“The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale” delivered in essentially every way possible. Brutal knockouts, slick submissions, the continued rise of a welterweight contender and perhaps the most emotional conclusion of a season of “The Ultimate Fighter” since the show debuted in 2005. Eight of the 10 fights on the card were finished inside the distance and the card delivered from the first fight of the night until the last.
Catch my post-fight thoughts and analysis for “The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale” main card below.
- In the main event of “The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale”, Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann upset Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger via second-round knockout. Kampmann landed a thunderous knee to the chin of Ellenberger that forced referee Steve Mazzagatti to halt the fight at the 1:40 mark of the second round. After getting hurt and dropped in the opening seconds of the first round, Kampmann kept his composure and remained confident in his technical striking until he scored the final blows that ended the six-fight win streak of Ellenberger. Not many people believed Kampmann had a chance of winning the fight, let alone via knockout, however the Danish fighter proved all his critics wrong to earn his third win in a row for the first time since putting together a nine-fight win streak from 2005-2008. Great win for Kampmann and the Las Vegas based fighter is now closer to a UFC title shot than ever before.
- After 13 long, hard weeks in “The Ultimate Fighter” house in Las Vegas, the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Live” was crowned as Mike Chiesa defeated Al Iaquinta via first round submission to earn the six-figure UFC contract that comes along with winning the show. It was clear from the outset that Chiesa wanted no part of Iaquinta’s striking game and after a few thwarted attempts to take the fight to the ground, Chiesa finally got Iaquinta’s back, dragged the fight to the ground and locked in a rear-naked choke that put Iaquinta to sleep. Chiesa’s incredibly story of winning the show weeks after his father passed away from cancer is an inspiration to all and a moment that will not be forgotten anytime soon. Amazing.
- The second featherweight bout of the evening saw Charles Oliveira submit Jonathan Brookins in the second round with a slick modified guillotine choke. Oliveira seemed to have a newfound confidence in his stand up skills as the Brazilian stood in striking range with Brookins and landed a number of combinations to the chin of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 13 winner. After Brookins had enough of the stand up game, he took Oliveira to the ground but winded up on bottom position and tapped out to the choke shortly thereafter. Oliveira is now 2-0 as a featherweight and at 22-years-old is one of the brightest prospects at 145lbs.
- Max Holloway displayed a diverse striking attack to earn a unanimous decision victory over Pat Schilling in the first of two featherweight bouts at the “TUF: Live” finale. Simply put, Holloway beat the crap out of Schilling with precise shots to all areas, but it was the body shots in particular that wore Schilling down. For a fighter of just 20-year-olds, Holloway showcased composure and technique beyond his years win his win over Schilling.
- After two close back-and-forth rounds, Justin Lawrence put John Cofer to sleep with a picture-perfect right head kick to the jaw in the opening seconds of the third round. Neither Lawrence nor Cofer looked particularly impressive or dominate through the first 10-minutes of the fight, but Lawrence put an exclamation point on his win with the brutal kick at the 19-second mark of the final round. Spectacular highlight knockout victory for Lawrence who undoubtedly earned himself a UFC contract with the victory tonight.
This article was written by Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @FightCoveMike. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.