TUF 17 Finale Results: Matches to Make for Main Card Fighters
Uriah Hall's impressive run of knockouts came to an end on Saturday, when the TUF standout lost to Team Sonnen teammate Kelvin Gastelum in the season finals.
Hall will almost certainly get another chance or two to prove himself inside the Octagon, but he did miss out on a guaranteed UFC contract with the defeat at the hands of Gastelum.
The TUF 17 Finale also saw Urijah Faber take a step closer to yet another title shot with a victory over Scott Jorgensen.
With another UFC event in the books, let's take a look at what could be next for Faber, Gastelum and the rest of the TUF 17 Finale competitors.
Sam Sicilia vs. Steven Siler-Kurt Holobaugh Loser
Sam Sicilia is in danger of being released after a second straight UFC loss.
The former TUF participant came up short in a back-and-forth bout with Maximo Blanco on Saturday, but he did have his moments. Sicilia hit Blanco with several big shots throughout the fight, but he couldn't put the Venezuelan away.
If Sicilia does get one more shot to compete inside the Octagon, it'll likely come against an opponent who has also lost two straight.
That's why a bout with the loser of a UFC 159 matchup between Steven Siler and Kurt Holobaugh would make sense.
Maximo Blanco vs. Leonard Garcia-Cody McKenzie Winner
It wasn't the prettiest win, but Maximo Blanco's victory at the TUF 17 Finale ensured him continued appearances inside the Octagon.
Blanco was rocked by Sam Sicilia in a couple wild exchanges, but the Jackson's MMA product recovered each time and did enough to regain the lead on the scorecards.
While the win was an important one for Blanco, it was only his first inside the Octagon. He'll have to work his way up from near the bottom of the featherweight division, so a bout with the winner of a UFC 159 matchup between struggling 145-pounders Leonard Garcia and Cody McKenzie could be next for Blanco.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Justin Lawrence
Bart Palaszewski and Justin Lawrence now find themselves in bad spots after their losses on Saturday. With both having lost consecutive fights, there's a chance Palaszewski and Lawrence may have to return to smaller shows.
However, both featherweights have lost to some solid opponents during their current slides, so it wouldn't be overly surprising to see the entertaining strikers get one last shot to compete inside the Octagon.
A bout between Palaszewski and Lawrence would almost guarantee a stand-up battle and would allow one talented fighter to avoid being cut from the world's top MMA promotion.
Cole Miller vs. Daniel Pineda
Cole Miller and Daniel Pineda bounced back from back-to-back losses by scoring first-round submissions at the TUF 17 Finale.
Pineda has earned all three of his UFC wins via submission, while Miller's past six victories have also ended with his opponents tapping.
A bout between Miller and Pineda would test the ground games of both fighters and should result in an entertaining grappling match.
Dylan Andrews vs. Daniel Sarafian-Eddie Mendez Winner
Dylan Andrews was one of the stand-out competitors on TUF 17. Picked last overall, Andrews went on to reach the semifinals before being stopped by Uriah Hall.
With a knockout win over Jimmy Quinlan, who will likely be looking for a new employer soon, Andrews earned himself at least a few more appearances inside the Octagon.
For Andrews' next outing, a bout with the winner of a UFC on Fuel TV 10 matchup between fellow TUF contestant Daniel Sarafian and UFC newcomer Eddie Mendez.
Luke Barnatt vs. Brad Tavares
Luke Barnatt secured a UFC roster spot with a decision win over Collin Hart on Saturday.
The wild matchup saw Barnatt land 113 strikes in three rounds, while he did his best to keep the fight standing by stuffing two of Hart's 12 takedown attempts.
Although the MMA media was split on the decision, Hart is going to have a tough time campaigning for another UFC fight, with the organization being in the process of trimming its roster.
Barnatt, meanwhile, would be fun to watch in a bout with fellow tall striker and TUF alum Brad Tavares.
Josh Samman vs. Tom Lawlor
Josh Samman found himself in some bad spots against grappler Kevin Casey, but he fought through submissions to earn a knockout win.
At 25 years old, Samman is a promising middleweight prospect despite falling short of winning the TUF competition.
After Samman had some trouble with Casey on the ground, it'd be good to see him tested against a more proven grappler and fellow TUF veteran like Tom Lawlor.
Bubba McDaniel vs. Clint Hester
With their wins on Saturday, Bubba McDaniel and Clint Hester likely brought to an end the short-term UFC aspirations of respective opponents Gilbert Smith and Bristol Marunde.
In the process, though, McDaniel and Hester ensured themselves continued chances to prove themselves at the highest level of MMA.
On The Ultimate Fighter, McDaniel and Hester were considered the two primary candidates to be named the wild card for Team Jones. Jon Jones ultimately selected Jackson's MMA teammate McDaniel for the slot.
A matchup between McDaniel and Hester outside of the reality series could now show whether the light heavyweight champion made the right choice.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Roy Nelson-Cheick Kongo Loser
Gabriel Gonzaga couldn't drag Travis Browne to the ground soon enough on Saturday and ended up paying the price in the form of a knockout loss.
The defeat brought to an end Gonzaga's winning streak, which was impressive considering his brief retirement from MMA following a loss to Brendan Schaub.
Although it wouldn't be much of a step down from Browne, a bout with the loser of a UFC 159 matchup between Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo would give Gonzaga an opportunity to bounce back quickly.
Travis Browne vs. Roy Nelson-Cheick Kongo Winner
Following a disappointing setback against Antonio Silva, Travis Browne is now back on the fringe of title contention.
With his first-round stoppage of former title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga, Browne now finds himself in position to get another shot at a top-10 heavyweight.
A bout between Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo is approaching, and Browne would make for a good opponent for the winner, which could mean a rematch of a draw that the heavyweight had with Kongo in October 2010.
Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche
Miesha Tate may have been knocked out at the TUF 17 Finale, but the former Strikeforce champion was not far from earning a rematch with women's bantamweight titleholder Ronda Rousey.
Tate used her wrestling well in the first two rounds of a bout with Cat Zingano, but she faded in the third frame and could not withstand a flurry of strikes midway through the stanza.
At 26 years old, Tate should still be a serious title threat for a long time. A bout with Liz Carmouche, who recently lost to Rousey in the first ever women's UFC fight, would give Tate a chance to return to championship contention quickly.
Cat Zingano vs. Ronda Rousey
Cat Zingano separated herself as one of the best in the women's bantamweight division on Saturday.
Although she showed some holes in her takedown defense, which is troubling heading into a matchup with Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey, Zingano bested a very tough opponent in Miesha Tate to become a worthy title challenger.
Zingano will coach opposite Rousey on TUF 18 before battling for UFC gold in late 2013.
Uriah Hall vs. Francis Carmont-Lorenz Larkin Loser
Uriah Hall was pegged as an immediate title contender heading into the TUF finals, but a loss to Kelvin Gastelum showed he still has some work to do.
Some holes in his takedown defense led to Hall being named TUF runner-up instead of championship threat.
Despite the loss, Hall still has the potential to be one of the more entertaining fighters in the 185-pound division, especially in striking matchups. He could find himself in one of those right away should Lorenz Larkin lose in a coming UFC on Fox 7 bout against Francis Carmont.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Karlos Vemola-Caio Magalhaes Winner
Kelvin Gastelum was the underdog story of TUF 17 and completed his upset run by beating the seemingly unstoppable Uriah Hall on Saturday.
At only 21 years old, it is now Gastelum who appears to be the fighter with unlimited potential in the UFC's middleweight division.
Gastelum's wrestling played a key role in him winning The Ultimate Fighter, so he could benefit from having his ground game tested against the winner of a UFC on Fuel TV 10 matchup between Karlos Vemola and Caio Magalhaes.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Brian Bowles-George Roop Loser
Scott Jorgensen showed he's still a top bantamweight by hanging with Urijah Faber for the better part of four rounds.
However, with losses in three of his past four fights, Jorgensen should probably take another step down in competition for a few fights to reinvent himself for his next title run.
Should George Roop lose to Brian Bowles at UFC 160, his lanky frame would give Jorgensen a new puzzle to solve after several contests against the more compact bantamweight contenders.
Urijah Faber vs. Brad Pickett
Urijah Faber picked up his second straight submission win on Saturday.
With an impressive victory over Scott Jorgensen, Faber already finds himself back near the front of the line for a bantamweight title shot less than one year after losing to interim champion Renan Barao.
Although he seems to clearly be the third-best 135-pound fighter in the world, Faber would benefit from picking up one more win to prepare himself for what would almost have to be his last shot at UFC gold in the bantamweight division.
A bout with Brad Pickett, who has only lost to Barao and upcoming title challenger Eddie Wineland in his past six outings, would give Faber one last chance to work out any kinks before getting a rematch with Barao or long-reigning bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
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