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Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale Preview

I asked my stepfather, a very casual MMA fan, if he would be watching any of tomorrow’s fights on the Ultimate Fighter season 13 Finale.  He asked who was fighting, and in thinking of names he would know, could basically only come up with Guida and Pettis.  Even then, he only knew Clay Guida since he’s a fighter from our area.

I’m not a huge fan of this card for multiple reasons.  I love the Guida/Pettis fight, which should be an absolute war, but I’m not thrilled with the remaining main card.  I don’t care very much about the Ultimate Fighter reality show, so there are two fights I automatically don’t care about.  Ed Herman has always been pretty over-hyped, going 4-5 in the UFC before being derailed by injury.  Kyle Kingsbury and Fabio Maldonado are both pretty low on the light heavyweight totem pole, though both have shown promise in the past.

And what I dislike the most is the disrespect shown to the lighter fighters.  Four ranked fighters are competing in this event: two in the main event and two on the prelims.  I’m sorry, but Scott Jorgensen and Josh Grispi should absolutely be fighting on the main card.  Herman/Credeur, Kingsbury/Maldonado, Cope/O’Neil, and even Nijem/Ferguson are all uninteresting fights.  Just because fans may not know the featherweights and bantamweights as well as the heavier fighters doesn’t mean things need to stay that way.  Hell, even the Stephens/Downes fight is more interesting than those three main card fights.

That bums like Chris Cope and Chuck O’Neil get main card paydays over Grispi or Jorgensen is completely bogus.  Even Ramsey Nijem, a completely unproven fighter who was given the benefit of television time on account of taking his clothes off, doesn’t belong anywhere near this main card.  I will definitely be watching these fights tonight, but I’m keeping my expectations very low.

The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale will air live tonight on Spike TV at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST.  If you have better things to do, you may just want to either DVR the event or turn on Spike toward the end of the event to see Guida vs. Pettis.  I will likely watch the entire event on account of being a masochist.  Preliminary fights stream live on Facebook at 6:30 PM EST/5:30 PM CST, which I might be more inclined to watch that the main card.

Lightweight: Clay Guida (28-11, No. 14 LW) vs. Anthony Pettis (13-1, No. 9 LW)

Guida: Great wrestler for Johnsburg High School, has been training with Greg Jackson in New Mexico, holds 15 career submission victories, has not been knocked out once in his career, 8-5 in the UFC, has won his last three fights against Takanori Gomi, Rafael dos Anjos, and Shannon Gugerty, has taken two Submission of the Night awards and three Fight of the Night awards.

Pettis: 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo and purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, trains with Duke Roufus at Roufusport in Milwaukee, went 5-1 in the WEC, defeated Ben Henderson in the very last WEC fight and was the last WEC Lightweight Title holder, may or may not have done something awesome in that fight, passed up a UFC Lightweight Title shot and decided to stay active with this fight, won Fight, Submission, and Knockout of the Night awards each on a single occasion.

Remarks: The one thing I know for sure is that neither fighter will be knocked out in this fight, but Pettis and Guida will certainly beat the hell out of each other.  These two guys can definitely pull off submissions, but they’re both known for being exciting strikers who are double tough.

During his time in the UFC, Guida has looked like the ultimate lightweight gatekeeper as of late, going 6-2 in his last eight fights with losses to Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian.  Guida is good enough to be all but the best at 155, but he’ll still be a fixture in the division.  Anthony Pettis is one of the flashier young fighters in the division and has shown fantastic striking and very good submission skills.  Pettis has become one of the premier fighters at Milwaukee’s Roufusport camp and could make some serious noise in the lightweight division.

I like Pettis to pull off a late submission victory.  I think Pettis and Guida will spend time trading in this fight, but Pettis might take an opportunity late to submit the UFC veteran Guida.  I could also see this fight going all three rounds, but I like Pettis to take a win and further elevate his status in the UFC’s lightweight division.  Given the injuries to Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, I’m not sure that a win would guarantee either fighter a title shot, but it seems like a possible outcome depending on when the next title fighter occurs between Edgar and Maynard.

Ultimate Fighter 13 Welterweight Finals: Ramsey Nijem (4-1) vs. Tony Ferguson (10-2)

Nijem: Spent time wrestling in high school and in college, went 3-0 on TUF 13, has done nothing notable in his young MMA career.

Ferguson: A boxer with six career (T)KO wins in MMA, also went 3-0 on TUF 13, has done slightly more in his MMA career than Ramsey Nijem.

Remarks: Here’s an interesting question: could I care less about this fight?  I’m guessing no.  It’s a fight, so I’m glad that I get to watch it, but I don’t really care about either of these fighters.  Even more, I don’t think either fighter has a particularly bright future in the UFC.  Tony Ferguson should win this fight and could spend some time as a lower-to-middle tier fighter, but neither fighter has shown anything impressive enough to be considered future talents in the UFC.  And don’t tell me I should be impressed by their time on TUF, since that’s just shitty fighters competing against shitty fighters (though next season may be an exception).

I’ll take Ferguson via TKO, but I’ll do so with as little conviction as possible.  My indifference for the outcome for this fight is overwhelming.

Light Heavyweight: Kyle Kingsbury (10-2, 1 NC) vs. Fabio Maldonado (18-3)

Kingsbury: A wrestler with kickboxing skills, looking for his fourth straight win in the UFC, hasn’t lost in the promotion since he was defeated by Tom Lawlor by unanimous decision, won fight of the night in a decision win over Jared Hamman, last defeated Ricardo Romero via TKO in an impressive 21 seconds at UFC 126.

Maldonado: Has professional boxing experience, holds 12 career (T)KO wins in MMA, on an eleven fight winning streak with victories over Maiquel Falcao and Jessie Gibbs, defeated James McSweeney by TKO in his UFC debut at UFC 120, has never been knocked out in his career.

Remarks: I’m really torn about this fight.  Kingsbury looked impressive his last time out and has taken on some pretty good competition in the UFC.  Maldonado hasn’t had as many big fights as Kingsbury, but he’s defeated quality fighters like Maiquel Falcao and could take the win here.  I’m going to take Maldonado by KO, but Kingsbury could easily score another knockout win himself.

Middleweight: Ed Herman (21-9) vs. Tim Credeur (12-3)

Herman: A wrestler with fourteen career submission victories, has been recovering from knee surgeries, went 4-5 in the UFC through 2009, has wins over David Loiseau, Joe Doerksen, and Scott Smith, last lost to Aaron Simpson at UFC 102 in August 2009, calls himself “Short Fuse”.

Credeur: BJJ and judo black belt with boxing experience, has eight career submission victories, has gone 3-1 in the UFC last losing to Nate Quarry in a Fight of the Night, has been out of the UFC since 2009 due to a brain abnormality later revealed to be a birthmark, had wins over Nick Catone and Cale Yarbrough.

Remarks: I’ve never really been a fan of Ed Herman, who was always touted as having such great potential. He probably peaked in the UFC with a three fight winning streak in 2007, but followed that up by going 1-3 with losses to Simpson, Alan Belcher, and Demian Maia.  Credeur was doing a little better for himself before taking time away from the UFC and he seems to have the credentials with his BJJ and judo black belts.

I like Credeur’s chances to take a decision in this fight.  Credeur is only coming back from a mystery abnormality that proved to be nothing, while Herman is coming back from major knee surgeries.  I think Credeur has just a little less rust to shake off.

Welterweight: Chris Cope (4-1) vs. Chuck O’Neil (8-3)

Cope: Former kickboxing champion, went 2-1 on TUF 13 with the sole loss to finalist Ramsy Nijem, won a single fight for Strikeforce defeating Ron Keslar, calls himself “C-Murder” in what seems to be an unironic way.

O’Neil: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner with five submission victories, went 2-2 during his time on TUF 13, 3-0 in his last three sanctioned MMA fights, defeated Damian Vitale in his only fight for Bellator, his “Cold Steel” nickname also sounds like a joke.

Remarks: Oh great, we get to see a fight between the two guys who were just not good enough to make it to the TUF 13 finals.  I would much rather see these guys fight than one of the top five 135 pound fighters in the world.  I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see who will win this fight.  I’ll pick Chuck O’Neil to win this fight since I’ve watched maybe one episode of this season of the Ultimate Fighter and I don’t care enough to make an educated guess.

Featherweight: Josh Grispi (14-2, No. 14 FW) vs. George Roop (11-7-1)

Grispi: Good boxer and kickboxer who can pull off a submission, 6 career (T)KO wins and 7 career submission wins, lost to Dustin Poirier in his UFC debut, also lost his UFC Featherweight Title shot in that match, went 4-0 in the WEC with wins over Mark Hominick, Jens Pulver, Micah Miller, and L.C. Davis.

Roop: Decent striker who doesn’t have a ton of power, went 1-2 in his first UFC stint as a lightweight, lost his only WEC fight as a bantamweight, went 2-0-1 in the WEC as a featherweight, lost his UFC debut to Mark Hominick in January at the second Fight for the Troops event.

Remarks: It was really hard luck for Josh Grispi to lose his number one contender spot at UFC 125, but Grispi still has a very promising future at featherweight.  I don’t know that the same can be said for George Roop, who is mostly known for his highlight reel knockout win over Chan Sung Jung which was only his second career (T)KO victory.  I see Grispi coming back from his tough loss to Poirier and scoring a submission win over George Roop.  I think that Grispi is the more well-rounded and more skilled fighter and he should come away with the win.

Bantamweight: Scott Jorgensen (11-4, No. 4 BW) vs. Ken Stone (9-2)

Jorgensen: BJJ practitioner with NCAA Division 1 wrestling experience, 3 time Pac-10 wrestling champion, has five submission wins and five decision wins, went 7-3 in the UFC defeating Brad Pickett, Takeya Mizugaki, and Antonio Banuelos, lost to former WEC and current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz on the final WEC show, making his UFC debut.

Stone: Another college wrestler with BJJ skills, has finished each of his nine victories with 4 (T)KO and 5 submission wins, lost his only WEC fight to Eddie Wineland at WEC 53, also making his UFC debut.

Remarks: Scott Jorgensen is a top 5 bantamweight with superior wrestling and Jiu Jitsu compared to Ken Stone.  Stone might have a few more knockouts than Jorgensen does, but Jorgensen is good enough to control where this fight goes and dicate the pace.  I see Jorgensen taking a submission victory in a fight where he should completely outclass his opponent.

Lightweight: Jeremy Stephens (19-6) vs. Danny Downes (8-1)

Stephens: Very well rounded fighter with heavy hands and BJJ skills, holds 14 career wins via knockout, has gone 6-5 in the UFC with key wins over Cole Miller, Rafael dos Anjos, Sam Stout, and Marcus Davis, has thrice won the Knockout of the Night award and once took home Fight of the Night, calls himself “Lil’ Heathen”.

Downes: Good striker who trains with Duke Roufus in Milwaukee, has five career knockout wins, making his UFC debut at this event, went 1-1 during his time in the WEC defeating Zhang Tie Quan and losing to Chris Horodecki, won his last fight against Tory Bogguess outside of the UFC, a late replacement for Jonathan Brookins, is nicknamed “Danny Boy”.

Remarks: Was this card put together to showcase fighters with the worst nicknames in MMA?  Short Fuse, Lil’ Heathen, Cold Steel, C-Murder, Stripper…those all sound like wannabe rappers or gay porn movie names.  Hell, Kyle Kingsbury’s nickname is just lazy!  “I know what I’ll do…I’ll remove the ‘ry’ from the end of my name and call myself ‘Kingsbu’.  What a great idea!”

And how is this not on the maincard?  Two guys with a combined 19 (T)KO victories isn’t worthy of being on the main card?  These are two pretty good 155 pound fighters who will spend a lot of time punching each other.  This isn’t worthy of being on my television?  I like Stephens to take the win, as he has some more experience and some bigger wins.  A TKO victory seems eminent, which would be Stephens’ 20th in MMA.

Bantamweight: Francisco Rivera (5-1) vs. Reuben Duran (7-3-1)

Welterweight: Clay Harvison (6-1) vs. Justin Edwards (6-0)

Welterweight: Shamar Baley (11-3) vs. Ryan McGillivray (11-4-1)

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