TUF 26 Finale medical suspensions: Four get potential six-month terms

Sean O’Malley continued to make a name for himself as a bantamweight to watch, but there’s potential he’ll be out of action for a while.

O’Malley (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) may be sitting out for six months unless doctors clear both his left hand and left foot with X-rays following his win over Terrion Ware (17-7 MMA, 0-2 UFC) in the co-main event of the TUF 26 Finale this past Friday.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the medical suspensions to MMAjunkie today following the event, which it oversaw at Park Theater in Las Vegas. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Four fighters on the card were given potential six-month medical suspensions. Along with O’Malley, Barb Honchak (10-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Melinda Fabian (4-3-2 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC) and Ariel Beck (4-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) could be out for 180 days.

In the main event, Nicco Montano (4-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) won the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Roxanne Modafferi (21-14 MMA, 0-2 UFC). Modafferi was given a 30-day suspension with no contact for 21 days.

The full list of medical suspensions from the TUF 26 Finale include:

    • Roxanne Modafferi: Suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days.
    • Sean O’Malley: Suspended 180 days unless cleared by doctor with left hand and left foot X-rays.
    • Terrion Ware: Suspended 21 days with no contact for 14 days.
    • Barb Honchak: Suspended 180 days unless cleared by doctor with right hand X-ray.
    • Eric Spicely: Suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days.
    • Melinda Fabian: Suspended 180 days or until broken left thumb cleared by doctor; in addition, suspended 21 days with no contact for 14 days.
    • Ryan Janes: Suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days for hard fight.
    • Andrew Sanchez: Suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days for lip laceration.
    • Ariel Beck: Suspended 180 days unless cleared by doctor with left wrist X-ray; in addition, suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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TUF 26 Finale post-event facts: A rare finish, a new striking record and armbars galore

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History was made at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale on Friday when the organization officially crowned the inaugural champion of its newest weight class: the women’s flyweight division.

Unheralded Nicco Montano (4-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) completed her surprising run to the gold when she outpointed Roxanne Modafferi (21-14 MMA, 0-2 UFC) via unanimous decision in the event headliner, which took place at Park Theatre in Las Vegas and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Montano’s “Fight of the Night” effort capped off an 11-fight card, which saw seven bouts end with a stoppage. For more of the numbers behind the first of two UFC cards from this past weekend, check below for 32 post-event facts to come out of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale.

* * * *

General

Brett Johns

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale featured three armbar submission finishes, tied with UFC on FUEL TV 10 for the most on a UFC card in the modern era.

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $112,500.

Debuting fighters went 6-4-2 at the event.

Montano, Modafferi, Gerald Meerschaert and Brett Johns earned $50,000 TUF 26 Finale fight-night bonuses.

Betting favorites went 7-3 on the card. One fight ended in a draw.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 1:42:31.

Main card

Nicco Montano

Montano became the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight champion.

Montano became UFC champion just 742 days after her professional debut.

Modafferi fell to 6-3 since her initial UFC release in November 2013.

Modafferi has suffered 10 of her 14 career losses by decision. That includes both of her UFC defeats.

Lauren Murphy (10-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was successful in her UFC flyweight debut.

Barb Honchak (10-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had her nine-fight winning streak snapped for her first official defeat since September 2010.

Honchak has suffered all three of her career losses by decision.

Gerald Meerschaert

Meerschaert (27-9 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has earned 25 of his 27 carer victories by stoppage. That includes all three of his UFC wins.

Eric Spicely (10-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

DeAnna Bennett (8-3-1 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC) had her winless streak extended to four fights. She hasn’t earned a victory since September 2015.

Johns’ (15-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) 15-fight MMA winning streak is the second longest among active UFC bantamweight fighters behind Jimmie Rivera (20).

Johns earned just the second calf-slicer submission in UFC history. Charles Oliveira also accomplished the feat.

Johns’ 30-second submission victory was second fastest in UFC/WEC combined bantamweight history behind Patrick Williams’ 23-second finish at UFC 188.

Joe Soto (18-6 MMA, 3-4 UFC) suffered his fourth loss in his past six fights.

Soto suffered just the second submission loss of his career and his first since Aug. 5, 2011 – a span of 2,311 days (more than six years) and 14 fights.

Preliminary card

Montana De La Rose

Montana De La Rosa (8-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned all of her career stoppage victories by submission.

Christina Marks (8-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered seven of her nine career losses by submission. All of her career stoppage losses are by submission.

Ryan Janes (10-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Janes earned the first knockout victory of his career.

Ryan Janes

Janes and Andrew Sanchez (9-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) combined for 255 significant strikes landed, a new single-fight record for a UFC middleweight bout.

Karine Gevorgyan (3-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered all three of her career losses by stoppage.

Ariel Beck (4-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) suffered her third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of her career. She earned her first victory since March 2016.

Beck suffered the first knockout loss of her career.

Shana Dobson (3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned the first knockout victory of her career.

Gillian Robertson (4-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned all of her career stoppage victories by submission.

Emily Whitmire (2-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered both of her career losses by submission.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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Source: MMA Junkie

A proud Lauren Murphy discusses weight of short-notice win over top flyweight Barb Honchak

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LAS VEGAS – It was an uncertain road up leading up to Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, but for Lauren Murphy, it was also a valuable learning experience.

After some late visa issues forced her opponent out of their scheduled bout on Friday, Murphy (10-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was in the often-nerve-wrecking position of staying on weight and being ready to jump in as an alternate. The wait paid off when a shakeup prompted by “TUF 26” finalist Sijara Eubanks’ withdrawal left Barb Honchak (10-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) without a dancing partner.

In came Murphy.

It helps that it ended well for Murphy, who walked away with a split-decision win. But, ultimately, she was glad for the entire ride.

“For me, mentally, to just roll with the punches and focus on what I can control, which is me, and be the best me I can be – this was such good practice for that,” Murphy said after the FS1-televised main-card bout at Park Theater in Las Vegas. “And when we went into this week, I was like, ‘I’m just going to practice not worrying about stuff I can’t control.’ And it was awesome. It worked out great.”

That, it did. Not only did Murphy get back on the winning path, after a loss to Katlyn Chookagian at bantamweight in July, she did so by stopping a serious force in Honchak. A former Invicta FC champ, Honchak made it all the way to the “TUF 26” semifinals before suffering an upset loss to eventual season winner and recently crowned champ Nicco Montano. In official pro bouts, she was riding a nine-fight winning streak into Friday’s bout.

Staying on weight as she waited wasn’t a problem for Murphy, who’s always been disciplined with her diet. But given the circumstances, she knows what she pulled off on Friday was no small feat.

“We didn’t know who we were going to fight or even if we were going to fight,” Murphy said. “So to step up and fight Barb? Barb Honchak, on one day’s notice? To me, it just says a lot to me about me.

“And I’m proud of that. We didn’t have a camp for her. We didn’t have time to prepare for her. And she’s one of the best flyweights in the world, so I think that says a lot.”

After a difficult “TUF 26” taping that forced her to be away from her family, not to mention the rocky lead-up to the TUF 26 Finale, Murphy’s immediate plan is simply to take a scheduled trip to Thailand and sip out of a coconut.

After that, the former bantamweight is set on returning to the newly inaugurated women’s 125-pound division. Where exactly she stands there after such a big win remains to be seen.

Sure, edging out someone like Honchack is big. But does Murphy think it was meaningful enough to set her up for a title shot?

“It’s hard to say,” Murphy said. “There are a lot of really good girls at flyweight. I think it puts me on the way. Coming off a win over Barb Honchak, I think that says a lot – especially to do it on one day’s notice. If we’d had a full camp for her, that might be something else.

“But we stepped up literally on 26 hours’ notice to fight her and came out with the win. So I at least want to start talking about that.”

To hear more from Murphy, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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TUF 26 Finale Athlete Outfitting pay: Montano, Modafferi get $30k each for title fight

LAS VEGAS – Fighters from Friday’s Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $112,500.

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale took place at Park Theatre in Las Vegas. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way were inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title participants Nicco Montano (4-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Roxanne Modafferi (21-14 MMA, 0-2 UFC), who each received $30,000 for going into a championship bout as a non-titleholder.

The full UFC Fight Night 122 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Nicco Montano: $30,000
def. Roxanne Modafferi: $30,000

Sean O’Malley: $2,500
Terrion Ware: $2,500

Lauren Murphy: $2,500
def. Barb Honchak: $2,500

Gerald Meerschaert: $2,500
def. Eric Spicely: $2,500

DeAnna Bennett: $2,500
vs. Melinda Fabian: $2,500

Brett Johns: $2,500
def. Joe Soto: $5,000

Montana De La Rosa: $2,500
def. Christina Marks: $2,500

Ryan Janes: $2,500
def. Andrew Sanchez: $2,500

Rachael Ostovich: $2,500
def. Karine Gevorgyan: $2,500

Shana Dobson: $2,500
def. Ariel Beck: $2,500

Gillian Robertson: $2,500
def. Emily Whitmire: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $5,662,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $15,985,000

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of the TUF 26 Finale with the Eminem Curse back again

While it take intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale event in Las Vegas, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Nicco Montano def. Roxanne Modafferi via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)

Nicco Montano: “NDN Kars” by Keith Secola

Roxanne Modafferi: “Dragula” by Rob Zombie

Sean O’Malley def. Terrion Ware via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Sean O’Malley: “Party and Bull(expletive) in the USA” by The Notorious B.I.G. and Miley Cyrus

Terrion Ware: “Amazing” by Kanye West feat. Young Jeezy

Lauren Murphy def. Barb Honchak via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Lauren Murphy: “Memories” by David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi

Barb Honchak: “Good Girls” by Elle King

Gerald Meerschaert def. Eric Spicely via TKO (body kick) – Round 2, 2:18

Gerald Meerschaert: “Ante Up” by M.O.P.

Eric Spicely: “Cry, Cry, Cry” by Johnny Cash

DeAnna Bennett vs. Melinda Fabian ruled a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

DeAnna Bennett: “Relax” by Peaches

Melinda Fabian: “In the Air Tonight” by Nonpoint

Brett Johns def. Joe Soto via submission (calf slicer) – Round 1, 0:30

Brett Johns: “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys

Joe Soto: “We Right Here” by DMX

Montana De La Rosa def. Christina Marks via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:00

Montana De La Rosa: “My Time” by Fabolous

Christina Marks: “Till I Collapse” by Eminem

Ryan Janes def. Andrew Sanchez via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 0:58

Ryan Janes: “The Islander” by Navigators

Andrew Sanchez: “Big News I” by Clutch

Rachael Ostovich def. Karine Gevorgyan via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:40

Rachael Ostovich: “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys

Karine Gevorgyan: Unknown by Djivan Gasparyan

Shana Dobson def. Ariel Beck via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:53

Shana Dobson: “Walk” by Young M.A.

Ariel Beck: “Just a Girl” by No Doubt

Gillian Robertson def. Emily Whitmire via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:12

Gillian Robertson: “P.I.M.P.” by 50 Cent

Emily Whitmire: “This is Me” by Tech N9ne

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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TUF 26 Finale results: Lauren Murphy edges Barb Honchak in three-round thriller

LAS VEGAS – Stepping in on the shortest of notices, Lauren Murphy (10-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) took advantage of the spotlight and scored a hard-fought split-decision win over former Invicta FC champ Barb Honchak (10-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

The women’s flyweight bout, which saw Murphy step in just one day prior due to a late card shuffle, was part of the main card of today’s The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale event at Park Theater in Las Vegas. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Murphy was the aggressor to open, moving forward and looking to strike. But Honchak looked comfortable on her feet, returning fire with bad intentions. Back and forth on the feet, both women were content to stay in close quarters and trade hands. Both women showed damage early from each other’s right hand, but neither moved out of the pocket. Occasional smiles from both women punctuated some entertaining striking sequences, though it seemed Murphy was the one landing the heaviest blows in addition to being the one moving forward. Either way, it was a heck of an opening round.

Honchak was a little quicker to the punch in the second, not settling for counter opportunities. Honchak added in a few kicks, as well, but Murphy answered by continuing with her relentless flow of punches. Both fighters continued to find the target, but neither blinked in the face of the power shots. Murphy’s face began to show more visible damage, but both women were unquestionably having their moments. With one minute left, Murphy drovve inside and brought the fight to the floor, eventually moving to her opponent’s back when Honchak rose quickly to her feet. Honchak tried to use the cage to peel her opponent away, but they toppled to the canvas, and Murphy tried for an armbar that was halted by the bell.

Neither fighter could really feel confident about the scores heading into the third, and it appeared both women still had plenty in the tank as they moved forward. Murphy perfectly timed a takedown attempt early in the frame and quickly established top position. Murphy worked from her opponent’s guard, and an active Honchak was able to maneuver into an earnest armbar attempt. Murphy showed fantastic defense, but Honchak adjusted and set up a triangle choke with an absolutely gorgeous and gutsy transition. When that didn’t work, Honchak adjusted again and spun for the belly-down armbar. Murphy survived tense moments to get free from the hold and actually countered by spinning around to her opponent’s back. With hooks set in the final minute, Murphy sought out the choke that just wouldn’t come. Still, she finished the round in the dominant spot, closing out a thrilling three-round affair. In the end, two judges scored it for Murphy, who walked away with a split-decision win.

Up-to-the-minute TUF 26 Finale results include:

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Ken Hathaway contributed to this report on site in Las Vegas.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch TUF 26 Finale, with a new headliner/title challenger (Updated)

(This story was originally published on 11/30/16.)

(UPDATED on 11/30/2017 at 4:30 p.m. ET to reflect the main-event change.)

The UFC crowns its first women’s flyweight champion tonight at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale.

In a bit of a surprise, Nicco Montano faces former Invicta FC title challenger Roxanne Modafferi in the title bout. Montano, who was the No. 14 seed in the “TUF” tournament, was set to face No. 12 seed Sijara Eubanks, but Eubanks was hospitalized on weigh-in day and subsequently pulled from the card. With that, the No. 1 seed, Modafferi, whom Eubanks defeated in the semifinal round, moves in to the main event and gets a shot at UFC gold.

Montana punched her ticket to the title fight with upset wins over higher seeds in each round of the tournament, with her biggest win being her decision victory over former Invicta champion Barb Honchak in the semifinal round.

Honchak, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, now faces No. 3 seed Lauren Murphy, who weighed in as an alternate.

In the co-main event, Sean O’Malley meets Terrion Ware in a bantamweight bout.

The TUF 26 Finale takes place at Park Theatre in Las Vegas. The card airs on FS1 following one early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. And new

Montano knew she was fighting for the inaugural UFC flyweight title at the TUF 26 Finale, but she didn’t know until weigh-ins that she was facing Modafferi.

Montano (3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) took a tough path to the title fight. She opened the tournament with a decision win over Murphy before beating No. 6 seed Montana De La Rosa by decision. In her semifinal bout, Montano topped Honchak by decision. Modafferi (21-13 MMA, 0-0 UFC) earned her way to the semis with first-round TKO victories in her first two fights of the tourney. Eubanks upset her in the semis when she earned a unanimous decision win over the veteran fighter.

Modafferi, best known for her ground game, has made significant strides in her striking over the past few years. A pro since 2003, she has a major experience advantage in this matchup. She will also have a chip on her shoulder after missing out on a UFC deal following “TUF 18” and losing her shot at the Invicta FC flyweight title by split decision.

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Montano is a powerful fighter who showed a very well-rounded skill set. She’s proved extremely hard to take down and displayed excellent cardio. The 28-year old former King of the Cage flyweight champion also showed outstanding situational awareness for a fighter with only five pro bouts.

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2. Exciting, but some questions

O’Malley scored an impressive knockout win on a Dana White’s Contender Series card. The victory, the seventh stoppage of his eight-fight career, earned the 22-year-old a UFC contract. As impressive as the knockout was, O’Malley (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) displayed some traits that a more seasoned opponent might exploit. He gets that type of opponent in Ware (17-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC). The 31-year-old has nearly three times as many fights as O’Malley.

Ware lost his UFC debut to Cody Stamann by unanimous decision. During that fight, he showed good boxing skills that could give O’Malley trouble. The younger fighter was exciting to watch in his July bout, but he was reckless at times and showed little in the way of striking defense.

This bantamweight fight should play out on the feet, and it should give everyone a better idea as to where O’Malley stands early in his career.

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3. Coming up short

Tournament seeding is an inexact science, but when the UFC seeded Honchak (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at No. 2 and Murphy (9-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) at No. 3, it felt right. But upsets happen. Now the veteran combatants face off for pride, a spot in the flyweight rankings and a job in the UFC.

Honchak made it to the semis before she lost a decision to Montano. Murphy, who expected to face Honchak at some point in the “TUF” tournament, was bumped in the opening round by Montano.

Like the other fighters not competing for the title, these veterans have to be heartbroken over their missed opportunity. However, they need to move past that pain and strive to deliver their best so they can work toward the title shot that evaded them during the filming of “TUF.”

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4. Will the grapplers grapple?

Eric Spicely has lived and died by the choke as a UFC fighter. He has two first-round submission wins, one via rear-naked choke and another by triangle choke. Unfortunately, those victories are bookended by a guillotine loss to Sam Alvey and – in his most recent bout – a rear-naked choke submission defeat to Antonio Carlos Junior. Spicely, a BJJ black belt faces Gerald Meerschaert in a middleweight bout.

Like his opponent, Meerschaert knows something about submissions. Nineteen of his wins have come by tap-out, and he has been on the wrong end of submissions seven times in his career. His most recent fight, a July loss to Thiago Santos, was his first knockout defeat. Before the Santos bout, Meerschaert was riding a seven-fight winning streak.

As we know, when two grapplers meet, the fight tends to stay standing. Luckily, both of these men can strike, as well. Spicely (10-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has two knockout wins while Meerschaert (26-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has five KO victories.

5. Former title contender looks to get in the mix

Bennett was 4-0 when she joined Invicta FC in 2014. After four more wins, she found herself in a title fight against strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza. Souza ended Bennett’s unbeaten streak with a first-round TKO. Bennett’s losing skid continued with split-decision losses to Modafferi and Jodie Esquibel.

Bennett (8-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), an upbeat personality with a decent ground game, lost to Eubanks via first-round TKO in the quarterfinals of the “TUF 26” tournament. Her opponent, Melinda Fabian (4-3-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who dealt with a leg injury during the show, was submitted by Rachael Ostovich-Berdon in the opening round.

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Fabian, one of the better strikers in the “TUF” house, has losses to UFC fighters Katlyn Chookagian and Lucie Pudilova on her record.

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Like several other “TUF” fights on this card, this one will likely come down to where the scrap takes place.

6. Extend the streak

Joe Soto was fighting for his life at UFC Fight Night 89. The California-born fighter was 0-3 in the UFC heading into his matchup against Chris Beal. Soto submitted Beal in the third round. He followed that victory with two more wins. His most recent outing was a decision victory over submission ace Rani Yahya.

Soto looks to make it four in a row when he meets Brett Johns, a bantamweight rankings honorable mention on the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings.

Johns, a former Titan FC and Cage Warriors champion, is unbeaten. The Welshman racked up 14 takedowns in his two UFC bouts. Johns (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) faces an opponent with solid takedown defense in Soto (18-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who has stopped 70 percent of his opponent’s takedown attempts.

7. Different strengths

De La Rosa entered “TUF 26” with a pro record of 7-4. Her most notable fights during that run were stoppage losses to Mackenzie Dern and Cynthia Calvillo. De La Rosa’s run in the “TUF” tourney came to an end with a bloody decision loss to eventual finalist Nicco Montano. A good wrestler with five submission victories, De La Rosa does her best work on the ground.

De La Rosa (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is matched up against Christina Marks. We didn’t get to see too much of Marks (8-8 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the show since Emily Whitmire eliminated her via a quick submission. A pro since 2009, Marks is 8-8. Like De La Rosa, Marks’ biggest fights, against Alexis Dufresne and Sara McMann, ended in stoppage losses. A striker by trade, Marks’ weakest work comes on the ground.

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8. Keep an eye on the cardio

Andrew Sanchez looks like he has the tools to become a player in the middleweight division. The “TUF 23” champion has good takedowns, a heavy top game and a strong clinch game that he uses to take the fight to the mat. If there’s one knock against him, it’s his cardio.

Sanchez slowed in the third round of his most recent fight, and that might have been a contributing factor in his knockout loss to Anthony Smith. If Sanchez hasn’t shored up his cardio, he could find himself in trouble against Ryan Janes.

Janes (9-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, but he is aggressive and active on his feet. He also has a deep gas tank. If he can keep Sanchez (9-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at distance and avoid takedowns, Janes, who has lost his two most recent bouts, could give Sanchez trouble.

9. There’s no quitting in MMA

Whitmire injured her rib training for her first fight on “TUF.” Despite the injury, the 26-year-old was able to earn a quick submission win over Marks. Whitmire drew top-seeded Modafferi in her second bout. That fight ended with Whitmire on the wrong end of a first-round TKO stoppage. After the loss, she lamented that she gave up on herself, something she said she had done in the past.

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Whitmire (2-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) faces the more experienced, but younger Gillian Robertson in this contest. Robertson (3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) dropped her opening round fight to Honchak via TKO, but unlike Whitmire, she hung tough even while Honchak laid into her with ground strikes.

Both of these women are better on the ground than on the feet, but the real key might be confidence. Knowing Whitmire has a history of breaking, don’t be surprised if Robertson pressures her opponent early in this contest.

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10. What about a challenger?

We know the UFC will crown the first women’s flyweight champion on this card. What we don’t know is if the UFC will name the first challenger for that title at this event. With the division slowly developing and a number of current UFC fighters mulling a move to 125 pounds, there is a possibility the new champion will find out who her first title defense will be against after she is awarded the belt.

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

'TUF 26' finalist Sijara Eubanks breaks silence on weight miss that scrapped UFC title shot

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Filed under: News, UFC

“The Ultimate Fighter 26” finalist Sijara Eubanks has released her first public statement in the wake of a crushing weight miss that scrapped her shot at the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title.

Eubanks (2-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) declared she previously had “cut more weight than most male fighters,” yet admitted to “miscalculations” during her weight cut that prevented her from making the 125-pound limit required for title bouts.

Eubanks also revealed she suffered kidney failure while trying to make weight for the headliner of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, explaining her trip to a local hospital in the hours prior to weigh-ins for Friday’s FS1-televised event at Park Theatre in Las Vegas.

“No excuses, I worked my ass off and went out on my shield,” Eubanks wrote on Instagram. “I was hospitalized early this morning for kidney failure but best believe I’ma be right back training and right back after that belt.”

Stepping in Eubanks place for the finale is Roxanne Modafferi (21-13 MMA, 0-1 UFC), whom she beat in the semifinals of the reality show tournament. Modafferi faces finalist Nicco Montano (3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) while Modafferi’s originally scheduled opponent, Barb Honchak (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), meets “TUF 26” contestant Lauren Murphy (9-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC), who was on a standby as a potential replacement fighter for the event.

Here is Eubanks’ full statement (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“First of all, I’m a champion. Point blank. I will be UFC champion, but it’s God’s will that it won’t be Friday night. I’m a gangster and I’ve cut more weight than most male fighters, and unfortunately there were some miscalculations this cut, no excuses, I worked my ass off and went out on my shield. I was hospitalized early this morning for kidney failure but best believe I’ma be right back training and right back after that belt. This game is full of ups and downs, true champs know that and bounce back. Nicco and Roxanne I’m sure will have a great fight, and best wishes to both those ladies. True class, those two. Nothing changes, I’m still the queen and I will claim my throne.
Thank you to all my coaches, friends and family and the wonderful staff at UFC.
God is good and I am truly blessed.”

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Barb Honchak happy with 'TUF' performance despite falling short, thrilled to fight after layoff

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – It’s been more than three years since Barb Honchak registered an official appearance in an MMA cage, and for that very reason, she’s incredibly excited about what’s to come in the UFC octagon.

“I never lost the passion,” Honchak told MMAjunkie. “I just had things in my life happen that took me out of it for a while. I thought of different ways to get back into it, but when I saw the announcement for the show, I knew. I knew that’s how I was going to come back.”

“The show,” of course, was “The Ultimate Fighter 26,” which featured 16 women’s flyweights vying for the division’s inaugural UFC title. Honchak started her sabbatical as the reigning Invicta FC flyweight champ and boasted a nine-fight winning streak.

That resume was enough to earn Honchak the No. 2 seed on the show. “Little Warrior” proved worthy of the ranking by rolling through Gillian Robertson and Rachael Ostovich, but she was stunned in the semifinals by surprise finalist Nicco Montano.

Despite coming up short of her ultimate goal, Honchak says she was pleased with her performance on the show.

“I mean, I took three years off, and the sport evolves so rapidly,” Honchak said. “So in three years, I wasn’t necessarily sure where I was going to fall with the girls, so making it as far as I did in the house, I thought was a success, especially after a long break and only really having a couple weeks to get ready.

“I honestly only started training hard when the show was announced, so I felt like a long break and a short duration to get ready for it, I was pretty happy with where I ended up.”

Honchak (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) now makes her UFC debut against another fighter who was expected to make the finals, No. 1 seed Roxanne Modafferi (21-13 MMA, 0-1 UFC). The pair meet at Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, which takes place at Park Theater in Las Vegas and airs on FS1 following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.

The bout is actually a rematch of a 2011 contest, which Honchak won via third-round submission. While there won’t be a UFC title on the line, it’s a fight most fans expected to see, and Honchak said she was happy to accept the matchup.

More importantly, Honchak said she’s happy to be competing once again.

“I’m more excited than anything,” Honchak said. “I think being away from the sport, now that I get to be back in it, I feel just happy to be here. I’m grateful to do it. I’m lucky that I get to do this for my job. I’m just grateful and excited.”

To hear more from Honchak, check out the video above.

And for more on The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Roxanne Modafferi wanted UFC title shot for glory; TUF 26 Finale fight vs. Barb Honchak is personal

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Roxanne Modafferi took a spot on “The Ultimate Fighter 26” in hopes of earning a shot at the UFC’s inaugural women’s flyweight title. What she actually got might prove even more satisfying.

“It’s kind of strange,” Modafferi told MMAjunkie. “I figured I would be fighting (Barb Honchak) at the end at the finale, and I’m fighting her in the finale. I’m just trying to stay focused on that. I want to fight for the title for the money and for the recognition, but I want to fight Barb for myself, my heart, and for the rematch, and show that I’ve improved and all that stuff.”

Modafferi (21-13 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Honchak (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) were the top two seeds in the latest season of “TUF,” but both suffered upset losses in the semifinals. UFC officials took that opportunity to book them against each other anyway, and Modafferi and Honchak now meet at Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, which takes place at Park Theater in Las Vegas and airs on FS1 following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.

Modafferi admits she was devastated at coming up short in the “TUF” tournament – her second run through the show – but that she quickly realized the loss simply opened the path for a fight she had already hoped to book.

“I was pretty bummed out, as I said on the show – more than bummed out,” Modafferi said. “But this time nobody caught me crying on camera; I locked the bathroom door. I was deeply disappointed. However, I’m really excited. Now I get the chance to fight Barb.”

For Modafferi, the fight offers a special opportunity. She faced Honchak once before, in 2011, and was dealt a loss via rear-naked choke. Modafferi believes she’s improved tremendously since that time and looks forward to her chance to prove it.

And unlike her time on the show, Modafferi will have coach John Wood in her corner, something she thinks could have changed her fate in the “TUF” house.

“It was hard not having his voice, honestly,” Modafferi said. “It’s kind of like a video game character, where he inputs the controls, and I just do the combinations, so to not have him there in my ear definitely played a part, I think. The fight might have gone differently with (‘TUF 26’ finalist) Sijara (Eubanks) if I had him.”

Friday’s card marks the official launch of the UFC’s fourth women’s weight class, and while Modafferi won’t be participating in the division’s initial title fight, a win over Honchak would ensure she stays relevant for future opportunities.

Modafferi admits she sees that opportunity on the horizon but will not let herself drift past what matters right now – at least not yet.

“I always try not to look past my opponent, but yes, I would like the title shot after this,” Modafferi said. “But first things first, I really want this fight. I think my mind’s in the right place. I’m trying not to think of the big picture, because that just makes me nervous. Just fight my fight and do what I can do against Barb and show that I’ve improved.”

To hear more from Modafferi, check out the video above.

And for more on The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie