Cape Town - The 23rd installment of the UFC's hit reality show 'The Ultimate Fighter' is coming to an end this Friday night inside the sold out MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show is all about the future fighters trying to claw their way into the UFC's ranks and this particular series shows that the future is very bright indeed.
One light heavyweight and one women's strawweight will walk away with a six figure UFC contract aswell as 'The Ultimate Fighter' crown on their head. The card is full of exciting fights from top to bottom so below I've compiled three reasons why you should watch it.
1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha
The two bitter rivals are set to fight for the second time in the night's main event. The two fiery 115-pounders were also opposing coaches on this season of the show and being around one another on set did nothing but make the rivalry that more intense.
Week after week it was becoming more and more visible that these two could not wait to get their hands on each other. Seemingly every other day they were coming face-to-face and having to be separated by the contestants and coaching staff. To add fuel to the already blazing hot fire, Team Gadelha dominated the preliminary bouts winning seven of the eight contests. Something that Jedrzejczyk says that Gadelha will pay for in their rematch.
The smack talk and verbal altercations turned physical during the last day of the show. UFC president Dana White said the two got into a "nasty fight" and "head kicks were thrown". While there were no cameras present for the brawl good news for fight fans all over the world is that this Friday inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, there will be and they will be sure to capture the violence that is sure to erupt between the division's ruling lady and her latest challenger.
2. Amanda Cooper
One of this seasons brightest and most talented fighters is Team Gadelha's Amanda Cooper. The 24-year old striker showed no mercy on the show dispatching all who stood across from her. Her mix of ferocious boxing skills and an ever impressive and improving ground game ensured her progression into the finale opposite a yet to be determined opponent. While her performances inside the cage stole the show it was and out of the cage issue that nearly cost her the show.
Going into her semi-final fight against Lanchana Green, Cooper had trouble cutting weight for the third time in just six weeks. Something that the body is just not made for. The young 115-pound fighter showed her metal however and with the help of her coaches she overcame the roadblock standing in her way and made the 116-pound limit. While many, including Dana White, thought that the extremely tough weight cut would affect her performance she again showed why she is set to be a future star by dominating Green from the first seconds of the fight and walking away with another stoppage victory.
While her opponent in the Finale is yet to be determined, the future for this young starlet is very bright. Her iron will and fighting abilities are sure to make her a future household name among MMA fans the world over.
3. Jake Matthews
The 21-year old Australian prospect is back in action this Friday having won two of his last three outings with stoppages of Akbarh Arreola and Johnny Case. The young fighter has quickly racked up four wins inside of his five promotional outings with a sole loss coming at the hands of James Vick last May. With 9 of his 11 professional wins coming by way of stoppage, (4 KO's and 5 submissions), he has fast become a UFC fans delight due to his exciting style and wealth of talent that ensures fans are getting their money's worth on fight night.
Matthews has a tough test ahead of him in the form of Kevin Lee (12-2). Lee is a big tough fighter who has 5 submission victories to his name as well and as we all know, when two fighters with world class ground skills meet its usually the recipe for a stand up war. Sport24 will have live minute-by-minute updates on our Twitter page @sport24 all night long starting at 00:00 (CAT) on Friday night.