TUF 17 Finale Results: What's Next for the Losers
When the UFC came back to Las Vegas on Saturday night, it was a night where new stars were born at the expense of fighters who entered the night with considerable hype.
Ultra-hyped middleweight Uriah Hall lost a split decision against Kelvin Gastelum in the evening's co-main event, while former Strikeforce women's champion Miesha Tate was finished by promotional newcomer Cat Zingano in violent fashion after a series of knees.
Not everybody can be a winner. The next step is important for every fighter who is lucky enough to keep a contract.
We'll take a look at all 12 of the folks who came up short and break down where they are going and who they could be facing next. Enjoy, folks!
Justin Lawrence and Bart Palaszewski
Assuming that The Ultimate Fighter veteran Justin Lawrence avoids that sword, the UFC is likely to pair the featherweight against a fellow striker who is likely to put on a show. I can't think of any better option that fellow TUF 17 finale loser Bart Palaszewski.
Both fighters are most comfortable when competing in the standup department, and there is no featherweight alive with whom these boys are afraid of trading leather
In reality, both of these fighters are likely to be released. Lawrence has dropped two straight, while Palaszewski is 1-4 in his last five appearances, which includes a trio of consecutive losses.
Having trouble securing wins, but don't want to lose your job with the UFC? The best way to do that is by throwing caution to the wind and being part of a thrilling brawl.
Sam Sicilia certainly had his chin on full display in his unanimous decision loss to Maximo Blanco in their Facebook preliminary bout. If he avoids being released from Zuffa after a 1-2 stint, it will be nice to see him in another fun fight.
Marcus Brimage is coming off a disappointing loss to Conor McGregor at last weekend's UFC on FUEL event. If paired with Sicilia, fans are in for a stylistic matchup that promises fireworks.
Let's be honest here. Bristol Marunde is nothing more than a late fill-in for Zak Cummings who was unable to compete on the TUF 17 finale. After being knocked out by Clint Hester, there isn't a terrific chance that Marunde, who has an 0-2 record in the UFC, will be around much longer.
Occasionally, the UFC will promise a fighter a follow-up fight in exchange for taking a short-notice matchup.If that is the case, we will see Marunde back, but likely as a sacrificial lamb against an opponent who outclasses him.
The Ultimate Fighter gives fighters a lot of opportunities. Not only do you get to train full time with UFC professionals like Jon Jones, Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen and Ronda Rousey, but you get to compete for a six-figure contract in a televised tournament. And if that doesn't work out, there is a good chance that you will get to compete at the show's finale.
Beyond that, there aren't many promises that TUF contestants should expect. For that reason, after being knocked out in less than four minutes of the first round by Dylan Andrews, quarterfinalist Jimmy Quinlan is as good as gone.
For those of you wondering what Rob Tatum was tweeting about, it was because only moments before the decision was read to award Luke Barnatt a unanimous victory over Collin Hart, the staff writer for TheMMACorner.com had told the world that Hart won, 30-27, and that a score of 29-28 wouldn't be acceptable.
Not only did Hart not win with 30-27 across the board, he actually lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Although that fight won't win Fight of the Night, it seemed clear that Hart should have seen his arm raised at its conclusion. For that reason, he will get another bout inside the Octagon.
Hart should welcome Zak Cummings into the Octagon later this year.
Kevin Casey looked absolutely fantastic in the opening moments of his matchup with semifinalist Josh Samman. However, Samman showed both heart and patience while slamming his way out of a very dangerous triangle choke/armbar combination.
Samman ended up finishing Casey after delivering brutal knees from a Muay Thai clinch.
For those of you keeping score at home, that leaves Casey's record within the TUF competition at 1-3. After defeating Eldon Sproat to get into the house, Casey was eliminated by Collin Hart before losing in the wild-card round to Bubba McDaniel.
It's possible that Casey will get another shot, but highly unlikely. With an official record of 5-3, there isn't much upside to keeping him onboard any longer.
Anyone who started watching this season of The Ultimate Fighter after the second episode aired completely missed Gilbert Smith in action. In the very first fight of the tournament, Smith was knocked out with a flying knee from Luke Barnatt.
In the main card's opening bout, Smith tried to avenge his loss by taking on polarizing personality Bubba McDaniel. Unfortunately, the result is the same for the Colorado fighter who succumbed to a third-round triangle choke/armbar combination.
McDaniel and Smith put on an entertaining matchup, and neither fighter looked out of place inside the Octagon. It's possible that Smith will get one more shot at picking up a UFC win.
If given another opportunity, Smith should face a returning Buddy Roberts.
Did anybody see that knockout coming? Because Gabriel Gonzaga sure didn't.
"Napao" clearly wanted no part of the standup game that Travis Browne plays so well. That's why hunting for a single-leg takedown seemed like the safest option.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, the power of Browne is too much to deny, and despite having his opponent's back against the cage, Gonzaga ate a series of short elbows to the side of the head and put him instantaneously into a coma.
Gonzaga was on a three-fight winning streak before the loss, so his job is certainly not in jeopardy.
With powerful striking and deadly submissions, he can compete anywhere that a fight goes. Add that to the fact that he has name value and a highlight reel full of UFC finishes and he will get a notable opponent.
Gonzaga should face the loser of UFC 159's matchup between Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo.
Miesha Tate went into Saturday night's matchup with Cat Zingano looking to earn a rematch with Ronda Rousey. Instead, she found herself on the losing end of a surefire contender for Fight of the Year.
The action was back and forth for the first two rounds. Takedowns and submission attempts from both fighters were matched only by stiff punches and knee strikes.
Zingano took Miesha down to start the third and never lost control. A series of knee strikes ended the fight and gave Tate her fourth career loss.
Tate is a former champion and one of the few women in the division with name value. The biggest matchup available to her right now is a fight with recent Rousey victim Liz Carmouche.
It's interesting that Uriah Hall had trouble believing in himself while competing on The Ultimate Fighter, because he certainly had no shortage of self-confidence on Saturday night.
Hall lost the first and third rounds to Team Sonnen's last pick Kelvin Gastelum. Ironically, in those rounds, the Jamaican competed with his hands at his waist, as if trying to channel Anderson "The Spider" Silva.
Saturday night's loss will be impossible to overcome, as Hall had been pegged as a future title contender by the MMA media and coach Chael Sonnen alike. Now, he is just another TUF loser who didn't live up the the hype behind him.
Does the name Tommy Speer ring any bells?
Hall will certainly get another fight inside the Octagon, but it will not be a ranked opponent as many predicted. However, the UFC will try to salvage his career by booked Uriah against someone willing to stand and bang.
Uriah Hall should fight Stanislav Nedkov later this summer.
Kudos to Scott Jorgensen for his third-round rally against Urijah Faber. However, it wasn't enough to stop "The California Kid," who has yet to lose a non-title fight at any point in his career.
Jorgensen was choked out in the fourth round after a fast-paced fight.
One week after a split-decision loss to Brad Pickett, bantamweight Mike Easton should be ready for a late summer bout and would make for a fresh matchup for the heavily tattooed fighter.