Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is back on FOX Sports 1 later tonight (Weds., Nov. 15, 2017) with episode 10 of “Alvarez vs. Gaethje,” the all-female flyweight season searching for the next big star at 125 pounds.
If you missed episode nine, click here for our complete recap.
After eight long weeks of flyweight competition — which included a bevy of both submission and knockout finishes — last week kicked off the quarterfinal match ups, featuring two fights in one night. Team Gaethje’s Roxanne Modafferi stopped Emily Whitmire, while Deanna Bennett got smoked by Sijara Eubanks.
That leaves us with No. 2-seed Barb Honchak going up against No. 10-seed Rachael Ostovich, before No. 14-seed Nicco Montano takes on No. 6-seed Montana Stewart. The winners, of course, will move on to the semifinals.
We go right to the weigh-ins for the first fight, both women making weight without issue. Both Alvarez and Gaethje acknowledge that Honchak is a tough matchup for Ostovich-Berdon. Eddie is confident that Honchak can counter Ostovich-Berdon’s right hand and beat her up on the ground, while Justin says his pupil needs to maintain distance and land power shots.
125 lbs.: No. 2 Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. No. 10 Rachael Ostovich-Berdon (3-3)
Round one: Honchak digs a right to the body. Nice exchange in the center. One minute in. Nice jab from Ostovich-Berdon. Honchak counters the next one. Leg kick. Right to the body. Another good right up top and a brief clinch. Two minutes in. Honchak grabs double underhooks, avoids a throw attempt, and puts her on the fence. Ostovich-Berdon trying to frame and separate. Hard right hand by Ostovich-Berdon on the break. Two minutes to go.
Honchak completes a single-leg and looks for the back. Ostovich-Berdon scrambles up and jabs the body. Uppercut and right cross land for her. Overhand right counters a leg kick with a minute to go. Honchak catches a body kick and puts her on the fence again. They trade on the break. Ostovich tries to spin and lands a right hand at the bell. Close. 10-9 Honchak.
Round two: Heavy right straight by Ostovich-Berdon connects. They exchange, Honchak getting the better of it. Front kick by Ostovich-Berdon. 1-2 lands clean. Honchak looks for a single-leg a minute in, transitions to a bodylock and wrenches her to the mat. Ostovich-Berdon gets to her feet, eats knees to the thigh. Two minutes in. Honchak locks her hands and gets another takedown, moving to mount and the back in quick succession. On come the punches. Ostovich-Berdon slips out the back door and lands some decent rights on the way up. Overhand right by Honchak with two minutes to go.
Ostovich-Berdon tries to spin and Honchak latches onto her waist, putting in both hooks. Ground-and-pound from the two-seed. Ostovich-Berdon rolling, taking damage. Honchak alternating between punches and looking for the choke. 10-9 Honchak.
Final result: Honchak def. Ostovich-Berdon by unanimous decision
Honchak admits that Ostovich-Berdon was a tougher out than Gillian Robertson. Ostovich-Berdon is sobbing after the loss, but Coach Gaethje has nothing but praise for her efforts, reminding her that she’s still young and will have plenty of opportunities. Ostovich-Berdon is convinced that she was capable of beating Honchak, which is what makes it so hard to accept.
Alright, straight on to the second weigh-ins. I swear I’m not skipping over anything. Dana White reminds viewers not to underestimate Montaño, whom he perceives as a better grappler than Stewart.
We get some final thoughts from both women and then it’s fight time. The tale of the tape says Stewart has an astounding seven inches of reach on Montaño, so that’s worth keeping an eye on.
125 lbs.: No. 14 Nicco Montaño (3-2) vs. No. 6 Montana Stewart (7-4)
Round one: Stewart on the advance early. Straight left from Montaño. Stewart catches a body kick and looks for a single-leg, can’t get it but puts her on the fence. One minute in. They trade knees against the cage until Montaño reverses position. They separate. 1-2 by Stewart met by a low kick. Another 1-2 on the counter from Stewart. Two minutes in. Montaño body kick. They trade in the center. Montaño staying busy with kicks, brief clinch and right hand on the break. Two minutes to go.
Both land their power hands. Body kick by Montaño. Stewart shoots, forcing Montaño to do her best BJ Penn impression on one leg. Knees from both. Thumping ones from Montaño as Stewart tries to drive and those split Stewart open. Montaño puts her back on the cage and lands knees. 10-9 Montaño.
Round two: Stewart tries a head kick, eats a body kick and avoids a knee. Counter 1-2 lands for Stewart. Montaño shoots into a Marcelotine a minute in, but manages to pass to side control. Short elbows. Two minutes in. Montaño tries to isolate an arm, postures up for heavy ground-and-pound instead. Stewart regains guard. More hammerfists and Stewart briefly goes to her knees. Half guard now, more punches and elbows. Two minutes to go.
Stewart threatens an armbar, flattened back down. Now a Kimura, smearing blood on the canvas. Montaño’s got some pepper behind these shots. One minute to go. Stewart kicks her away, sprawled on, eats knees on the way up. More knees. To the body now too. They separate. 10-8 Montaño.
Final result: Montaño def. Stewart by unanimous decision
Montaño is excited enough to do a kip-up in celebration. Stewart, sporting a cut so deep it’s giving me Miguel Torres-Joseph Benavidez flashbacks, accepts her defeat and says she should have kept it standing. She also raises the possibility of dropping to 115 after feeling Montaño’s strength.
She’s also as amazed as the rest of us by the cut; when a coach takes a pic and shows her, she says “oh f**k, I didn’t think it looked like that.”
Dana White himself goes into Stewart’s room to give her props for being “gangster” and promises to get someone capable to sew her up so she “don’t look like Frankenstein.”
Here are the semifinal matchups:
No. 1-seed Roxanne Modafferi vs. No. 12-seed Sijara Eubanks
No. 2-seed Barb Honchak vs. No. 14-seed Nicco Montaño
Two Team Gaethje reps and two Team Alvarez reps remain. Join us in seven when we find out (half of) who fights who on the Finale.