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Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 26 results, recap for ‘Alvarez vs Gaethje’ (Ep. 11)

Episode eleven is titled “A Will to Win.”

Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., Nov. 1, 2017) with episode eleven of “Alvarez vs. Gaethje,” the all-female flyweight season searching for the next big star at 125 pounds.

If you missed episode ten, click here for our complete recap.

Episode 10 will feature No. 2-seed and former Invicta champ Barb Honchak (Team Alvarez) against No. 14-seed Nicco Montaño (Team Gaethje) in the first semifinal. Honchak is looking to reassert her spot at the top of the flyweight pecking order after two years away, while Montaño will attempt to continue one of the more remarkable upset streaks in recent memory.

Previews also suggest we finally get to one of the show’s more hallowed traditions: prank wars. Hopefully they don’t involve bodily fluids or rampant property destruction this time around.

We start things off at the UFC Performance Institute, where we see both squads going through assorted workouts. Coach Gaethje makes the mistake of leaving his keys in the open, which allows Coach Alvarez to park Justin’s car by the highway.

Alvarez admits he’s not much of a prankster, but mentions the need to break the monotony. Gaethje takes it in stride, but warns that he’s going to outdo him in the coming week.

Back in the house, Barb Honchak mentions that “every day feels like a week,” discussing the strangeness of having to prepare while the majority of women talk about going home. Montaño, meanwhile, is plenty chipper, and Honchak gives her props for her relentlessness.

We look at Montaño’s prep first. Coach Gaethje is confident his charge will “outwork” Honchak and, during preparation, he and his assistant remind Montaño to do damage going in and out of clinches. Montaño is confident that anything Honchak can do, she can do better.

Emily Whitmire likewise has faith in her teammate, as does recent Montaño victim Montana Stewart. Interestingly, Stewart also brings up how dangerous Montaño is in the clinch.

Over on the other side, Coahc Alvarez says there’s “nothing to be alarmed about” in the coming fight. He talks about how Honchak goes into the cage with a clear plan, not just relying on instinct or improvisation.

Honchak hypothesizes that Montaño will either stick-and-move or put her on the fence. Alvarez reveals that he’s spotted a hole in Montaño’s defense: a tendency to pull her head back and to the right.

DeAnna Bennett has full faith in her teammate.

Alright, time for Team Gaethje’s prank. He gets a little more in-depth, hiring a crane to haul Eddie’s car into the air after decorating his windows with pro-Gaethje slogans. He’s busy covering the bottom of it with silly string when Team Alvarez exits the gym.

Alvarez, likewise, gives props. As he puts it, “You can’t get mad when something’s funny.”

No issues at the weigh-in. We get some final comments from the fighters and a few preparation highlights before showtime.

125 lbs.: No. 2 Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. No. 14 Nicco Montaño (3-2)

Round one: Low kick from Honchak to start. Solid right hand, then another on the counter. She grabs the body lock and puts Montaño on the cage. Knees from Montaño. Honchak grabs double underhooks a minute in. They move off the fence, trading knees. Montaño puts Honchak’s back on the fence, more knee exchanges. Honchak lands a left hook on the break. Two minutes in. Hard combination by Honchak, who re-enters the clinch. Solid knees as she looks for trips. Both land on the break. Honchak leg kick answered in kind. Hard elbow and knees from Montaño. Two minutes to go.

Montaño lands a lead right. Leg kick lands for her and she takes Honchak down into half guard when the latter clinches. Elbows and short punches. Montaño trying to isolate an arm with a minute to go. Back to the elbows. She looks for full mount, settles for more hard elbows. 10-9 Montaño.

Round two: Coach Eddie spouting code in the early going, including what sounds like a nod to teammate Marlon Moraes. Montaño puts her on the fence with over-unders. One minute in. Honchak tries to get off the cage, cannot do so. Both women landing knees. Montaño looking for double unders. Two minutes in. Right hand by Montaño on the break. Hard 1-2 from Honchak. Honchak shoots, takes her to the cage. Knees from both. Honchak briefly gets double underhooks with two minutes to go.

More knees. Montaño with some elbows when Honchak tries to change levels. Good knee to the body and they separate. They trade right hands near the cage. Montaño leg kick, Honchak right hand. One minute to go. Another right by Honchak. Honchak ties up , eats a hard elbow. Montaño lands a lead left and some knees in the clinch before Honchak takes her down. Close. 10-9 Montaño.

Round three: Montaño lands a hard body kick early. Honchak catches the next one and goes for a takedown, only for Montaño to take her back on the way down. One hook in. Now both a minute in. Montaño looking for the choke. Honchak turns into her and shoots in for a takedown. Montaño sprawls on it and grabs the rear waist lock. Back elbows by Honchak as she defends the takedown. Both land before they separate two minutes in. Honchak shoots off a Montaño leg kick and lands knees to the body. Good clinchwork by Honchak, eats right hands. Two minutes to go.

Montaño hauls her back to the fence. Elbow on the break goes high. They ties up again and trade knees. Montaño looks for a trip, but Honchak puts her on the cage. Honchak looking to lock her hands, cannot do so so far. Montaño swatting at her as she drives. Left by Honchak on the break. Montaño hits a nice double-leg into side control in the waning seconds, then knees as Honchak scrambles up. 10-9 Montaño.

Final result: Montaño def. Honchak by unanimous decision

Here’s how the semifinals stand after Episode 11:

No. 2-seed Barb Honchak vs. No. 14-seed Nicco Montaño

No. 1-seed Roxanne Modafferi vs. No. 12-seed Sijara Eubanks

Team Gaethje is over the moon. Honchak is disappointed, but is proud that she made it as far as she did and proved she’s still got it.

One episode left. See you in seven!

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