The Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale Preview

THE ULTIMATE FINALE: LIVE TONIGHT!


It all comes down to this, kids. It’s time for The Ultimate Fighter 3 finale live, tonight at 9pm (EST), on Spike TV.

  • Middleweight Final: Ed “Short Fuse” Herman vs. Kendall Grove

Kendall Grove took a lot of people by surprise when he made it to the finals. He is considered a huge underdog in this fight. Personally, I like this kid a lot. He shows a lot of heart, a willingness to learn, and a desire to be the best. What more can you ask for from a UFC hopeful?

Ed Herman surprised some people, too, but not in the same way. Herman hyped himself up so much, I think people were expecting the second coming of Randy Couture. Although he made it to the finals, a lot of people, myself included, were less than impressed with Ed’s skills. Herman has a strong desire to be not only a winner, but a champion. That desire, and his cockiness, could either take him far in this sport, or be his downfall.

The bottom line: Groves needs to keep this fight on his feet in order to win. A well-place kick or flying knee could end it quick. Look for Herman to do his best to keep Groves on his back, and go for the ol’ ground n’ pound.

  • Light Heavyweight Final: Michael “The Count” Bisping vs. Josh Haynes

I don’t think a lot of people expected Josh Haynes to make it to the finals. He had two tough battles to get there, but his Team Quest training and the guidance of Tito Oritz were a huge help. Haynes made for an interesting “character” on the show because of his background and family life. He’s got a ton of heart, and he’s very likeable. I don’t know how well he would do among the likes of UFC’s current Light Heavyweight divison, but I think people enjoy watching him fight.

I haven’t looked at the Vegas odds, but I think it’s safe to assume that Michael Bisping is the odds-on favorite in this bout. Bisping is Mr. Charisma, and people eat it up. He’s a larger than life “character,” with his booming voice and British accent. He was born to entertain people…and to fight. I can see Bisping being a huge draw for UFC.

The bottom line: We’re looking at two dangerous strikers. Bisping is definitely the more disciplined, while Haynes is the more wild, ala Forrest Griffin. Haynes’ power could give Bisping a hard time (although many thought the same of Ross Pointon), but I think he’ll have trouble finishing him quick. Look for Bisping to throw heavy hands and knees, going for an early KO.

In addition to the TUF 3 finals, the card will feature a co-main event of TUF 1 contestant Kenny Florian squaring off against Sam Stout in a Lightweight bout, and TUF 2 contestant Keith Jardine taking on Wilson Gouveia in a Light Heavyweight fight.

  • Kenny Florian vs. Sam Stout

This fight was originally supposed to take place at UFC 58, but Florian had to back out due to a back injury. Florian is a tough fighter to predict, because he only has a 3-2-0 record. The 9-1-1 Stout seems to truly enjoy hitting people. Stout’s only loss was via submission, so Florian has a chance if he can keep him on the ground. I just don’t see that happening though. Stout will want not this one to end up in the judges’ hands, so look for a barrage of fists and elbows.

  • Keith Jardine vs. Wilson Gouveia

Gouveia, who is making his UFC debut, is a relative unknown with a 6-3-0 record. Jardine, at 10-2-1, is looking to make an example out of Gouveia after his loss to Stephan Bonnar at UFN 4. It’s tough to guess on the outcome, not knowing much about a relatively new fighter, but Jardine is a hard hitter with a lot of aggression to work out. I don’t see this going beyond the second round.

There will also be five non-televised undercard bouts, featuring mostly TUF 3 fighters.

  • Matt Hamill vs. Jesse Forbes
  • Kalib Starnes vs. Danny Abaddi
  • Rory Singer vs. Ross Pointon
  • Solomon Hutcherson vs. Luigi Fioravanti
  • Mike Nickels vs. Wes Combs

Look for a recap of the finale from Shelly, and look for me to make a return to “weekly” status at IP this coming week.

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