Mike Ricci, Colton Smith punch tickets to TUF 16 Finale

Mike Ricci and Colton Smith will square off for the TUF 16 title.

The two welterweights advanced to the finals after winning their respective semifinal fights. Ricci knocked out Neil Magny in the first round while Smith outworked Jon Manley en route to a unanimous decision victory.

The finale takes place on Dec. 15 from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and the winner gets a UFC contract.

Smith captured the first spot in the finals, largely by crowding Manley against the cage and on the ground. He built up a lead over the first two rounds with his grappling and held on in the third, warding off Manley's late comeback try.

Smith scored several takedowns in the fight, at least one in all three rounds, but never had Manley in any significant trouble. Manley landed some powerful right hands in the final moments but Smith held on.

His road to the finals also included decision victories over Eddy Ellis and Igor Araujo.

Ricci's win was far more impressive, as he knocked Magny down with a straight left hand, and two minutes later in the round, he finished it with a one-strike knockout with a crushing elbow while against the fence.

Ricci beat Dom Waters and Michael Hill previously in the 16-man tourney. His KO of Magny was only the second tourney finish since the action shifted to the TUF house in Las Vegas.

Ricci was Team Carwin's third pick in the draft while Smith went fourth to team Nelson.

The TUF 16 Finale will be headlined by a match between Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione, who replaced the injured Shane Carwin. Also on the card is another heavyweight match, this one pitting Shane del Rosario against Pat Barry, as well as an anticipated lightweight scrap pitting Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner. In a rarity during a TUF finale, Ricci vs. Smith is the only fight featuring TUF 16 talent.

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