Mixed Martial Arts

Takedown: Predictions for this weekend's TUF 17 Finale

Jordan Cieciwa, TSN Radio 1290
4/13/2013 1:03:36 PM
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Well The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale is not exactly a mind blowing card, but this one should turn a few heads. 

There are a lot of talented fighters looking to make a name and get some attention.  Unfortunately, Lynch and I see this card going pretty much the same way.  No fireworks for us, but there should be plenty of fun in the Octagon.

Urijah Faber vs. Scott Jorgensen

James Lynch, TSN.ca (@LynchOnSports): An exciting bantamweight matchup serves as the night's main event, in a battle between two former training partners.

Faber most recently dispatched Tristar product Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157, while Jorgensen tapped out John Albert in similar fashion at UFC on FOX 5.

Having both failed to secure the UFC bantamweight title (each losing to current torchbearer Dominick Cruz), a win for either fighter will propel them up the 135-pound rankings.

The WEC veterans both boast NCAA Division  1 wresting credentials but the “California Kid” carries more power and obviously is the more seasoned veteran. With that said Jorgensen has proved to be a very durable fighter and while I see the Team Alpha male captain outworking the 30-year old, he likely won't finish him.   

Faber via Unanimous Decision

Jordan Cieciwa, TSN Radio 1290 (@Fitcityjordan): Jorgensen is perhaps one of the most underrated fighters out there.  His name rarely comes up when people talk about action packed fights, but that's what he delivers.  With an ability to catch opponents with slick submissions I am sure he will have a few tricks up his sleeve for Urijah. 

With that said, tricks don't usually win fights against seasoned vets like Faber.  I imagine we will see Faber in a few “bad situations”, nothing he won't be able to handle on his way to taking dominant position during the fight. 

This will be a fight for control with a stronger wrestler in Urijah Faber taking the top spot.  It will have it's moments and will go the distance. 

Faber via Unanimous Decision    

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Uriah Hall (Ultimate Fighter 17 Final)

Lynch: In recent memory, there has never been a more dominant Ultimate Fighter contestant than the 28-year old Hall.  Dispatching opponents Adam Cella, Bubba McDaniel and Dylan Andrews in highlight reel fashion, the New York native is a considerable favorite heading into the finals.

Considering Hall's only two blemishes are to UFC fighters Costa Philippou and current middleweight title challenger Chris Weidman, experience will also be on his side His opponent, the undefeated Gastelum will likely use his superior wrestling to neutralise the Bellator veteran's strikes, but that's easier said than done.

Chael Sonnen believes “Prime Time” is already a middleweight contender and I certainly think this will be a short night for the Jamaican born fighter.

Hall via Knockout (Second Round)

JC: Hall has seen the top fighters in the division, hung with them, lost, but wasn't embarrassed.  That is his big advantage in this fight. 

His “game” speed is a lot more developed then the undefeated Gastelum. 

I see Hall controlling this fight from the start, pushing the pace, and getting Gastelum to make a mistake early.

Hall via Technical Knockout (Second Round)       

Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano

Lynch: A coaching spot on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter is at stake as Tate and Zigano face off in the second women's fight in UFC history.

“Cupcake” Tate is most famously known for holding the Strikeforce bantamweight title, which she lost in a much anticipated matchup with current UFC kingpin Ronda Rousey.

The Colorado native Zigano meanwhile isn't a household name to casual fans, but most recently defeated Raquel Pennington at Invicta FC 3, improving her undefeated streak to 7-0. While I think the 30-year old will be a good test for Tate, she hasn't fought the same level of competition nor holds the same wrestling pedigree as the Washington native.

The 26-year old should control and outwork her opponent on route to a judge's decision in her favor. 

Tate via Unanimous Decision  

JC: Now we are starting to make history.  One fight doesn't make history, creating a division, a television show, and a place for female MMA athletes to display their talent to the world. That's history. 

Tate has a chip on her shoulder, she wants back in the Octagon with Rousey in a bad way.  The strange ending to that fight (back and forth, and comments from her boyfriend) have left Tate looking a little, amateurish. That's the one thing Tate is not. 

She has the skill set of a complete MMA athlete.  She also has some very impressive wins, and a long history of improving each time she competes.  If Tate wants fans to take her seriously, and pull for her in a championship rematch she is going to need to win, and win convincingly. 

Watch for some improved striking, and with that improvement a win thanks to some new never before seen in her game head movement and combo's. 

Tate Technical Knockout (Third Round)  

Travis Browne vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

Lynch: Two juggernauts collide from opposite directions as Gonzaga (a winner of three straight) takes on Browne, who most recently was on the wrong end of a beat down from Antonito “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC on FX 5.

What makes this fight particularly interesting is that the Brazilian generally does not fare well against exceptional strikers and Browne is known for his knockout power. The Team Link member will likely want to take this fight to the canvas as he is a fourth degree Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt, boasting nine submission victories.

While the Jackson/Winklejohn student has far less experience than Gonzaga, he does possess a significant height and reach advantage which should frustrate the 33-year old.

I see the Hawaiian catching the former UFC title challenger and knocking him out, sometime in the second round.  

Browne via Knockout (Second Round)

JC: Browne is going to be the victor in this one. I don't see Browne being able to impose his will on a champion at the level of Velasquez or JDS, but I think his power will be on display against Gonzaga.  If Gonzaga is smart this fight will spend no time standing and go straight to the ground. 

The problem, we have all seen Gonzaga fight.  He is often not quick to get the take down and likes to put on the show with the stand up.  That will be his fatal mistake. 

A tired Gonzaga in the second round will  make a mistake, and one shot from Browne will end it.

Browne via Knockout (Second Round)

Robert “Bubba” McDaniel vs. Gilbert Smith

Lynch: Two Team Jones teammates collide in what wrestling fans would call a “Loser Leaves Town” match.

Despite winning the wild card fight on the show, the Bellator veteran's dreams where shattered when he was knocked out by Uriah Hall in the quarterfinals. Both fighters are submission specialists, but McDaniel has obviously has the edge in experience with 26 fights under his belt compared to Smith's six.

I expect the 29-year old to take advantage of Smith's weak stand-up game and out strike the Colorado native over three rounds to garner a decision win.   

McDaniel via Unanimous Decision

JC: Smith has yet to impress me as a complete mixed martial artist. With that I mean, his striking leaves something to be desired.  However, I don't think anyone is looking at this as a display of striking genius. 

This will be a ground game, and that means we get to watch a solid chess match. It's been said before in MMA, everyone has the perfect plan on the ground until you punch them in the face. 

I see McDaniel punching Gilbert Smith in the face and confusing his game plan.  That will leave the window open for control.  Given the skill level of both these athletes, I don't think McDaniel will succeed in securing a submission.  I do think he will have more attempts, and more control. 

If you don't like jujitsu, this one may be a snoozer, but if you can live with the ground game being on display, this will be a fun 15 minutes.

McDaniel via Unanimous Decision 

Since Lynch always has to have the last word, he tossed in a few undercard picks. 

Undercard picks: Samman, Barnatt, Andrews, Hester, Palaszewski, Lawrence, Blanco 

Tell him what you think if you are a fan that watches the whole thing.

Urijah Faber (Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


(Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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