The season finale of the first edition of “The Ultimate Fighter LIVE” is official for June 1 in Las Vegas, with tickets going on sale next week.
The UFC announced the event and the on-sale date Monday afternoon. The TUF Live Finale will take place at The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 13 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Additionally, members of the UFC Fight Club will be able to purchase tickets on April 11 at 1 p.m. Eastern, and subscribers of the UFC’s newsletter will be able to buy tickets a day in advance on April 12 at 1 p.m. Eastern.
The TUF Live Finale will be headlined by a crucial welterweight bout between contenders Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann. And, of course, the winner of the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will be crowned that night, as well. Additional bouts will be announced in the weeks leading up to the card, but as with each season of the show there expects to be a number of fights between members of the cast who don’t make the finals. Because the show is ongoing, those fights aren’t likely to be announced until the conclusion of the regular weekly run of the show.
“The Ultimate Fighter LIVE” airs Friday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern on the FX cable network. After 14 seasons on Spike, TUF moved to FX this year as part of the UFC’s seven-year network deal with Fox and underwent a major change – a live weekly format. Taped footage is shown each week, followed by a live elimination fight and a live selection of the following week’s bout by opposing coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. Cruz is expected to defend his bantamweight title against Faber for the second time at UFC 148 on July 7 in Las Vegas.
The bout between Ellenberger and Kampmann, UFC president Dana White said in a statement, could determine the next welterweight title contender. The fight will be a five-round main event.
“The welterweight division is stacked, and Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann are going to fight for the chance to earn a title shot,” White said. “They will headline the season finale of TUF Live on FX to crown the next Ultimate Fighter. There’s a lot at stake for the guys competing on this card at The Palms.”
Ellenberger (27-5, 6-1 UFC) is on a six-fight winning streak after a unanimous decision victory over Diego Sanchez in February in his home city of Omaha, Neb., at UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger. He dominated the striking for the first two rounds, but had to survive a late rally from Sanchez to take the decision victory. Prior to that, he notched a 53-second upset knockout win over Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 25 in September. Over the course of Ellenberger’s six straight wins at welterweight, he has four knockout victories. His lone UFC loss came against current interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, a split decision setback in his UFC debut.
Ellenberger had lobbied for a shot at Condit for the interim title – a chance to get back his only UFC loss and put himself first in line for a shot at champ Georges St-Pierre when he returns. But it appears that Condit is likely to sit out until St-Pierre is ready to return, which could be this November at UFC 154 in Montreal.
Kampmann (19-5, 10-4 UFC) is coming off of one of the biggest comebacks in UFC history last month when he stunned Thiago Alves with a third-round guillotine choke at UFC on FX 2 in Sydney, Australia. Kampmann was down two rounds on the judges’ scorecards, and many analysts believed Alves looked as good as he ever has. But when Alves shot for a takedown in the last minute of the fight, Kampmann latched on to a guillotine that forced the Brazilian to tap with just 48 seconds left in the fight – and a certain decision victory.
That win gave Kampmann two in a row after a pair of controversial decision losses. At UFC 139 in November, Kampmann outpointed Rick Story to take the sting away from back-to-back setbacks against Shields and Sanchez. Kampmann lost a split decision against Shields at UFC 121 in a fight many observers believed he won. And he suffered a similar fate at UFC on Versus 3 a year ago, though the judges gave that fight unanimously to Sanchez.