Uriah Hall (7-2, 0-0 UFC) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (5-0, 0-0 UFC)
Hall and Gastelum meet in the finals after both had impressive runs during their time on “The Ultimate Fighter”. Hall has been the big story of the season scoring three impressive knockout wins en route to the finals, and he comes in as the heavy favorite. Gastelum has been seen as an underdog type as many did not expect him to make it as far, and he puts up his undefeated professioanl record in a chance to win a six-figure UFC contract.
Fight Breakdown- Hall is a dangerous striker who may end up being the best talent to ever come out of “The Ultimate Fighter”. He showed during his time on the show that he can finish you with his hands, with his feet, and when he does not have what appears to be the best position. His two career losses have come to Chris Weidman and Costa Philippou, two of the current top middleweights in the world. Gastelum has some power in his hands but as the shorter fighter, he will need to negate Hall’s reach to land the power shot. Gastelum’s background is in wrestling and Hall never had a chance to show his takedown defense on the show, so the wrestling game could play a huge factor in this fight.
Hall showed he can fight very well off of his back, going for submission attempts and finishing Dylan Andrews with hard punches while on his back. Gastelum was sloppy on the ground during his fight with Bubba McDaniel on the show, and Hall is too good of a fighter to not make Gastelum pay for the same kind of sloppiness. Hall knows how to work for submissions if he is on his back, and he does have a submission win under his belt. Ultimately, this fight will likely be played out on the feet, and it will be very important for Gastelum to remain patient. Hall knows how to remain patient and he can end a fight quickly or drag it out a while before ending it. That may be harmful for Gastelum who could be looking to end it quickly. Hall will make him pay for that, and we will see why there is so much hype behind Hall, and the hype is deserved.
Why It Matters- Hall has been touted as the best potential fighter to come out of “The Ultimate Fighter” in years, so there is already pressure for him to live up to. He has tons of hype, and now is his chance to show if he is for real. Gastelum wants to keep his cinderella story going, and an upset over Hall would complete it fully and give the fans an unexpected winner. He has the odds against him, and win or lose, Gastelum will likely get another shot in the UFC, but would it ever be the big story if he was able to be the fighter in the house to take out Hall.
Tags: Kelvin Gastelum, Mixed Martial Arts, The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, UFC, Uriah Hall