Following every UFC and Invicta FC event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, which took place on April 13 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao-Eddie Wineland winner

On Saturday, “The California Kid” Urijah Faber proved once again that he is the third-best bantamweight in the world with a fourth-round submission win over Scott Jorgensen.

Faber stepped up on a bit of a short notice to take on Jorgensen, and after the win, says he wants to take a break after already fighting twice this year.

This really begs the question: what is next for the former WEC champion?

At this point, there is no set opponent for Faber, especially with not knowing how long he will be on vacation. It will all depend on the status of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who continues to recover from two knee surgeries.

There is no set timetable on the return of Cruz, which has really shaken up the division. Renan Barao is the reigning interim champion, having defeated Faber for the belt and defended it against Michael McDonald in February.

Barao will now defend the title a second time when he goes up against Eddie Wineland at UFC 161 on June 15. If Cruz isn’t ready to fight the winner of that match-up, then Faber may have the opportunity to have another fight against either Barao or Wineland.

Yes, Faber has already had two title fights in the UFC, but when looking at the division, Faber is still at the top of the contender list. Don’t rule out the possibility of Faber earning a third title shot by year’s end.

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Clifford Starks-Yoel Romero winner

The winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17 was a 21-year-old who was picked last by coach Chael Sonnen. Who would have guessed that?

But Kelvin Gastelum overcame the odds to upset Uriah Hall by split decision in the co-main event to earn a six-figure UFC contract.

The question now becomes, who will the UFC give him next?

My advice: the UFC should slowly let him progress and not let him rush in against high-level guys that have way more experience than him. This opens up the idea of Gastelum fighting the winner of a UFC on Fox 7 fight between Clifford Starks and Yoel Romero.

With both Starks and Romero having about the same amount of fights as Gastelum, aside from those in the house, it makes sense in that regard.

Cat Zingano vs. Ronda Rousey

Cat Zingano made her UFC debut on Saturday, but didn’t let the jitters get to her as she defeated Miesha Tate to earn a coaching gig for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, and more importantly, a future title shot against Ronda Rousey.

Zingano and Tate earned “Fight of the Night” honors in the second women’s fight in UFC history, showing fans once again that women’s MMA is on the rise.

“Alpha” impressed with an overall great fight, overcoming adversity to come back and TKO the former Strikeforce women’s champion in the third round.

Many fans were expecting Rousey and Tate to continue their rivalry, but Zingano stole the spotlight, setting up an intriguing match-up with the champion.

It’s early to start studying the fight, but the undefeated Zingano appears to be a legitimate threat to Rousey. We’ll be seeing more of these two facing off as coaches later this year.

Travis Browne vs. Roy Nelson

After a loss to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in October of last year, Travis Browne bounced back with a win to keep him in contention within the heavyweight division.

Browne knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga with brutal elbows to the head of the Brazilian at just 1:11 of the opening round, earning him “Knockout of the Night.”

With the 30-year-old Browne back on track, he could make a run. “Hapa” is very dangerous, with 10 of his 14 wins coming by knockout. A match-up that makes perfect sense for him next is Roy Nelson.

Nelson is expected to fight Cheick Kongo at UFC 159 on April 27. If “Big Country” is able to come out on top, a fight with Browne could be on the horizon.

Both men fall in the same area of the rankings, and stylistically, it shapes up to be a barnburner fight. It will be interesting to see if Browne can test Nelson, who has never been knocked out.

Photo: Urijah Faber (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.