Tomorrow night in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Palms Casino resort, the finals of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Season 15 will take place. Al Iaquinta and Mike Chiesa, both members of Urijah Faber’s team, will face off for the title after winning a series of fights on the reality show since it started airing back in March. Both men are tested in their respective local circuits (Chiesa is from the Northwest, Iaquinta is from the Northeast), and both men have given good accounts of themselves on the TV show. It will be an interesting final. Right now Iaquinta is sitting as a -260 favorite, with the comeback on Chiesa being +210.
I am actually not sure about this one, I think the books mat have it wrong and that Chiesa might be a very good bet at underdog.
Chiesa is a long, lanky fighter who has a solid ground game, but his length and general unorthodox stand up make him dangerous on the feet again. I also like the fact that Chiesa is undefeated in his pro and amateur career, and has the makings of a winner. Chiesa has been able to win after losing rounds, and he has won fights that many people were picking against him.
As good as Iaquinta is on the ground, and training with the Serra-Longo team, he has a team with a lot of technique, but he has been submitted in MMA.
Iaquinta has a lot of advantages, particularly in striking. and if Chiesa is counting on Iaquinta to gas out like some of his other opponents have, that is unlikely to happen. Chiesa has appeared to earned a few wins by grinding his opponents and getting them to quit. Iaquinta has shown the gameness that he wont quit.
Maybe I’m giving Chiesa a bit too much credit, but he has looked mentally tough. Now that he is away from the reality show, he has to deal with the death of his father, and all the baggage that a trauma like that can carry. Some would count that as a strike against Chiesa.
But we have also seen that type of thing serve as motivation (Most MMA fans won’t remember Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson), and my read is that Chiesa has the right type of make up to use that positively. I’m betting Chiesa.