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A rundown of the fight card for The Ultimate Fighter Finale

Posted on 06/20/2007 by RealityWanted in The Ultimate Fighter

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By Matthew Kimura
Coming up on Saturday June 23rd, the world will get to see the finale of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. There are two big fights on the card: one determines who wins The Ultimate Fighter competition, and other is between the coaches. There will also be seven other fights as well, although not all of them will be broadcasted. I'll run down the rest of the fights, and give you some insight on the guys involved.
Also, if you want to be bold, leave your predictions as a comment on the bottom. I had to change up some of mine, but the ones I have now I'm keeping. Just don't take them to Vegas...or if you do be sure to send me some greenback or something.

BJ Penn "The Prodigy" (5'9", 170, 10-3-1) v. Jens Pulver "Little Evil" (5'7", 150, 21-6-1)
These two aren't strangers by any means. They first met a UFC 35, back in January of 2002. Penn was the heavy favorite coming in as he was young and on the rise. The only thing Jens had going for him was that he was the UFC Lightweight champion. Surprisingly, Pulver kept Penn in check and pounded out a decision victory. Ever since then, Penn has been foaming at the mouth to avenge that loss.
Penn is the favorite in the fight. His resume includes beating Matt Hughes back in 2004 for the UFC Welterweight Championship. He's lost his last two fights, although his opponents weren't anyone to scoff at (Matt Hughes in a rematch, and George St. Pierre). Penn's pretty solid on his feet, but his bread and butter is his submissions. He's a world class BJJ fighter and has won a ton of competitions.
Jens is the underdog of the fight, although holding a win over Penn may be in his favor� look what happened with Chuck Liddell and Quinton Jackson. Jens is an awesome wrestler and packs a pretty mean punch. His "sprawl and brawl" technique has worked with him over a good portion of his career, but in his last eight fights he's either been knocked out, or won by knockout. If he wants a chance to beat BJ, he's going to have to hit the brakes a bit and be conservative.
My pick: BJ Penn via submission.

The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Manvel Gamburyan "Pitbull" (5'5", 155, 5-1) v. Nate Diaz (6', 155, 5-2)
I totally predicted this fight, and now I get to see it played out on Saturday. Both guys will come to the fight extremely aggressive. Manny's gameplan is pretty simple: he gets his opponent on the ground, and then smothers him with ground and pound. If he brings that to Nate Diaz, he could be in a world of trouble. All of Diaz' fights were submission clinics with him going from armlock to choke to leg lock, and then doing it all over again. Both guys are tough, and this fight is a crapshoot when it comes to picking the winner.
My pick: Tough call...I'm changing my initial pick and going with Nate Diaz via submission.

Also on the card
Roger Huerta "El Matador" (5'9", 155, 19-1-1) v. Doug Evans (5'9", 155, 6-0)
Roger Huerta has been on a tear, winning 13 of his last 14 fights (the only won he didn't win was deemed a "no contest"). In his three UFC victories, he won two by decision and one by TKO in the first round. His only loss came by submission. His training at Militech will definitely help him as well (other guys in that camp: Tim Sylvia, Matt Hughes). Doug Evans is undefeated, and has fought all of his fights in the Alaskan Fighting Championship. Half of his victories have come by decision. Two of the others were by submission and the other by TKO.
My pick: Roger Huerta via TKO. Huerta is on a roll on the big stage, and has all of the best resources a fighter can ask for. Evans has an impressive record, but there's a world of difference between the frozen tundra and the bright lights of Sin City. Jitters may get the best of him because of it.

Floyd Sword (6'0, 185, 14-2) v. Thales Leites (6'1", 185, 10-1)
Floyd Sword is a godujutsu fighter (a mix of judo, wrestling, kickboxing and bjj) straight outta New Mexico. He's won a good deal of his fights by submission, although he does have a good mix of KOs and decisions as well. This will be his first UFC fight. Thales Leites is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is a world class grappler/BJJ fighter. He's 1-1 in the UFC, beating Pete Sell by decision in his most recent bout, and has lost by decision to Martin Kampmann (that's not a horrible thing, either, as Kampmann was slated to fight Rich Franklin at UFC 74 before withdrawing from the fight due to injury). Up until he'd lost to Kampmann, Leites had won nine fights in a row, so he's no slouch.
My pick: Thales Leites via submission. Both guys like the ground game, but Leites will outclass Sword.

Brandon Melendez "The Murderer" (5'10", 155, 11-5) v. Joe Lauzon "J-Lau" (5'10", 155, 13-3)
We saw Brandon Melendez' ability to slug it out when he banged out a decision against Andy Wang. When it came time for him to fight Gray Maynard, Maynard put Melendez to sleep with a guillotine choke. Joe Lauzon made short work of Brian Gereghty, and then Cole Miller before being stopped by Nate Diaz. His game is pretty good overall and has a win over Jens Pulver via KO, so he's no stranger to big time UFC fights.
My pick: Joe Lauzon via TKO. Melendez is a good fighter, but I think Diaz will overwhelm him.

Andy Wang "The Yellow Peril" (5'6", 155, 8-6) v. Cole Miller "Magrino" (6'1, 155, 11-2)
Where the heck do these guys get their nicknames? Anyway...
Andy Wang's meal ticket is his BJJ. Unfortunately when the bell sounds he reverts to brawling, as we saw in his fight against Brandon Melendez. If he can keep a level head and fight smart, it could be his for the taking. Cole Miller has great ground game as well. Out of the 11 fights that he's had, he's won eight of them by submission. He blew right through Allen Berube in the first round, and lost a very controversial and tough fight in the semis to Nate Diaz.
My pick: Cole Miller via decision. I think Wang will lose his cool, and the match, when he starts swinging for the fences and forgets about the gameplan his coaches come up with.

Rob Emerson "The Saint" (5'9", 155, 8-6) v. Gray Maynard "The Bully" (5'8", 155, 3-0)
I'm very surprised that this fight isn't on the televised part of the card. Emerson is a great kickboxer that lost two very tough bouts in the TUF tourmanet to Corey Hill and Nate Diaz. Maynard is a great wrestler who hammered down on Wayne Weems and choked out Brandon Melendez. Both guys are tough, and put on awesome fights while on TUF. Emerson will want to keep the fight standing, while Maynard is going to want to take it to the ground. I really want to see this fight.
My pick: Gray Maynard via submission. Conditioning is one of his biggest strengths, and the further the fight goes the more it'd be in his favor.

Allen Berube "The Monstah Lobstah" (5'8", 155, 2-1) v. Leonard Garcia "Bad Boy" (5'10", 155, 13-2)
Berube was eliminated in the first fight of the TUF tournament by Cole Miller. He was then kicked out of the house later in the season when Noah Thomas and Marlan Sims got into a fight at the house. Berube got into MMA back in June 2006, so he's still pretty green. He got into the fight game so he could promote his restaurant. Garcia is currently 0-1 in the UFC (against Roger Huerta), but has won most of his fights by submission. He's a tough guy, and has a lot more experience in the cage than Berube does.
My pick: Leonard Garcia via submission. He's going to take this fight to the ground and own it.
Brian Geraghty "Duke" (5'7", 155, 24-9-2) v. Matt Wiman "Handsome" (5'10", 155, 6-3)
Here's what Geraghty told the UFC in regards to how he trains:

TRAINING: wake up 6:30 am train boxing and do conditioning. Take a long break and cat nap. Come back at 6:00 pm train grappling and MMA for 2 hours. Last, I hit the weight room for weight training. Meditate for 5 to 6 seconds. Eat two boxes of Snickers ice cream bars. Then have a poop and a nap.

Wiman is a blue belt in BJJ. Currently he is 0-1 in the UFC, suffering a loss via TKO to Spencer Fisher.

My pick: Brian Geraghty via KO for the sheer fact that he's awesome. Plus, Wiman was eliminated by Manny Gamburyan in the semis because he admitted that his head wasn't in the fight. How do you not go into a fight with that sort of magnitude with your head not in it?

The Ultimate Fighter


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