Before The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 Finale main card kicked off on FX tonight (Sat., April 13, 2013) from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, an entire seven-bout "Prelims" under card was broadcast on Facebook and FUEL TV, respectively.
The headlining bout of TUF 17 Finale "Prelims" card on FUEL TV saw Josh Samman score an outstanding comeback victory against Kevin Casey for a second-round technical knockout win. The fight started with Casey nearly picking up a stunning upset as he locked in multiple submission attempts from the bottom that would have had many fighters tapping out.
Samman displayed tremendous heart, though, as he fought through everything Casey threw at him until he got the fight back to the feet. From there, the 25-year-old was able to take over as he wrapped up Casey in the Muay Thai clinch and completely dominated with knees to the body and face. Casey appeared to have little idea how to properly defend the attacks, and Samman quickly became aware of that and landed knee after knee until Casey fell over from the damage and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.
Samman's performance was without a doubt one of the best on the "Prelims" card and the TUF 17 semifinalist showed the reason he was one of the top middleweight prospects on his season of the reality show.
Luke Barnatt and Collin Hart left it all inside the Octagon for 15-minutes in a high-paced, action-packed three-round contest that Barnatt won by unanimous decision. Each man had plenty of moments in the battle, but at the end of the fight it was the Englishman who did more in the judge's eyes and was handed the decision for his efforts. The fight was far from the most technical contest you will ever see; however, both men must be commended for leaving it all in the Octagon with a UFC contract on the line. Barnatt won the bout and will fight another day under the bright lights of the UFC, but don't be surprised if Hart gets another shot in the world's premier MMA organization simply due to the fact he put on the type of show the UFC brass loves to see.
TUF 17 semifinalist Dylan Andrews outclassed and quickly defeated cast mate Jimmy Quinlan by first-round technical knockout for an impressive victory in his UFC debut. It was clear from the outset Quinlan wanted to take the fight to the ground, but Andrews wasn't having any of it as he stuffed the takedown attempts, kept the fight on the feet and eventually timed the perfect strike that hurt Quinlan badly and led to the (late) referee stoppage. With 11 career victories by (technical) knockout, Andrews has proven to have knockout power that stacks up with the best in the division and despite being 33 years old, it will be interesting to see what the New Zealand born fighter can do in the future.
In the first bout of the televised preliminary card on FUEL TV, Clint Hester ended Bristol Marunde's night in devastating fashion with a standing elbow knockout that was eerily similar to the one Chris Weidman used to defeat Mark Munoz last year at UFC on FUEL TV 4. The finish came in the third round after a rather lackluster first two frames that were owned by Hester as he scored several knockdowns. Marunde's strategy revolved heavily around securing takedowns and working for submissions, but he was never able to put Hester in any real danger and could not survive the power of his opponent on the feet. Hester was eliminated on the very first fight of TUF 17, but was able to redeem himself with the highlight reel win.
After two failed attempts, Cole Miller finally registered a victory in the featherweight division with a first-round submission of the always tough Bart Palaszewski in the final of three Facebook preliminary bouts. Miller admitted to having a lot of pressure on his shoulders coming into the fight with three losses in his past four Octagon appearance, but his performance showed nothing of the sort as he looked sharp on the feet and especially on the ground as he meticulously worked his way towards the rear-naked choke finish and sixth submission victory of his UFC career. "Magrinho" reasserted his place back in mid-tier of the 145-pound division while Palaszewski's future in the organization is now very much up in the air after three consecutive defeats.
Maximo Blanco and Sam Sicilia engaged in a three-round war that stole the preliminary portion of the card with Blanco coming out on top by way of unanimous decision after three action packed rounds. Each man had their ups and downs in the fight, but ultimately it was Blanco's cardio and durability that allowed him to outscore his opponent and take two of the three rounds on the judge's scorecards. Some may argue that referee Kim Winslow --who made several questionable decisions in the fight-- should have taken a point from Blanco for repeatedly grabbing the fence; however, she did not penalize the Venezuelan which allowed him to walk away with his first UFC victory and first MMA win since Dec. 2010.
Daniel Pineda opened TUF 17 Finale fight card with a first-round submission of Justin Lawrence to snap his two-fight losing streak and likely save his job with the organization. "The Pit" entered the event with his back against the wall and managed to quickly take out Lawrence in what was arguably his best Octagon performance to date. Pineda proved once again that he is a finisher with the kimura submission and has earned all 18 of his professional victories by stoppage.
Here are the complete results from TUF 17 Finale "Prelims" card:
185 lbs.: Josh Samman vs. Kevin Casey - Samman wins via TKO (punches) at 2:17 of round two
185 lbs.: Luke Barnatt vs. Collin Hart - Barnatt wins via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28x2)
185 lbs.: Dylan Andrews vs. Jimmy Quinlan - Andrews wins via TKO (punches) at 3:22 of round one
185 lbs.: Clint Hester vs. Bristol Marunde - Hester wins via TKO (elbow) at 3:53 of round three
145 lbs.: Bart Palaszewski vs. Cole Miller - Miller wins via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:23 of round one
145 lbs.: Maximo Blanco vs. Sam Sicilia - Blanco wins via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
145 lbs.: Daniel Pineda vs. Justin Lawrence - Pineda wins via submission (Kimura) at 1:35 of round one
That's it for the "Prelims" portion of TUF 17 Finale fight card.
Now it's onto the main card, which will air on FX at 9 p.m. ET, featuring a five-round Bantamweight bout between top 135-pound contenders Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen, as well as TUF 17 final match between Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum. And, of course, the women's showdown between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano that earns the winner a coaching spot on TUF 18, as well as a future date with Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, is also on tap this evening.
Be sure to hit up MMAmania.com's for up to the minute results and blow-by-blow coverage of the rest of the night's TUF 17 Finale main card action by clicking here.