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Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 26 results, recap for ‘Alvarez vs Gaethje’ (Ep. 9)

Episode nine is titled “The Fight Gods.”


Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., Nov. 8, 2017) with episode nine of “Alvarez vs. Gaethje,” the all-female flyweight season searching for the next big star at 125 pounds.

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

After eight long weeks of flyweight competition — which included a bevy of both submission and knockout finishes — last night kicked off the quarterfinal match ups, featuring two fights in one night. Team Gaethje’s Roxanne Modafferi takes on teammate Emily Whitmire, after which Team Alvarez squadmates Deanna Bennett and Sijara Eubanks duke it out.

With the Round of 16 done with, Dana White sends the teams on a Las Vegas night cruise before things pick back up. It turns out to be a delightful evening, both teams sharing a single boat without a trace of friction.

It’s right back to business, though, and we look at Team Gaethje’s preparations for the first fight of the episode. Coach Justin abstains from personally helping either one prepare and predicts that, based on their similar styles, it will come down to whoever “wants it more.”

Those of you with “wants it more” on their MMA Cliché Bingo cards are in luck.

Roxy is confident that her standard strategy will work, so long as she stays aware of the overhand-to-shot that Whitmire used in her last fight. She’s excited that Whitmire likes to pressure, as it will give her a chance to unleash the “Roxy-nado,” her new super move. It’s a spinning back fist, but her name for it is better.

Whitmire doesn’t get as specific with her strategy, but doesn’t seem cowed by her veteran foe.

No issues on the scale. We’ve got ourselves a fight.

125 lbs.: No. 1 Roxanne Modafferi (21-13) vs. No. 8 Emily Whitmire (2-1)

Round one: Good right hand and leg kick from Whitmire to start. Fairly even exchanges in the early going. Counter right lands for Whitmire and they exchange. Modafferi lands the Roxy-nado, but it lets Whitmire tie up on the fence. Double underhooks for Whitmire. She tries to wrench Roxy down, can’t do so and Roxy reverses two minutes in. Modafferi lands a takedown after two tries and sets up in half guard. Modafferi trying to get to side control with two minutes to go.

Full mount now and down come the elbows. Whitmire gives up her back. Whitmire manages to dislodge her, but Modafferi re-inserts the hooks before she can scramble up. Back to mount with a minute left, more elbows. Whitmire gives up the back again, then the mount as punches and elbows pile up. Modafferi turns up the volume in the last ten seconds and gets the finish at the bell.

Final result: Modafferi def. Whitmire by TKO (punches and elbows)

Modafferi is beaming, proud of her third consecutive mounted ground-and-pound finish. Whitmire admits to Gaethje that she gave up in the final sequence, praying for the ref to stop it so she wouldn’t have to go out for the second round. Gaethje is understanding, at least. And Whitmire is upfront about her need to toughen up mentally.

Team Alvarez’s turn for interparty conflict. Eubanks admits that she and Bennett are friends, but says that the upcoming fight hasn’t made anything weird. Coach Eddie follows Gaethje’s example and vows to be hands-off, leaving their preparation to one randomly-chosen assistant coach each.

Eubanks lays out her plan to cut off the cage, land strikes to set up the takedown, and finish on the mat. Alvarez praises her work ethic, while giving Bennett props for bringing some levity to their training sessions. As Bennett puts it, “She’s obviously a tough individual and I’m too dumb to know when to quit.”

Bennett wants to mix up her Muay Thai and wrestling. Alvarez says she’s capable of taking down and controlling anyone in the tournament and believes Eubanks would not be wise to try to play jiu-jitsu off her back.

Eubanks claims that her weight cut will go better this time, but the commercial break ends to reveal her in a towel burrito. Lauren Murphy expresses her desire to swoop in and take Eubanks’ spot if Sijara blows up the scales. Eubanks is a pound over with an hour to go and looks like death in the sauna.

The sound crew use despondent piano music to illustrate the direness of the situation.

Bennett looks excited and makes the weight with zero issue. Eubanks, who came to the gym wrapped in a towel and looks like she wants to die, is 3/4ths of a pound over and has an hour to burn it. Murphy jumps at the chance and makes her way to the sauna to burn off the last bit of weight.

Coach Gaethje, in a good show of sportsmanship, helps Alvarez brainstorm how to deal with the problem. Speaking of sportsmanship, Eubanks blows up when she sees Murphy on the bike in the sauna. Alvarez informs her that they’re technically in his team’s training time, but tells Gaethje anyone from his team can train anyway.

Except Murphy.

Eddie’s got a decent maniacal laugh. Murphy calls him a “**** coach” and tears into him once more in an interview before heading outside to run instead.

After a miserable hour, Eubanks makes 126 on the dot. She and Bennett have a light-hearted staredown, but there’s no light-heartedness between Eubanks and Murphy. Whitmire goes to Eubanks to smooth things over, which doesn’t go great, especially when Murphy herself goes in to explain herself. It does end with a handshake, at least.

Fight time and not enough time in the episode for it to go the full distance. Here we go.

125 lbs.: No. 4 DeAnna Bennett (8-3) vs. No. 12 Sijara Eubanks (2-2)

Round one: Early jab battle favors Bennett. Uppercut lands for her. Eubanks low kick met by more stuff jabs. Good exchange in the clinch. Bennett shoots and ties up on the fence a minute in. They separate. Uppercut landing repeatedly for Bennett, but Eubanks brings up her left leg and Cro Cops her out of nowhere for the finish.

Final result: Eubanks def. Bennett by KO (head kick)

Here’s how the quarterfinals stand after Episode 9.

No. 1-seed Roxanne Modafferi vs. No. 8-seed Emily Whitmire
No. 4-seed Deanna Bennett vs. No. 12-seed Sijara Eubanks
No. 2-seed Barb Honchak vs. No. 10-seed Rachael Ostovich
No. 14-seed Nicco Montano vs. No. 6-seed Montana Stewart

Bennett is heartbroken, but takes her loss with the humor she admits she uses to cope and, while munching on roast beef, warns people of the oncoming threat of Drunk DeAnna next week. Modafferi tells Eubanks she’s impressed with her technique and looks forward to fighting her.

Two more fights next week. See you in seven!

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