TUF23 Finale: Zafir & Matthews stopped in the first round in respective bouts

— LIVE from Las Vegas

Anton Zafir made his second walk to the UFC’s Octagon tonight kicking off the festivities at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale.

Zafir, who faced off against Chinese fighter Li Jingliang, started the fight strong with solid legs kicks and a big takedown that saw him take early control of the fight. However Jingliang ended up being too much for the Aussie taking him down in the second minute of the first round before unleashing vicious ground and pound that resulted in a KO victory for “The Leech” and his third overall in the UFC.

“Not too much to say guys…Things didn’t go my way tonight. Congratulations go to my opponent Li Jingliang and thank you to everyone at home in Australia for their support.Back to the gym Monday to keep improving. This sport offers a narrow margin for error. Thankyou to the WMA Family, the Whitsundays community and importantly Lara Mitton (for putting up with me) and for the support over the last few months!” — Anton Zafir

Jake Matthews was equally unsuccessful in his fight against highly touted prospect Kevin Lee. Matthews opened the account with a leg kick and front kick to the body before Lee took him to the mat. Lee dominated on the ground throwing heavy elbows and smothering Matthews with his revered wrestling skills. Whilst Matthews managed to get back to his feet it wasn’t for long. Lee wrapped up the Aussie taking him to mat yet again before taking his back, flattening him out, and throwing a barrage of strikes. The fight was eventually stopped by the referee in the last minute of the first round.

“This was my first fight in the United States but the travel nor the time difference made a difference tonight. The only thing I would have changed is that I wish I had won the fight.” — Jake Matthews

Official Result:

  • Kevin Lee def. Jake Matthews via TKO at 4:06 of the first round.
  • Li Jingliang def. Anton Zafir via KO at 2:46 of the first round.