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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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Nicco Montano and TUF 26 Finale's other winning fighters?

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“The Ultimate Fighter 26” came to a conclusion on Friday with the crowning of a new UFC champion.

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale took place at Park Theatre in Las Vegas, and it aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass. In the headliner, Nicco Montano (4-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) won the “TUF 26” tournament and the inaugural women’s flyweight crown with a unanimous-decision vivctory over veteran Roxanne Modafferi (21-14 MMA, 0-2 UFC).

While Montano’s win was the most significant on the card, other fighters, including Sean O’Malley (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Lauren Murphy (10-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC), Gerald Meerschaert (27-9 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and Brett Johns (15-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), also picked up victories. Meanwhile, DeAnna Bennett (8-3-1 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC) and Melinda Fabian (4-3-2 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC) fought to a majority draw.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Brett Johns

Pedro Munhoz

Should fight: Pedro Munhoz
Why they should fight: It was clear after his first two UFC fights that Johns is a talent to watch in the bantamweight division. His 30-second submission victory over Joe Soto, however, legitimized the Welshman in a whole new light.

Johns quickly finished Soto with just the second calf-slicer submission in UFC history. It was a major statement against the former Bellator champ and UFC title challenger, and with 15 straight wins, Johns appears ready for the next level of competition at 135 pounds.

A showdown with Munhoz (15-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who’s also on the cusp of breaking through to the next level of the division thanks to a four-fight winning streak, could be just what the doctor ordered to give Johns his biggest test to date.

Gerald Meerschaert

Vitor Miranda

Should fight: Winner of Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez at UFC on FOX 26
Why they should fight: Meerschaert delivered in the final fight of his UFC contract when he scored a thunderous body-kick knockout of Eric Spicely in their middleweight bout.

After fending off Spicely’s early submission attacks, Meerschaert found a home for his body kicks. He finally put his opponent down midway through the second round, and now Meerschaert enters free agency with three wins in four UFC fights, all of which came by stoppage.

Meerschaert excites every time he steps in the octagon, and that’s seemingly the type of talent the UFC would want to keep around. The promotion has let a variety of free agents walk over the past few years, though, so it’s no guarantee Meerschaert stays under the UFC banner for his next fight.

Assuming he does, there are some compelling bouts ahead at 185 pounds. The winner of the UFC on FOX 26 bout between Mirada (12-6 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and Marquez (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) would be suitable because, like Meerschaert, both men have a high finishing rate.

Lauren Murphy

Mara Romero Borella

Should fight: Mara Romero Borella
Why they should fight: It came by the skin of her teeth in the form of a split decision, but Murphy managed to get the job done in her official UFC flyweight debut against fellow ex-Invicta FC champ Barb Honchak.

After going 1-3 in her UFC bantamweight run, Murphy got the fresh start she was looking for after a frustrating “TUF 26” stint. She has championship aspirations, and though the bout could have easily gone the other way, Murphy beat a fighter who was once considered No. 1 in the weight class.

If Murphy wants the belt, though, she will need to produce more convincing victories going forward. Borella (12-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made a splash in her promotional debut at UFC 216 in October with a first-round submission of Kalinda Faria. Murphy could take that momentum away from her – or, oppositely, Borella could move to 2-0 in the UFC against another notable name.

Sean O’Malley

Patrick Williams

Should fight: Patrick Williams
Why they should fight: The first edition of “The Suga Show” in the UFC went off without any major hitches. O’Malley pushed his undefeated record to 9-0 with a unanimous-decision win over Terrion Ware in a fun bantamweight scrap.

O’Malley had high expectations entering the octagon after earning a UFC contract with a spectacular knockout at a Dana White’s Contender Series event. He didn’t produce the same type of finish against his most experienced foe to date in Williams, but he got a solid win that will only help the 23-year-old grow moving forward.

At such a young age and with tremendous potential, O’Malley should be getting a slow build from the UFC brass. Williams (8-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) is certainly no pushover, but he’s been used in the past of gauge the ability of similar 135-pound prospects, including Tom Duquesnoy. He should be put in a similar spot for O’Malley.

Nicco Montano

Should fight: Valentina Shevchenko
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Montano should fight Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in her first title defense.

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 results: Melinda Fabian nearly KOs DeAnna Bennett, who grinds way to majority draw

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LAS VEGAS – Hungarian striker Melinda Fabian (4-3-2 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC) nearly scored a highlight-reel finish of veteran DeAnna Bennett (8-3-1 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC) but ultimately settled for a disappointing majority draw.

The women’s flyweight bout 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.

Fabian looked to strike from the start, landing a right hand and a high kick in an early exchange, and Bennett immediately looked to get the fight to the floor. Fabian defended well against the cage, eventually spinning to the outside and driving an elbow into her opponent’s face. Bennett was relentless with her grinding attack, but Fabian’s defense eventually earned her a restart from referee John McCarthy.

Fabian was confident and aggressive with her strikes on the reset, and Bennett again turned quickly to the wrestling but simply could not get the fight to the floor. Fabian finally pushed her away and landed a flush high kick at the bell that sent Bennett to the floor. Fabian briefly thought she had a walk-off finish, and the hesitation to jump on top allowed a wobbly Bennett to crawl to her feet and answer the bell for the second under the close watch of McCarthy.

Fabian went right back to the high kick to open the second, and Bennett answered by again looking to get the fight to the floor. Fabian eventually was forced to grab the fence to stay upright, and McCarthy immediately deducted what would prove a costly point on the egregious hold. He restarted the fight with Bennett in on the legs, but Fabian’s defense again proved capable. Fabian’s constant defense earned another restart, but Bennett didn’t allow her opponent a single strike before shooting inside again.

Sprawling against the cage, Fabian tried to punch in spots, but she was forced to focus on remaining on her feet. Another McCarthy restart saw Bennett shoot immediately, and the crowd showered the effort with boos. Fabian broke free at the very end, nearly landing another high kick and letting out a guttural yell as the bell ended her effort.

Bennett elected to engage a bit on the feet to start the third, and Fabian looked to capitalize with long, straight punches. While she was clearly wary of a takedown, Fabian did eventually throw a kick that Bennett caught and used to push the action to the fence. Fabian sprawled against the cage, earning yet another break from McCarthy. The two did trade briefly, but Bennett went quickly back to the takedown, which yet again proved ineffective. A few Fabian knees pushed Bennett away with under a minute, and the Hungarian striker gave it her all to get a finish.

Fabian slipped on a kick in the final seconds, giving Bennett a chance to finally enjoy a brief dominant position, and the brief offense was apparently enough to sway two of three judges, who scored the fight a 28-28 draw. Bennett actually took one card, 29-27, but the result was ultimately a majority draw.

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

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for TUF 26 Finale in Las Vegas

We want your predictions for Friday’s TUF 26 Finale event in Las Vegas.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by today at 10 a.m. ET (7 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the TUF 26 Finale staff picks we release today ahead of the event. The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale takes place Friday at Park Theater in Las Vegas. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Sijara Eubanks vs. Nicco Montano

Records: Sijara Eubanks (2-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Nicco Montano (3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Eubanks 2-2, Montano 3-2
Division: Women’s flyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/30/17): N/A

Take Our Poll
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Sean O’Malley vs. Terrion Ware

Records: Sean O’Malley (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Terrion Ware (17-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Past five: O’Malley 5-0, Ware 4-1
Division:
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/30/17): O’Malley -260, Ware +200

Take Our Poll
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Barb Honchak vs. Roxanne Modafferi

Records: Barb Honchak (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (21-13 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Past five: Honchak 5-0, Modafferi 4-1
Division: Women’s flyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/30/17): N/A

Take Our Poll
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Gerald Meerschaert vs. Eric Spicely

Records: Gerald Meerschaert (26-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Eric Spicely (10-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC)
Past five: Meerschaert 4-1, Spielly 3-2
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/30/17): Meerschaert -185, Spicely +150

Take Our Poll
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DeAnna Bennett vs. Melinda Fabian

Records: DeAnna Bennett (8-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Melinda Fabian (4-3-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Bennett 2-3, Fabian 3-2
Division:
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/30/17): N/A

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Brett Johns vs. Joe Soto

Records: Brett Johns (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs. Joe Soto (18-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC)
Past five: Johns 5-0, Soto 3-2
Division:
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/30/17): Johns -190, Soto +155

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 7 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 7 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with UFC President Dana White making a surprise visit to the TUF house, much to the excitement of the athletes.

White shows his special edition BMW to Lauren Murphy and a few other cast members. He also tours the house and interacts with all the fighters from both teams. He provides some words of encouragement to the fighters as the competition nears its midway point.

Focus shifts to fight preparation for the seventh opening-round tournament bout, which pits No. 7 Melinda Fabian of Team Alvarez and No. 10 Rachael Ostovich of Team Gaethje.

Fabian has been dealing with injury issues to her leg in the lead-up to her fight. She’s attempting to tweak and minimize her training in the final days before she steps in the octagon. Coach Eddie Alvarez attempts to keep Fabian confident and says he views her as the best striker in the competition.

Ostovich is aware her striking is likely a level below that of Fabian, but coach Justin Gaethje believes Ostovich’s background in judo and wrestling will be a huge difference-maker.

At the weigh-in, Fabian and Ostovich come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A friendly staredown follows, and the seventh opening-round tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives. Fabian and Ostovich head to the TUF gym. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#7 Melinda Fabian (4-3-1) vs. #10 Rachael Ostovich (3-3)

Round 1 – Both fighters show a lot of faints to start the bout. Ostovich lands an inside leg kick followed by a jab. Fabian lands a hard right hand, and Ostovich lands with a counter-hook. Ostovich lands a clean overhand right that backs up Fabian. Ostovich stays patient and connects with a leg kick. Ostovich scores with a another combination. Fabian nearly lands a head kick and begins to apply better pressure. She eats another hard punch, though, and Ostovich evades. Ostovich’s jab is on point and she’s picking Fabian apart. Fabian’s moving forward but is throwing almost nothing. Ostovich shoots for a double-leg takedown and easily puts Fabian on her back. Fabian attempts to scramble free but Ostovich jumps on the back. She gets back mount and has Fabian flattened out. She postures up and lands several hard punches before locking in a rear-naked choke that forces Fabian to tap out.

Rachael Ostovich def. Melinda Fabian via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1

Ostovich is thrilled with the extremely one-sided performance.

“I feel great,” A thrilled Ostovich says. “I’m very, very happy, but it’s nothing that I hadn’t already seen in my head. Everything went as I planned it. … Celebration for a little while, take some time to congratulate myself and the hard work I put in, then on to the next.”

Team Gaethje takes a 4-3 lead in the competition with Ostovich’s victory. Only one opening-round fight remains, and it will see No. 8 Emily Whitmire of Team Gaethje take on No. 9 Christina Marks of Team Alvarez.

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

Episode No. 6 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 6 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with a strength and conditioning session for Team Alvarez. Coach Eddie Alvarez brings in his personal coach to help the fighters, who are beginning to feel a bit worn down by the intensity of training.

Team Alvarez’s Lauren Murphy believes the coaching methods present some danger of overtraining, but nevertheless, the sessions continue. Barb Honchak, the #2 seed who meets #15 Gillian Robertson of Team Gaethje later in the episode, is beginning to ramp up the intensity of her fight preparation.

Honchak, the former Invicta FC flyweight champion, may be 37, but she is considered one of the favorites in the tournament, which is evident by her high seeding. Although Honchak hasn’t fought in more than two years, she feels primed and prepared to show why she was once considered the top 125-pound fighter in the world.

Focus shifts to Team Gaethje’s Robertson, who at 22 is the youngest fighter in the competition and 15 years the junior of her opponent. Coach Justin Gaethje begins to go over some strategy with Robertson, who he knows is lacking some confidence but urges her to use the entirety of her skillset, not just grappling.

Back at the TUF house, Melinda Fabian of Team Alvarez is struggling with some homesickness. She’s also dealing with a lingering leg injury, which she says has hindered her from training at 100 percent. She believes she can make weight and fight, but is having some doubts about the level at which she can fight.

Fabian visits the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. She’s treated with massage therapy and cupping, and while her injury “is still very painful,” Fabian has not put any consideration into withdrawing from the competition.

At the weigh-in, Honchak and Robertson come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A friendly staredown follows, and the sixth opening-round tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives, and Honchak and Robertson head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the sixth tournament fight is underway.

#2 Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. #15 Gillian Robertson (3-2)

Round 1 – They trade leg kicks to open the fight. Honchak moves forward while pumping the jab to the head and the body. Robertson is circling away and picking her shots. Honchak changes levels for a takedown and pushes Robertson’s back toward the cage. Robertson fights away from the fence and turns the position around. Robertson is controlling from inside the clinch but she can’t hold Honchak for long. They trade strikes off the break. Honchak is beginning to get loose with her hands and that forces Robertson to close the distance and force a clinch. Robertson is working knees and trip attempts but eats a hard knee to the gut which forces her to break away and back up. Robertson is clearly hurt but puts on a good poker face. Honchak changes levels and gets an easy double-leg takedown. Honchak begins to work from inside the guard. Robertson throws up an armbar attempt but her positioning isn’t right and Honchak avoids any real danger. Honchak passes to half guard and starts to land some hard blows which are slowing Robertson down. Honchak postures up and lands a flurry of strikes before the end of the round.

Round 2 – Honchak pounds Robertson’s thigh with a pair of leg kicks then follows with some hand combinations. Robertson shoots for a takedown but Honchak easily sprawls. Honchak muscles Robertson onto her back and is in a dominant top position. Honchak goes back to work from half guard as Robertson searches for submissions from her back. Honchak moves to side control and is working to isolate Robertson’s left arm for an Americana. Robertson powers through it and rolls Honchak over, but Honchak immediately stands up to escape the position. Robertson is driving for a single leg takedown against the fence but Honchak’s strength is once again too much and she’s powered onto the back. Honchak steps over into mount and is unleashes hard punches and elbows. The referee gives Robertson multiple warnings before stepping in and waving it off.

Barb Honchak def. Gillian Robertson via TKO (punches, elbows) – Round 2

“It felt good,” Honchak says after her victory. “I think everybody came in here looking at me. Now they know that I am what I was. They’re still looking at me, I think.”

Team Alvarez ties the competition 3-3 with Honchak’s victory. Team Gaethje takes control of fight selection, and with only two opening-round matchups remaining, coach Gaethje selects #10 Rachael Ostovich to go up against #7 Fabian of Team Alvarez 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.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Meet 'The Ultimate Fighter 26' cast: Melinda Fabian, a student of martial arts from Hungary

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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 Melinda Fabian (4-3), who discussed her extensive martial arts training before MMA, being a pioneer of the sport in her native Hungary 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