This Saturday, the long, arduous journey of Court "The Crusher" McGee and Kris "Savage" McCray comes to a head as they face off in a three-round war for the honor of being the fifth Middleweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter in the eleventh season finale of the series.
Along with this, Spike TV viewers will also see the clash of two Ultimate Fighter alumni, as "The Dean of Mean" Keith Jardine faces Matt "The Hammer" Hamill in what is perceived as a "do or die" fight for the season two alumni.
A product of Loveland, Ohio, and a fan favorite out of the fabled Team Punishment camp run by Tito Ortiz, "The Hammer" will return after a six-month layoff following a first-round win by disqualification to Jon "Bones" Jones due to illegal elbows.
The win was one that many fans believed would have been a TKO for Jones had the elbows not been thrown.
Also seeing action are Aaron Simpson and the original "lunatic" of The Ultimate Fighter , Chris "The Crippler" Leben in a Middleweight bout that is bound to produce fireworks.
Below is the entire card from top to bottom. Prelims will air on Spike as time permits.
- Matt Hamill vs. Keith Jardine
- Court McGee vs. Kris McCray
- Chris Leben vs. Aaron Simpson
- Spencer Fisher vs. Dennis Siver
- Rich Attonito vs. Jamie Yager
- John Gunderson vs. Mark Holst
- Seth Baczynski vs. Brad Tavares
- Josh Bryant vs. Kyle Noke
- Chris Camozzi vs. James Hammortree
- Travis Browne vs. James McSweeney
You can view all news on the event here .
As far as the main cards go, I'd like to give some insight for those who don't know much about these warriors.
Let's have a look at the main card.
Attonito Vs. Yager
Jamie Yager is this season's token jerk.
Here's a Muay Thai fighter with two wins and a DQ loss, and he's good with his stand-up having used his skills to get him to the semifinals against Josh Bryant.
All of that skill, and the fact that his two wins were by doctor stoppage and knockout-due-to-punches respectively, is overshadowed by the fact that Yager was the guy that everyone loved to hate on the show.
Rich Attonito had a rough time of his own on the show because he had a DQ win over Kyacey Uscola and subsquently was found to have broken his hand.
Had the latter not happened, it might have been "Richie The Guido" Vs. McCray in the finals.
Now, however, is a moment in which Joe "Leonidas" Henle isn't the only jealous face in the cast, as Clayton McKinney, James Hammortree, and Uscola all wanted a crack at "The Chosyn 1."
"The Raging Bull" now serves as a Visa in the eyes of those three in this instance, as Attonito is now somewhere that the three aforementioned members of Team Ortiz/Franklin want to be:
Across the cage from Jamie Yager.
The Breakdown of Attonito Vs. Yager
On the feet: I'll give it to Yager, but my guess is that he may have to wrap up the fight pretty early when he faces Rich.
It showed that once Yager wasn't able to finish Bryant in the first round, he seemed to shut down completely, which may explain how he got rocked by Bryant later on in the fight.
If Jamie comes into the fight as the better conditioned fighter, maybe that won't be the case.
Still, I'd work on my strength and conditioning if I were Yager.
Not to say that he didn't look like he could go three rounds when he was on the show, but at least if he comes into this fight as the better conditioned fighter, he might have less of a likelihood of getting rocked and a higher probability of rocking "The Raging Bull."
On the ground : I'm going to give this one to the American Top Team talent. Rich has seen Yager in action enough to where he knows that the feet is where Yager wants it.
Whether the Muay Thai striker fighting out of Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, California, can control Attonito on the ground will remain to be seen. Until Saturday, I'd have to say that the ground is Attonito's place of interest.
The Verdict : If it stays standing, Yager by either TKO or possibly decision unless he gets caught by a shot on the button by Rich. More than likely, though, the more seasoned and possibly more well-rounded Attonito will add another win by either submission or decision to his record.
Spencer Fisher Vs. Dennis Siver
Siver is coming off the loss to Ross Pearson at UFC's last Fight Night on Spike.
Fisher is taking this fight as his first since the loss to Joe Stevenson at UFC 104.
Both men have BJJ and stand-up ability—Siver has Kickboxing and Sambo, while Fisher has Muay Thai and boxing ability.
This one could get interesting.
The Breakdown of "The King" and Siver
On the feet: Siver isn't my favorite fighter in the world, but he can scrap with the best of them.
He can give Fisher trouble, and he doesn't need to count on one well-timed shot to do it.
That said, Spencer can cause trouble as well. He can take out the legs of an opponent or land a countershot with the same ferocity as one of his own lefts or rights.
I think the leg kick could be the difference-maker in this stand-up war, either way. It's just a matter of whether Siver or Fisher can fire it off first.
The feet is where it's anyone's game as far as Fisher and Siver are concerned.
For an edge, though, Siver may get controlled by Fisher's striking if he stays on the feet.
On the ground: It's a tough call on paper, but it seems like this one could also be a strong spot for Fisher.
Now, the only way I'd mean that is if Siver didn't have eight wins of his own by tapout.
That tells me that, even though Siver isn't one of the top Lightweights in the world right now, he is a skilled submission specialist who likes to make people tap out on the ground.
Fisher's number of knockout wins trails ahead of his number of submission wins by three, so that shows me that he's a pretty well-rounded fighter who can hold his own with submission specialists.
I say Fisher could get the edge on Siver if he takes down Siver. There's no telling before fight night if he has the edge on the ground with Siver if he's the one that gets taken down.
It really depends on if Fisher can get taken down, and if he can, how hard he lands when Siver gets him down.
The Verdict : In his career, Dennis Siver's lost one by knockout, and one by submission, but he's lost two by decision. The motto is usually "Never leave it in the hands of the judges" but I think—and after Siver faced Pearson, I hope—that this fight with Fisher goes all three rounds.
If it does, I'm going to predict a split decision win for Fisher, but Dennis Siver may very well prove that he belongs in the UFC.
Leben Vs. Simpson
With Chris Leben, you can guarantee some good action in a fight. He's got skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he's a wrestler, and he's ended 10 fights by way of some form of knockout.
This Saturday, though, he's got something else: a fight with an undefeated former two-time All-American at Arizona State.
Aaron Simpson's only decision win in his career came when he faced Tom Lawlor at the 20th UFC Fight Night, which saw Gray Maynard face The Ultimate Fighter 's season five winner Nate Diaz.
Every fight before that has been either a TKO or a knockout, all in the "W" column for Simpson.
I'd say only two of those fights were the closest thing to an easy fight for Simpson.
The rest weren't so easy.
Neither is Leben.
The Break Down of Simpson VS. "The Crippler"
On the feet : I'll be nice and give Simpson a chance here since he's beaten all but Tom Lawlor and Ed Herman by his strikes, but there's not a lot that Simpson could show that Leben hasn't seen.
Leben is just as lethal on the feet as the younger Simpson is, but someone with the experience of Leben probably isn't the guy that you'd want to stand with for long.
On the ground : This is where I think a "standout wrestler" like Simpson wants a guy like Leben, though Leben is a wrestler too.
Maybe Leben can sprawl if Simpson tries taking him down, and maybe vice versa for if Simpson gets taken down by Leben.
The difference here is that Leben can use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and everyone will know about it. Simpson, to my knowledge, hasn't done that.
Recently, a streak of "Wrestler Vs Jiu Jitsu Artist" fights have ended with the wrestler winning, but not because of superior wrestling.
They've won because they've knocked out the opponent in the first round of the fight.
Leben will have to explode with his takedowns in order to neutralize Simpson's ability to do just that.
The Verdict : Leben, if he can explode with takedowns, can get the win any way he wants it. If he doesn't, Simpson gets the biggest win of his career so far. I like Leben, but I'm going to have to go with Simpson by yet another shocking TKO.
The Ultimate Fighter Middleweight Finale - Court McGee Vs. Kris McCray
It all comes down to this.
Will Chuck Liddell get satisfaction in the fact that his team won this season, even though his career seems to have come to a close, or will Tito Ortiz get satisfaction in watching this season's "dark horse" fall, even though it was Rich Franklin that beat Liddell this past Saturday.
Let's wait and see.
The Breakdown of the Eleventh Ultimate Fighter Final
It's very simply a battle of a freestyle fighter versus a straight-up wrestler who can submit people.
McGee has the capabilities to take down people and submit them, but he also has what it takes to stand and bang with the best.
McCray, despite the fact that he's only submitted teammate Kyacey Uscola on the show, will not be a person that will serve as McGee's personal punching bag.
He's in the final for a reason, as is McGee.
On the feet : I say on the feet, your guess is as good as mine as to who gets the edge, but if I had to say one or the other, I'd say McCray has the advantage so long as he doesn't rely on one big shot to knock out.
I say that because as good as McCray is—and even if you're backing McGee, you can't deny the talent in McCray—he has shown that his conditioning isn't a reflection of his perfect five-fight pro record.
The 28-year-old member of this season's all-non-Caucasian sensation known as the "Minority Report" will have to amp up his conditioning to a level where he can keep the pressure on McGee with a flurry or strikes rather than having to count on one shot to put away his opposition.
Perhaps "Savage" will be the more powerful striker, but depending on how these two prepare for the fight, there's no telling if it will be savage who is the more technical striker.
As far as technical striking, that one could go to McGee.
On the ground : Ask any member of Team Liddell about Court McGee, and they'll say that in most of his fights, they felt that he had the edge with his wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu coming into his fights,
Such I feel is the same for "The Crusher" coming into his fight with McCray.
He's shown that he has what it takes to take opponents down and neutralize their ability to strike or work off their back, as well as submit them—a truth made known by the win he was able to score over teammate Brad Tavares.
This one is where McCray only has the advantage if he can take down and control McGee. Not to say "explode" with them, but taking down someone enough times eventually depletes their gas tank to where they can't defend themselves properly.
Also, it takes a lot out of a person's back when they get taken down over and over again.
Will McCray be able to take down McGee repeatedly in this fight? Probably not, unless his cardio and conditioning gets insanely amped, but wearing down McGee could at least help keep McGee from working any of his ground game
The Verdict : Out of the eleven-season run of The Ultimate Fighter , all the likes from Forrest Griffin to Roy Nelson have emerged as stars in one respect or another.
Forrest was the first fighter from the series to win a title. Rashad Evans was the first Ultimate Fighter to remain undefeated before his first title shot. Roy Nelson will be the first Ultimate Fighter to make his UFC PPV debut against a top-five Heavyweight when he faces Junior Dos Santos at UFC 117.
In the Middleweight division, four men have proven to be forces throughout the series and find their own success after the finale.
Court McGee and Kris McCray... who will become the next Ultimate Fighter?
McGee has surprised a lot of people to get to where he's at, as has McCray.
I admire McGee's heart, but I think McCray will surprise even him and eventually make his mark on a division that may not be ruled by Anderson Silva at the end of 2010.
Hamill Vs Jardine
The return of Matt Hamill comes in a fight that is a must-win for Keith Jardine, the latter of whom has lost his last few fights.
This bout will be a clash of two former Ultimate Fighter alumni that I would think might hit the ground, but it's likely to stay on the feet
Either way, it's going to be one hell of a fight.
The Breakdown of Hamill's Return Fight against Jardine
On the feet : Hamill's stand-up game isn't the best in the world at the Light Heavyweight level, but it is good enough to where he can give Jardine trouble.
Jardine's bread-and-butter of course are his leg kicks, which he uses to slow his opponents down.
That's how Jardine sets up for shots. He takes the legs out without taking the opponent down.
Hamill needs an answer for that or he could wind up easy pickings for Jardine.
On the ground : Hamill might want this on the ground, but the Greg Jackson method is wrestling mixed with Judo in what is called "Gaidojutsu."
Also, some feel that "complete fighters" are from the Jackson camp because with Gaidojutsu, you also get other standard disciplines of MMA like BJJ and kickboxing, plus you get grappling expertise.
Thus, Jardine could hold his own on the ground if the fight goes there but he might need to implement some takedown defense if he's looking to stand.
The Verdict : Jardine needs the win in order to possibly save his run in the UFC, so he'll need to stand as much as possible. That said, Hamill I think will put the nail in Jardine's coffin by way of one sickening shot in one of the first two rounds.
Agree to disagree with any of the above predictions, but get amped up, as beyond the bouts with established stars, two men will walk into the cage with a dream.
The harsh reality, however, is that only one man will have that dream shattered.
Who will become the next Ultimate Fighter?
You'll just have to wait and see.
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