The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 Finale goes down this Saturday night (April 13, 2013) from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and on paper the card looks to be the best TUF Finale Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has ever put forward.
A bantamweight affair between the world's No. 2 ranked 135-pound fighter Urijah Faber and the No. 7 ranked Scott Jorgensen takes main stage at the event; however, there are plenty of other key matches slated.
Supporting the main event is the TUF 17 middleweight finale between Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum, as well as a high-stakes women's bantamweight match up as former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate makes her Octagon debut against undefeated Cat Zingano.
With the three bouts listed above garnering a lot of attention from both fans and media, it's time to break down what -- besides a paycheck -- a victory in "Sin City" on Saturday means for the six athletes carrying this fight card.
Despite being the No. 2 ranked bantamweight contender and coming off an impressive win over Ivan Menjivar just 49-days prior to this event, a win for Urijah Faber on Saturday night doesn't really mean much or take him anywhere in the division.
Not to be mistaken, "The California Kid" cannot afford a loss and would of course add another win to his resume and maintain his status as one of the top dogs in his weight class should he beat Jorgensen, but it truly doesn't go much further than that.
Even though he is now two fights removed from his loss to interim titleholder Renan Barao, no one is clamoring to see Faber get back in the cage with the champ after a lopsided loss at UFC 149 less than one year ago.
Until Barao is dethroned or Dominick Cruz comes back and the UFC can begin working on the trilogy fight with "The Dominator" that was supposed to go down at UFC 148 last year, Faber is in title purgatory at 135 pounds
Nevertheless, UFC hasn't been shy to throw title shots Faber's way regardless of where fans feel he stands in the division and if Eddie Wineland can defeat Barao at UFC 161 in June that gives Faber a much, much better chance at fighting for the gold.
That said, a win against Jorgensen means that Faber maintains his spot as one of the top contenders in the division and puts him in great position in case any opportunities pop up out of the blue.
Jorgensen has done a lot in mixed martial arts (MMA) at the highest level, but at this stage of his career he has failed to register that signature win over a big name opponent that will take his popularity and legitimacy to the next level.
"Young Guns" has the opportunity to register that win on Saturday night.
The 30-year-old is without a doubt a top-10 bantamweight and would beat a majority of the 135-pound fighters out there, but it just seems things don't go his way once he is locked in the cage with a championship-level talent.
Jorgensen has fought against current bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz, interim champ Renan Barao and current title contender Eddie Wineland, but he came up short in all three fights.
Given his track record, it would seem another loss is on the way for Jorgensen against one of the best of all time in Faber, but it only takes one breakthrough performance to change the perception of Jorgensen's legacy forever.
If the Idaho native has any hopes of fighting for UFC gold he needs a win against a fighter like Faber. There is nothing wrong with being the guy who hovers in the No. 5 to No. 10 range in their weight class, but if Jorgensen can defeat Faber, it would mean he cracks into the upper tier of the rankings and proves he is able to get past the next level of competition.
Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano
There is a lot on the line for Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano in their UFC debuts and aside from having a championship belt up for grabs, the stakes really couldn't get much higher in the second-ever female UFC fight.
The winner of Saturday night's clash will be granted the opportunity to coach opposite current UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter season 18 in what will be the first-ever coed season of the long-running reality show.
It is going to be a historic season with a mixed cast of genders and the first-ever set of female coaches. The show is going to garner a tremendous amount of attention from fans and media and for two relatively unknown fighters like Tate and Zingano, it's the type of exposure that would flip their careers upside down.
Moreover, at the conclusion of the season, whoever wins on Saturday night will face off for Rousey's title in what will likely be a pay-per-view (PPV) main event fight. A spot that, especially due to Rousey's popularity, can change not only a fighter's career, but also their entire life.
For Tate, this is an extremely important fight not only because of what's on the line with the TUF coaching gig, but that "Cupcake" desperately wants a rematch with Rousey after having her arm bent like a noodle by "Rowdy" back in March 2012. Even though the current women's division in the UFC is thin, the 26-year-old cannot afford a setback at this point in time if she wants to exact revenge on the champ.
Zingano, on the other hand, has no personal beef with Rousey and a loss to Tate wouldn't be as crushing to her career, but that's doesn't mean she won't want it just as bad.
Moments like this don't come around often for fighters and in this case a win for Tate or Zingano means their career will never be the same.
Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum
Season 17 of TUF was arguably one of the most talent-rich editions of the reality show ever and Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum are the best of the best to come out of it as they will face off for the coveting six-figure UFC contract after a long and grueling tournament.
Hall was a wrecking machine from the start of the tournament to the end as he made his way to the finals with knockout victories over Adam Cella, Bubba McDaniel and Dylan Andrews, while Gastelum secured his place with finishes of McDaniel, Collin Hart and Josh Samman.
Both men sacrificed time away from friends, family and other loved ones to spend six-weeks locked away in the isolation of the TUF house purely for the chance to achieve their goal of becoming a legitimate UFC fighter.
Now only each other stand in the way of reaping the benefits of winning what coach Chael Sonnen called, "the toughest tournament in sports."
In reality, Hall and Gastelum are talented enough that they will be signed to a UFC contract regardless of the outcome of their fight. However, that doesn't mean they won't want to win and get the fame, plaque and check that comes along with winning TUF.
A win for Hall or Gastelum on Saturday means their sacrifices, hard work and dedication will pay off in the form of The Ultimate Fighter season 17 crown and a secure job with the world's premier MMA organization for the foreseeable future.
What do you think a win means on Saturday for these four men and two women? Let us know in the comments section below!