After 12 weeks in the TUF house and the winner having fought 3 times in the last 4 weeks, we are finally ready to crown the first winner of The Ultimate Fighter Live. Also, top Welterweights, Martin Kampmann
and Jake Ellenberger square off to determine who will be a top contender in the division. The Ultimate Fighter Season 15 finale is tonight live on FX.
Check out all our interviews with the coaches and fighters of TUFhere.
Lightweight TUF Finale: Al Iaquinta vs. Michael Chiesa
Brian: I’ve watched every fight that Michael Chiesa has fought in the TUF house and thought, “Here’s where it ends for Cinderella.” But he keeps winning. There’s a big piece of me that thinks I should pick Iaquinta because his wrestling skills are solid, his chin is ridiculous, and he is aggressive. For this fight….the slipper fits. Chiesa wins via split decision.
Brendan: The better storyline lies with a victory for Michael Chiesa, however my gut is telling me that Iaquinta is just too well-rounded, and he’s had less trouble finishing his opponents en route to Friday’s finale. That said, it’s anybody’s night…I’ll take Iaquinta to score the TKO finish in the 2nd round.
Jordan: Both of these guys have to be running on fumes with not a lot of time between fights to recover. Chiesa has fought three times in three weeks and Iaquinta has three in four weeks. Chiesa has been an underdog a few times already on this season and was able to pull out a victory. Iaquinta has solid standup and in my opinion, is an overall better fighter. Chiesa has heart and I see that being displayed tomorrow night. I expect Chiesa to take this fight to the ground and grind out a decision victory. Chiesa will win the contract, but Iaquinta will definitely be on the roster in the future.
Mark: Iaquinta has to be the prohibitive favorite here, but since both of these guys have already had 2 fights in the last 2 weeks, all bets are off. Fatigue and physical wear and tear will even the playing field and that in mind, I’ll take the fighter with the biggest heart. I think Iaquinta is the stronger, more technical fighter, but Chiesa just won’t quit. He’ll fight out of bad positions and his wrestling will give him enough of an edge to turn the tables and win the UFC contract in one of the most emotional victories in TUF history. Give me Chiesa via Unanimous Decision.
Welterweight Bout: Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann
Brian: Both of these fighters are high energy, very well rounded, and prepared for the spotlight. This, for all intents and purposes, is a title eliminator bout. If Kampmann can make it through the initial round without being put to sleep, and that’s a BIG IF, I think he’ll have the cardio to outlast Ellenberger and pick him apart with his kickboxing. Kampmann by UD.
Brendan: I always liked this fight for Martin Kampmann, Jake Ellenberger is a tough SOB who throws dynamite in both hands, but Kampmann will have the edge in a in the stand-up as he is the more technical fighter. I see Martin using his superior take-down-defense to frustrate and wear down Jake before submitting him in the championship rounds with either a guillotine or arm triangle.
Jordan: Jake Ellenberger is on a 6 fight win streak and his only UFC loss comes in a split decision to current Welterweight Interim Champion Carlos Condit. Kampmann has won the last two, but squeaked out a victory over Thiago Alves. Both of these guys have some great striking, but Ellenberger is the superior wrestler and will try to take this fight to the ground. I have Ellenberger wearing out Kampmann in the first two rounds and then getting the KO early in the third.
Mark: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Round 1 and 2 will go to Kampmann who will land a high volume of strikes and keep Ellenberger guessing. Rounds 3, 4, and 5 will go to the Juggernaut who will eventually close the distance and put Kampmann on his back where he’ll deliver enough ground and pound to bloody up the Dane. It might be close, but Ellenberger rolls here. Give me Jake Ellenberger by Unanimous Decision.
Knockout of the Night
Brian: Chris Tickle
Brendan: Sam Sicilia
Jordan: Jake Ellenberger
Mark: Justin Lawrence
Submission of the Night
Brian: Cristiano Marcello
Brendan: Martin Kampmann
Jordan: Charles Oliveira
Mark: Cristiano Marcello
Fight of the Night
Brian: Ellenberger – Kampmann
Brendan: Ellenberger vs. Kampmann
Jordan: Ellenberger vs. Kampmann
Mark: Myles Jury vs. Chris Saunders
Brian (79-63) - Co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast and author of the series “The Book On…” exclusively at MMANonstop.com, follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan (78-64) – Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on MMANonstop.com. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48