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The Ultimate Fighter’ 17 finale blog: Kelvin Gastelum emerges as newest, youngest reality-show champion

Urijah Faber submits Scott Jorgensen with a rear-naked choke

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Kelvin Gastelum rejoices as he is the announced winner of a split decision over Uriah Hall to win The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Updated Saturday, April 13, 2013 | 9:13 p.m.

TUF 17: Gastelum vs. Hall

Kelvin Gastelum rejoices as he is the announced winner of a split decision over Uriah Hall to win The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Launch slideshow »

TUF 17: Faber vs. Jorgensen

Urijah Faber catches Scott Jorgensen in a rear-naked choke to submit him in the fourth round of their bout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Launch slideshow »

TUF 17: Zingano vs. Tate

Cat Zingano pounds Miesha Tate with knees on her way to a third round TKO during their bout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Launch slideshow »

TUF 17 Finale

Bubba McDaniel lands a kick to the midsection of Gilber Smith during their bout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Urijah Faber catches Scott Jorgensen in a rear-naked choke to submit him in the fourth round of their bout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Note: Scroll to the bottom for results from the preliminary card.

When the 14 fighters who made it on to "The Ultimate Fighter" 17 lined up for the coaches to pick their teams, Kelvin Gastelum was one of the last two left standing.

Neither Jon Jones nor Chael Sonnen selected the Yuma, Ariz., wrestler with one of their first six picks.

It didn't matter because, months later Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Gastelum was the only fighter on the cast left standing. Gastelum defeated Uriah Hall by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) to become the reality show's youngest winner at 21 years old. He's also unofficially the longest shot to ever get crowned a "TUF" champion as he was the underdog in each of his four fights in the tournament.

"I can't think of a word man," Gastelum said immediately after the victory as he wiped tears away.

Oddsmakers made Gastelum a 4-to-1 underdog against Hall, who had sent all of his previous opponents on "TUF" to the hospital. Gastelum will probably find a party room instead of an emergency room.

He earned the guaranteed six-figure contract that comes with a "TUF" victory in front of a lively crowd of supporters. Hundreds of friends and family appeared to make the five-hour drive from Yuma as "Kelvin" chants filled the arena multiple times.

Gastelum pressured Hall from the beginning by coming forward and landing takedowns. He made Hall pay for keeping his hands down and was able to overcome some major shots from his Team Sonnen training partner.

"My eye hurts a bit and he got a couple kicks in that did some damage," Gastelum said, "but I’ll heal up just fine. It’s a great feeling."

The other fights at the top of the card proved just as entertaining as Gastelum vs. Hall. In the main event, Urijah Faber submitted Scott Jorgensen with a fourth-round rear-naked choke.

Jorgensen had seemed to come on in the middle of the third round and early in the fourth, but Faber pounced on an opening.

"He knows my stuff," Faber said of Jorgensen, a friend. "He was able to deflect some of my offense. It was just one small mistake and I could capitalize."

Cat Zingano also earned a late finish on the night. In the second women's fight in UFC history, Miesha Tate won the first two rounds but Zingano came out with purpose in the finale 10 minutes.

She battered Tate and took her down multiple times before stopping the fight with a series of knees. Zingano will now face Ronda Rousey and coach against her on the next season of "The Ultimate Fighter".

Travis Browne knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga in the first round with elbows in an early main-card bout. Bubba McDaniel opened the night by submitting Gilbert Smith in the third round.

Look below for round-by-round coverage of the main card and full results from the preliminaries and check back to lasvegassun.com for more coverage later.

Urijah Faber vs. Scott Jorgensen

Fourth Round Faber hits Jorgensen with a straight left. Jorgensen comes forward with a combination and late, a leg kick. Faber catches Jorgensen cleanly with a left hand. He's now bothering "Young Guns", who decides to clinch up. Faber isn't having it and backs out. A boxing match breaks out for about 20 seconds before Faber shoots, and fails, for a double-leg takedown. They exchange before Jorgensen initiates a lock-up. Faber goes to the body with a spin kick. Faber supplements it with a knee out of the clinch. He ducks out of the way of a Jorgensen attack to land another knee. Jorgensen tries to kick to the head but Faber is getting out of the way. Faber powers forward and takes Jorgensen down. Faber gets his back. Now with a body triangle, Faber's got a rear-naked choke in. Jorgensen can't get out. He taps. The friends embrace but "The California Kid" wins again. Urijah Faber submits Scott Jorgensen at 3:16 of the fourth round.

Third Round Faber counters Jorgensen within the first 10 seconds. Faber comes forward and swings hard, but Jorgensen gets out of the way by backpedaling. A knee to the body from Faber bothers Jorgensen. Faber is getting out of the way of every Jorgensen advance. Faber comes forward with an uppercut followed by a left hook. Faber is landing a much higher percentage. His quickness is proving too much for Jorgensen to match. Faber misses with a couple head kicks, which seems to get some momentum back for Jorgensen who scores with a jab or two. Jorgensen locks up with Faber against the fence. He's around Faber's back and firing knees into the long-time WEC champion's side. When Faber gets out, Jorgensen lands one more elbow. Faber works his straight punches, but Jorgensen gets him going backward with a right hand. Jorgensen tosses Faber to the ground and tries to take his back. Standing now, Jorgensen has Faber against the fence once again. Jorgensen's corner is telling him Faber is tired ad hurt. Story may check out as Jorgensen scores with a Superman punch. Faber answers with a combination, though. Faber's right hand is serving him well. Jorgensen's legs buckle after a kick to Faber. Faber gets his timing back down, catching Jorgensen with a couple jabs before scoring a double-leg takedown with 12 seconds to go. It might be just enough to give Faber the round. Faber is up 30-27 on the Sun's scorecard.

Second Round Faber leg kicks Jorgensen and follows with another leg strike. This one lands right on Jorgensen's cup, however, and the action is paused. Upon the restart, both fighters trade jabs for a while. Faber catches one of Jorgensen's leg kicks, but can't get him down. Faber nails Jorgensen with a flying knee and presses forward. The bout is being fought at Faber's pace. Jorgensen tries to take him down, but Faber tosses him to the side and somersaults his way up. Jorgensen scores with a couple crisp right hands. Faber returns the favor, but Jorgensen also gets in a couple leg kicks. Faber looks to go to the body and then take Jorgensen down. It's not there so the kickboxing will continue this round. Jorgensen is the aggressor now. But he gets a tad careless by throwing a haymaker and Faber dumps him on his back. Jorgensen works for an armbar. It looks like he might have it until Faber sweeps out. Faber kicks Jorgensen in the face as they both get up. Jorgensen lands a combination, but Faber gets a big left hand to connect. They clinch up against the cage and Jorgensen takes an elbow as Faber backs out. It's a better round for Jorgensen, but Faber still wins 10- 9 to go up 20-18.

First Round Faber catches Jorgensen early with a right hand and he goes down. Jorgensen tries to take Faber to the ground, but it's not happening. They clinch up against the fence instead. Jorgensen trips Faber after about 30 seconds to successfully take "The California Kid" down. Faber fights his way right back to his feet, though. Jorgensen tries to pick Faber up and slam him, but he's the one who winds up in a precarious position as Faber wraps around to almost take his back. Faber lets him up and they exchange jabs and leg kicks in the middle of the cage. Jorgensen hits Faber with a right, but "The California Kid" rocks him with a knee in return. Jorgensen falls and Faber follows. Faber has now got Jorgensen's back and rains punches. Jorgensen covers up and gets to his feet for a second before Faber knees him and takes it back to the mat. Faber pulls a joke and Jorgensen looks like he's considering tapping with his hand up. But he sweeps instead and is safe for now. Faber transitions to Jorgensen's back. Faber easily takes the first round, 10-9.

Uriah Hall vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Third Round Gastelum catches Hall with a right hand to start. But Hall answers with a kick. It apparently hits Gastelum in the groin as referee Herb Dean pauses the action. Hall kicks Gastelum to the upper part of his body. Gastelum keeps coming forward and the crowd re-ignites the "Kelvin" chants. Gastelum shuffles, but Hall tags him with a right. Hall puts his hands down and backs up. Gastelum capitalizes with a slam takedown. Hall reverses position, though, and fires hammerfists at Gastelum. The crowd gets on their feet. Gastelum might be in trouble, but gets out and retreats. Gastelum quickly closes the gap by pressing Hall into the fence. Gastelum's got a cut below his left eye. Other than the sweat covering his whole body, Hall looks fine. Hall flings a straight punch to the stomach. Gastelum catches Hall with an overhand left. Hall throws one of his trademark kicks. Combination now scores for Hall. Gastelum gets a takedown with a minute to go and Hall looks to grab a hold of his arm. Gastelum gives up North-South position to go into Halls guard. Gastelum lands some ground-and-pound with 40 seconds to go. Both are catching each other cleanly. They both want the guaranteed six-figure contract. The whole arena is on their feet and Gastelum tries to arm bar Hall, who ends on top. They embrace as the bell rings and the crowd offers a standing ovation. Tough to call, but the Sun gives Gastelum both the round and the fight, 29-28. Kelvin Gastelum defeats Uriah Hall by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) to win season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter".

Second Round Hall pumps up the crowd and they touch gloves. Both look to work kicks early. Hall counters one of Gastelum's kicks to the body with a right hand. Hall keeps his hands down for another round but he seems to have figured out his timing. He lands a spin kick to Gastelum's body and then one to the head. Hall moves out of the way of a Gastelum charge. He can't evade another as Gastelum takes him down. Gastelum works his elbow to score from the top on the ground. Hall tries to push him off, but Gastelum is too strong. Gastelum tries to get into mount and Hall sweeps to top control. He lets Gastelum up after looking for an armbar. He rocks him with a right hand and then goes to the body with a knee. Gastelum can't take Hall down but he does press him against the cage. Hall trips Gastelum to the ground. Hall is in Gastelum's half-guard. Unlike when Gastelum was on top, however, Hall doesn't throw much ground-and-pound. Gastelum has Hall locked up well. Gastelum gets to his feet, but Hall slams him down and the crowd goes wild. Gastelum pops up and hits Hall in the clinch. Great fight that's now tied as Hall took the second round 10-9.

First Round They touch gloves and Gastelum comes forward. Hall circles and lowers his hands. He's trying to be patient while Gastelum bobs up and down. Hall finally fires a jab and a push kick for the first action. Gastelum winds up and throws a combination at Hall, who has his back to the fence. Gastelum clinches up and they exchange knees. Gastelum backs out and lands a right hand. Back in the middle now, Gastelum comes forward with a leg kick followed by another one to the head. Gastelum fires a Superman punch. Hall can't find his range. "Kelvin" chants fill the arena. They exchange with Hall landing a big right hand. Gastelum rocks Hall with a combination shortly after. He clinches Hal up and hits him with a knee. Hall has kept his hands down and is paying for it. Gastelum throws Hall to the ground with a perfect takedown. Hall eats some elbows and can't mount any defense with Gastelum in side control. Hall wrangles his legs around Gastelum but eats some more ground-and-pound. Hall slides his way to the fence and gets to his feet. No one following the reality show ever thought they'd see him in this much trouble. He rebounds with a couple solid straight punches. Hall charges forward and gets a takedown late. It's not enough, as Gastelum goes up 10-9.

Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano

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Cat Zingano pounds Miesha Tate with knees on her way to a third round TKO during their bout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Third Round Tate has some blood on her face and takes a straight punch from Zingano. Zingano trips when attempting a kick and Tate feeds her strike on the way back up. Zingano takes Tate to the ground. While Tate looks for a triangle choke, Zingano hits her with some elbows and then punches. Tate gets to her knees but Zingano wraps her arms around the former Strikeforce champion's neck. Tate is back on her back. Zingano follows elbows with a shoulder into Tate's face. Tate tries to sweep out but Zingano is persistent. Tate takes a lot of ground-and-pound. She hasn't answered and might be on the verge of getting stopped. The split-second Tate gets to her feet, Zingano drops her with a knee to the face. The same happens again. Zingano hits Tate with another knee and a punch against the fence. Tate is out. Cat Zingano defeats Miesha Tate by TKO at 2:55 of the third round.

Second Round Zingano hits Tate with two straight kicks to start the round. But Tate takes her down. Tate looks to get into side control but Zingano is using her jiu-jitsu background defensively. Tate keeps at it and finds an opening for ground-and-pound. Zingano covers up, but Tate grabs her arm. She looks for an arm bar, but Zingano is safe. Tate lets go and wraps Zingano back up and presses her into the ground. Tate flings ferocious ground-and-pound. She's got the side control she wanted now until Zingano sweeps to the top. Both are looking to get a hold of the one of the other's limbs for a submission. Tate is successful and tries out a heel hook. But Zingano is calm and under control. She starts to elbow Tate's thigh in an attempt to get loose. She swings around to land a punch to Tate's face. Now Zingano is on top and feeding elbows. Tate is taking a lot of punishment and tries to hand-fight Zingano away. Tate gets back to her feet eventually and gets tagged with a Zingano combination. Bell rings with both of the ground. Another close round goes to Tate. She's now up 20-18.

First Round No touch of the gloves, as both just swing to start. Tate takes Zingano down, but for less than 10 seconds. They scramble on the feet and Zingano eventually gets a hold of Tate's neck. She's cranking a standing guillotine choke deep and the crowd gets louder but Tate gets out. Zingano whips a kick across Tate's body. Tate catches Zingano with a right and takes her back to the ground. Zingano looks for a choke from the bottom but then sweeps to the top. Zingano is looking for a d'arce choke and Tate might be in trouble again. Zingano gives up and and fires some punches on her way to her feet. They have a wild exchange that enlivens the arena with both scoring. Tate may have caught Zingano more cleanly. Zingano lands a huge knee and Tate answers with a right hook. Tate drives Zingano into the fence and throws her into the ground. Tate unleashes ground-and-pound and smothers Zingano so she doesn't have much room to answer. The round comes to a close with Tate landing several more unanswered punches from the top. Tate is up 10-9.

Travis Browne vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

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Travis Browne rains elbows down on the head of Gabriel Gonzaga on his way to a knock out during their bout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

First Round Browne misses on a kick and Gonzaga tries to take him down right away. Browne wiggles his leg out of Gonzaga's arm and stays on his feet. They get against the cage and dirty-box for a moment. Browne throws a couple knees and elbows. Gonzaga continues to look to get the fight to the ground where he can use his jiu-jitsu. Browne punishes one attempt with an elbow. And then another. Browne keeps throwing elbows and Gonzaga goes limp. The Brazilian crashes to the floor as the referee calls the fight off. Travis Browne knocks out Gabriel Gonzaga at 1:11 of the first round.

Bubba McDaniel vs. Gilbert Smith

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Bubba McDaniel submits Gilbert Smith in the third round of their bout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Third Round They touch gloves as the fans cheer, but the camaraderie doesn't last very long. McDaniel lands a big right hand to Smith's temple. Smith bounces off the fence and hits McDaniel with one punch before getting taken down. McDaniel gets into side control and lands punches that make Smith squirm underneath. Smith manages to get McDaniel back into half-guard, but gets pummeled with hammerfists to the side. Smith thinks he sees an opening to get up, but winds up with McDaniel hovering over his back again. McDaniel looks to lock in hooks and try for a rear-naked choke. Smith resists and eventually sweeps into top control. McDaniel tries to a triangle choke and then an armbar. Smith taps right away to the second submission attempt. Bubba McDaniel submits Gilbert Smith at 2:49 of the third round.

Second Round They trade before Smith initiates the clinch. He presses McDaniel against the fence until they swap positions. McDaniel changes course and tries to take down Smith, who stays up. McDaniel fires a couple knees at the behest of his corner. Smith looks for a single-leg takedown, but takes some fists to the body as a result. McDaniel rocks him with an uppercut as he backs toward the center of the cage. McDaniel keeps Smith off rhythm with leg kicks. McDaniel looks for a takedown, but Smith sprawls. With McDaniel still down, Smith looks for a guillotine choke. The crowd comes to their feet, but McDaniel is in trouble. He's out and on top, where he's raining elbows. Smith covers up and gives McDaniel his back. McDaniel lands several punches that Smith is unable to answer. He sweeps to get McDaniel off of his back. Smith is in half-guard now, taking some more punches from McDaniel who switches up to elbows. McDaniel eases Smith up and tries to catch him with a leg kick, but Smith was sufficiently out of the way. Smith takes deep breaths and whiffs on a couple combinations. McDaniel catches Smith clean with a couple punches before the end of the round. McDaniel takes another to go up 20-18.

First Round Smith rockets in a couple right hands to get things going. McDaniel answers with a leg kick and a shot to the body. They lock up and McDaniel presses Smith against the fence. McDaniel slugs Smith with a straight right and a kick as he breaks out. Smith rushes in and takes McDaniel down, but the Greg Jackson-trained fighter transitions to get on top. McDaniel fires hammerfists as they get back to their feet. Smith takes down McDaniel down. He's in McDaniel's guard but not supplying much offense. McDaniel punches off of his back and throws elbows. McDaniel slides his way to the cage in an effort to get up. Smith smothers him until McDaniel lands a few elbows that give him enough of an opening to get up. Smith stays at it, though, and takes McDaniel back down against the fence. Now McDaniel begins to look for a guillotine choke. Smith pops out but McDaniel sweeps to the top. McDaniel gets into side control and starts to take Smith's back as the round ends. McDaniel ekes out the round at the end, 10-9 on the Sun's scorecard.

Pre-main card

UFC President Dana White or owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta might take a moment to glance around tonight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and have one thought pervade their minds.

“How far we’ve come,” they might think.

It’s not that the UFC hasn’t held any events in the Strip’s second biggest arena under White’s watch. It has hosted plenty, including one within the first year of purchasing the company.

But never a finale of "The Ultimate Fighter." The fight card at the end of each season is normally held at a smaller venue, including down the street at the Cox Pavilion when the reality show started eight years ago.

Only three miles away in distance, the two sites seem worlds apart in stature. If the fights here can match those that went down at Cox — which included the bout that saved the promotion in Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar — “The Ultimate Fighter” 17 finale would go down as a memorable night for the promotion.

There’s one fighter out for a “TUF” championship that has been compared to the stacked class from the first season of the show. Uriah Hall has gone 4-for-4 in sending opponents to the hospital during filming of the show, brutally knocking out the past three men he’s faced.

Kelvin Gastelum is 4-for-4 in a different regard on the show — upsets. Few expected Gastelum to get out of the first or second round of the tournament, let alone be challenging Hall for a six-figure contract with the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.

The middleweight tilt between Hall and Gastelum is bookended by two significant 135-pound clashes — one men and one women’s. Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano, quite possibly the second- and third-best female bantamweights in the world, will square off for a coaching assignment on the next season of “TUF” and a date against Ronda Rousey.

In the main event, Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen are perennially in bantamweight title contention. One of the two will take a major step forward, while the other falls to the back of the pack after five rounds to cap the night.

Another middleweight bout between cast members Bubba McDaniel and Gilbert Smith opens the main card. Heavyweights Travis Browne and Gabriel Gonzaga will also entertain the abnormally large crowd for an Ultimate Fighter finale.

By all accounts, the UFC has been happy with ticket sales for the first “TUF” finale at Mandalay Bay. The event couldn’t be held at normal home The Joint at Hard Rock because of Def Leppard’s residency show.

Stay tuned for a live blog and scoring for all the main card action and look below for complete results from the preliminary card.

Josh Samman rallied after early adversity to notch the finish he was looking for against Kevin Casey. Samman knocked out Casey at 2:17 of the second round with a sequence that started with knees from the clinch. Casey, a 4-to-1 underdog, had Samman in trouble with armbar and triangle choke attempts but the favorite swept multiple times to escape.

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Dylan Andrews pounds Jimmy Quinlan into submission for a first round TKO during The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Luke Barnatt beat Collin Hart by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a middleweight bout. Hart hit Barnatt with heavier shots, but the top overall pick from "TUF" 17 landed with more volume. Barnatt can now celebrate his 25th birthday with a UFC contract.

Dylan Andrews took a page out of Junior dos Santos' book against fellow "TUF" 17 cast member Jimmy Quinlan. Andrews hit Quinlan with precisely the same punch — an overhand right that landed behind the ear — that dos Santos beat Cain Velasquez with at UFC on Fox 1 two years ago after getting taken down and trailing in the fight early. Andrews earned a TKO victory at 3:22 of the first round over Quinlan in their middleweight bout.

"TUF" 17 contestant Clint Hester gave one definitive reason why he should be in the UFC — power. Hester knocked out Bristol Marunde with an elbow to the temple at 3:53 of the third round. Hester had knocked down Marunde several times earlier in the fight, including once with an uppercut and once with a flying knee.

Veteran featherweight Cole Miller was brought to tears after snapping a two-fight win streak that dated back nearly two years. Miller submitted Bart Palaszewski at 4:23 of the first round with a rear-naked choke, likely saving his job in the process. With three consecutive losses, Palaszewski won't likely be as fortunate.

Maximo Blanco defeated Sam Sicilia by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a featherweight bout. It was an early Fight of the Night candidate as Sicilia overcame a tough first round to knock down Blanco with a knee in the second. But Blanco battered Sicilia to the point that he had two black eyes by the end of the final frame.

Another former “TUF” prospect faded out in the first bout of the night. Daniel Pineda submitted Justin Lawrence, once a favorite to win the 15th season of the show after two spectacular knockouts, at 1:35 of the first round in their featherweight bout with a kimura.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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