After a relatively forgettable season, TUF 16 ended things on a high note last night after the two men facing off next weekend at the Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale were produced as the result of a back-and-forth battle and a knockout for the ages. When the dust settled, the winners were active duty soldier Colton Smith and Canadian prospect Mike Ricci, setting up an intriguing duel on December 15 for a number of reasons.

Smith defeated Jon Manley to earn his spot in the final with superior grappling, though the victory was far from a cakewalk thanks to Manley’s heart and technique. Meanwhile, Ricci put a stamp on his Season 16 run by stopping opponent Neil Magny with strikes in brutal fashion. The knockout came when Ricci landed an elbow while the two were clinched against the cage, sending Magny down and damaging him to the point he attempted to grapple with the referee once he finally got up to his feet.

“I don’t think that Colton Smith can hang with me to be honest with you. I mean anything can happen, right? He’s a dangerous man, but if my A game is on, I’ll be able to stop Colton for sure,” said Ricci of his adversary in a press release to media.

Smith’s confidence in exiting the effort with his hand raised was also evident, giving Ricci credit while making it clear he was the superior scrapper.

“Mike Ricci is a tough, tough dude. He has power in his hands, power in his kicks, elbows,” explained Smith. “He’s a very versatile fighter, but I’m going to go in there and I’m going to take his head off, I’m going to ground and pound, I’m going to look for the submission. He’ll break before I will, that’s guaranteed.”

The episode also featured a few moments from outside of the Octagon, primarily in regards to Roy Nelson’s team complaining about his coaching (or lack thereof as the case may be). Nelson ultimately caught wind of their gripes, halfheartedly apologizing for hurting any feelings while also questioning their status as “men”.