The winner of the 17th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will be determined on April 13, when Urijah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum square up at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale fight card will be headlined by a five-rounder featuring Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen.
Here are my predictions for the TUF 17 Finale:
Urijah Faber vs. Scott Jorgensen
Jorgensen (14-6-0, 5 submissions) is coming off a first round submission of John Albert, but he’ll have his hands full against Faber (27-6-0, 15 submissions). “The California” kid is also coming of a first-round submission victory, and he’s the more-rounded MMA fighter heading into the TUF 17 Finale. Jorgensen tends to struggle when he isn’t able to put his opponent to the canvas, and it’s hard to see him getting Faber down — let alone keeping him there. Faber should be able to keep the fight standing where he’ll have a clear advantage.
Prediction: Faber wins via TKO.
Uriah Hall vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Hall (7-2-0, 4 KOs) was the most imposing figure on TUF 17, brutally stopping all of his opponents on the show. Kelvin (5-0-0, 3 KOs) was Chael Sonnen’s last pick on the show, yet he defied the odds, finishing all of his opponents as well on his way to the Finale.
However, the matchup seems to favor Hall.
Gastelum showed decent punching power and wrestling during his fights in the Ultimate Fighter house, but Urijah seems to have the tools needed to deal with anything Kelvin throws at him. Hall is good enough to fight his way back to his feet if his back hits the canvas, and he’s even capable of damaging opponents off his back (he bloodied up Dylan Andrews with punches from bottom-guard during the semifinals).
Sometime during their fight, Gastelum will probably walk into a spinning-back kick, right cross, or something else along those lines.
Prediction: Hall wins via KO.
Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano
The next shot at UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will be up for grabs when these two meet inside the Octagon at the TUF 17 Finale. Tate (13-3-0, 6 submissions) is the more experience MMA fighter, but Zingano (7-0-0, 3 KOs) seems to be a tough matchup for her. Cat is the technically superior striker, and she should be able to hold her own against Miesha wrestling wise. It’s hard to go against Tate, given how tough she is, but I don’t think her heart and determination will be enough to get her past Zingano.
Prediction: Zingano wins via decision.
Travis Browne vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Browne (13-1-1, 9 KOs) is coming off his first loss in the UFC (to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva), while Gonzaga (14-6-0, 9 submissions) is currently on a three-fight win-streak. Travis should be able to dominate the striking exchanges, but he might find himself in serious trouble if their TUF 17 Finale bout goes to the ground. If Gonzaga can avoid getting hit with anything too damaging early on in their fight, he should be able to drag Browne to the ground as fatigue sets in.
Prediction: Gonzaga wins via submission.
Gilbert Smith defeats Robert McDaniel
Josh Samman defeats Kevin Casey
Luke Barnatt defeats Collin Hart
Jimmy Quinlan defeats Dylan Andrews
Clint Hester defeats Bristol Marunde
Bart Palaszewski defeats Cole Miller
Daniel Pineda defeats Justin Lawrence
Maximo Blanco defeats Sam Sicilia
Previous fight card predictions (UFC on Fuel TV 9): 8-5