Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., Sept. 13, 2017) with episode three of “Alvarez vs. Gaethje,” the all-female flyweight season searching for the next big star at 125 pounds.
If you missed episode two, click here for our complete recap.
Team Gaethje’s Roxanne Modafferi and Team Alvarez’s DeAnna Benett advanced to the quarterfinals in the previous two episodes; this time around, it’s Montana Stewart (Gaethje) against Ariel Beck (Alvarez).
We start with Stewart’s preparations and her background. She claims that she’s comfortable striking with the “brawling” Beck and goes over her high school wrestling accomplishments. Her father signed her up for jiu-jitsu after three years of wrestling and the rest is history. Dana White claims she has a “good chance” to win it all and Coach Gaethje agrees, describing her as a “sleeper.”
“She’s good,” he says. “She’s really good.”
Before going to Beck, we get a look at the new UFC Performance Institute, complete with all the fancy doodads a fighter could want. The women get a day to train there and take advantage of the cryotherapy, sauna, and assorted experts it has to offer.
Over to Team Alvarez for a look at Montana native Beck. Beck believes she’s a good style matchup for Stewart, but suffers a panic attack during training. Assistant coach Rich Pohler sits down with her and helps talk her through it; it’s apparently a recurring problem for Beck. Lauren Murphy steps in as well for support.
After the break, Coach Alvarez gets word of Beck’s panic attack and tags in for Murphy. He reminds Beck that he got destroyed in front of a massive crowd at Madison Square Garden.
“This is why it’s so exciting, you know? We go out, we go down, or else it would be no fun.”
The talk picks Beck back up and she heads back out to prepare.
It’s back to the Performance Institute for Emily Whitmire, who injured her ribs in training. The PT diagnoses her with damaged cartilage between her ribs and tapes her up. Whitmire’s confident that she’ll make it to her fight with Christina Marks.
Beck’s ready to hit the mats again. She acknowledges Stewart’s wrestling and practices her sprawl/whizzer combo on an exercise ball. Alvarez praises her boxing and physical strength, as well as her ability to fight through adverse situations. White likewise calls attention to her striking prowess.
Alvarez describes Stewart as “one-dimensional” and assures Beck that her foe will crumble when the takedowns aren’t there.
Bowling time for Team Gaethje! Rachael Ostovich takes it upon herself to give Gillian Robertson and Emily Whitmire makeovers with the assistance of Maia Stevenson. Coach Gaethje offers cash prizes for the top three finishers.
Whitmire enlists Stewart’s help as a surrogate since she can’t bowl with her injury. It proves a wise decision, as Stewart picks up first- and third-place finishes with Ostovich taking second.
Back in the house, Beck credits growing up on a farm, including a broken leg courtesy of a horse kick, as the origin of her toughness. We get to see her home video, which offers a ton of quality vistas and a very cute bison. FARM STUFF YEAH.
We also get to see some of her training with boyfriend Shay at Gallatin Martial Arts. She acknowledges the lack of big names coming out of Montana and makes clear her desire to stick around.
That is a LOT of trophies at her house.
Stewart chats with her teammates about her daughter, who’s already doing BJJ, wrestling, and striking at the age of six. Said daughter plays a starring role in Stewart’s home video.
You may remember her fiancée, Mark Delarosa, from his no-show at LFA 61. We probably won’t be seeing him in the UFC anytime soon even with a 9-0 record.
The weigh-ins go off without a hitch. Some last looks at each fighter and it’s showtime.
125 lbs.: No. 6 Montana Stewart (7-4) vs. No. 11 Ariel Beck (4-4)
Round one: Stewart pumping punches, eats a body shot. Good jab upstairs. They trade punches and tie up near the fence. Knees from Beck, Stewart answers in kind. Right hands land for Stewart. Beck digs another body shot a minute in. Stewart shoots and wrenches Beck to the mat, landing in half guard. Beck trying to regain guard, Stewart whacks away with right hands before locking up a d’arce. She tries a few difference positions with it and eventually draws the tap after worming her forearm in a bit deeper.
Final result: Stewart def. Beck by submission (d’arce choke)
Here’s where we stand after Episode Three.
Here’s where we stand heading into episode three:
No. 1 Roxanne Modafferi (21-13) def. No. 16 Shana Dobson (2-1)
No. 2 Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. No. 15 Gillian Robertson (3-2)
No. 3 Lauren Murphy (9-3) vs. No. 14 Nicco Montano (3-2) A
No. 4 DeAnna Bennett (8-3) def. No. 13 Karine Gevorgyan (3-2)
No. 5 Maia Stevenson (6-4) vs. No. 12 Sijara Eubanks (2-2)
No. 6 Montana Stewart (7-4) def. No. 11 Ariel Beck (4-4)
No. 7 Melinda Fabian (4-3-1) vs. No. 10 Rachael Ostovich (3-3)
No. 8 Emily Whitmire (2-1) vs. No. 9 Christina Marks (8-8)
Barb Honchak (10-2)
Shana Dobson (2-1)
Christina Marks (8-8)
Melinda Fabian (4-3-1)
Sijara Eubanks (2-2)
Ariel Beck (4-4)
DeAnna Bennett (8-3)
Lauren Murphy (9-3)
Roxanne Modafferi (21-13)
Gillian Robertson (3-2)
Emily Whitmire (2-1)
Rachael Ostovich (3-3)
Maia Stevenson (6-4)
Montana Stewart (7-4)
Karine Gevorgyan (3-2)
Nicco Montano (3-2)
Stewart is predictably chipper, though Coach Gaethje reminds her that there’s still work to do. Coach Alvarez praises Beck and tells her not to apologize, after which her teammates step in for a much-needed group hug.
For next week, Alvarez taps UFC veteran Lauren Murphy to fight Nicco Montaño. White acknowledges that the #14-ranked Montaño is a huge underdog.
The preview for the next episode shows Murphy opening up about her struggles with addiction and Montaño giving her teammates some lessons in Navajo.
See you in seven!