TUF 17 Finale: Uriah Hall vs. Kelvin Gastelum Head-to-Toe Breakdown
The Ultimate Fighter 17 has its final matchup.
On the season's final taped episode, the dominant Uriah Hall knocked out Dylan Andrews and the surprising Kelvin Gastelum submitted Josh Samman.
Hall was chosen as the third overall pick by coach Chael Sonnen and steamrolled all competition on his way to the finals. Also a member of Team Sonnen, Gastelum was picked second-to-last and ended up pulling off upset after upset to earn a meeting with Hall.
On Saturday, Hall and Gastelum will compete for a guaranteed UFC contract.
Let's take a look at which middleweight is more likely to become the newest TUF champion.
Kelvin Gastelum knocked out Collin Hart en route to the finals, but let's not kid ourselves. Uriah Hall will tear through Gastelum should this fight stay standing, as he did with just about every opponent he faced in the competition.
Oddly enough, the only TUF opponent who was able to go the distance with Hall was Andy Enz, who didn't make it into the house as a result of the loss.
Gastelum may have some power, but Hall is too dynamic and explosive for the 20-year-old underdog to risk standing with.
Hall's knockout of Dylan Andrews began with punches landed while fighting off his back. That's almost unheard of at the UFC level.
Is there really anything else we need to see to give him an advantage in this area?
Power and Durability
Gastelum's finish of Hart was impressive. He certainly has the ability to put opponents away with one punch.
I just don't want to be the guy who tells Hall he doesn't have an edge when it comes to knockout power after seeing what he did to Adam Cella, who might still be seeing stars from the Hall spinning heel kick he ate early in the season.
Overall Striking Edge: Hall
Takedowns and Takedown Defense
This is where Kelvin Gastelum has a chance to make things interesting.
He has a wrestling background and isn't the type to sit in an opponent's guard and eat strikes like Dylan Andrews did briefly in the semifinals.
As good as Uriah Hall looked off his back, his takedown defense was not tested enough throughout The Ultimate Fighter 17. If Gastelum can turn this into a wrestling match, he could pull off his biggest upset win yet.
Control and Escapability
Hall was active when forced to fight off his back, but his ability to escape or reverse positions with grappling was not really all that impressive. The deadly striker had a chance to at least sweep Andrews with a kimura, but he never seemed to fully commit to the submission attempt.
That said, Gastelum was far from flawless on the ground on the reality series.
Gastelum was not put in any bad spots in his fight against Josh Samman, but his bout with Bubba McDaniel was sloppy. In that matchup, Gastelum was reversed and had his back taken multiple times before finally locking up a submission.
Submissions and Submission Defense
Though Gastelum has a couple of submission wins on the show, he's much more even with Hall in the jiu-jitsu department than the reality series would lead one to believe.
As we saw in his bout with Andrews, Hall does know how to work submissions off his back, and that could prove important against a wrestler like Gastelum. Although Hall didn't force a tap from Andrews, he has submitted a previous opponent with a heel hook while competing under the Ring of Combat banner.
Overall Grappling Edge: Gastelum
This won't be a huge factor in the matchup. Neither Uriah Hall nor Kelvin Gastelum have a wealth of experience in huge fights.
However, Hall does have a few more bouts under his belt and had the chance to pick up a Bellator MMA win in June 2009.
Gastelum has a pit bull mentality. He's powerful and relentless, but Hall is a rare athletic specimen.
There aren't many who can pull off the spinning heel kick Hall landed on Adam Cella when practicing, let alone in a live fight situation.
Hall brings things to the table that Gastelum will not have seen before.
With the fast pace that often comes with the two-round TUF bouts, we didn't get to see a whole lot of Hall or Gastelum in deep waters.
However, when the finalists did find themselves in the later rounds, they didn't seem to fade noticeably. Therefore, it's unlikely conditioning will be a deciding factor in this matchup.
Overall Intangibles Edge: Hall
While Kelvin Gastelum can make things interesting with his wrestling, he'll first have to find a way to evade Uriah Hall's strikes in order to get inside.
That's much easier said than done, and one has to think Hall will have a good chance of catching Gastelum on the way in, since he'll know the takedown will be coming early and often.
I don't know if Hall can become an immediate middleweight contender, as coach Chael Sonnen said he could on the FX-televised show, but he's certainly looked skilled enough to put away an opponent like Gastelum quickly.
Hall defeats Gastelum by technical knockout (punches) at 1:39 of the first round.