Last night (Sun., July 6, 2014) an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract was up for grabs when Corey Anderson met Matt Van Buren in the light heavyweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale Sports 1 from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
See full results and play-by-play here.
Still young in mixed martial arts (MMA), Anderson had parlayed his wrestling and developing stand-up to beat Josh Clark and Patrick Walsh on his way to the finals. With a ton of potential, Anderson faced a towering opponent with much more experience in Van Buren.
"Gutter" brought the advantage of having fought in Bellator four times, but his bouts weren't as decisive as Anderson's were on the show. He won a boring decision over Chris Fields before finishing a gassed Dan Spohn in the semifinals.
With Dana White dubbing TUF 19 "the worst season in history," Anderson and Van Buren needed to put on a show to make a splash in their UFC debut. In the end, Anderson used his speed and striking to burst onto the UFC scene with an amazing victory.
Anderson came out sharp, snapping a great combination to drop Van Buren and swarm with ground and pound. He scored with shots against the fence, but a wobbled Van Buren wouldn't give up. Anderson continued to blast him, scoring a takedown to take Van Buren's back and rain down punches to earn another quick first round stoppage.
Anderson took home the contract with a thunderous victory, proving those who said he just a wrestler wrong while putting a massive smile on White's face in the process. He looks to be rapidly improving in terms of his overall skills, and that means he could be an up-and-coming force at light heavyweight.
He's still very green in terms of experience, however, so he should most likely be brought along slowly. Still, given his immense talent and all-around game, a test against a bottom-level Top 25 fighter could await Anderson in his first non-TUF bout.
Like Lima at middleweight, Van Buren simply didn't show up for the Finale. Aside from an early grazing kick, he was dominated by the bull rush of Anderson's punches, and that will not bode well after he put forth one of the worst fights of the season against Fields.
We'll have to wait and see whether or not Van Buren gets another shot in the Octagon; he may not. If he does, he had better win with a stoppage or he'll be right back in the regional shows. He has the size to be effective, but he may not the enough technique to match.
Corey Anderson proved that TUF 19 wasn't all boredom by scoring a spectacular first round finish of Matt Buren at last night's Finale. What's next for the talented and rising prospect?