On December 1st, the UFC kicked off an action packed weekend with the finale of this season's Ultimate Fighter. In the main event of this card, MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi comes on one day notice to fill in for an Injured Sijara Eubanks to take on Nicco Montano, the other finalist of this year's Ultimate fighter. This card was full of finishes, exciting fights, improbable comebacks, and more, so lets get into the TUF 26 Finale Card.
Main Event – Inaugural UFC Women's Flyweight Championship Bout
Roxanne Modafferi vs Nicco Montano (Win)
Now, in our Main Event of the evening, we will witness the crowning of a new, first-time champion in the UFC. This five round title bout is for the Inaugural UFC Women's Flyweight title. Nicco Montano, the TUF finalist who won all of her fights was originally supposed to face off against Sijara Eubanks, the other finalist.
However, about a day before the fight it, t was revealed that Sijara was pulling out of the fight due to complications from her weight cut. To replace her, TUF 26 semi-finalist and MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi was called up to the title fight on short notice. She accepted and now faces her former teammate from the show in Montano. This fight will be an interesting one for sure.
In the first round, Montano lands first with punches. She lands a good combo and then a leg kick. Roxy lands a good combo but then Montano lands a good combo and as they clinch briefly she continues the strikes and they separate. Roxy lands a good leg kick and hard body kick.
Montano misses a high kick but follows up with punches and a low kick. They clinch after exchanges, and Roxy has Montano against the cage. They separate, and as they exchange punches and kicks, Montano catches a kick from Roxy and takes her down. Montano goes to work in Roxy's Guard. Roxy has a good closed guard and is looking for submissions. Montano keeps pressure on top. As Roxy tries an arm bar, Montano stands up.
They're back to striking but Roxy lands a good takedown and with 30 seconds left is in side control. She lands hard punches from here, and advances to crucifix, but theys scramble and Roxy ends up on top of Montano and lands a few punches before the round ends.
In the second, Roxy comes out with a missed high kick, and they continue to trade. Roxy lands a hard right hand and it looks like Montano is a bit stunned. Roxy chases, and lands a flurry of right hands on Nicco. Montano recovers, and she begins to fire back on Roxy. They clinch briefly, but separate and go back to trading on the feet. They throw punches and body kicks, but neither do too much damage throughout most of the second.
Montano lands some good leg kicks then a combination of punches on Roxy. Roxy comes forward and throws some punches, but Montano continues to time her and land hard counters. As Roxy comes forward, Montano goes for the takedown, and Roxy reverses into a throw. Montano throws up a triangle and then locks it in, and has Roxy trapped in it loosely throwing strikes as the round ends.
In the third, they continue to trade strikes back and forth, and for each punch one lands, the other responds with more. They clinch, and then Montano looks for the double leg takedown. Roxy defends well, but Montano follows with punches as Roxy separates. More hard punch exchanges as the round goes on, and Montano is landing more precise shots in this round. Montano comes forward but Roxy lands some sharp counter right hands. They continue to move around the octagon punching, throwing wildly at points. Roxy lands some good punches that bloody the face of Montano, but in the last ten seconds they both stand and trade heavy blows.
In the fourth round, Montano lands heavy in the early moments backing up Roxy, and as Roxy comes to counter, Montano lands more. Roxy comes back and lands heavy shots but Montano again counters, lands straight punch combos, then clinches. They fight for position and Montano lands a judo throw takedown. Roxy is able to sprawl underneath and get to her feet.
They continue to trade punches, and they clinch again, with Roxy trying to find a takedown. They separate and continue to throw heavy punches, and as they exchange Roxy finds another hard right hand, and backs up Montano with combinations. However Montano lands a takedown and ends up in Roxy's guard. Montano finishes the round with heavy strikes on top.
In the fifth and final round, They go back to heavy punch exchanges. Montano finds heavy straight punches and leg kicks, but Roxy finds some counters as well. Montano then times a takedown, and gets Roxy to the ground, landing in half guard. She works, and then gets to mount. Montano stands as Roxy tries to sweep. In a clinch, Montano lands another takedown from a reversal, and then gets to side control. She begins to look for an americana, but loses it. Roxy sprawls and stands up, and they clinch before separating. Once again they clinch, but after separating, Roxy lands a few hard punches.
Another clinch, and Roxy lands a hard knee but Montano with another takedown, and she ends up in Roxy's guard with a minute left. She tries to land punches as Roxy turns beneath, looking for an armbar. She grabs the arm finally, and it appears to be locked up, Roxy extends, and its almost fully locked in but with all of the sweat, Montano slips out. In the last ten seconds, Roxy pops up, lands a superman punch, and they both swing as they did all fight for the finish. The round ends and this war is over. As for the judges' decision...it was scored:
50-45. 49-46×2. Nicco Montano def. Roxanne Modafferi via Unanimous Decision to become the first UFC Women's Flyweight Champion, and the The winner of TUF 26.
Sean O'Malley (Win) vs Terrion Ware
In the co-main event of the evening, we have a very interesting matchup in the Bantamweight division.After a dominant showing on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, exciting 8-0 MMA up and comer Sean O'Malley makes his UFC debut against 17-6 MMA veteran, Terrion Ware.
In the first round, Ware begins with a leg kick. O'Malley tries the high kick, but it's blocked. He then lands a duo of body kicks. Body punch by O'Malley. O'Malley now landing good combinations, but Ware clinches and has him against the fence. O'Malley finds a way to separate. After resetting, O'Malley lands some good punches and a nifty question mark kick.
They exchange, and O'Malley lands a hard straight left. Ware lands a low kick but O'Malley is able to land some great strikes while moving in and out. They exchange, and as Ware clinches with O'Malley, O'Malley throws him. And as Ware rises, O'Malley lands a punch. Skillful display, but Ware isn't backing down. He's able to land some punches of his own, and as O'Malley is able to land some strikes, Ware continues constant forward pressure. O'Malley does a good job of slipping punches. The round ends.
In the second round, O'Malley opens with a body kick. Ware returns with a leg kick. They exchange jabs, and after a blocked overhand, O'Malley begins to choose his shots and then soon lands a nice head kick. Ware clinches but they separate, and Ware lands a hard right hand. O'Malley shows off his head movement, but Ware is starting to land some punches, and then hard knees to the face. He's walking O'Malley down.
O'Malley returns with a left hand but Ware is bringing on heavier punches and he's landing hard on O'Malley. More overhand rights and Ware is beginning to string together his combos. O'Malley tries a kick but slips and Ware follows him down, O'Malley begins to search for a submission. They scramble to their feet, and Ware continues to land shots on O'Malley. O'Malley returns with a three piece combo that slows down Ware. They continue to exchange hard shots and they clinch, O'Malley attempts a flying triangle, but slips out once he hits the ground. They scramble back up, and they trade a few more punches as the round ends.
In the third, O'Malley lands some good punches early. Ware looks a bit slower in this round, but O'Malley lands a spinning back kick. O'Malley with a hard left hand. He slips some of the punches of Ware, but Ware lands a low kick. O'Malley with a hard overhand right. He continues to establish the jab in this round. They exchange punches, and O'Malley is trying to land as Ware throws. They clinch, and as they fight for position, they separate. O'Malley with a hard combination, he slips the punches of Ware, and fights off the clinch. He lands a spinning kick and then a back fist.
Ware clinches him, and takes the standing rear waist lock. O'Malley reverses and separates, landing a kick and more punches, and then as they clinch again, he takes Ware down, again. He lands a hard elbow, then as Ware fights for position O'Malley tries a d'arce, and loses it. Ware finds his feet, and they separate. As the round ends, O'Malley lands one last takedown and two more hard elbows. A very exciting fight.
Sean O'Malley def. Terrion Ware via Unanimous Decision.
Lauren Murphy (Win) vs Barb Honchak
In the 9th overall fight of the night, we have Barb Honchak going up against Lauren Murphy in a Women's Flyweight matchup of these TUF 26 contenders.
In the first round, both women throw jabs to try and establish, Honchak strikes first. Murphy lands a good left hook, and they continue to trade on the feet. Honchak lands a good one-two. Murphy now lands a three punch combination on Honchak. Honchak lands a few more hard punches. Murphy lands a good one two as Honchak tries a kick. Murphy with another hard one-two.
As they continue to trade, Honchak lands a good leg kick. She lands a jab, but Murphy returns with a right hand. Another one gets the attention of Honchak. Honchak lands a hard right hand but Murphy chases with a combo of her own. Honchak lands another right hand. Murphy now with a hard straight right of her own. As the ten second warning sounds they exchange more hard punches as this back-and-forth round comes to an end.
In the second round, Honchak begins with some low kicks and a spinning backfist attempt. More back and forth exchanges, no takedown attempts so far. Honchak has been landing more strikes over the round. Honchak lands more kicks and a couple of punches that land hard on Murphy. Honchak lands a hard left hook now, but Murphy comes back with a jab then a body kick.
They both continue the round, throwing hooks and straight rights, exchanging them. Honchak with another right hand that lands, and she starts finding the jab, but then, Murphy explodes forward, and takes down Honchak. Honchak stands but Murphy has the back of Honchak. They fall, and Honchak finishes the round on top as Murphy has her arm tied up on the bottom.
In the third round, Honchak continues to shoot her jab, and Murphy is trying to find some strikes of her own. Honchak is more accurate, landing a leg kick and good punches to follow it, including a flush overhand right. Murphy times one of her punches, and then she grabs the single leg and takes down Honchak in the middle of the cage.
Murphy goes to work in Honchak's guard, trying to land elbows now. She isn't trying to pass, Honchak is now able to grab an arm, and swings her hips to attack. She's looking to extend the arm now, and Murphy is able to posture and escape, but Honchak now throws up a triangle and locks it in tight. Murphy defends and now Honchak looks for the arm bar again. Murphy steps over and after some struggling, escapes. Now a scramble, and Murphy takes the back of Honchak. She has both hooks in, and is looking for the choke. They are up against the cage, which works against Murphy, and the fight ends with both of them fighting for position here.
Lauren Murphy def. Barb Honchak via Split Decision.
Gerald Meerschaert (Win) vs Eric Spicely
In our 3rd fight of the main card, we have a middleweight showcase between MMA Veteran and submission specialist Gerald Meerschaert takes on TUF 23 contestant and another grappling specialist in Eric Spicely. In the first round, Meerschaert shoots some jabs to begin. He finds a left hand, in southpaw. Spicely fights orthodox, and fights his straight right. Meerschaert lands a good body kick.
Meerschaert then pours on a huge combination of about 12 punches onto the blocking Spicely. But Spicely doesnt give up, landing a hard couple of right hands, then shooting the takedown, failing initially but staying with it, and eventually, dragging Meerschaert down. Spicely then takes the back of the scrambling Meerschaert. He locks up a body triangle, and pours on punches from the back, as Meerschaert defends the choke. Spicely continues to punch from the back, looking for the choke, turning the body and maintaining position. Spicely then gets his forearm under the chin briefly, but Meerschaert continues to defend the hands and evades another choke attempt.
This continues late in the round, and Meerschaert rolls to the body triangle, and then Spicely looks for the arm bar briefly. Meerschaert escapes that and ends up in Spicely's guard. Spicely gets into rubber guard and the horn sounds. In round two, Meerschaert lands a hard body kick early. Spicely times a takedown but can't find it, they clinch, then separate. Meerschaert is landing some good punches now, mixing it up now with a punch to the body. They clinch briefly but separate, Spicely lands a good right, fails a takedown. Meerschaert comes back with two more hard body kicks. Spicely shoots for the single leg, but again Meerschaert defends and they separate. Meerschaert with another hard body kick. They exchange punches. Then, Meerschaert times Spicely and lands one last devastating body kick, and Spicely bends over grabbing his body and falls to all fours, wincing in pain. Meerschaert lands one follow up punch before Referee Herb Dean steps in to end the fight, and Spicely continues to wear the pain from the body shot on his face as Gerald Meerschaert walks away victorious.
Gerald Meerschaert def. Eric Spicely via R2 TKO.
Deanna Bennett (tie) vs Melinda Fabian (tie)
In our next fight, we have TUF 26 teammates going at it in the Women's Flyweight division. Hungarian fighter Melinda Fabian squares off against Invicta FC veteran Deanna Bennett. Both women make their UFC pro debut tonight. In the first round, Fabian strikes first with a good one two combo. They clinch, and Bennett has Fabian against the fence early on. She tries for a trip, and lands a knee to the body of Fabian while doing it.
They continue to jockey for position, and Bennett lands a couple of right hands. Fabian reverses position spinning Bennett against the fence and landing a punch. Now Bennett reverses, and digs for the takedown with a single leg. She can't find it and they both land knees at points. Halfway through the round, they are at a stalemate and Referee Big John McCarthy separates them. Fabian lands great combinations and backs up Bennett.
She uses head kicks and punches, but Bennett is again able to clinch and press Fabian against the fence. Fabian puts up a good fight but Bennett is able to control this position well. She looks for a guillotine and can't find it so she bails. As she separates, Fabian throws a one two then a left high kick that catches Bennett on the chin and she falls back, but Fabian doesn't follow up in time. The round ends with Fabian trying to finish and Bennett is able to recover as Referee McCarthy asks her to get up.
In the second, Fabian swarms and attacks Bennett with more kicks and punches. Bennett clinches Fabian against the fence once again. They fight in this position for a while, and Bennett looks for the single leg takedown now. As Bennett cannot take her down, McCarthy tells Fabian to not grab the fence. She doesn't so she has a point taken. They resume in the same position against the fence.
Bennett continues to look for the takedown, trying for a double leg now, switching to a single. Fabian grabs onto a front headlock, but loses it as Bennett switches between a double and single leg. McCarthy separates them, but Bennett goes right back to the clinch against the fence and double leg attempt. She lifts Fabian momentarily, but can't find the takedown. Fabian is landing strikes all during this time, and tries to find a way out of the position. McCarthy separates them once again, and once again Bennett goes to the single leg pressing Fabian against the fence. They separate as the round ends, and Fabian lands a combo as the buzzer sounds, grunting in frustration as she returns to her corner.
In the third, both women start slow, but it is Bennett striking first with a body kick and punch combos. Fabian comes back with a one-two. She finds another, then some combinations. Fabian continues to land and as she kicks to the body of Bennett, Bennett grabs the leg and clinches Fabian against the fence. Fabian tries desperately to fight out of this position, but Bennett has her locked up, trying for trips and takedowns. Once again McCarthy separates them.
As they reset, Fabian lands a right hand and a body kick, but Bennett shoots for the takedown and gets Fabian against the fence once again. Bennett looking for the single now, but can't find it. Fabian pushes her away, and is now looking for the KO. She lands a big elbow, but as she goes for a Left high kick, she slips and falls and Bennett is right on top of her, finishing on top with ground and pound.
The fight is scored by one judge to Bennett, but by the two others 28-28, therefore, this fight ends in a Majority draw.
Brett Johns (Win) vs Joe Soto
In our first fight of the main card, in the 135lb division, UFC Bantamweight contender Joe Soto takes on 14-0 Welsh fighter Brett Johns, who is 2-0 in the octagon. Inthe first round, Johns presses forward with jabs early. He follows upw ith combos and Soto lands a takedown. Immediately, Pike moves left and rolls backwards, grabbing Soto's left leg and putting his own in a triangle shape. He bends soto's leg over his own Left shin, and locks in the calf slicer off of Soto's takedown! Soto tries to adjust, but as Johns pulls back, Soto winces in pain and taps out. Brett Johns finishes a wicked submission and remains undefeated now at 15-0.
Brett Johns def. Joe Soto via R1 Submission.
Montana De La Rosa (Win) vs Christina Marks
In our featured prelim of the night, TUF 26 contestants Christina Marks, a muay thai specialist, and Montana De La Rosa, a grappler, face off in the Women's Flyweight division. In the first round, both women exchange huge shots and Montana gets hit with a hard hook from Marks. Montana grabs a clinch as this happens, and they struggle against the fence for position. Marks lands some hard knees to Montana's body. They separate, and Marks lads a hook.
Montana lands some leg kicks. Marks catches a kick and punches Montana, and takes her down. Montana opens up and immediately gets guard, and attacks with the armbar. At first, Marks tries to defend by putting pressure, but then tries to step over, however Montana already has the arm locked, and stays with it, going back down. Marks rolls and ends up on her back in a worse position, and Montana fully extends the arm bar. Marks has no choice but to tap. A quick win for the 22-year-old Montana De La Rosa.
Montana De La Rosa def. Christina Marks via R1 Submision.
Andrew Sanchez vs Ryan Janes (Win)
In our 3rd Prelim Bout, we have a Middleweight contest between Canadian Ryan Janes and American Andrew 'El Dirte' Sanchez. Both men seek to get back in the win column in this fight. In the first round, Sanchez strikes first with a pair of heavy one two combos. Sanchez lands good labs and some kicks.
He continues with a hard overhand right that lands flush and Sanchez lands a takedown, but Janes stands up against the cage. Sanchez lands a good three punch combo that rocks back the head of Janes. Janes fights forward but eats another hard right from Sanchez. Sanchez then lands a monstrous combo that drops Janes, and he follows up and lands huge ground and pound.
Janes is getting ponded but then Sanchez lands another good right hook that drops Janes and follows with more ground and pound. Janes continues to fight back miraculously, and then Sanchez tries with some kicks and misses. They continue to swing heavy and Janes lands some punches. They clinch briefly, but they separate. Sanchez continues to throw a huge right overhand, but Janes presses forward like a zombie, landing good punches to the head and body of Sanchez. They exchange punches and strikes over and over, and although Sanchez lands hard right hands that repeatedly rock Janes' head back, Janes eats them all and Sanchez appears to begin punching himself out and tired. They end the round swinging.
In the second, Sanchez comes out with another good right hand. They continue to throw punches, bombing each other. Janes lands a knee and Sanchez lands a good right hand but Janes clinches. They are against the fence now and as Sanchez shoots for a takedown, Janes threatens with a guillotine and they reset, back against the fence. Janes lands another good knee there. Janes reverses position and turns around Sanchez, landing more knees to his body. Sanchez turns it back around and they separate.
They continue to swing, hitting pucnhes to the head back and forth. Sanchez lands some strikes but Janes comes back with hard strikes and good body and head combos. He's using precision shots and out Striking Sanchez. Sanchez eats a lot of shots but is able to find a takedown. Sanchez eats a knee as Janes gets up, and they separate. Sanchez with another right hand. Janes appears to wobble Sanchez, but it could just be the fatigue that Sanchez is suffering at this point. They both throw shot after shot on each other, head and body shots, Janes is out landing Sanchez, but the American is landing the harder shots. They swing, akin to rock em' sock em' robots, all the way until the buzzer.
In the third round, Sanchez shoots early but can't find the takedown out of exhaustion. Janes continues to pres forward, and Sanchez shoots again, missing again. Janes takes advantage of the exhausted Sanchez, and closes in for a hard combination of right and left hooks. He goes to the body once, and continues the assault of punches. Sanchez backs up, rocked and completely lacking any energy, and as he eats the punches of Janes he takes a knee and goes down to all fours. Janes continues with ground and pound and the Referee steps in stopping the fight. Janes completes the improbable comeback.
Ryan Janes def. Andrew Sanchez via R3 TKO.
Rachael Ostovich (Win) vs Karine Gevorgyan
In the second prelim bout, Karine Gevorgyan, the UFC's first female Armenian fighter faces off against fellow TUF 26 contestant, Hawaiian Rachael Ostovich. In the first round, Ostovich comes out first with low kicks.
Gevorgyan comes back with strikes of her own. Ostovich lands a right and drops straight into a single leg and finds the takedown against Gevorgyan. Gevorgyan goes for the armbar but Ostovich steps over and escapes, and they stand up in a clinch. Gevorgyan shoots and Ostovich has her in a front headlock. Then, they scramble, and Ostovich takes the back of Gevorgyan. Gevorgyan tries to defend, turns around, and ends up in Ostovich's guard. Ostovich turns her hips and grabs at Gevorgyan's arm, looking for the arm bar.
Gevorgyan defends well, but Ostovich keeps the arm isolated, and again throws her right leg up, then sliding her left leg past Gevorgyan's head next to her right leg, sinking in the arm bar. Gevorgyan clasps her hands together in desperation to try and defend, but Ostovich pulls back and has the arm bar tight, and as Gevorgyan's hands come apart she is caught, and taps.
Rachael Ostovich def. Karine Gevorgyan via R1 Submission.
Shana Dobson (Win) vs Ariel Beck
In the first fight of the FS1 prelims, we have TUF 26 contestants Ariel Beck and Shana Dobson squaring off, in the UFC's new 125 women's division. In the first round, Beck opens with a couple of body kicks. Beck continues to land, this time with a right. Dobson comes back with a hard low kick. She then lands a hard two piece kick combination and presses forward. Continuing forward pressure, Dobson is finding more shots and backing up Beck, who is landing select shots of her own.
Dobson lands a hard head kick in exchanges, and both women are exchanging low kicks. Dobson lands a hard overhand right, and they continue to trade. Beck lands a good left but has he leg swept and pops back up, where Dobson lands a hard high kick. Beck grabs the clinch and gets Dobson against the fence, and Dobson lands an elbow before they separate. With a minute remaining, Beck misses a superman punch, and Dobson lands some more low kicks. They both keep trying kicks and Dobson tries an overhand right that misses. The round ends.
In the second, they exchange punches to start out. They clinch briefly but separate, then continue trading low kicks. Beck has a leg kick checked and limps a bit. Dobson lands a good one two, and then continues to pile on shots, landing punches and knees on Beck who appears a bit hurt. She comes back with a good combo that Dobson acknowledges, and the women continue to stand and trade. As they continue to trade, Beck appears to walk down the slowing-down Dobson, but Dobson, who still has power, lands a hard overhand that backs up Beck, follows up with a good uppercut, then a stinging quick right hook that stumbles Beck.
She tries to stay up but is hurt too badly, and her legs give out, leading her to crumble to all fours with her hand on her head in desperation. Dobson stands over her and the referee steps in to rescue the rocked Ariel Beck.
Shana Dobson def. Ariel Beck via R2 TKO.
Gillian Robertson (Win) vs Emily Whitmire
To begin the night, we have Gillian Robertson going up against Emily Whitmire in the women's 125lb division. Both of them make their UFC debut in this fight. In the first, Robertson lands a good right and they both exchange punches before clinching. Robertson lands another good right as they separate. Robertson changes levels and lands the Angle leg takedown. Whitmire tries to scramble but Robertson scrambles and gets to Whitmire's back. They're against the cage sitting, and Robertson is looking for the choke as Whitmire defends.
Robertson rolls to her back and Whitmire turns around, into Robertson's guard. Robertson attacks the arm but can't finish, and Whitmire stands and comes down with a huge punch. Robertson grabs the arm of Whitmire and locks onto it with her left arm, and then shifts her hips and gets her legs past the head. The way she had Whitmire's arm made the hold even tighter, and as she extends Whitmire immediately taps. Robertson gets the quick tap in her Pro Debut.
Gillian Robertson def. Emily Whitmire via R1 Submission.