The finale of the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter took place at The Palms in Las Vegas yesterday.
Reigning flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson headlined the show against a stalwart opponent in Tim Elliot who took the pound-for-pound king into deep waters.
It was an entertaining fight from the first bell to the end of a five round grappling fest that saw Johnson take home the unanimous decision – the clear winner on all scorecards but it didn’t come easily.
Elliott started strong showing off his eclectic skill range and kept Johnson on the backfoot, and momentarily on the canvas, in the first round. The former UFC fighter, who was clearly ready to make the most of his second chance under the bright lights, threatened to end the champ’s run for a ninth title defence early with two attempted chokes but Johnson’s experience and expert technique allowed him to escape.
From the second round on it was all Johnson. Peppering Elliott with leg kicks but ultimately taking him to where the fight was going to be won – on the mat, Johnson didn’t waste time trying to stand and trade with the unorthodox fighter. Elliott worked hard off his back and displayed his own incredible submission defence for the remaining four rounds however Johnson was just too strong. Despite the loss to his name Elliott won the hearts of many fans whilst Johnson cemented himself yet again as the most dominant champ in the UFC.
Aussie Brendan O’Reilly unfortunately didn’t fare as well dropping a unanimous decision against Dong Hyun Kim.
The lightweight bout was a grind fest with Kim happy to cruise to a point decision over O’Reilly with four successful takedowns. O’Reilly struggled to find his groove and was smothered from start to finish with Kim picking his poison from top position.
While O’Reilly briefly showed life in the final frame it wasn’t enough for the Aussie who dropped his second consecutive loss inside the UFC’s octagon taking his record to 1-3 and 6-3 overall.
Sara McMann and Anthony Smith took home “Performance of the Night” honours after the pair both finished their opponents.
McMann welcomed Alexis Davis back to the octagon after an eighteen month lay-off after the birth of her first child. Despite being caught early with a beautiful combination from Davis, McMann rallied and put her Olympic-calibre wrestling to work rattling off elbows and strikes from the top position in the second round before ultimately locking in the arm-triangle choke that forced Davis to tap.
Smith likewise started slowly in his fight against Elvis Mutapcic but more than made up for it in the second round when he caught Mutapcic with a vicious elbow before closing out the fight with a series of strikes to secure the TKO victory.
Cannonier and Cutelaba took home “Fight of the Night” honors whilst Benevedez put his name back in title contention with a controversial split decision victory over Henry Cejudo.
Results for the card are as follows: