LFA 22 highlights: A new champion is crowned thanks to a nifty submission

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News

Many people believed Ian Heinisch was on his way to the UFC. All he had to do was the expected and defeat Brazilian import Markus Perez, who was fighting in the U.S. for the first time.

Not so fast.

Heinisch wasted little time at the opening bell, shooting inside and scoring a quick takedown. But Perez patiently worked his way back to the feet, where a slick little transition saw him lock in an arm-triangle choke that he wouldn’t release, rolling with Heinisch to the bottom and finishing it from his back at the 2:14 mark of the opening round to claim the vacant LFA middleweight title.

The bout served as the featured contest of Friday’s LFA 22 event, which aired on AXS TV from 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo.

In the night’s co-feature, two-time cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter” Gilbert Smith (13-6) fought for the final time as a professional, earning a second-round submission win over late replacement Benjamin Smith (15-5).

Check out all of the highlights above.

For more on LFA 22, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News
Source: MMA Junkie

LFA 22 results: Markus Perez claims title with slick first-round choke

Fighting for the first time in the U.S., Brazilian import Markus Perez (9-0) kept his professional record perfect, claiming the vacant RFA middleweight belt with a first-stoppage of a previously unbeaten Ian Heinisch (8-1).

The bout served as the featured contest of Friday’s LFA 22 event, which aired on AXS TV from 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo.

Heinisch wasted little time at the opening bell, shooting inside and scoring a quick takedown. Perez patiently worked his way back to the feet, where a slick little transition saw him lock in an arm-triangle choke as he brought the fight back to the ground. Heinisch appeared to slip free from the choke in a well-timed escape, but Perez held on to the move as he was rolled to the bottom and finished the arm-triangle from his back at the 2:14 mark of the opening round.

Gilbert Smith wins in final fight</h3?

In the night’s co-feature, two-time cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter” Gilbert Smith (13-6) fought for the final time as a professional, earning a second-round submission win over late replacement Benjamin Smith (15-5).

It was Benjamin who actually surprised with an early takedown, powering through a lateral drop and moving immediately to side control. Gilbert eventually turned to his knees and exposed to back in order to move to his feet, where he looked to reverse the position. Benjamin countered by looking to isolate an arm, but Gilbert felt comfortable as he moved through the hold and switched around to the back. Gilbert switched out to an armbar in the closing seconds but couldn’t quite get into position before the bell.

Benjamin tried again for a quick takedown in the second, but Gilbert was up to the challenge and defended the long-range effort. The two moved into the clinch for a bit before Gilbert eventually changed levels and scored a takedown of his own. Gilbert dominated the positioning until the final minute, when Benjamin pushed up and tried to scramble free. Instead, Gilbert latched on to a guillotine choke and fell back, making an adjustment before getting the tap with 44 seconds left in the frame.

Gutierrez edges Israel

In a featured 140-pound catchweight contest, Chris Gutierrez (10-3-1) snapped a two-fight losing streak with a split-decision win over Brazilian import Mario Israel (10-4)

Gutierrez was crisp on his feet to start, moving well as he chopped the leg and occasionally sneaking a kick up high. Isreal was a touch slower in response but did work to return fire, also favoring low kicks. Israel did score a brief takedown late in the frame but couldn’t keep the fight on the floor. Still, he seemed to gain momentum as the round played out.

The two continued to strike in the second. Gutierrez seemed the quicker man, but Israel was the one pushing forward and firing in right hands. Both men moved well on their feet, but the offensive output but was relatively tame.

In the third, Israel finally did get the fight to the floor but found himself defending an earnest armbar attempt and then a quick guillotine before the two scrambled back to the feet. Again, it was Israel who threw the heavier punches, but Gutierrez never did stop moving, making him a difficult target to catch. The fight proved tough to score, but Gutierrez took home a split-decision win, 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.

LFA 22 results include:

  • Markus Perez def. Ian Heinisch via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 1, 2:14
  • Gilbert Smith def. Benjamin Smith via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 4:16
  • Chris Gutierrez def. Mario Israel via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Derek Brenon def. Boimah Karmo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Brandon Royval def. Demetrius Wilson via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:00
  • Maycee Barber def. Mallory Martin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Jonathon Wyderko def. Juan Gonzalez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 0:52

For more on LFA 22, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Expect 'sensitive thug' Gilbert Smith to shed happy tears in tonight's LFA 22 retirement fight

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Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News

When episode No. 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter 25” aired in June, we saw an emotional Gilbert Smith leaving his gloves in the center of the octagon to signal his retirement from MMA.

Less than three months later, we get to see him in action again.

Tonight’s LFA 22 meeting with Benjamin Smith (15-4), however, doesn’t mean that Gilbert (12-6) has had a change of heart about leaving the sport. Rather, after a somewhat anticlimactic goodbye, the former RFA champ wanted to give his career a proper ending in a familiar stage and in front of his home Colorado fans.

“On the show, when I retired, I felt like that wasn’t the best atmosphere for me to retire,” Smith told AXS TV Fights’ Phoenix Carnevale. “I felt like I took away from the experience from my training partners, my coaches, my family, my friends. And even the fans. Because, when I retired, it didn’t show until like three, four months later.

“I didn’t have the people who brought me up around me. So this fight is dedicated to them. This is why I’m doing this fight, it’s for everybody who supported me throughout the years.”

Gilbert Smith and Benjamin Smith meet in tonight’s LFA 22 welterweight co-headliner. The main event features a bout for the vacant 185-pound belt, between Ian Heinisch and Markus Perez Echeimberg. LFA 22’s main card airs on AXS TV from 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo.

Back in the “TUF” gym, after a unanimous-decision loss to Dhiego Lima, Smith talked about how the passion for MMA had subsided after a six-year pro run that included stints with Titan FC, RFA, Bellator and two stays in “TUF” house; before the “Redemption” edition, which featured “TUF” alumni, he was a member of “Team Jones” on Season 17.

After years of putting himself through the physical and mental exhaustion that come with the tough day-to-day of prizefighting, 36-year-old Smith is ready to live a normal life next to his family, kids and friends. As he looks back on the road this far, the outlook seems to be a bittersweet one.

“Fighting is something that I enjoyed doing, but then I didn’t,” Smith said. “I love to compete. I’m a very competitive person. But hurting people or being hurt, it’s never been something I was thrilled about.

“It’s funny because I am a very emotional person. Call me a sensitive thug. I do think I probably will be emotional. I think it’s going to be a very joyous occasion. So if I cry, it’s not sad tears. It’s tears of happiness. Tears of feeling like I’ve done what I wanted to do. I lived my life. I lived my dream. I’m very thankful for it.”

In order to retire on a victorious note, all that Gilbert needs to do is do something he’s already done before: beating Benjamin Smith. And while both have changed in the two years since an original RFA 26 encounter that gave Gilbert the 170-pound title, the retiring vet feels equipped to come out on top again.

But, even if he doesn’t, it won’t be the end of the world.

“At the end of the day, I don’t even have a gameplan,” Smith said. “I’m just going to go out there and fight him, and we’ll see what happens. I mean, I want to win, and I train to win.

“But I don’t really care about the results. I just want to enjoy the moment. Go out there and just have fun. What happens, happens. I’m proud of my career. I have no shame, and I’m just going to go out there and do the best I can do, and just show love to everybody. ”

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

And for more on LFA 22, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

LFA 22 is live on AXS TV tonight at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT). Make sure to tweet along using #LFA22. AXS TV airs new, live fights almost every Friday night in 2017. Find AXS TV on your TV right here: www.axs.tv/fights.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News
Source: MMA Junkie

LFA 22 headed to Colorado with Ian Heinisch vs. Markus Perez Echeimberg middleweight title fight

LFA is heading back to Colorado this fall, and the vacant middleweight title will be on the line.

Colorado’s own Ian Heinisch (8-0) will take on Brazil’s Markus Perez Echeimberg (8-0) for the vacant 185-pound belt at LFA 22, the promotion announced Wednesday. In the co-feature, UFC and Bellator veteran and two-time “Ultimate Fighter” cast member Gilbert Smith (12-6) will compete in his retirement bout when he takes on Andrew Kapel (10-6) at welterweight. Plus, Maycee Barber (1-0) meets Mallory Martin (1-1) in a women’s strawweight fight.

LFA 22 takes place Sept. 8 at 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo., near Denver. The main card will air live on AXS TV.

Heinisch will be hoping to provide his home Colorado fans a thrill in the headliner. He made his promotional debut in April and submitted Lucas Rota with a scarf hold armlock in the LFA 10 main event. His resume includes a win over Tyler Vogel at WSOF 29.

Echeimberg will be making his U.S. debut against Heinisch. But his resume already is impressive. A little more than a year ago, he beat 13-fight UFC veteran Paulo Thiago by decision in Brazil. And in February, he outpointed seven-fight UFC veteran Ildemar Alcantara.

Gilbert Smith

Smith is coming off a stint on “TUF 25,” his second shot on the long-running UFC reality competition. Prior to that, he had back-to-back decision losses under the Bellator banner to Fernando Gonzalez and Ricky Rainey in 2016. But before those setbacks, he won RFA’s welterweight title with a submission of Benjamin Smith at RFA 26. He’ll be fighting in front of his home Colorado fans in what he says will be his final bout.

Kapel is an teammate of Benjamin Smith, whom Gilbert Smith beat to win RFA’s welterweight belt. So he may have some revenge on his mind. He’ll also be trying to get back in the win column after a submission loss in Minnesota this past September. Prior to that, he had won three of four fights. All 10 of his career wins are by stoppage, including seven submissions.

The LFA 22 card includes:

  • Ian Heinisch vs. Markus Perez Echeimberg – for vacant middleweight title
  • Andrew Kapel vs. Gilbert Smith
  • Maycee Barber vs. Mallory Martin

For more on LFA 22, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 11 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption'

Episode No. 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” opens with focus on the upcoming semifinal matchups, which pits two pairs of Team Dillashaw fighters against one another, with Dhiego Lima vs. Tom Gallicchio and James Krause vs. Jesse Taylor

There’s concern about the condition of Krause’s eye, though, because he suffered a scratched cornea in the quarterfinal round. UFC President Dana White informs coach Cody Garbrandt that if Krause is not ready to go he can bring back any member of his team to the competition.

Team Dillashaw is not pleased with White’s decision. Ramsey Nijem in particular thinks he should get another opportunity and is complaining about the situation, which irritates Gilbert Smith. The Team Dillashaw members get into somewhat of a heated argument, but the tension eventually fizzles.

Preparation for the first semifinal between Lima and Gallicchio begins. As has been the case for all the matchups between Team Dillashaw fighters, head coach T.J. Dillashaw gives both fighters maximum attention in the training room. However, he won’t appear in either corner during the fight to remain impartial.

During a break in training, the team Dillashaw fighters and coaching staff overtake the Team Garbrandt locker room. They paint the walls blue, which represents their team color and hang Team Dillashaw signs and photos on the walls.

Once Team Garbrandt arrives at the gym, they tear down all the photos and write, “Snake Free Zone” on the walls.

Back at the “TUF” house, Krause is beginning to grow frustrated with his surrounding fighters. He’s constantly being asked about the condition of his eye and whether he will be able to compete. It turns into an argument with Team Garbrandt’s Johnny Nunez, which goes on for several minutes.

During the next Team Garbrandt training session, coach Dillashaw sneaks into the locker room with a number of live snakes in his possession. He places them in the center of the locker room, which turns into a comical scene once Team Garbrandt returns from training.

At the official weigh-ins, Lima and Gallicchio come in under the required 171-pound welterweight limit. A friendly staredown follows, with both fighters smiling as they pose.

Fight day arrives, and after warmups take place in the locker rooms, both fighters enter the octagon for the first “TUF 25” semifinal bout.

Team Dillashaw’s Dhiego Lima (12-5) vs. Team Dillashaw’s Tom Gallicchio (19-9)

Round 1 – Gallicchio opens with leg kicks and is pumping his jab. Lima pops him with a straight shot up the middle and is moving around the octagon as Gallicchio is more flat-footed. Lima lands a hard body kick, but Gallicchio keeps pushing forward. Gallicchio is looking to close the distance, but Lima is keeping his range. Gallicchio shoots for his first takedown, but it’s easily stuffed. Gallicchio is throwing hooks while Lima connects with better straight punches. Lima nearly misses with a hard right hand; Gallicchio is responding with decent shots at every turn. The pace of the striking is picking up, and Lima shuts down another takedown attempt. Lima lands a nice overhand right. Gallicchio shoots again, but Lima sprawls. Lima is finding his range on the feet, which is beginning to pose issues for Gallicchio. Both sides pick their shots over the final minute of the round, but nothing decisive lands.

Round 2 – Gallicchio shoots for a takedown right away and gets in deep on it. Lima rejects him, though, and lands a powerful knee to the face of Gallicchio on the break. Gallicchio isn’t deterred and keeps moving forward. He’s taking combinations from Lima, which forces him into another takedown attempt. He nearly grounds Lima but can’t get control on the floor. They fight along the fence before Lima escapes. Lima snaps Gallicchio’s head back with a right cross, and he’s gaining confidence. Gallicchio looks to be slowing down and eats a partially blocked head kick as a result. Lima is landing dynamic striking combinations and working Gallicchio’s legs with kicks. Gallicchio changes levels for another takedown, but Lima isn’t having any of it. Lima grabs the fence to stop a takedown, which causes referee Herb Dean to stop the action. He takes one point away from Lima, changing the entire dynamic of the fight. Both fighters have a little more urgency, and Gallicchio shoots for a takedown. It’s not even close, and he absorbs more hard strikes. Lima is picking Gallicchio apart over the final minute until the horn sounds.

Round 3 – They hug to start the round and then Lima blasts off a body kick. Gallicchio’s takedown attempts continue to be denied by Lima, who is seeing everything coming in the striking and grappling departments. Gallicchio lands an overhand right, which is probably his best strike of the fight, but Lima is not rattled. Gallicchio has more of his takedown attempts stuffed and is visibly exhausted. Lima begins to batter him with punches, which causes referee Dean to warn him to fight back. Gallicchio’s takedown attempts have nothing on them at this point, which allows Lima to stock him around the octagon and land punches at will. Gallicchio gets deep on the legs as Lima gets overly aggressive and for the first time in the fight has solid top position. Lima attempts to kick his opponent off but Gallicchio has strong grappling and sticks to him. Lima is fighting hard to stand up, but Gallicchio takes side control. Lima finally scrambles up to his feet, and Gallicchio has almost nothing left in the tank. Gallicchio goes for one final takedown, but it’s thwarted. Lima shoots for his own takedown in the final seconds and finishes the fight on top, pounding Gallicchio with strikes.

Dhiego Lima def. Tom Gallicchio via unanimous decision

Lima becomes the first fighter to advance to the “TUF 25” tournament finals, and perhaps more impressively, becomes the first athlete in the history of the reality series to make it to the finals twice.

He lost to Eddie Gordon in the “TUF 19” finals, but Lima isn’t planning to have history repeat itself.

“I feel great; I’m back in the finals,” Lima says after his win. “This is what I came here for. Now it’s time to take it home.”

Lima received praise from coach Dillashaw for his accomplishment.

“Dhiego’s had a great attitude this entire season,” Dillashaw says. “So I’m happy for him. A good human being is moving on to the finals, and I’m happy for him.”

Lima will compete at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale on July 7, and his opponent will be decided on the next episode when Taylor fights either Krause or his yet-to-be-determined injury replacement.

Also see:

 

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 9 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption'

Episode No. 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” opens with focus on the upcoming quarterfinal fight, which pits Team Dillashaw teammates Dhiego Lima and Gilbert Smith against one another.

Before preparation for the fight begins, head coach T.J. Dillashaw informs both fighters that, unlike some coaches in past seasons, he’s not going to step aside for the upcoming fight. Dillashaw says he will help train both fighters and inform them on each other’s strengths and weaknesses so they perform at their best.

Dillashaw will not appear in the corner of either athlete, but they are on board with having his guidance during the short preparation window.

At the next Team Garbrandt training session, coach Cody Garbrandt and his assistant coaching staff decide to gear up the pranks. They use tape to deface all the posters of Dillashaw around the “TUF” gym and write “Dickasnake” under several of his pictures, as well.

Coach Dillashaw arrives at the gym later that day with his team and sees the posters for the first time. He says he’s not offended, but hints that he will need to come up with a strong comeback.

Later that night, Coach Garbrandt arrives at the “TUF” house with a party bus parked outside. He informs all the fighters they are being taken out for a complimentary steak dinner, and with only limited chances to get out into the general public, the fighters are excited.

Not everyone is thrilled with the situation, though. As most of the fighters are loosening up and having drinks, Smith is keeping to himself and trying to remain focused on the fight. Smith’s attitude carries over into dinner, and his fellow fighters are confused as to why he can’t relax.

“Don’t get me wrong I love the food, I love getting out of the house – I just wasn’t really excited to party and dance and drink and act stupid,” Smith says. “Don’t get me wrong – people do that, they’ve got to let loose and have fun. To each their own. But to me, at the end of the day, I want to celebrate after something I have to celebrate for.”

Training for the upcoming fight resumes, and there’s no secrets between opponents Lima and Smith. The pair share the gym during preparation with the coaching staff providing advice on how to win while within earshot of the other athlete.

Weigh-ins for the fight take place, and both Lima and Smith come in under the required 171-pound welterweight limit, making the second tournament quarterfinal official. A respectful staredown follows.

Fight day arrives. Both fighters finalize preparation with their coaches backstage at the “TUF” gym, and finally, the competition continues.

Team Dillashaw’s Dhiego Lima (12-5) vs. Team Dillashaw’s Gilbert Smith (12-6)

Round 1 – Lima opens with a right body kick and Smith fires back with a leg kick. Lima pumps his jab while Smith tries to come over the top with looping hooks. Lima throws a head kick and Smith charges in to push him against the fence, but Lima evades. Smith lands another hard leg kick followed by a straight left punch. They trade more kicks, and Smith catches one and tries to turn it into a takedown. Lima defends the initial entry but Smith has him pinned against the fence and drags him down to the floor. He can’t establish a dominant position, though, and Lima works his way back to the feet. He reverses positions then changes levels into a takedown of his own. Smith gives up his back and Lima works for the rear-naked choke. Lima nearly has the forearm under the neck but Smith fights the hands. Lima lets go and begins peppering his opponent with punches to create an opening. Smith stands up and turns out, but then immediately shoots for a takedown and trips Lima to the floor. Smith is holding on as Lima attempts to stay active from the back. Smith steps over into mount and hammers Lima with hard punches. Lima stands up and frees himself then throws a head kick that’s blocked just before the horn.

Round 2 – Lima throws a body kick but it lands to the forearms of Smith. Smith fires back with a multi-strike combination which causes his opponent to retreat. Smith is stepping forward with big shots but he can’t land anything clean. Lima uses a Smith attack to turn him against the fence. He works for a takedown but Smith is too powerful. Lima breaks the position and moves back to the center of the octagon. Smith is opening up big time with his strikes but Lima doesn’t appear rattled by the power. Lima lands a short left hook during an exchange and Smith shoots for another takedown. He gets it and within seconds has Lima’s back. Lima easily stands up, though, and pushes Smith off him. Both men are exchanging punches but Smith is more active and landing the better shots. He shoots in for another trip takedown but overcommits and Lima sprawls then transitions to the back. Smith stands up and the fight is back on its feet. Lima lands a huge punch which backs Smith up, but he survives. They continue to trade before Lima attempts yet another takedown. It doesn’t work and they trade strikes until the horn.

The judges declare the fight a draw after two rounds, and for the first time this season, a sudden-victory round comes into play.

Round 3 – Lima, who appears to be the fresher fighter, opens the round with a body kick. Smith throws his hands back but it’s clear he’s tired because his defensive guard is low. Smith is still winging shots, but Lima it peppering him with the jab and body punches. Smith tags Lima with a combination but eats a pair of strikes in return. Each side appears to have found his range but the power isn’t quite there. Lima shoots for a takedown, which works, and he lands right in mount. Lima lands punches from on top and Smith gives up his back. Lima is working for the rear-naked choke but is too high on the back and Smith defends well. Smith explodes his position and rolls over into top control. Lima quickly gets his legs up, though, and locks in a triangle choke. He adjusts the angle and locks it in deep, but Smith is surviving. Lima loses the choke, leaving Smith in top position to land punches. Lima attempts to isolate and arm for a kimura but he doesn’t have the energy to threaten it. He gives up his back, but uses it as a trick to reverse into top position. Smith kicks Lima off and both fighters throw wild shots until the horn.

Dhiego Lima def. Gilbert Smith via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

After a razor-close fight, Lima takes the decision. Coach Dillashaw says he agrees with the call, and Lima is jubilant to be one win away from his second appearance in the finals of a “TUF” tournament.

“I feel good, man,” Lima says. “I’m heading to the semifinals again. It was a great fight. I’m excited. I feel really great. I have no doubt I can win this whole thing. This is what I came here for. This next round is the one to make it to the finals. No one is stopping me. I’m leaving it all out in the cage and I’m taking.”

Following the loss, Smith says he’s going to retire from MMA competition after a more than six-year career. He shares a moment with the coaches and fighters from both sides before leaving his gloves in the center of the octagon.

“I’ve been fighting and competing for a long time,” Smith says. “I kind of feel like I’m not there anymore. I don’t have the same passion. So, today was the day that I walk away from mixed martial arts. I thought the best way to do it was with these guys.”

Lima joins Team Dillashaw’s Tom Gallicchio in the semifinals, and with just two quarterfinal bouts remaining, the next episode will see Team Dillashaw’s Jesse Taylor fight Team Garbrandt’s Hayder Hassan while Team Dillashaw’s James Krause takes on Team Dillashaw’s Ramsey Nijem.

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” 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

Episode No. 8 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption'

Episode No. 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” opens with fight preparation for Team Garbrandt’s Hayder Hassan, who meets Team Dillashaw’s Joe Stevenson in the special wild card fight later in the episode.

Hassan was eliminated by Dhiego Lima on Episode No. 4, while Stevenson was bounced by Justin Edwards on Episode No. 7. The season is labeled “Redemption” for a reason, though, and both fighters were brought back for another chance to advance in the tournament and earn the $250,000 prize.

Stevenson’s preparation with Team Dillashaw must be tailored with a particular amount of caution, though, because “Joe Daddy” is just six days removed from the bout with Edwards. He wasn’t badly beaten up in the decision loss, and as a longtime veteran of the sport, Stevenson feels he’s more capable than any other cast member to make a quick turnaround.

There has never been a two-time winner of “TUF,” but Stevenson wants to make history and be the first.

Weigh-ins for the fight take place, and both Hassan and Stevenson come in under the required 171-pound welterweight limit, making the eighth tournament fight official.

Fight day arrives, and the athletes are ready for the eighth and final opening-round tournament bout. Both fighters finalize preparation with their coaches backstage at the “TUF” gym, and finally the competition continues.

Team Dillashaw’s Joe Stevenson (33-16) vs. Team Garbrandt’s Hayder Hassan (6-3)

Round 1 – Hassan opens with a body kick that lands on the arms of his opponent. Stevenson changes levels for a takedown, but Hassan easily brushes him off and keeps his space. Stevenson is looking to close the distance and create a grappling or clinch scenario, but Hassan perfectly times his aggression and launches a right uppercut that blasts Stevenson on the chin. Stevenson immediately goes down and Hassan lands a pair of hammerfists to his fallen opponent before the referee dives in to halt the action just 18 second in.

Hayden Hassan def. Joe Stevenson via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:18

After the fight, coach Cody Garbrandt immediately rips opposing coach T.J. Dillashaw for allowing Stevenson to compete in another bout just six days after his previous contest.

“It was bittersweet,” Garbrandt says. “Hayder’s a knockout artist, I’m a big fan of Hayder, but it was bittersweet seeing Joe get knocked out. I told T.J. that was going to happen. He was in a fight six days before that that he was pretty hurt in. I don’t know if that contributed to that, but it definitely didn’t help him out.”

Nevertheless, Hassan wins the wildcard fight and becomes the second Team Garbrandt fighter to advance to the quarterfinals, joining Edwards. Team Dillashaw, meanwhile, has six fighters in the next round.

UFC President Dana White decides on the four quarterfinal matchups, which shape up as follows:

Fight preparation begins for the opening quarterfinal, which will see Team Dillashaw’s Gallicchio take on Team Garbrandt’s Edwards. It’s one of two matchups that will pit opposing team members against one another, and both fighters are thankful they don’t have to deal with a teammate vs. teammate situation – at least not yet.

With a break in training, it’s time for the annual “Coaches Challenge.” This season, head coaches Dillashaw and Garbrandt clash in a game of water tetherball. The winning coach receives $10,000 while each member of the their team gets a $1,500 prize.

Both fighters admit they have minimal experience playing tetherball and Dillashaw falls into the water before the game even begins. Garbrandt takes a dominant 8-4 lead in the game up to 10, but Dillashaw stages a huge rally to tie it at 8 apiece.

Dillashaw completes his comeback of six consecutive points and pulls off the victory. He wins the prize for himself and his team, and Dillashaw says of Garbrandt, “I watched him give up.”

Weigh-ins for the fight take place, and both Gallicchio and Edwards come in under the required 171-pound welterweight limit, making the first tournament quarterfinal official.

Fight day arrives, and the athletes are ready for the quarterfinals to begin. Both fighters finalize preparation with their coaches backstage at the “TUF” gym, and finally, the competition continues.

Team Dillashaw’s Tom Gallicchio (19-9) vs. Team Garbrandt’s Justin Edwards (9-5) – quarterfinal

Round 1 – Gallicchio opens with a right hand, but Edwards come back with a crisp combination. Gallicchio walks forward but is eating shots every time he moves in Edwards’ direction. Edwards tags Gallicchio with more clean punches before a right hand catches him hard on the chin and drops Gallicchio to the canvas. Gallicchio bounces up and immediately dives at the legs of Edwards, who sprawls. Edwards grabs the neck and drops for a guillotine choke, but he’s too high on the neck and Gallicchio manages to escape the position. A scramble ensues, and Gallicchio comes out on Edwards’ back. He locks in the body triangle before working the neck for a rear-naked choke. Gallicchio gets his hands in proper position and squeezes hard on the submission, forcing Edwards to tap out.

Tom Gallicchio def. Justin Edwards via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1

Gallicchio becomes the first fighter to advance to the semifinals and is pleased with how he’s performed in the competition thus far.

“It’s pretty amazing; I was broke, dead broke,” Gallicchio says. “I didn’t know where the next meal was coming from sometimes. It’s unreal (to win two finishing bonuses). I’m going to be smart, I’m going to invest it and buy some more candy machines, and get them out there.”

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” 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