Episode No. 3 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with fight preparation for Team Gaethje’s Montana Stewart, who fights Team Alvarez’s Ariel Beck in the third tournament bout later in the episode.

No. 6 Stewart is a former standout amateur wrestler who, at 22, is the youngest of the 16 fighters in the tournament. She is a mother to a six-year-old, and despite her age, already has 10 professional bouts on her record.

UFC President Dana White, along with coach Justin Gaethje, call Stewart a dark horse in the tournament and believe she actually has a good chance of winning not only her upcoming fight, but the entire competition.

Team Alvarez has its next training session at the newly opened UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. The UFC PI is a state-of-the-art facility with brand new technology and equipment. One athlete calls it “fighter heaven.”

No. 11 Beck’s preparation begins for her fight with Stewart, which she calls “a nice matchup for me.” Beck has a tough day of training in which her emotions begin to get the best of her. She goes to the locker room and begins to have a “panic attack” due to the intensity of the competition. Fortunately, the coaching staff and numerous teammates are there to lend support.

Coach Eddie Alvarez, in particular, shares some of his most glorious and horrific career moments with Beck and tells her “any feelings you have are not out of the ordinary for any fighter.” Beck gathers herself and eventually returns to the training room.

Later on, No. 8 Emily Whitmire visits the UFC PI to get an update from doctors. She sustained a rib injury during training on the previous episode. One of the physical therapists helps Whitmire recover from the injury, and after having some doubts about her ability to compete right after, Whitmire is very optimistic about her chances.

During a break in training, the Team Gaethje coaching staff decided to take the fighters out for a night of bowling at GameWorks Las Vegas. Coach Gaethje offers the athletes a cash prize for the best results. Stewart receives first prize of $250 for bowling the best game, while No. 10 Rachael Ostovich takes second and gets $150.

The official weigh-ins for the fight take place, and both fighters come in under the 126-pound women’s flyweight limit. A friendly staredown follows.

Fight day arrives, and the third tournament bout is nearly underway. Stewart and Beck finalize preparation with their coaches, and the athletes walk to the cage for their debut contest of the season.

#6 Montana Stewart (6-4) vs. #11 Ariel Beck (4-4)

Round 1 – Stewart comes out throwing combinations while Beck is looking to counter-strike. Stewart lands a nice right hand and begins to back up Beck. Beck is circling the octagon then moves into the clinch. Beck throws some knees to the body and Stewart fires back with some of her own before breaking free. Stewart is throwing combinations and landing with most of her shots. Beck pounds the inside of the leg with a kick, and Stewart closes distance for a body lock. She trips Beck to the mat and lands in half guard. Stewart begins to work from on top as Beck recovers guard position. Stewart postures up and advances into side control. She applies a D’Arce choke, but it’s not fully locked in. She makes some adjustments as Beck fights to get free. Stewart gets it too tight, though, and Beck is forced to tap out.

Montana Stewart def. Ariel Beck via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1

“I felt amazing, but back to work and I’m not just fine with one win,” Stewart says after her victory. “I’m going to finish all the fights and get that belt.”

Team Gaethje takes a 2-1 lead in the competition with Stewart’s victory. Team Alvarez takes control of fight selection, and with his choice, coach Alvarez selects No. 3 Lauren Murphy to go up against No. 14 Nicco Montano of Team Gaethje next.

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.


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Source: MMA Junkie

Meet 'The Ultimate Fighter 26' cast: Emily Whitmire, who used a fake ID to make her unplanned MMA debut


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LAS VEGAS – “The Ultimate Fighter” returned last week for its 26th season, which will culminate with the crowning of the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight champion.

MMAjunkie recently sat down with all 16 cast members. Watch the video above to get to know Emily Whitmire (2-1), who discussed how she got her start in MMA on a random Wednesday night in the Pacific Northwest with the help of a fake ID and a little liquid courage, why she’s technically homeless, how she’s ready to take her day job and shove it, and more.

“The Ultimate Fighter 26,” featuring former UFC and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez and former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje as coaches, airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FS1.

Also see:

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 1 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with a look back at preseason tryouts. A number of aspiring women’s flyweight fighters gather in Las Vegas in the hopes of joining the cast in order to vie for the inaugural 125-pound belt in the UFC.

UFC President Dana White discusses the tryouts, which attract more than 50 fighters from across the globe. White, along with matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard, assess the athletes and decide on the 16 who will join the cast.

Fast forward and the fighters arrive at the “TUF” gym, where they are greeted by head coaches Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, who are scheduled to fight at the end of the season. White summarizes the stakes of the tournament via a satellite message, and the competition is officially underway.

The fighters change into training gear for coaches evaluations. Gaethje interviews each fighter on top of grappling and pad work sessions. He says his priority is to select those with mental toughness and durability.

Alvarez, meanwhile, has the fighters engage in a much more physical level of sparring. He wants to see the talent firsthand in a live-fight scenario and admits to being “shocked” by the level of talent on the cast.

At the conclusion of evaluations, Alvarez and Gaethje have the traditional coin toss to determine which team has the first fighter pick and which selects the first matchup. Alvarez wins the coin toss, and decides to pick the first fighter.

With his first overall pick, Team Alvarez selects former Invicta FC champ Barb Honchak, who is announced as the No. 2 seed. As a result, No. 15 seed Gillian Robertson joins Team Gaethje.

The rest of the fighters are selected, and the 125-pound tournament to determine the first UFC flyweight champion shakes out as follows:

Bracket A

Bracket B

With team selection finalized, Gaethje announces the first matchup: #1 Modafferi vs. #16 Dobson.

The fighters then visit the “TUF” house for the first time. A few of the athletes are awestruck by house and platform they are about to compete on. The intensity and focus is high as the fighters settle into their new living area.

Modafferi, who is the first female to ever make two appearances on the “TUF” reality series, is eager to make up for a poor effort on Season 18. She was eliminated in the first round, but has since excelled under the Invicta FC banner and wants to prove to the world that she doesn’t “suck anymore.”

At the first Team Alvarez training session, the coaching staff beings to work with Dobson, who is a sizable underdog to Modafferi with just three career fights. She calls herself the “best kept secret in MMA,” and coach Alvarez says the key to victory is to keep the fight standing.

Team Gaethje has its first training session, and right off the bat coach Gaethje brings in a special assistant coach. Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate enters the gym. Tate was Modafferi’s coach on Season 18, and gives her some motivational words.

The official weigh-ins for the fight takes place, and both fighters come in under the 126-pound women’s flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows.

Fight day arrives, and the first tournament bout has arrived. Modafferi and Dobson finalize preparation with their coaches, and the athletes walk to the cage for the debut contest of the season.

#1 Roxanne Modafferi (21-13) vs. #16 Shana Dobson (2-1)

Round 1 – They touch gloves and Dobson opens with a jab. Modafferi feints to close distance and inside, but Dobson backs her up with some straight punches. Modafferi is looking to close the distance but eats a wild hook from her opponent. Modafferi lands a body kick and Dobson responds with one of her own. Modafferi lands a jab then just misses with a spinning backfist. Modafferi continues to punch at a high rate and gets inside with a body lock. She slams Dobson to the canvas and lands in half guard after a brief scramble. Modafferi patiently works to advance position as Dobson looks to free herself from bottom. She attempts to explode free, but Modafferi instead advances to mount. Modafferi begins to land punches while Dobson is defending and trying to find an opening to escape. Modafferi postures and is landing heavy punches and elbows. The referee gives multiple warnings, but Dobson can’t get out of the mount. The referee waves it off and Dobson immediately stands up arguing that she was fine to continue. However, it’s too late.

Roxanne Modafferi def. Shana Dobson via TKO (strikes) – Round 1

“I’m so happy,” Gaethje says after his fighter’s win. “She was our first pick. We put a lot of confidence in her and a lot of trust by giving her that first fight, and she nailed it.”

The fighters return to the locker room and Modafferi begins to shed tears of joy.

“I feel spectacular right now,” Modafferi says. “I feel so proud of myself and like I redeemed myself after my last loss last time I was on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I feel like I got to show more of what I built myself up too. … I’m thrilled with my win, but this is just the beginning. I’m going to make it to the end and become the champion.”

Team Gaethje moves to 1-0 on the season. Team Alvarez takes control of fight selection, and with his choice, coach Alvarez selects No. 4 Bennett to go up against No. 13 seed Gevorgyan of Team Gaethje next.

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

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Source: MMA Junkie

'The Ultimate Fighter 26' cast revealed: Who's vying to become 1st UFC women's flyweight champ?

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The 16-fighter cast for Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series was announced today, and a number of notables will be vying for the inaugural title in the newly formed women’s flyweight division.

“TUF 26,” which debuts Aug. 30 on FS1, will pit coaches and lightweight contenders Eddie Alvarez (25-8 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) against each other as they attempt to lead one fighter to win the first 125-pound belt.

Among the notables on the cast are former Invicta FC flyweight champion Barb Honchak (10-2), “TUF 20” contestant Roxanne Modafferi (21-13) and four-fight UFC veteran Lauren Murphy (9-3).

The complete “TUF 26” cast includes:

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie