The finale to “the best season ever” (yeah, Dana White does say this about every season) of the Ultimate Fighter is live this Saturday beginning at 5:30 pm ET on Facebook. The prelims are live on Fuel TV beginning at 7pm and the main card is live at 9pm on FX. All the action takes place in the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are looking to improve on our 0-4 record at UFC on Fuel TV 9: Mousasi vs Latifi where we had all underdog picks. Unfortunately on this card, as many of the fighters are making their UFC debuts, we only have 3 picks. In addition though, we will be writing briefly about the other 2 main card bouts featuring TUF 17 competitors.
Urijah Faber vs Scott Jorgensen
The main event at this event kind of lacks appeal to the casual fan, but it will feature two of the bantamweight division’s best in Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen. In an extremely competitive divison, it only takes a couple wins over top opponents to earn a title shot so winning this contest and another one in the future would likely set up either of these two fighters for a title shot. Faber is 5-5 in his last 10. Not a great record until you consider the fact that every loss he has had has been for a title. His record seems to inidicate that he is a guy who just can’t get the job done when a title is on the line. On the other hand, maybe his skill level has him as an upper echelon guy and he is favoured by management because of his undeniable fan appeal. Faber was able to quickly finish his last fight just a couple months ago vs upper tier bantamweight Ivan Menjivar.
Jorgensen, on the other hand, last defeated John Albert at UFC on FOX: Henderson vs Diaz back in December. Prior to that he had consecutive losses to Eddie Wineland and current interim champ, Renan Barao. He has finished just 7 of his 14 wins compared to 22 of 27 by Faber. Our model has Jorgensen winning this battle by a small margin. Even though we don’t necessarily agree that Jorgensen will win, the fact that our model has him winning likely means there is some value in betting on him at the current line of 4.75 to 1. Therefore, we placed a 1 unit bet on Jorgensen at 4.75 to 1.
TUF 17 Finals: Uriah Hall vs Kelvin Gastelum
Both fighters come into the final with an interesting story from their time in the house. Uriah Hall seemingly didn’t fit in very well, at times offending the other competitors and appearing anti-social. Obviously, this could have just been the UFC giving him extra face time so we got to know one of the guys who ends up in the finals. We would be amiss if we didn’t mention his highlight reel knockouts of Adam Cella and Bubba McDaniel. The hype train is in full force as Hall prepares to take on little known Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum is the youngest competitor in the house and was also the last to be picked when the teams were drafted. As Coach Chael Sonnen puts it “Kelvin is not the best at anything, but he does everything well.” At 4.03 to 1, it is tempting to place a bet on the young Gastelum as we feel like Hall is a good fighter, but he is overhyped. In reality though, our picks are based on a mathematical model and since we cannot predict this fight using math, we will not be placing a bet.
Travis Browne vs Gabriel Gonzaga
Browne, who seemed like an extremely promising heavyweight with a 5 fight unbeaten streak to start his UFC career returns to action following a TKO loss to Antonio Silva (although a major contributor to that was the knee injury suffered by Browne). Gonzaga will look to continue his win streak which is currently at 2 fights after he returned to the UFC in January, 2012. In a relatively weak heavyweight division with very few top competitors, both fighters will be looking for a win to bump them into the upper echelon. In addition, both fighters are finishers with Gonzaga finishing all 14 of his career wins and Browne finishing 11 of 13. We placed a 2 unit bet on Browne at 1.4 to 1.
Cole Miller vs Bart Palaszewski
In what is likely a “loser leaves town” matchup in the featherweight division, we have underdog Cole Miller defeating Bart Palaszewski. Palaszewski is just 1-2 since joining the UFC out of the WEC, while Miller sits at 7-5 in his much longer UFC run which has included significant time at both lightweight and featherweight. Our model has Miller as a significant favourite so we placed a 1.5 unit bet at 2.55 to 1.
We will also be keeping a close eye on the other TUF cast members who will be fighting at this show. Bubba McDaniel will be looking to prove himself to be more than just hype after being unable to secure a win in 2 opportunities on the show. He takes on first episode loser, Gilbert Smith. Also clashing are Josh Samman and Kevin Casey, Luke Barnatt and Colin Hart, Dylan Andrews and Jimmy Quinlan and Clint Hester takes on Strikeforce crossover, Bristol Marunde.
Jorgensen over Faber. 1 unit at 4.75 to 1
Browne over Gonzaga. 2 units at 1.4 to 1
Miller over Palaszewski. 1.5 units at 2.55 to 1
Here are the latest odds for the card: