Tony Ferguson (top) showed flashes of brilliance on TUF 13. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
With Season 13 of “The Ultimate Fighter” in the books, only the finale remains left unsettled.
Ramsey Nijem and Tony Ferguson will square off in the welterweight final on Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, with a contract and job security on the line. Perhaps the most entertaining factor at the reality series finales has been seeing how much some fighters have refined and improved their games. The hectic schedule of a six-week season and multiple fights in such a tight time frame can often prove deceptive when compared to the final product that emerges.
In the most anticipated bout on the lineup, former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis meets the always-exciting Clay Guida with title shot implications in play.
Here is a closer look at the main card at “The Ultimate Fighter 13” Finale:
“The Ultimate Fighter 13” Welterweight Final
Tony Ferguson vs. Ramsey Nijem
The Matchup: The welterweight final matches two strong wrestlers, both of whom showed capable finishing skills en route to making it here.
Ferguson’s ability to work in the pocket and choose his shots was impressive in his semi-final win over Chuck O'Neil. Interestingly, he declined to go into O’Neil’s guard on a couple of occasions, preferring to work on the feet. It paid off, as he mixed in a series of leg kicks and strong punches for the eventual stoppage in the third round.
Nijem was a wild man in the competition, going after opponents with unbridled aggression. His striking is far less refined than Ferguson’s, and his wrestling will either make or break his hopes in this match. Nijem threw looping, ill-advised punches in his semi-final win over Chris Cope, but Ferguson should be able to counter these with great effect if Nijem has not tightened up his strikes.
The Pick: Ferguson may have the better wrestling in the MMA context, where striking skills are a huge modifier. Expect both to have improved considerably from their exhibitions on the show, but as the superior striker, go with Ferguson via clear-cut decision.
Continue Reading » Next Fight: Anthony Pettis vs. Clay Guida