The Ultimate Fighter Finale Reactions: The Main Card

Dec 15, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson celebrates his win over Matt Mitrione (not pictured) during their heavyweight bout in the Ultimate Fighter Finale at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Smith won by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports

As I described in my Prelim post, here, I had to get up early to watch The Ultimate Fighter Finale this morning, because last night I was attending one of those awkward work Christmas parties that no one really wants to be at. Assuming you have read my reactions to the Prelims, you may move on to reading my reactions to the main card, which are as follows:

I think it’s cute that the TUF finalists and commentators still try to hype how the winner of the tournament receives a “UFC contract.” While I appreciate that the winner will get paid more initially, and will get a greater benefit from the UFC hype machine (at least to start), I think we all realize after what seems like 100 TUF seasons that anyone who looks even the slightest bit impressive during the show is going to get a chance in the UFC.

Watching the UFC’s free-televised events on DVR is a life-changing experience. Gone are the days when I have to sit through 500 commercials for Metro PCS and Harley Davidson in between fights, rounds, and video packages. Makes it so much easier, and quicker, to watch. Plus, I get to avoid the showings of that Southern Comfort, fat guy speedo commercial which for some unknown reason has apparently been targeted at the UFC’s audience.

What is up with guys throwing up before fights? Between Bellator and now the UFC, this makes it two fights in two weeks cancelled due to doctors seeing a guy throw up in the locker room. Maybe guys need to be banned from the buffets between the weigh ins and fights? Either way, it’s a shame that we missed the explosive Melvin Guillard-Jamie Varner fight at The Ultimate Fighter Finale. Get well soon Jamie!

I met Jonathan Brookins on New Year’s Eve in the streets of Orlando a couple years back. Nothing else to that story, but I thought I would say it by chance it makes me look slightly cooler.

Dustin Poirier and Jonathan Brookins came out guns-a-blazin’, with both using the “block punches with your face” strategy. Predictably, this led to a lot of punches connecting solidly, and a lot of damaging blows between the two of them. The strategy eventually came back to bite Brookins, who would get tagged at the end of the first round and then fall into a fight-ending D’arce choke. Poirier got an impressive finish in an exciting brawl, but he needs to work on his stand-up defense if he’s going to make it to the UFC’s next level. That being said, he appears to have an iron chin and a heavy fist, so what do I know? Good opening scrap!

Confirming my initial guess, Rustam Khabilov’s suplexes are just as impressive the second time you see them!

I was really pumped for this Pat Barry and Shane Del Rosario fight. Whether it involves brutal leg kicks, powerbombs, thrilling comebacks, crying, or awkward, mid-fight man hugs, for better or worse, Pat Barry fights are always something to see. The end of the first round was a case study involving Barry getting himself in terrible positions and Del Rosario not being able to take advantage of them, culminating somehow in Barry getting in the dominant position by the end of the frame. And, as we’ve seen time and time again, if you don’t take advantage of Barry on the ground, you are probably going to end up knocked the eff out, which is exactly what happened to Del Rosario. Absolutely devastating knockout win for Barry, who then proceeded to tell the camera that he is too small to be a heavyweight. I see what you did there Pat, it’s ironic that you brutally knocked a guy out, as everyone always says you’re too small. Then, as always, Barry crushed the emotional journey that was his interview with Rogan.

The video package prior to the tournament finale showed how important being at Tristar has been to Mike Ricci, as it has apparently taught him how to dress and do his hair like Rory MacDonald. Speaking of fashion, the grey jockeys were an interesting choice for Colton Smith to wear in the octagon.

The Smith-Ricci fight was pretty action-packed, though nothing extremely notable happened. Smith obviously employed a great strategy by focusing on his grappling. For all the bellyaching about Mazzagatti missing the blatant nut-shot by Smith, I don’t really feel bad for Ricci, as he tried to throw a haymaker after slinking back and initially pointing at his balls. Regardless, Mazzagatti did still hilariously suck. As unlucky as Ricci was with that kick, he was very lucky that Smith did not properly know how to finish a rear naked choke. Overall though, this fight was all Colton Smith. He may not have done a ton of damage but, at the end of the day, he completed dominated all three rounds and smothered Ricci on the way to the glass trophy. Not sure I’ve ever seen a guy on another guy’s back for that long in a three-round fight.

Training with the Blackzilians has been advantageous for Matt Mitrione, as he looks to be in great shape, and is much more tan than normal. He also looked very spry on his feet, especially with his left kicks. Mitrione was able to land a lot early, and seemed to be getting the better of the less-athletic Roy Nelson in the early minute. Unfortunately for Mitrione, however, Big Country has a chin made of some forged mixed of iron and granite and was able to walk through all of those shots with no apparent effect. All it then took was one big uppercut from Nelson to get through, and lead to the knockout finish in the first round. Hopefully the UFC re-books Nelson-Carwin (again) to put that chin to the ultimate test.

Between these main card bouts, the prelims, and last night, it has been an explosive 48 hours for the UFC. Here’s to hoping this sets up a great end of the year for MMA!

Topics: Dustin Poirier, Mma, Roy Nelson, The Ultimate Fighter Finale, UFC

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