The Ultimate Fighter 17 Contestants Josh Samman (10-2) and Uriah Hall (7-3) seemed destined to do battle on the show’s season finale this past April.
Instead, Kelvin Gastelum (6-0) came along and rewrote the reality show’s script. Gastelum, the youngest contestant in TUF history, pulled off two upsets in a row, taking out both favorites to become the reigning TUF 17 champ.
Now, thanks to an undisclosed injury to TUF 11 Cast Member Nick Ring (13-2), fans will get to see the finale fight they were expecting to happen. Instead of facing Ring, Hall will now square up against Samman as part of the first UFC on Fox Sports 1 card on Aug. 17.
Hall reminded many fans of a young Jon Jones during his TUF 17 run, even though his coach turned out to be Chael Sonnen. The Jamaican-born New Yorker produced one of the most stunning knockouts in the history of the series against fellow contestant Adam Cella with a textbook spinning back kick to the head. UFC President Dana White called it the worst knockout he’d ever seen, period.
Unfortunately for Hall, he ran into a younger and scrappier opponent at the finale and lost to Gastelum by split decision. Hall will be looking for his first official UFC victory against Samman while both fighters will be hoping to secure a solid future in the organization with a strong showing.
Samman’s loss to Gastelum came in the semi-final round, but he earned a slot on the April finale against fellow contestant Kevin Casey. This match against Hall will give him an opportunity to prove that he could have won the whole competition under different circumstances. Samman complained of a succession of serious injuries that plagued him throughout the taping of the show.
This fight shores up an already-stacked card that also includes a huge step up for the TUF 17 Champion. Gastelum is slated to face UFC Veteran Paulo Thiago (15-5) at the same event.