clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale predicitions, preview and analysis

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 Finale is set for tomorrow (June 21) LIVE from the The Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a three-hour Spike TV special that will air at 9 p.m. ET.

Remember: will provide LIVE updates and blow-by-blow, round-by-round commentary of the main card action throughout the telecast. As usual, it promises to be a great discussion during an exciting night of fights.

To get us pumped for the evening festivities, site contributor and mixed martial arts guru Andrew Nostvick will attempt to erase the shame of Mania's last effort by going toe-to-toe with senior writer and turgid egomaniac Jesse Holland with predictions for tomorrow's event.

The mission: Forecast which fighters will leave the Octagon with their hands raised during the featured fights of the show.

It’s important to note for the predictions that while someone may be lauding a certain fighter, he isn’t necessarily the guy who he thinks is going to win.

Basically, we never want this to come out sounding repetitive. At the end of each analysis, therefore, you will see the individual picks at the conclusion of the write ups.

Let’s get to it:

Evan Tanner (32-7) vs. Kendall Grove (8-5)

Andrew Nostvick: When was the last time you saw Kendall Grove in a good fight. Since he defeated Ed Herman in the Ultimate Fighter season three finale, Grove is 2-2 in the UFC and has lost two straight fights. Grove's two losses came against Patrick Cote and Jorge Rivera. Grove has the chance to possibly lose three straight fights when he takes on Evan Tanner. Tanner appears to be back on track. He showed quite some promise in his loss to Okami. Tanner had a good first round and was hanging in there up until the knee knockout by Okami, who has to be one of the top contenders in the Middleweight division. Tanner is the much more experienced fighter in this fight, fighting for 10+ years. Tanner has every chance to go out there and beat Grove.

Jesse Holland: Tanner appears to be back on track? Didn't he spend the last two years of his life in a Vietnamese jungle yammering nonsensically like Colonel Kurtz only to be knocked out in his return at UFC 82? I guess he is back on track, if that track leads to the corner of Fifth and Failure. Now Kendall Grove on the other hand was in cruise control ever since his sensational fight against Ed Herman at The Ultimate Finale 3 almost two years ago. And he continued to not only win, but to look dominant in each fight thereafter, culminating in a lopsided victory over Alan Belcher at UFC 69. He hit a serious road bump however at UFC 74 when Patrick Cote TKO'd him in the first round. That loss seemed to affect him going into his bout against Jorge Rivera at UFC 80 and he paid for it with a KO. Now the question remains: Is Grove finished? Not with a win against Tanner he isn't. And Tanner is the perfect style of fighter for Grove. Tanner doesn't have knockout power and prefers to pound his opponents into a stoppage or submission. I don't see Tanner being able to survive the clinch of Grove, who happens to have devastating knees that he can throw with ease because of his towering height. And wasn't Tanner's last knockout because of a knee? Tanner has heart, but it's too late in the game for him to turn this thing around. Grove has the skill, all he needs is the confidence. A third straight loss will likely send him packing and he knows it. Look for an angry, desperate Hawaiian to make mince meat of a bewildered Tanner.

Final predictions:
Jesse Holland: Grove via technical knockout
Andrew Nostvick: Tanner via technical knockout

Diego Sanchez (18-2) vs. Luigi Fioravanti (12-3)

Andrew Nostvick: Okay so the odds might be stacked against Fioravanti, but he does have a shot to beat Sanchez. Fioravanti could play spoiler. When was the last time Sanchez won a big fight, oh that's right, it was almost two years ago. Sanchez has lost two of his last three, no matter how you look at it. There are doubts about Sanchez. He still has a lot to prove. Fioravanti could defeat Sanchez. It won't necessarily be the upset of the century, but hey it is still possible. Besides, there are other ways that Fioravanti could win. Maybe it goes down like when Drederick Tatum had a heart attack on his way to the ring in that one Simpsons episode, or so Homer hoped. Ideally for Fioravanti, if he can get Sanchez distracted, it could go well.

Jesse Holland: So first Tanner is getting back on track after being put to sleep and now Sanchez still has a lot to prove? You know, because winning seventeen straight fights and defeating guys like Karo Parisyan, Nick Diaz and Kenny Florian are such routine accomplishments. Sanchez gets a pass in the Koscheck fight because he wasn't manhandled or outworked: He threw two punches the entire fight and Koscheck threw four, thus making the decision a matter of mathematics. Then he loses to Fitch in a split decision. Last time I checked Fitch was 8-0 in the Octagon. Sanchez is an animal inside the cage and he's proved that time and time again, most recently against David Bielkheden at UFC 82. Fioravanti is a scrapper, but he doesn't have that big win that would make an argument for his chances of pulling off the upset. Sanchez will do here what he always does: Attack relentlessly until Fioravanti succumbs to the onslaught. This won't get out of the first round.

Final predictions:
Jesse Holland: Sanchez via technical knockout
Andrew Nostvick: Sanchez via submission

CB Dolloway (6-0) vs Amir Sadollah (0-0)

Andrew Nostvick: He beat Dollaway once and you can bet Amir Sadollah can do it again. Dollaway's going to bring his A-game, no doubt about it. Sadollah took some harsh punishment, but rest assure, lightning can strike twice. Sadollah had to work hard to reach this point. He defeated Steve Byrnes in the prelims, Gerald Harris in the first round, Matt Brown in the quarterfinals and his current opponent, Dollaway in the semifinals. Sure Dollaway has the experience, but Sadollah has a chance to beat him again. It could go down like this.

Jesse Holland: Amir Sadollah has got to be the luckiest fighter in the history of the UFC. Not only does he get on the show with a 0-0 record, but he also defeats four competent fighters to reach the finals. Now some might argue that repeated instances of luck is not luck but skill. I'm not entirely sold. I will concede that Amir Sadollah is a likable guy and a tough fighter, but he was on his way to a loss against Dolloway in the semifinals when he pulled that submission out of nowhere. Now I have to believe that a fighter like Dolloway will learn from that mistake - and not let it happen again at the finale. Dolloway has an edge in striking and Amir will not be able to defend the takedowns. Is Sadollah good or just lucky? He'll have his chance to prove it once and for all on Saturday night.

Final predictions:
Jesse Holland: Dolloway via unanimous decision
Andrew Nostvick: Sadollah via technical knockout

Spencer Fisher (20-4) vs. Jeremy Stephens (13-2)

Andrew Nostvick: As a person who is familiar with MMA in Iowa, I can assure you this is going to be one helluva fight. Regardless of the outcome, you can be sure that these two are going to go full force at each other. This kid from Des Moines is young and exciting. He brings his best stuff to the cage every time. Stephens slams people. Stephens did it to Din Thomas, to Diego Saraiva and to Cole Miller. Hell, he could do it to you, if given the opportunity. Might he try and slam Spencer Fisher, I wouldn't count on that. Fisher is not very good on the ground. You saw the Frankie Edgar fight (or maybe you didn't). Fisher would suffer takedown after takedown. Stephens can take down Fisher faster than you can say, Hicadoola! I do know that Stephens can stand with Fisher. With as good as these two are, this has the potential to be the fight of the night.

Jesse Holland: Nostvick seems to be high on the fact that Stephens slammed Din Thomas. But he left out the part where Thomas armbarred him into next week. My cohort also thinks Fisher isn't very good on the ground. I seem to remember Fisher choking out some guy named Thiago Alves at Ultimate Fight Night 2 - one of his seven submissions. Not bad for a guy with no ground skills. Now Fisher has talent, but he was stifled by Frankie Edgar at UFC 78. Fisher learns from his mistakes. Look at his first fight against Sam Stout and then the adjustments he made in the rematch. I expect that same type of gameplan from Fisher this time around as well. He needs to work on his takedown defense and rely on his hands - which I think are more refined than Stephens. If he does find himself on his back, he needs to rely on old-faithful: The triangle choke. It's the perfect way to catch an aggressive and perhaps overeager Stephens. Fisher has four to his credit and if the hands aren't working for him, it's a great plan B.

Final predictions:
Jesse Holland: Stephens via unanimous decision
Andrew Nostvick: Fisher via technical knockout

Dante Rivera (10-2) vs. Matthew Riddle (0-0)

Andrew Nostvick: Rivera is a good fighter. This guy has a big ground advantage over Riddle. The Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter has won five of his 10 career victories via submission. Riddle's didn't even make it out of the first round (he did make it out of the prelims). Riddle lost to Tim Credeur. Rivera has a chance to put Riddle in his place. Riddle is a young guy and he has a lot of fighting to do if he wants to be a success. My colleague even acknowledges this. Don't believe me, here's the quote:"...Riddle admits that he has at least 10-15 years left in MMA. That's assuming he can first get his driver's license and move out of his Mom's house." I'll leave it at that...

Jesse Holland: What is there to say about Matthew Riddle? Aside from his obnoxious haircut and bone-shattering knockout of Dan Simmler what is there to analyze? He is also sporting the big 0-0 record, but at least Amir Sadollah is riding four wins into the Saturday's card. Despite that, Riddle can actually win this because Rivera has a questionable gas tank. Riddle should push the pace and throw bombs. If he can keep Rivera at bay long enough he might be able to catch him walking upright. Riddle however must avoid ending up on the ground where he is vulnerable to the submission game of Rivera. Not that Rivera has mind-blowing takedowns but Riddle can be a little reckless at times. Keep it standing and Riddle has a chance.

Final predictions:
Jesse Holland: Rivera via submission
Andrew Nostvick: Rivera via Submission

That’s a wrap, folks.

Remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and our coverage of Ultimate Finale 7. For the complete fight card click here.

What do you think? Now it’s your turn … let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for Ultimate Finale 7.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania