A pair of Ultimate Fighter winners are set to battle at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 in Kentucky. Both Michael Chiesa and Colton Smith find themselves looking to get back in the win column after experiencing disappointment in their last bouts.
Chiesa, who had a very emotional run to the Ultimate Fighter 15 title, is looking to bounce back after suffering his first career loss against Jorge Masvidal. “Maverick” had a solid opening round in that fight at UFC on FOX 8 before the rugged veteran turned the tide to record a second-round submission victory. Prior to that setback, Chiesa had been victorious in the Octagon against Al Iaquinta and Anton Kuivanen. Chiesa has nine career wins, and his tenacious grappling skills have produced seven of those victories by submission.
Smith is also looking to respond from adversity after being stopped at UFC 160 by Robert Whittaker. Smith’s grinding style was showcased at TUF 16 when he won the final, recording a decision victory over Mike Ricci. Smith has a dominant wrestling base which was in full evidence on that season of the Ultimate Fighter. His striking skills remain a work in progress.
Smith is just 3-2 in his career and would certainly find himself in danger if he should falter against Chiesa. He’s been stopped on two occasions, but that shouldn’t be a problem against Chiesa, who has yet to record a career knockout. Smith’s Army background makes him a good fit to be on this card, and no doubt he will have plenty of support from his military brethren in Fort Campbell. The big question is will it be enough to overcome a highly motivated Chiesa?
With neither fighter terribly accomplished in the striking department, it shapes up as a matchup of Smith’s wrestling ability against Chiesa’s slick submission game. It should be an interesting one to watch as both competitors badly need the victory.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports