It’s been a crazy couple of days leading up to The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale, which is set to crown the first UFC women’s flyweight champion ever. The last episode of the season saw Sijara Eubanks defeat Roxanne Modafferi via decision to earn a spot in the finals against Nicco Montano. But on Thursday night, Eubanks was hospitalized due to a bad weight cut, and Modafferi got promoted up into the main event for a chance at the inaugural title.
In the end, it was Montano that got the win via decision, pulling 50-45, 49-46, and 49-46 scores from the judges. It was a hard fought match that saw Modafferi stun Montano on the feet several times, but a combination of muscle in the clinch and top control on the ground earned Montano the majority of the rounds.
The first three rounds between Montano and Modafferi were fairly even. Modafferi’s lurching standup style gave Montano problems, while Montano managed to lock Modaferri up in a triangle on the ground near the end of round two. Montano came out fresher in the fourth, not a surprise considering she’s been training for a five round fight for months. That gave her more power in the clinch and she bullied Modafferi down onto the canvas at the end of the round after getting caught with a big overhand from Modafferi.
Round five was more of the same. Montano was just a bit fresher and used that cardio to win the scrambles and get into a better position. With 15 seconds to go, Modafferi locked up an armbar off her back, but Montano managed to pull her arm out and separate. The match ended with both fighters slinging leather.
In the co-main event, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders prospect Sean O’Malley made the best of a showcase spot on the card, earning a hard fought decision over former BAMMA champ Terrion Ware. O’Malley showed off a wide variety of weapons from spinning moves to flying triangles, fighting through a cardio dip in the second round to win 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards. Keep an eye on this kid, he may develop into one of the most entertaining fighters on the UFC roster.
Sean O’Malley defeats Terrion Ware by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Lauren Murphy defeats Barb Honchak by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Gerald Meerschaert defeats Eric Spicely by KO (body kick) at 2:18 of Round Two
DeAnna Bennett vs. Melinda Fabian declared a Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28)
Brett Johns defeats Joe Soto by submission (calf slicer) at 0:30 of Round One
Montana De La Rosa defeats Christina Marks by submission (armbar) at 2:00 of Round One
Ryan Janes defeats Andrew Sanchez by TKO (punches) at 0:58 of Round Three
Rachael Ostovich defeats Karine Gevorgyan by submission (armbar) at 1:40 of Round One
Shana Dobson defeats Ariel Beck by TKO (punches) at 2:53 of Round Two
Gillian Robertson defeats Emily Whitmire by submission (armbar) at 2:12 of Round One