Urijah Faber is an amazing fighter whose greatness is sometimes overshadowed by other highly touted superstars in the bantamweight division.
On Saturday, Faber's main-event clash with Scott Jorgensen at The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale may be second on the hype scale to the Miesha Tate-Cat Zingano battle.
Many hardcore fans will watch to see Faber's well-rounded game, but many more will be interested in seeing who prevails in the event's only female fight. Why is that bout so interesting?
Because the winner will be Ronda Rousey's next opponent, and that will be another groundbreaking event for women's MMA.
In an interview I did with Rousey, she said she'd like to see Zingano win. Rousey already owns a win over Tate from their days in Strikeforce.
She expressed an interest in seeing someone new get a chance. We'll see if she gets her wish on Saturday night.
As for the main event, Faber is trying to maintain his status as a top-three bantamweight. He's lost to the fighters currently occupying the top two spots: Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao.
Less than two months ago, Faber defeated Ivan Menjivar by submission in the first round. He'll be looking to score his second win in a row after a quick turnaround.
Don't forget the card obviously features the final battle of this season of the reality series. Uriah Hall will take on Kelvin Gastelum to name the winner of TUF 17.
Here is the information needed to catch this event on TV.
When: Saturday, April 13 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas
TV: FUEL TV (Preliminaries) and FX (Main Card)
Live Stream: Facebook (Preliminaries)
This is the fight card scheduled for TUF 17, per UFC.com, along with predictions. An asterisk indicates that a deeper analysis is written below.
|Justin Lawrence (4-1) vs. Daniel Pineda (17-9)||Featherweight||Lawrence by KO/TKO|
|Sam Sicilia (11-2) vs. Maximo Blanco (8-4-1)||Featherweight||Sicilia by decision|
|Cole Miller (18-7) vs. Bart Palaszewski (35-16)||Featherweight||Palaszewski by KO/TKO|
|Clint Hester (7-3) vs Bristol Marunde (12-7)||FUEL||Middleweight||Marunde by submission|
|Dylan Andrews (15-4) vs. Jimmy Quinlan (3-0)||FUEL||Middleweight||Andrews by KO/TKO|
|Luke Barnatt (5-0) vs. Collin Hart (4-1-1)||FUEL||Middleweight||Barnatt by decision|
|Josh Samman (9-2) vs. Kevin Casey (5-2)||FUEL||Middleweight||Kaesy by decision|
|Robert "Bubba" McDaniel (20-6) vs. Gilbert Smith (5-1)||FX||Middleweight||McDaniel by decision|
|Travis Browne (13-1) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (14-6)||FX||Heavyweight||Browne by KO/TKO*|
|Miesha Tate (13-3) vs. Cat Zingano (7-0)||FX||Bantamweight||Zingano by KO/TKO*|
|Uriah Hall (8-2) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (6-0)||FX||Middleweight||Hall by KO/TKO*|
|Urijah Faber (27-6) vs. Scott Jorgensen (14-6)||FX||Bantamweight||Faber by decision*|
Browne Will Rebound From His Loss to Antonio 'Big Foot' Silva
The man they call Hapa was handed his first loss as a professional when Big Foot Silva stopped him in the first round at UFC on FX 5.
He won't suffer a second consecutive setback.
Gonzaga has won three fights in a row, including submitting Ben Rothwell at UFC on FX 7, but Browne's size advantage will be too much for him to overcome.
He'll be giving up five inches to his opponent, and that should allow Browne's striking to control this fight.
I anticipate a second-round KO win for Hapa.
Rousey Will Get Her Wish
I love everything I've seen of Zingano. She's one of the strongest women at 135 pounds, and her game appears to be fairly well rounded.
This KO win over Takayo Hashi is one of her most impressive victories. She may have looked a bit too aggressive here, but I believe it was because she knew she had her opponent outclassed.
While Tate is a fiery competitor, I believe she will be overpowered in this bout.
Her best opportunity will be to take the fight to the ground, but even then Zingano looks to be sharp enough as a grappler to hold her own.
I'm predicting we'll see our first TKO/KO in women's UFC action.
Hall Is a Rising Superstar
Both Hall and Gastelum looked impressive in their semifinal matches, but Hall has something special about him.
His striking ability is simply amazing and deadly. Against Dylan Andrews in the semifinal, he proved he was even dangerous striking from his back.
I have a ton of respect for Gastelum as a fighter, and I believe he will have a nice career, but he won't beat Hall on Saturday.
My prediction is a second-round KO for Hall.
Jorgensen Is No Match for Faber
I've never been overly impressed with Jorgensen as a fighter. He's an extremely hard worker and a battler, but he can't match the overall game Faber brings.
Jorgensen lacks the power to handle Faber in the stand-up game, and he won't fare well on the ground.
The California Kid is one of the few fighters in the UFC that is almost equally adept at striking, grappling and submissions.
In the last five years, his only losses have come to esteemed fighters like: Cruz, Barao, Jose Aldo and Mike Thomas Brown. Jorgensen will not be adding his name to this list.
Follow me, because Royce Gracie started me on this MMA path, and now I'm out of control.
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