The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale Preview

The UFC found a goldmine in their reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” as they used the TV platform to launch the brand closer to the mainstream. Over the years the TUF franchise has been a way for many people to start their love affair with fighting. It has also been a feeder system for many fighters including Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin, Diego Sanchez, and many more. This year the UFC decided to change things up though as a new deal with Fox meant a new outlet to show their reality show. This year TUF would be broadcast on FX and would feature a live fight every week. It changed everything for these fighters as they would only see one fight every week meaning they would stay in the TUF house longer than any other fighter. It also meant that instead of having a few months to prepare for the finals the winning fighters would have only one week to get ready to fight for a UFC contract. To lead this new format the UFC decided on the two biggest names in the Bantamweight Division, Urijah Faber and UFC champion Dominick Cruz. As the weeks went on there was much of the same as the fighters in the house partied and pranked while the cream of the crop rose to the occasion. In the end it was two fighters from Team Faber who made the finals representing the predictable and the unpredictable aspects of the show. Michael Chiesa and Al Iaquinta have been through their battles in the octagon throughout the show and while Iaquinta has been a favorite from the start Chiesa had to go through a battle outside of the octagon to get his unlikely shot. Michael Chiesa may be the emotional favorite for many as he suffered a major loss before the competition really began. In the first few weeks of the competition Chiesa learned that his father had passed away. Chiesa went back home for a day to be with his family but returned to fulfill his father’s wish that he make the show and win. Chiesa was able to go through some very talented fighters from Team Cruz including Jeremy Larson who he beat via a unanimous decision in his second fight in the show. Then he moved on to fight one of the favorites from Team Cruz, Justin Lawrence, and beat the ground and pound specialist by TKO. Finally Chiesa took on James Vick who was one of the big surprises in the show and beat the young fighter by KO to earn his spot in the Finale. He will take on Long Island native Al Iaquinta who came in to the reality show as an immediate favorite. Iaquinta was one of the best prepared fighters in the show as he comes from the Serra-Longo fight camp out of New York that has two former TUF competitors in Matt Serra and Pete Sell. Throughout the competition Iaquinta showed that he was one of the most well-rounded fighters on the show. He showcased his wrestling and his power as he beat Myles Jury via Unanimous Decision in his first fight then KO’d Andy Ogle in his second fight. In his semi-final fight he was able to get by a very tough Vinc Pichel in unanimous decision to earn his spot in the finals. Both fighters have shown their talents as they both are well-rounded fighters with the ability to end fights on their feet. Chiesa is slightly better on the ground though as he scrambles very well on the ground and has the power to ground and pound. Iaquinta is a very well-rounded fighter who has good wrestling but is probably better standing up with some major power. This fight may end up being a standing fight with both fighters believing they can match each other in every aspect. Expect Chiesa to drop to the ground is he cannot hang with Iaquinta’s power as he will look to go to his comfort area on the mat but he will be challenged by Iaquinta’s ability to stuff a takedown or take the advantage on the ground. I think that Chiesa will be an emotional favorite for many but Iaquinta seems just too good to be beat right now as he will likely win via KO in the second round to become the newest UFC fighter.

After the TUF winner is decided in the co-main event two fighters will face off in the main event to determine the next in line for a shot at the welterweight title. Of course the welterweight title picture is extremely unstable as the next time the title will be up for grabs will likely be in November when the rehabbing GSP takes on the interim champion Carlos Condit. Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann are both at a level where they can challenge for the title but the potential of waiting almost 8 months makes it seem like this fight will be just another step. Ellenberger and Kampmann are ready for their shots but they will need to fight one more fight in between the TUF Finale and their title shot in order to stay healthy. Who that middle fight is remains to be seen but the fact remains that the man who has his hand raised as the winner of this fight will be that much closer to their chance. Martin Kampmann has been looking better in every fight since losing to Diego Sanchez at UFC Live in 2011. Since then he has racked up a split decision victory against Rick Story and a Submission win against Thiago Alves putting him near the top of a division that has essentially been cleaned out by GSP. Meanwhile Ellenberger has been on a tear riding a 6 fight win streak with his only loss in the UFC coming at the hands of interim champion Carlos Condit. Ellenberger would like nothing more than to face Condit again for the title but will need to get through Kampmann before he can think of fighting for the title. Although the welterweight division is very messy with injuries and interim champions the fact remains that whoever wins this fight will be on their way to a shot at the title that will be decided later this year.


Fight Card:

Main Event:

Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger vs. Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann (FX Canada)


Main Card:

Michael “Maverick” Chiesa vs. Al Iaquinta [TUF Live Championship/UFC Contract] (FX Canada)


Jonathan Brookins vs. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (FX Canada)



Max “Blessed” Holloway vs. Pat “Thrilling” Schilling (Sportsnet)


Justin “The American Kid” Lawrence vs. John Cofer (Sportsnet)


Daron “Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank vs. Chris “Bad Boy” Tickle (Sportsnet)


Myles Jury vs. Chris Saunders (Sportsnet)


Cristiano Marcello vs. Sam Sicilia (Sportsnet)


Jeremy Larsen vs. Joe Proctor (Sportsnet)


John “Prince” Albert vs. Erik “Goyito” Perez (Facebook)

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