Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the fight capital of the world on Friday night (Dec. 12, 2014)
for Invicta Fighting Championships latest card The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 20 Finale live from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to the main card that will crown the inaugural UFC women's strawweight champion, the event was kicked off with a captivating set of "Prelims" on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and UFC Fight Pass.
Full results and play-by-play here.
The undercard featured six bouts all in the women's strawweight division. 11 of the 12 fighters were contestants on TUF 20, with the outsider being UFC debutant Seo Hee Ham.
In the "Prelims" main event, Felice Herrig earned her first UFC victory in style, finishing Lisa Ellis via armbar in the second round of an enthralling bout. While fans did not get the privilege to watch Herrig's striking, they did catch a glimpse of the "Little Bulldog's" much improved ground game.
Check out the prelims recap below:
Lisa Ellis vs. Felice Herrig
This was an exciting scrap and was a perfect cap to the "Prelims."
Lisa Ellis quickly got a takedown, then nearly finished Herrig with a deep guillotine in the first minute. After surviving the early onslaught, Herrig bullied Ellis to the mat, and quickly began working ground and pound. Moments later Ellis hit a picturesque sweep, but Herrig quickly latched onto a triangle, nearly finishing Ellis in the process. After an escape from Ellis and a scramble, Herrig landed back on top and stayed there for the rest of the round.
The second round did not take long to get to the mat as both Ellis and Herrig landed takedowns and reversals. Herrig was controlling Ellis on the mat, looking for a rear-naked choke, but Ellis was able to escape out the back. Herrig countered with an armbar, but could not finish before transitioning into a triangle. After failing on both attempts, Herrig went back to the armbar where she was finally able to get Ellis to tap.
Heather Jo Clark vs. Bec Rawlings
The first round was wildly competitive as both women had their bright spots. Clark landed a big right hand that hurt Rawlings early, and followed up with a big takedown. Following a short stint of ground and pound from Clark, Rawlings fought to her feet before Yves Lavigne broke them off the fence soon after. Rawlings started to open up on the feet, but Clark reverted right back to the clinch. Rawlings actually got a late takedown of her own, but Clark transitioned into back mount as the round end..
The second round saw the women slug it out in the center of the cage for the first two minutes. Rawlings was landing some big time shots, but Clark was landing crisper shots that were landing. After a quick clinch, Clark hit another takedown right into side control. As Rawlings rolled to her back, Clark took her back again, but her attempts at choking out Rawlings were futile for the final minute and a half of the round.
Rawlings came out firing in the third round knowing she was likely down to rounds and needed the finish. Instead of throwing power shots, Rawlings put together her best combinations of the fight as Clark's stamina faded. Rawlings was pushing forward, but Clark clinched up with the Aussie, chewing clock in the fight's most crucial round. After Yves Lavigne separated them, Rawlings unloaded a flurry on Clark, but she could not finish the tough Clark as she fired back as the fight came to a close.
In the end, Clark picked up the upset in her UFC debut against Rawlings.
Joanne Calderwood vs. Seo Hee Ham
This was an absolute scrap that showed why Joanne Calderwood is such a feared competitor. As for Seo Hee Ham, she may not have been on TUF this season, but she definitely proved her worth inside UFC.
The first round got off to a quick pace, as both ladies landed combinations. Hee Ham was using lateral movement to confuse Calderwood, but a lengthy jab from the TUF contestant kept Hee Ham at bay. Calderwood was controlling the pace on the feet, but Hee Ham was more than willing to eat a shot to take a shot.
The second round was much of the same early as both ladies exchanged on the feet. While there was not much power behind Calderwood's shots, she tagged Hee Ham over and over. On the other hand, Hee Ham was looking to knock out Calderwood with nearly every blow, busting up her nose badly. Even with her face bloodied and bruised, Calderwood pushed forward and got two late takedowns to seal the round.
The action continued in the third as Calderwood tagged Hee Ham early with an overhand right before getting the clinch on the fence. The clinch and dirty boxing from Calderwood really fatigued Hee Ham early in the round, and Calderwood continued to pepper Hee Ham with brutal knees and elbows. After a brutal front kick to the face and slam takedown, Calderwood attempted to get the late submission finish, but was unable to finish Hee Ham late.
Ultimately, Calderwood earned his first UFC victory via unanimous decision.
Angela Magana vs. Tecia Torres
The first round was fought at a labored pace early, but Tecia Torres soon got into a rhythm, lighting up Magana on the feet, and dropping her with a stiff right hand. But the real fun did not start until round two as Magana and Torres opened up on the feet for several exciting exchanges early on.
Ultimately, Torres was getting the better of Magana on the feet, and with the second round coming to a close, Torres picked up the pace showing off her savvy striking repertoire. By the third round, Torres' confidence was sky high as Magana was in a defensive shell. Torres continued to pepper Magana with crisp hooks and kicks to the body, and ended off the fight on fire rocking Magana over and over before closing the show with a takedown.
The latter half of this fight was the Tecia Torres show, and "The Tiny Tornado" proved she will be a top contender in the strawweight division for some time to come.
Alex Chambers vs. Aisling Daly
The Irish takeover continues.
Both TUF 20 ladies got off to a quick start tonight, but it was evident early on that Alex Chambers would have a difficult time against Aisling Daly. After a bright spot that saw Chambers land a right hand into a takedown, the rest of the round -- and fight -- was all Daly.
On the mat, Daly attacked with an armbar off her back, nearly finishing the fight before Chambers squirmed her way free. When the fight got back to the feet, Daly used forward pressure to tire out Chambers before landing two takedowns en route to the fight-ending armbar with just seconds left in the first round.
Angela Hill vs. Emily Kagan
In her second pro fight, Angela Hill put on an absolute clinic, utterly dominating Emily Kagan on the feet and in the clinch throughout the 15 minute affair.
Kagan took the center of the Octagon as she immediately looked to clinch and takedown the neophyte Hill. Unfortunately for Kagan, her game plan failed her as Hill showed off improved takedown defense and a deadly clinch game. Kagan was unable to get the fight to the mat as Hill blasted her with knees, elbows, and punches.
By the second round, Kagan was busted up badly, and was nearly finished a handful of times. Truthfully, Kagan's heart and chin were too much for her own good, as she was nothing more than a punching bag for the majority of the fight.
Although she tried her best to get the finish, Hill left the Octagon with her first UFC victory via unanimous decision.
Check out the full TUF 20 Finale "Prelims" quick results below:
Felice Herrig def. Lisa Ellis by submission (armbar) at 3:05 of Round Two
Heather Jo Clark def. Bec Rawlings by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Joanne Calderwood def. Seo Hee Ham by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Tecia Torres def. Angela Magana by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Aisling Daly def. Alex Chambers by submission (armbar) at 4:53 of Round One
Angela Hill def. Emily Kagan by unanimous decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)
For main card results and play-by-play click here.