The finals for “The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption” are set with two former finalists looking to take the crown.
Jesse Taylor will meet Dhiego Lima in a welterweight fight to determine the winner of the fourteen man tournament. Both men were members of coach T.J. Dillashaw’s team. In fact, all four semi-finalists and six of eight quarter-finalists were members of Team Dillashaw.
The finals were revealed last night after Lima defeated Tom Gallicchio via unanimous decision and Taylor submitted current UFC roster member James Krause in the third round.
Taylor and Lima represent two eras of “The Ultimate Fighter” franchise, with Taylor coming out of the Spike era and Lima a more recent product of FS1’s version of the show.
Taylor made it to the finals of the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter” back in 2008. He was all set and favored by many to defeat Amir Sadollah when footage emerged shortly after the season wrapped of Taylor acting aggressively, and damaging property at the Fertitta-owned Palace Station Casino while yelling “I’m a UFC fighter.” Taylor was removed from his fight and was replaced by C.B. Dollaway who lost to Sadollah.
Taylor was given a second chance and was brought in for a fight with Dollaway a month after the finale. Taylor suffered a first-round submission loss, was cut from the company and fought in the regional circuit with stops in World Series of Fighting and Strikeforce before his TUF return.
Lima, brother of current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima was a member of Frankie Edgar’s team on the 19th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Lima also made the finals of his season but came up short, getting knocked out by Eddie Gordon in the first round. Lima stayed with the promotion post-TUF, winning a decision over Jorge de Oliveira before dropping two stoppage losses to Tim Means and Li Jingliang in early 2015. Lima won two of three outside UFC before his TUF callback.
Taylor and Lima will get their chance for redemption Friday night as part of UFC’s International Fight Week. The main event will feature Justin Gaethje making his UFC debut against former TUF runner-up Michael Johnson.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: When the show debuted back in April I pegged Lima as the favorite to win the show in an update on MMATorch. At the time I wrote, “(Lima) has youth on his side and is a more natural welterweight” than other fighters on the show. Having observed the season play out, I will stick with my pick of Lima, although Taylor has surprised me with his run through the tournament. Friday night’s show is actually quite good on paper, particularly the undercard, so it’s certainly worth tuning in early for. Saturday’s UFC 213 is obviously the bigger show so this one, is being overlooked, but I’m very much looking forward to it. Gaethje vs. Johnson is an interesting main event as Gaethje is undefeated but hasn’t been tested against UFC talent. Johnson is a tough guy who hits hard, but he has been inconsistent so it may depend on which Michael Johnson shows up tomorrow night.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Tonight is UFC’s Hall of Fame show. Inductees are Urijah Faber for the modern wing, Maurice Smith and Kazushi Sakuraba for the pioneer wing, and Joe Silva for the contributor wing. A Hall of Fame fight may also be inducted although no announcement has been made. The show will air on UFC Fight Pass at 10:30 p.m. ET.
-Everyone came in on weight for tomorrow’s TUF Finale. Ashley Yoder walked to the scale with two minutes to spare already down to her towel and made the weight.
-Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh told McGregor’s website TheMacLife.com that McGregor has been doing “four times the amount of sparring” compared to an MMA fight in preparation to box Floyd Mayweather.
-Ronda Rousey appeared on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” yesterday and did not talk about fighting at all. She did tell a story of some skateboarders who robbed her house but were caught on security camera footage. Rousey’s fiancee Travis Browne went to a nearby skateboard park and identified the alleged robbers to police. Rousey was on the show to promote “Battle of the Network Stars” which she is a team captain on.
-During a “Women of UFC” panel discussion as part of International Fight Week yesterday, Joanna Jedrzejczyk said that she is targeting a November return at Madison Square Garden.
-Jon Jones’s suspension is officially over as of today.
-Episode 2 of UFC 213 Embedded is available HERE.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP
-Tom Gallicchio vs. James Krause at tomorrow night’s TUF Finale from Las Vegas.
-Danny Henry vs. Daniel Teymur at UFC Fight Night Glasgow on July 16.
-Shogun Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux will headline UFC Fight Night Japan on Sept. 23 from Saitama.
Watch Justin Gaethje’s final World Series of Fighting fight ahead of his UFC debut tomorrow HERE.