by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
(photo by Dave Mandel on June 15th; pictured from left to right: Kendall Grove, Solomon Hutcherson, Matt Hamill, and Josh Burkman)
The full line-up for the UFC’s June 24th event has been revealed. In addition to the middleweight and light heavyweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter 3, as well as two previously announced bouts, there will also be five non-televised undercard bouts featuring many of the fighters from the third season of The Ultimate Fighter.
As revealed on back-to-back episodes of TUF 3 on June 15th, Michael Bisping will face Josh Haynes in the light heavyweight finals, while Ed Herman will face Kendall Grove in the middleweight finals.
The two other fights on the live broadcast on Spike TV will feature TUF 1 contestant Kenny Florian squaring off against Sam Stout in a lightweight bout, and TUF 2 contestant Keith Jardine taking on Wilson Gouveia in a light heavyweight fight.
The five non-televised undercard bouts will feature nine fighters from TUF 3, as well as one non-TUF fighter who is making his UFC debut. The five undercard bouts are:
-Matt Hamill vs. Jesse Forbes
-Kalib Starnes vs. Danny Abaddi
-Rory Singer vs. Ross Pointon
-Solomon Hutcherson vs. Luigi Fioravanti
-Mike Nickels vs. Wes Combs
As you may have noticed, at least the top three of those fights would certainly appear to have been booked with a likely winner in mind. The five undercard fights will only air on television if there is an abundance of extra time on the three-hour live broadcast on June 24th, or if the UFC chooses to include any of them on future episodes of UFC Unleashed, a show that is only contracted to have 13 new episodes per year.
Interestingly, the only three contestants from The Ultimate Fighter 3 who are not booked on the June 24th event are the three fighters who walked away from opportunities to continue fighting on the show: Noah Inhofer, Tait Fletcher, and Kristian Rothaermel.
Matt Hamill went 1-0 on TUF 3, as he defeated Mike Nickels by unanimous decision, despite the fact that he only had full use of one of his arms due to a training injury. Doctors did not allow Hamill to continue on to the semi-finals due to his arm injury and a concussion. Hamill will be the favorite against Jesse Forbes, who went 0-2 on the show. Forbes lost by submission to Noah Inhofer, but was later brought back after Inhofer quit the show. Forbes then lost to Josh Haynes by submission.
Kalib Starnes went 1-1 on TUF 3, first defeating Mike Stine by TKO and then losing in the semi-finals to Kendall Grove by verbal submission due to injury. Starnes suffered dislocated ribs during the fight with Grove, which is what led to the submission. Additionally, the Canadian Press reported several weeks ago that Starnes suffered a broken fibula shortly after TUF 3 started filming. That was several months ago, and Starnes’ injuries have healed. Starnes will be the favorite against Danny Abaddi, who went 0-1 on the show, losing to Ed Herman by submission.
Rory Singer went 1-1 on the show, as he knocked out Solomon Hutcherson before losing in the semi-finals to Ed Herman by submission. Singer will be the favorite against Ross Pointon, who went 0-2 on the show. Pointon first lost to Kendall Grove by submission, and he later lost to Michael Bisping by TKO after he was brought back to the show.
Solomon Hutcherson went 0-1 on TUF 3, losing by knockout to Rory Singer. Hutcherson’s opponent was originally announced this morning as being fellow TUF 1 cast member Mike Stine, but Stine had to pull out of the fight. Luigi Fioravanti has stepped up on extremely short notice to fight Hutcherson. Fioravanti lost to Chris Leben by unanimous decision on the UFC’s live TV broadcast on April 6th, and then defeated Stephan Potvin by unanimous decision on the Apex Championship Fighting card just six days ago (June 10th).
Mike Nickels went 0-1 on TUF 3, as he lost to Matt Hamill by unanimous decision. Nickels’ opponent will be Wes Combs, who has an MMA record of 12-0 and will be making his first appearance in the UFC.