What’s Next for TUF 17 Finale main card fighters?

April 14, 2013

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What’s Next for TUF 17 Finale main card fighters?



John Boldrick – The UFC TUF 17 Finale took place last night (April 13, 2013) from Las Vegas. Much like its prelim fights, Saturday’s main card delivered in a big way. A new ultimate fighter was crowned, while next season’s coaches were also determined. With her win, Cat Zingano has earned a women’s bantamweight shot and coaching gig against Ronda Rousey. Zingano’s next fight is clear, which can’t be said for others on the card. Here are some potential next steps for Saturday’s fighters.

Travis Browne vs. winner of Stipe Miocic/Soa Palelei – He may be best known for his offense, but it was the defense of Browne that gave him the victory. After some early struggles along the fence, Gabriel Gonzaga went in for the takedown. Browne quickly counted with some heavy elbows to the side of the head and Gonzaga went limp, giving Browne the win.

It’s a good rebound for Browne, who the fight before suffered his first loss. Next up for Browne, have him face the winner of an upcoming heavyweight brawl in Winnipeg. The winner of Miocic/Palelei would be perfect, as the fighters are all outside the top 10, but could see a big step up in competition with a win.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Roy Nelson/Cheick Kongo loser- Gonzaga sees a two fight UFC win streak disappear, as he was never really had time to get started. Gonzaga attempted to implement his game plan, but was unable to get the fight to the ground. He ended up taking some nasty elbows, effectively ending his night.

Next up, have Gonzaga face off with the loser of the upcoming UFC 159 tilt. All three fighters may never be champion, but are always come to fight and have been successful. Seeing Gonzaga face either one of these fighters would be a matchup of solid veterans.

Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche –Even in defeat, Tate proved she is one of the toughest women on the planet. Tate took every strike thrown by her opponent while dishing out some punishment of her own. Tate constantly went for the takedown, completing it on occasion, but also being routinely out sprawled. The onslaught proved to be too much, as Tate was finally put down after third round knees and elbows.

Tate will probably want to take some time off after that war. When she chooses to return, expect a fight with Liz Carmouche next. The match making is simple, match up the two biggest names in the division coming off a loss, and since there have only been two women’s fight in the UFC, it isn’t hard. It’s important for the UFC to showcase women’s MMA consistently if they want to attract an audience.

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Cezar Ferreira- Just when everyone thought they knew how the season was ending, Gastelum changed the script. Gastelum showed up in a big way, doing something that no one had done to Hall- bully him. Gastelum took the fight to Hall, using his full arsenal of takedowns, clinches and overall control to take home the fight. He didn’t even look out of place in the stand-up department with Hall, which is an accomplishment in itself.

With the upcoming Colton Smith versus Robert Whittaker fight, it seems that the UFC is content with matching up Ultimate Fighter winners. May as well continue that trend. Have Gastelum face Ultimate Fighter Brazil middleweight winner Cezar Ferreira. If the promotion wants to give the show a World Cup feel, this is a great start.

 

Uriah Hall vs. loser of Daniel Sarafian/Eddie Mendez- He was the phenom that made it to the finals, but would be denied a victory. Hall battled it out with Kelvin Gastelum, and looked good in defeat. While he wasn’t able to land any big, fight ending shots, Hall did land some hard kicks, solid punches and some strikes from the bottom that resembled his semi final fight. Problems arose, as Gastelum pushed the pace and really got in Hall’s face. Hall’s takedown defense also let him down.

Hall will get another fight in the UFC, there’s not even an ounce of doubt about that. Put him up against the loser of an upcoming middleweight bout. Also try to feature guys who are relatively new to the UFC as well. If Hall fights Sarafian, it’s a battle of ultimate fighter finalists (although Sarafian was injured and had to be replaced). If he fights Mendez, he’ll be facing a former Strikeforce veteran.

Urijah Faber vs. Brad Pickett- New opponent, same result. Faber continued to prove his domination in non title fights, submitting Scott Jorgensen. Faber was his usual self, showing off a stunning ground game and some solid standup. While he may not have looked as good in the third round, he was still sharp throughout.

Faber has faced pretty much everyone at this point. In fact, he’s faced 7 of the top ten fighters (substituting Dominick Cruz for himself). That leaves Brad Pickett, Mike Easton and Michael McDonald. Only Pickett is coming off a win, so he’s really the only one that makes sense. It’s also the most intriguing matchup. Both veterans of the WEC share common opponents, but have never squared off. It would be a meeting of the number two and five (as of last ranking) bantamweights that has to happen.

Scott Jorgensen vs. Michael McDonald- Jorgensen didn’t win his fight on Saturday, but he certainly looked solid. Young Guns was able to effective grapple and strike with Faber for over three rounds, winning one of them. What was really impressive was how Jorgensen really came alive in the third round, proving that even though he lost the first two, he had not given up.

A Jorgensen/McDonald fight makes sense for a few reasons. Both will be looking to rebound with a win. It would be nice to see McDonald fight a top ten opponent who isn’t the champion. It would also be nice to see if McDonald could deal with Jorgensen’s wrestling. Finally, it would be good to see Jorgensen against a pure striker, as he’s only been knocked out once in his career.

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