kelvin-gastelum-5.jpgLAS VEGAS – Uriah Hall doesn’t want to make excuses for his runner-up finish on “The Ultimate Fighter 17,” but the heavy favorite and runaway star of the reality series admits the mental aspect of the fight weighed on him heavily.

Hall used a series of highlight-reel finishes to advance to the 28-man middleweight tournament’s final, which co-headlined The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale on Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

But Hall (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) ultimately dropped a split decision to Kelvin Gastelum (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), one of his teammates on a squad coached by Chael Sonnen. While Hall took some criticism for his performance, which appeared unfocused at times, he said he was simply trying to shake off the nerves that come with fighting a friend.

“I was trying to have some fun, man,” he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the fight. “A big part of it was it was it was kind of hard, too. I trained with the guy, and I like him. It was kind of that emotion I was trying to get rid of, so it was kind of weird.

“Going in the ring, I was like, ‘S—, here we go again.’ That side just kind of got the best of me, but there’s no excuse. Kelvin’s a great guy. He’s a tough kid. I think he’s going to go really far in this sport, and I’m happy for him.”

Most will certainly view it as a major setback for Hall, whom UFC President Dana White had compared to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The company boss told MMAjunkie.com prior to the bout that no “TUF” cast member had ever been so feared or generated so much buzz during the reality show.

Gastelum, though, at least temporarily derailed Hall’s hype train.

Even after his surprise win, Gastelum seemed in disbelief.

“Obviously I’m excited,” he said. “I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in. It’s just very emotional.”

But like Hall, Gastelum said their personal relationship did affect the fight. However, he wasn’t about to spoil an unexpected opportunity. Even after he defeated Kito Andrews in an elimination-round bout, Gastelum prompted few believers. He was the final draft pick among the 14 cast members, and against Hall, he was a nearly 3-to-1 underdog.

So to actually advance to the tourney final, the Arizona-based wrestler was determined not to let Hall snatch away something that was within his grasp.

“During the show, he was a great friend, and we trained together a lot,” he said. “But my preparation for this fight, mentally, he’s trying to take something that I think I deserve and something that I earned here tonight, and that’s how I went into the fight.

“He’s trying to take something that I got, and I’m not going to let anybody take that away from me.”

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Pictured: Kelvin Gastelum)

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Jason Gonzalez Building Off of Time on TUF Heading into RFA 38

  • 26 days ago
  • 6 views

Jason Gonzalez got a taste of the UFC as part of a season of The Ultimate Fighter. Building off of that heading into RFA 38, he wants to get back to the UFC. read news >>

Former Bellator Champ Will Brooks Signs with UFC, Faces Ross Pearson at TUF 23 Finale

  • 14 days ago
  • 29 views

Former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks has inked a deal with the UFC. read news >>

TUF 23 Performance Replay: Andrew Sanchez Secures His Place in the Finals with Quick Finish

  • 6 days ago
  • 205 views

Andrew Sanchez made short work of Eric Spicely winning by a vicious first round finish to move onto the tournament finals and the TUF 23 Finale on July 8 in Las Vegas. read news >>

Defeated TUF 23 Contestant Gets New Life After Cory Hendricks Withdraws Due to Injury

  • 6 days ago
  • 104 views

Team Claudia's Cory Hendricks finally decided to withdraw from his The Ultimate Fighter 23 semi-finals due to a neck injury that didn't get any better. read news >>

TUF Winner Barzola Faces Bochniak on Aug. 27

  • 2 days ago
  • 0 views

On Saturday, August 27, Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will be the site for an intriguing featherweight bout, as Peru's Enrique Barzola makes his first start since winning The read news >>

UFC 200 Primer: Johny Hendricks vs. Kelvin Gastelum Head-to-Toe Breakdown

  • a day ago
  • 17 views

UFC 200 is an extraordinarily deep fight card featuring two upper-echelon welterweights as a preliminary contest. Johny Hendricks (17-4), ranked No. 6 according to Bleacher Report, takes on Kelvin Ga read news >>