It may not have gone down exactly the way that the UFC had hoped it would. Heavily hyped TUF Wrecking Machine Uriah Hall laid a pretty big egg in his TUF finale bout against Kelvin Gastelum, and dropped a Split Decision to the last overall pick on the show. In the main event Urijah Faber proved that he’s probably going to destroy every Bantamweight fighter that isn’t currently holding a championship belt in that division. Despite some mishaps, the card will probably still be considered a success for the UFC.
Despite the loss to Gastelum, it will likely mean very little to the UFC career of Hall. The UFC will likely feed him some fighters willing to stand and trade which will help accelerate his highlight reel some more and will put him right back into the giant UFC hype machine. The UFC also created a new star in Gastelum, the little engine that could who defied all the odds. The UFC also continued to develop the Women’s MMA brand as Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano engaged in a Fight of the Night winning brawl that earned Zingano the chance to coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter against Women’s Bantamweight Champ Ronda Rousey.
McDaniel was the crowd favorite throughout basically this entire bout. He controlled the first two rounds of the bout with relative ease, controlling the action on the ground both from top control and at times from the bottom. In the third round Smith took advantage of an opening during a scramble on the ground and latched onto a tight triangle choke-armbar combination. That was all she wrote for Smith in this one.
What’s next for McDaniel: He looked impressive during the bout, but didn’t look overly great during his time on the show. He’s earned another shot in the UFC and the number of potential opponents is pretty high, with a number of other winners from the show looking for their next fight. Any one of the winners from earlier in the night Josh Samman, Luke Barnatt, Dylan Andrews or Clint Hester would be fine.
What’s next for Smith: More than likely unemployment. He didn’t look overly impressive and he wasn’t really hyped up on or after the show. If he does get another shot in the fight, he’s going to fight a low level Middleweight. Possibly another TUF 17 loser, if not somewhere else in someone else’s cage.
Heavyweight Bout: Travis Browne defeated Gabriel Gonzaga via KO (Elbows) at 1:11 of Round One
Controversy surrounded the finish of this bout. After some light action on the feet Gonzaga shot for a takedown and continued to pursue the takedown all the way against the cage. Browne landed a number of big elbows to the side of Gonzaga’s head, but it appeared as though the last few may have illegally caught the Brazilian in the back of the head. After the bout Gonzaga said his camp planned to protest the decision, but for the moment, Browne is still the winner.
What’s next for Browne? Two upper-level Heavyweights will fight at UFC 159 as Roy Nelson battles Cheick Kongo. He should fight the winner of that bout. Although he has already faced Kongo, the fight ended in a somewhat controversial draw, because Kongo was deducted a point. The fight wasn’t amazing back then, but Browne has improved considerably since then and the Hawaiian has more to win this time around.
What’s next for Gonzaga? He’s proven that he has some skills and he’s a former UFC Heavyweight title challenger, in addition minus Frank Mir, he’s the UFC’s most tenured Heavyweight fighter. It seems like he’ll never be much more than a gatekeeper in the division, but as the division grows in size and talent that role becomes much more important. He was originally scheduled to fight Geronimo dos Santos in Brazil a year ago, that fight still makes sense on an upcoming Brazilian card, of which the UFC have multiple scheduled.
Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Cat Zingano defeated Miesha Tate via TKO (Knees & Elbows) at 2:55 of Round Three
This fight won Fight of the Night honors and it definitely deserved it, as these two women put on another exciting scrap that certainly must have the UFC wondering why they didn’t put Women’s MMA inside the octagon sooner. Tate used her excellent wrestling skills to win the opening two rounds, although Zingano was dangerous every time the two ladies exchanged in the pocket. In the third round Zingano got her hands on Tate and landed a vicious flurry of knees and elbows that eventually forced Tate to crash to the mat and halted the bout. Tate protested the stoppage and many others have as well, but either way Zingano rallied for an impressive TKO victory.
What’s next for Zingano? This one is easy. She’s scheduled to coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter; the first to include female fighters, opposite Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. A title fight against Rousey is scheduled to follow the filming of the show.
What’s next for Tate? The division is still a bit thin with only 12 fighters on the UFC roster. A bout against Liz Carmouche would make sense. Tate could also welcome a newcomer from Invicta into the UFC in her next bout. Really the possibilities are pretty wide open with such a small division, but Tate is an attractive woman who can scrap like hell, so I doubt the UFC will do much to let her fall further down the ranks.
Middleweight Bout: Kelvin Gastelum defeated Uriah Hall via Split Decision at 5:00 of Round Three
Hall was the heavily hyped wrecking machine from the show that knocked out everybody he fought and forced opposing fighters into panic attacks inside the cage. Apparently no one remembered to give Gastelum the memo as he used a ground based attack to slowly plug away at Hall. Hall has been criticized for his performance, as well as for constantly showboating and keeping his hands down a la Anderson Silva. It didn’t work out well for him, but with “octagon jitters” out of the way, the UFC will surely try to build him back up.
What’s next for Gastelum? If I had to guess, the Welterweight division. He’s fairly short and stocky for Middleweight and his frame would be much better suited to the 170-pound weight class, especially given a full training camp to prepare and cut weight. If he does make the cut to 170 pounds there are a number of intriguing bouts for him. Fellow TUF alums Mike Ricci or Neil Magny would be good match-ups.
What’s next for Hall? The UFC put a lot of hype and a lot of marketing into this guy, don’t expect him to just fade away. Expect him to get some favorable match ups against fighters who will strike with him in an attempt to grow his highlight reel. The loser of the upcoming bout between Lorenz Larkin and Francis Carmont would be good stylistically, as would a bout against Chris Leben.
Bantamweight Bout: Urijah Faber defeated Scott Jorgensen via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:16 of Round Four
Urijah Faber proved that he’s one of the top fighters under 155-pounds currently fighting for the UFC. He dominated a lot of this fight against Jorgensen. Faber looked like the more polished striker and took advantage of a lot of openings during the scrambles on the mat. Jorgensen had his moments, including an impressive showing in the third round that had some people thinking a comeback might be in the cards. Faber crushed that with a dominant performance in the fourth and stopped Jorgensen with a Rear Naked Choke.
What’s next for Jorgensen? Jorgensen is still a top 10 fighter in the Bantamweight bout. Ivan Menjivar makes sense, as he’s the last fighter to lose to Faber. The loser of the upcoming bout between Vaughan Lee and Raphael Assuncao could also be an interesting test for Jorgensen.
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