO in the first round of fights before being KO’ed himself by Andrews in the second. Standing 6’6, Barnatt should look to use his obvious size and reach advantage to take home the win. The English fighter also has submission skills, which may come in handy here.

His opponent in this one is ground specialist Collin Hart. Hart won his first round matchup, decisioning Kevin Casey. Following the fight, many picked Hart to be a future finalist; however Kelvin Gastelum had a different idea. Gastelum defeated knocked Hart out of consciousness and out of the competition in their second round matchup. Hart should look to take this fight down and sub his opponent, as he is clearly better once the fight hits the ground.

Josh Samman better make this shot count. Samman had tried out for the Ultimate Fighter three times before making it onto the show this season. Samman kept the momentum, making it all the way through until losing in the semi finals. Samman brings some solid standup skills into this one. While he may have been submitted against Gastelum, Samman has some sub skills. He should be fine with wherever the fight takes place.

Taking on Samman will be Kevin Casey. Casey was a fighter to watch before the show started, but couldn’t live up to the hype. Casey went 0-2 inside the house, losing a decision to Hart before being unable to answer the bell against Bubba McDaniel in their wildcard clash. Known for his BJJ, Casey will look to take the fight to the ground and use his superior grappling to defeat his opponent. He may be a great grappler, but Casey has shown some weakness in his standup game, falling to TKO’s twice in his seven fight career.


Preliminary Card (Televised)

–          Josh Samman vs. Kevin Casey

–          Luke Barnatt vs. Collin Hart

–          Dylan Andrews vs. Jimmy Quinlan

–          Clint Hester vs. Bristol Marunde

Preliminary Card (Facebook)

–          Cole Miller vs. Bart Palaszewski

–          Justin Lawrence vs. Daniel Pineda

–          Maximo Blanco vs. Sam Scillia



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