This season of The Ultimate Fighter has been filled with surprises, especially when looking at the track record for who has been favored to win in the matchups thus far and who has actually come out on top.
Outside of Uriah Hall's thunderous knockout of Adam Cella, most of the fights thus far have gone the other direction in terms of who was expected to win.
This week's fight may be no different, as Jon Jones' top pick Clint Hester brings his boxing and standup background to a fight against Team Sonnen's resident grappler Jimmy Quinlan.
Growing up as a football player, Hester has always had a body built for athletics, but when playing with the pigskin came to an end, he decided to try his hand at combat sports instead. Hester went on to become a professional boxer, but then his attention shifted to mixed martial arts instead.
He actually tried out for The Ultimate Fighter on a couple past occasions, but at the time Hester's record wasn't up to snuff, so he had to go out and prove himself by picking up a few more wins, and now he's ready for the next stage of his career by getting his shot on TUF 17.
Hester's game is no secret because everyone knows his striking background and the fact that he's got big knockout power in both hands. He's also a monster at 185 pounds, so assuming he's got his weight cut under control, Hester has the strength and size to go a long way in this tournament.
Team Sonnen's Jimmy Quinlan, much like his teammate Kelvin Gastelum, slips under the radar quite a bit, but should not be underrated when it comes to his skills in the cage.
Quinlan is a former state wrestling champion as well as a decorated college grappler, and he's a very experienced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor from the northeast. Over the years, Quinlan has worked with the likes of UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon and middleweight Tom Lawlor, while trying to find his own shot at the big time.
The best comparison in raw talent for Quinlan could be UFC middleweight contender Chris Weidman – a wrestler who has dedicated himself to learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to compliment his overall game. Obviously at 3-0 as a pro with no UFC experience to date, Quinlan isn't on par with where Weidman is now, but they come from very similar backgrounds.
A lot of the fights on The Ultimate Fighter this season have matched up two fighters from very different stylistic backgrounds, and this is one more instance of that happening. Hester wants to keep this fight standing and look for the knockout and Quinlan will look to get this one on the ground and keep it there.
It's hard to say the word mismatch with either fighter competing in the other's specialty, but there's definitely an easy way to see the strategy for both Hester and Quinlan going into this one. Judging by the numbers, Hester will come in as a slight favorite because of his experience, size, and simply by being the No. 1 pick overall. Quinlan, however, is an underdog to watch because he has one of the most dangerous varieties of weapons in the house, and if he can get Hester on the ground, it could be a very hard night for Jones' top selection.
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