It used to be that Ultimate Fighter finales featured one or two notable match-ups, a TUF championship clash, and a ton of undercard efforts composed of competitors who failed in their quest to make their respective season’s final. Fortunately for fans, when it came to the Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale lineup, the card was highlighted by a number of interesting bouts and zero appearances from the underwhelming cast outside of Mike Ricci-Colton Smith.
Smith and Ricci battled for the distinction of becoming the Season 16 winner and the perks coming with the honor including a six-figure deal and customized Harley-Davidson. Smith scored both with a decision triumph brought on by superior grappling, making him the first active-duty member of the military to lay claim to the Ultimate Fighter trophy.
The event also featured a main event match-up between heavyweights Roy Nelson (17-7) and Matt Mitrione (5-1). Nelson had won two of his last three tilts including finishes of Mirko Filipovic and Dave Herman, adding another notch by handing Mitrione the second defeat of his career. “Meathead” looked good in the beginning, delivering some stiff kicks, but ate a brutal shot and never recovered. All five of Nelson’s wins in the Octagon have been the result of strikes.
Other significant scraps included Pat Barry-Shane del Rosario and Dustin Poirier-Jonathan Brookins. Also worth pointing out, a bout between Melvin Guillard-Jamie Varner was scratched at the last minute after Varner went down with some sort of stomach issue.
Barry and Poirier both came away with finishes, albeit by vastly different means. The hard-hitting “HD” notched a victory after weathering a storm from Del Rosario in the fight’s opening round and eventually blasting the former Strikeforce fighter with a series of strikes in the second sealing the deal in walk-away fashion. Meanwhile, Poirier was hurt early on but also outlasted his adversary’s attack and caught him in a D’Arce Choke after the former TUF winner went for a takedown.
Read below for a full list of results:
Tim Elliott def. Jared Papazian via Unanimous Decision
Mike Rio def. John Cofer via Submission Round 3 (Armbar)
Hugo “Wolverine” def. Rueben Duran via Knockout Round 1 (Strikes)
T.J. Waldburger def. Nick Catone via Technical Submission Round 2 (Triangle Choke)
Rustam Khabilov def. Vinc Pichel via Knockout Round 1 (Slam)
Johnny Bedford def. Marcos Vinicius via Knockout Round 2 (Strikes)
Mike Pyle def. James Head via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)
Dustin Poirier def. Jonathan Brookins via Submission Round 1 (D’Arce Choke)
Pat Barry def. Shane Del Rosario via Knockout Round 2 (Strikes)
Colton Smith def. Mike Ricci via Unanimous Decision
Roy Nelson def. Matt Mitrione via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)