TUF_23_Finale

The second of three consecutive events, the finals of The Ultimate Fighter 23 took place from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, with a main event title fight of UFC straw-weight champion Joanna J?drzejczyk versus challenger Claudia Gadelha coming off a stint as coaches on TUF 23, with a six fight main card

A lightweight bout opened the main card, as undefeated prospect Andrew Holbrook(11-0) took on Brazilian Joaquim Silva(8-1)

The bout ended up lasting all of 34 seconds, as after catching a body kick attempt by Holbrook and pushing him to the ground, Silva landed a right hook while rushing the downed Holbrook, landed three hammerfists and got the knockout win

It was veteran versus rising-star in the next bout, as Brazilian Thiago Tavares(24-6-1) took on Korean Doo Ho Choi(13-1), with the latter the betting favourite to take the fight

Almost exactly like the first fight of the night, this bout ended quickly as after two-and-a-half minutes of grappling and clinching against the fence, Ho Choi landed a clean left jab/right-straight punch that rocked and dropped Silva, after which Ho Choi landed one further punch on the downed Brazilian before referee Herb Dean stepped in and waved the fight off at 2:42 of the very first round

In getting the early TKO, Ho Choi also managed to bag a $50,000 ‘performance of the night’ bonus award

Former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks(17-1) made his UFC debut in the third bout of the night, as the newly-signed fighter took on UFC veteran Ross Pearson(21-10-1NC), with American Brooks the betting favourite over Briton Pearson in the lightweight contest

A fight that went all three rounds, Brooks had some success in rounds one and two as he managed to out-strike Pearson as well as being the aggressor, however in the third and final round Pearson mounted a solid comeback, landing many more punches as the fight almost entirely consisted of the striking game

It was too little too late for Pearson though, as after three rounds of what was a kick-boxing bout all three judges gave the unanimous decision victory to Brooks, who secured the win in his Octagon debut

The next fight was to determine who would win The Ultimate Fighter 23 in the women’s straw weight division, as Amanda Cooper(2-1) took on Tatiana Suarez(4-0), with the later the favourite to take the bout and TUF 23 crown

Living up to the billing as betting favourite, Suarez, after surviving an armbar attempt by Cooper, managed to manoeuvre into position and lock in a D’Arce choke and choke out Cooper at 3:43 of the very first round to come TUF 23 champion and win a contract with the promotion

Another TUF 23 final was up next, as light heavyweights Andrew Sanchez(8-2) and Khalil Rountree(5-0) faced off to crown another winner of the reality TV series

A fight that went the distance and all three rounds, Sanchez used his superior wrestling to take Rountree down numerous times in all three rounds, with Rountree not being able to either stop the takedowns or escape back to his feet after being taken down, a Sanchez controlled the vast majority of the fight

In the end, all three judges gave the bout to Sanchez via unanimous decision

The main event saw UFC straw-weight women’s champion Joanna J?drzejczyk(11-0) defend her title against number one contender Claudia Gadelha(13-1, #1SW), with the champion entering the contest as favourite to retain her title

Gadelha dominated the first round, dropped the champion with a stiff jab within the first fifteen seconds of the fight and after that continuing to get the better of the striking exchanges and also managing to take J?drzejczyk down again towards the end of the first round

Brazilian Gadelha again got the better of the champion in the second, using her superior grappling whilst against the fence to repeatedly take J?drzejczyk down and land some good, solid ground and pound shots, though she never came close to stopping the champion who showed good composure despite being dominated for the second consecutive round

J?drzejczyk was able to bounce back somewhat in the third round with Gadelha showing some sign of fatigue, as despite being able to take the champion down again numerous times in the round, J?drzejczyk was able to start landing her strikes as well as being able to get back to her feet quickly and somewhat easily after being taken down

The fourth round was a tentative one, with J?drzejczyk not pressing the action much despite Gadelha continuing to show signs of fatigue, with the champion instead content to land elementary strikes, while Gadelha was too fatigued to secure any takedowns

The fifth and final round was more of the same, as J?drzejczyk started to pull ahead due to her superior striking in tandem with Gadelha fading fast due to fatigue as the bout went all five rounds and the entire twenty five minutes, after which the judges gave the bout to J?drzejczyk via unanimous decision 48-46, 48-45, 48-46 as the Polish fighter retained her UFC women’s straw-weight championship

By Matthew Singh-Dosanjh