THERE was plenty of action at The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale on Saturday (AEDT) as Nicco Montano defeated Roxanne Modafferi via unanimous decision in the headline bout to be crowned the women’s first ever flyweight champion.
Gerald Meerschaert was too strong for Eric Spicely while on the undercard Ryan Janes earned plaudits galore for a stunning comeback and Shana Dobson shut down Ariel Beck via a second-round TKO.
Veteran Modafferi took Montano the full five rounds but all the judges favoured the younger fighter (50-45, 49-46 x 2). Modafferi started stronger but couldn’t keep up the pace as the fight wore on.
Montano landed cleaner strikes and was dominant on the ground as she maintained the rage in the face of her dogged opponent — a last-minute replacement inserted into the card on Thursday — to seal a career-defining victory.
Meerschaert’s liver kick put Spicely in a world of pain after a couple of heavy body kicks had already softened up the American in the second round, giving Meerschaert his ninth win in his past 10 fights via TKO.
“Being a southpaw, I’ve always been good at setting up the body shots,” Meerschaert said. “I was landing some clean shots to the head but Eric was taking them really well. Usually it’s one or the other, either they got a tough chin and weak body or a weak chin and tough body. Tonight he happened to have a weak body so I took advantage of it.”
Janes pulled off the unthinkable, coming back to defeat Sanchez via TKO in the third round of their fight. Sanchez dropped Janes with a booming right hand in the opening round then put him on the canvas again as it looked like the contest would be over before the first buzzer.
But Janes stayed on his feet in the second and landed a combination of knees before he let fly with a left hook. All of a sudden it was Sanchez who looked gassed and he succumbed after eating a stack of uppercuts in the clinch.
Shana Dobson opened with two head kicks against Ariel Beck and she repeated that formula in the second before her vicious right hook ended the fight.
Nicco Montano defeated Roxanne Modafferi via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46 x 2)
Sean O’Malley defeated Terrion Ware via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Lauren Murphy defeated Barb Honchak via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
Gerald Meerschaert defeated Eric Spicely via TKO (R2, 2:18)
Deanna Bennett vs Melinda Fabian — majority draw (29-27 Bennett, 28-28 x2)
Brett Johns defeated Joe Soto via submission (calf slicer, R1, 0:30)
Montana De La Rosa defeated Christina Marks via submission (armbar, R1, 2:00)
Ryan Janes defeated Andrew Sanchez via third-round TKO (0:58)
Rachael Ostovich-Berdon defeated Karine Gevorgyan via submission (armbar, R1, 1:40)
Shana Dobson defeated Ariel Beck via TKO (R2, 2:53)
Gillian Robertson defeated Emily Whitmire via submission (armbar, R1, 2:12)