The main event tonight at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale is a welterweight bout between Team dos Santos finalist Ramsey Nijem and Team Lesnar finalist Anthony Ferguson. Both fighters were clearly the most dominant of their teams and easily ran through the competition. Bloody Elbow examines Tony Ferguson:
A walk through Ferguson's record shows some encouraging aspects. In his wins, he's finished every opponent by TKO (6) or submission (3) except one. He has an impressive win over Dave "Hello Japan" Gardner, who, despite the less than favorable rep from his nickname, is actually a decent fighter with wins over Ryan Schultz and Rich Clementi.
Ferguson also defeated James Fanshier, who is a former King of the Cage welterweight champion and Gladiator Challenge welter- and middleweight champion. Fanshier is a gifted striker who represented Team USA in Sanshou at the 7th World Games in China and was also the national light-heavyweight IKF Sanshou champion in 2000. Former WEC fighter Karen Darabedyan and Jorge Gurgel submissionist Jamie Toney account for Ferguson's two losses.
And Ramsey Nijem? They take a look at him as well:
Ramsey Nijem bypassed amateur MMA and started off in 2008 at the pro-level, winning his debut, but then disappearing for a year and a half. His return bout after the layoff was lost by submission, but Nijem tallied three wins a row leading up to the show.
The Palestinian-American trains with Josh Burkman and Court McGee, and was an accomplished wrestler in high school, moving on to the D1 University of Utah Valley to wrestle there as well. Ferguson was also a three-time All State wrestler in high school and later joined Grand Valley State University's wrestling team, a D2 school known for their strong athletics program. Both fighters have one loss by submission, though Ferguson has an additional loss by decision.
So who is going to win?
This fight hinges on the performance of Anthony Ferguson. He is, generally speaking, the more talented fighter. He's got far more ways to win, possess a wider arsenal of offensive attacks in more dimensions of the game and is more fundamentally sound. However, despite the fact that Ferguson has a ton of explosive power, he is a slow starter. If he allows Ramsey to set the tone early, force Ferguson into the cage and have him counterfight for minute after minute, he'll be in trouble. In that instance, none of Ferguson's skills get the opportunity to shine.
By contrast, is he stuff shots, uses movement, creates angles and is active from the first bell to the last, he has too many fight-ending skills for Nijem to hang on for very long.
Close contest, but I'll give Ferguson the nod in what should be a very, very close fight.