TUF 17 Finale Fantasy Preview - Part I
There are plenty of fights happening this weekend at the Ultimate Fighter 17 finale in Las Vegas, with half the card filled up by Octagon veterans.
The main event will pit former WEC champion and perennial contender Urijah Faber against close friend and former training partner Scott Jorgensen. Also in action, the next coach of The Ultimate Fighter will be determined when former Strikeforce women's champion Miesha Tate battles newcomer Cat Zingano.
Let's take a look at some of the key matchups on the card that could mean the difference between winning and losing during the latest installment of the UFC Fantasy Pick ĎEm game.
1) Urijah Faber hasn't lost in a non-title fight - ever. Yep, that's correct, the former WEC featherweight champion has suffered six defeats over his entire career, but the defeats have only come in championship bouts. Otherwise, Faber is an unstoppable machine who has put away the best of the best at both featherweight and bantamweight throughout his career. That means things don't bode well for his opponent Scott Jorgensen, who looks to tackle the task of being the first fighter ever without a gold strap being placed around his waist when the fight is over to beat Faber in the cage. It's tough to argue against those kinds of statistics however, especially considering that Faber has 27 victories overall, and continues to haunt the list of contenders who try to get past him on the way to the title.
2) Another interesting statistic to look at when picking the round and method of victory in the main event is the tendency of both fighters when it comes to finishing, or not finishing for that matter. Both Faber and Jorgensen come from wrestling backgrounds, which many times means that in the heat of the battle they cancel each other out in their biggest strengths. Faber's favorite way to finish is to catch a submission during a scramble, but Jorgensen has only been submitted once during his entire career and that was in his third professional fight. Add to that, Jorgensen's other losses have all come by decision, minus his one defeat to Eddie Wineland by knockout. Faber has also captured the third most post fight bonuses in UFC/WEC history, which means if this fight goes all 25 minutes, expect excitement, but maybe not a finish this time around.
3) Miesha Tate didn't get the nickname "Takedown" over the years for nothing. While she's recently become "Cupcake," Tate's old moniker holds up very well when looking at her style inside the cage. Tate is a wrestler by heart and has been a state champion, and she carried that over into her love of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, where she's captured titles and medals in several different events. Her opponent Cat Zingano is also a grappler by trade, but Tate has done well against anybody she's taken to the mat (outside of her loss to current UFC champ Ronda Rousey, and even there she took her back and looked for the finish before falling prey to the armbar). Look for Tate to shoot in early and often and then see what kind of submission defense Zingano has at her disposal.
4) Travis Browne is always looking for the knockout, and that could mean tough times for opponent Gabriel Gonzaga. This heavyweight tilt features two very heavy-handed fighters, but Gonzaga's background is founded in Jiu-Jitsu and he's never shy about looking for the lock or hold that will end a fight. This time around however, he's facing a very tall and very powerful striker with good takedown defense in his back pocket. Through six UFC fights, Browne has never been taken down, and he's spent the least amount of time on his back of any heavyweight in UFC history. Both fighters are finishers as well, with Browne getting 11 of his 13 wins by knockout or submission, while Gonzaga has won every single fight in his career by finishing his opponent. Don't expect this one to go to the judges' scorecards, and unless Gonzaga can catch Browne sleeping on his takedown defense, it's the Brazilian who might be taking a nap.
5) Expect a finish when former Ultimate Fighter favorite Justin Lawrence meets Daniel Pineda on the undercard. Both of these fighters love a good knockout or submission. Pineda has only seen a decision two times out of his 26 fight career, and while Lawrence has much less experience, he's put away opponents by both knockout and submission in the past. Lawrence is still developing, and on paper he's much, much less experienced than Pineda. Don't forget however that Lawrence spends his days and nights training alongside champions like UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva, and his development is probably coming along at a rapid pace, and that could spell trouble for Pineda on fight night.