Anthony Ferguson of Team Lesnar and Ramsey Nijem from Team Dos Santos were featured in the main event of the evening, competing for the "six-figure" contract and the top spot in the 14-man tournament.
Each was also battling for respect -- both were not shy about their personal distaste for one another.
It was Ferguson, however, whose actions spoke louder than words. In fact, it was a right hook, left hook combination that sent Nijem to La La Land just three minutes into the very first round. It was a spectacular finish for "El Cucuy," who tonight silenced all the
haters doubters who disapproved of his antics outside the cage.
They certainly can't say anything about what he did inside it. Not tonight, anyway. He talked the talk and walked the walk.
Did he ever.
Pettis, who was supposed to fight for the UFC division championship when the promotions merged, took the dangerous fight against "The Carpenter" when those plans fell through. "Showtime" wanted to demonstrate that he was worthy of the gesture, while Guida wanted to send a message that he was just a boy among men.
One thing is for certain: Pettis is all man. Incredibly exciting to watch, too, even though he spent half of the bout fighting to avoid the takedowns and smothering top game of Guida.
But the countless submission (triangles, armbars, etc.) attempts from the bottom, flashy kicks and dynamic strikes just weren't enough to stop the Guida grinder. It wasn't pretty -- they rarely are when Guida is involved -- but once again he got the job done, dashing the immediate title aspirations for Pettis.
That's too bad -- Pettis is super talented. He's creative and mysterious, while Guida is predictable and efficient. Nonetheless, his fights are traditionally exciting and crowd pleasing even if his strengths are not.
It's quite the contradiction.
Guida claimed in his post-fight interview that he had paid his dues and was worthy of a title shot. Not so sure about that ... yet. Jim Miller certainly would have something to say about that, but then again, if he can't get passed Ben Henderson, Guida could suddenly emerge as the man for the mission.
Get ready to wrestle!
TUF alums from different seasons, Tim Credeur and Ed Herman, met in a middleweight match up -- the first fight for both fighters since 2009. "Crazy" was sidelined with a brain abnormality scare, while "Short Fuse" returned from a major knee injuries.
It didn't last long. At all.
Herman caught Credeur with a sneaky uppercut in the opening moments of the fight, turning his legs to spaghetti. He quickly followed him down to the canvas, and, four or five head bouncers later, was celebrating his first win in more than two years.
Welcome back, Ed.
That's a tough loss for Credeur, who never saw the shot that set up the eventual finish coming. And with just 48 seconds of work inside the cage, riding back-to-back losses, there's no telling what his future holds for the 34-year-old submission specialist.
Regardless, he needs to figure out how to knockoff that ring rust sooner rather than later ... Herman certainly shaved off a few chips tonight.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
"Kingsbu" came out aggressive, bullying the much smaller Brazilian boxer with flurry of big knees from the Muay Thai clench and taking him down hard. Maldonado responded with effective body blows, submission attempts and well-placed left hooks and stiff jabs that staggered the mountain of a man more than once.
As the fight extended into the later rounds, Kingsbury appeared to fade, while Maldonado kept pushing the pace and touching up his face. And by the time the horn blared to signal the fight was over, Kingsbury's mug was badly beaten and bleeding.
Nonetheless, despite likely losing the third round, Kingsbury apparently did enough early in the back-and-forth fight to win a unanimous decision. It appeared closer than perhaps the final result, but it could have gone either way.
Kingsbury pushes his current win streak to four and, in the process, makes a case that he should be paired opposite a bigger "name" opponent his next time out. Maldonado had him hurt and in several bad spots, which is a credit to Kingsbury's resolve and toughness.
But can he do the same against the upper echelon of the division? That's the question.
It wasn't an instant classic by any stretch of the imagination, but Cope out-worked and out-hustled his Irish counterpart for 15 full minutes to earn a unanimous decision from the judges sitting ringside.
He landed a few big shots, particularly in the third and final frame. However, as O'Neill demonstrated in the past, he's not that easy to finish. Cope likely lives to fight another day inside the Octagon, while O'Neill ships back to Boston wondering what went wrong.
That's enough from us -- now it's your turn to discuss TUF 13 Finale in the comments section below. Sound off, Maniacs. Let's hear what you have to say.
For complete TUF 13 Finale results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.