Our own Ryan Frederick had boots on the ground for the TUF Finale, of course, and it was a pretty good card for a TUF Finale. Now it’s time to put our Joe Silva hat and figure out how to match up the five most intriguing winners (and losers) from Saturday night’s card.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Cezar Ferreira – Gastelum won a tough, scrappy fight against a guy everyone thought would merck him in short order. He looked fantastic, too, but I don’t think he gets thrown to the wolves like Hall would’ve. Ferreira makes sense and depending on how long of an injury layoff he has they could do it on the UFC card in Brazil. Gastelum is going to get someone in a similar position: needing to prove themselves in the UFC.
Urijah Faber vs. Brad Pickett – Faber is in the Rich Franklin spot of bantamweights in MMA: he’s just a slight step behind the best in the world but no one underneath can beat him. He has lost his last five title fights but those are his only losses; everyone else comes up empty against him. But he has losses against Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao in the last two years, as well, so at this point he has to do the Yushin Okami route: win so much he has to get another shot. Barao and Eddie Wineland are scheduled for an interim title defense already so Pickett makes sense in this case.
Cat Zingano vs. Ronda Rousey – The easiest fight to make, because Zingano won the fight (and TUF coaching duties) with a win on this card, but it also made sense. Tate was the #2 woman in the world at that weight and Zingano should be ranked up there as well.
Cole Miller vs. Daniel Pineda – I’m not sure how much longer Miller is going to be at featherweight; he looked solid against Bartimus but didn’t look like he had much more than round worth in him. I’d love to see him back at lightweight, where it didn’t look like nearly as nasty a cut as he had.
Travis Browne vs. Matt Mitrione – Mitrione’s suspension notwithstanding this is a fight that makes sense. Both are prospects who faltered who’ve just turned things around with a win. Todd Duffee could be another match to make, as well, as he’s in the same spot. The winner of Shawn Jordan vs. Pat Barry could be in the mix as well.
Urijah Hall vs. Collin Hart – Hall lost after an insane amount of hype for someone on TUF. Hart earned himself another chance in the UFC after that war with Luke Barnatt and Hall will do so as well. I think Hall takes a step back and Hart gets another chance, albeit one against a guy like Hall.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Alistair Overeem – Gonzaga probably doesn’t have another run to a title shot in him, honestly, but he does have value. Overeem has value and the UFC is paying him to take on high profile guys; Gonzaga would make for a great rebound fight for him. The loser of Soa Paleie vs. Stipe Miocic could make sense as well as the loser of Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Ivan Menjivar – Jorgensen loses nothing after a tough, tough loss against Faber. He’ll get another Top 10 level guy and Menjivar makes sense. Mike Easton could be in this spot as well.
Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche – Tate looked good for two rounds and Carmouche nearly finished Ronda Rousey. Throw this on as a co-main of a Fox show and you’ve got the potential for a big rating.
Justin Lawrence vs. Sam Sicilia – Odds are both guys will end up getting cut after two losses in a row but both are exciting fighters, as well. We could get a pro wrestling style “Loser leaves the UFC” style fight between the two of them on Facebook sometime in the summer.