After 28 tournaments over the course of the past 13 years, another season of The Ultimate Fighter is about to sign off—but not before the live finale of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters this Friday night, where two MMA fighters will be guaranteed contracts in the UFC as this fall’s Ultimate Fighters.
This season, the show has chronicled a tournament in the Heavyweight and Women’s Featherweight divisions, featuring teams coached by UFC Middleweights Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker.
The coaches will fight in the UFC 234 pay-per-view on Saturday, Feb. 9, where the Middleweight belt is at stake in the main event, live from Melbourne, Australia.
In Friday’s live finale (main card at 10 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. PST on FS1 from the Pearl Theater at Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas), the Heavyweight final pits Justin Frazier, the last heavyweight drafted in the season’s first episode, against Juan Espino, the second heavyweight drafted.
In the Women’s Featherweight final, Macy Chiasson, the No. 2 selection from Gastelum’s team in the draft during the season premiere, will square off with Pannie Kianzad, the No. 4 selection from Gastelum’s team in the draft.
Both Heavyweight finalists advanced to the live finale by way of first-round TKOs in the semifinal (Frazier against Michael Batista, Espino against Maurice Greene.)
Kianzad advanced to the finale by unanimous decision against Julija Stoliarenko, whereas Chiasson defeated Leah Letson by first-round knockout (knees) in the semifinal round.
The headliner of the live finale will feature a Welterweight contest pitting No. 3 contender Rafael dos Anjos (28-10) and No. 5 contender Kamaru Usman (13-1.)
Usman is the taller contender in the fight (6-foot-0 compared to dos Anjos’ 5-foot-8.)
Dos Anjos has posted a 3-2 record in his last five UFC appearances, most recently losing to Colby Covington on June 9 during the UFC 225 co-main event for the Welterweight title by unanimous decision.
In the other corner, Usman has posted a perfect 5-0 record in his last five UFC appearances, most recently defeating Demian Maia by unanimous decision on May 19 during UFC Fight Night Chile in the main event.
The Tale of the Tape:
UFC.com shows that Usman has the advantage in both reach (76 inches to dos Anjos’ 70 inches) and leg reach (41 inches to dos Anjos’ 38 inches) heading into the Friday night main event.
Prediction: Usman by first-round knockout.
Aside from the TUF finals, these fights are featured on the main card:
No. 9 contender Pedro Munhos (16-3) vs. No. 14 contender Bryan Caraway (21-8) [Bantamweight]
Edmen Shahbazyan (7-0) vs. Darren Stewart (9-3) [Middleweight]
Antonina Shevchenko (6-0, UFC debut) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (7-1-2) [Women’s Flyweight]
TUF Heavy Hitters Finale at a Glance:
UFC Fight Pass Prelims: Friday, 6:30 p.m. EST, 3:30 p.m. PST, UFC Fight Pass
FS1 Prelims: Friday, 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PST, FS1
Main Card: Friday, 10 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. PST, FS1
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