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Uncaged: It’s finals night for season 15 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

Poor ratings have dragged down TUF 15. Can Ellenberger and Kampmann save the day?

THIS SEASON OF “The Ultimate Fighter” has seen a steady dip in viewing figures as the series progressed which many people put down to the new live format.

The cancellation of the fight between coaches Dominic Cruz and Urijah Faber certainly hasn’t helped and while the drama of the previous seasons hasn’t been matched in this year’s run, Al Iaquinta and Mike Chiesa will nevertheless do battle to see who will become the latest Ultimate Fighter.

An exciting welterweight matchup between top contenders Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann props up the finale card and acts as a crutch to try and ensure that the fifteenth season doesn’t go out in a whimper.

Chiesa looking to triumph over adversity

Mike Chiesa hasn’t had the easiest of times inside and outside the Octagaon in TUF 15. His father passed away in the early stages of the competition and he has shown a lot of resolve and character to make it to the finals. He faces his teammate Al Iaquinta on Friday night as one man looks to gain that lucrative UFC contract.

Over the series Iaquinta has been shown to be the better stand-up fighter of the two but Chiesa carries his resolute traits into the cage and has won his fights after being outclassed on the feet.

One factor that must now be considered given the new format is fatigue. In previous seasons the pre-recording of the show meant that the fighters could get ready with their own camps in the run up to the finale. This hasn’t happened this season and it is actually Iaquinta’s third fight in as many weeks while Chiesa has had three fights in four weeks.

Therefore it is a case of survival of the fittest and while Al might be the bookies favourite to win, it is very hard to discount Chiesa. Let’s just hope it’s exciting.

Kampmann do for Martin

Martin Kampmann and Jake Ellenberger are the two current top contenders in the welterweight division but a win won’t guarantee a shot at the title. The interim champion, Carlos Condit, has opted to wait for the return to fitness of GSP rather than face the winner of tonight’s main event.

This has left these two fighters in a state of limbo but both know a convincing win would make it very difficult for Dana White to ignore them further. Ellenberger would relish the prospect of a re-match with Condit, the only man to beat him in the UFC, and in truth, this is the most likely outcome.

“The Juggernaut” is on a hot streak of six wins in a row and even though the “Hitman” choked out Thiago Alves last time out, he was behind in the first two rounds. The form points to an Ellenberger victory that should pose some difficult questions for

White and Condit to stew over

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Elsewhere on the main card, TUF season 12 winner Jonathan Brookins is looking to continue his winning ways after an underwhelming start in the UFC. He faces tough Brazilian Charles Oliveira who was once considered a top contender in the division.

Both men are very experienced for their age and both have faced quality opponents but the Brazilian might just edge this one with his fast pace and ability to keep coming forward. Max Holloway versus Pat Schilling and Justin Lawrence versus John Cofer make up the main card.