Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., Sept. 27, 2017) with episode five of “Alvarez vs. Gaethje,” the all-female flyweight season searching for the next big star at 125 pounds.
If you missed episode four, click here for our complete recap.
No. 5-ranked Maia Stevenson (6-4) of Team Gaethje (and wife of Joe) gets ready to take on No. 12-ranked Sijara Eubanks (2-2) of Team Alvarez. Lauren Murphy, meanwhile, struggles with losing last week’s fight and can’t see a way forward.
We kick things off with Murphy moping in the van on the way back from the gym, then moping back at the house. She was an early favorite to win the entire season but mixed martial arts (MMA) is funny that way. Her biggest fear is disappointing her family by losing.
She decides to take the morning off and skip practice at the gym, which prompts Coach Alvarez to criticize her in front of the team, because all the other losing competitors came out the next day to get back to work.
Alvarez suggests Murphy may not be cut out for UFC life.
We start gearing up for the next fight and both Eubanks and Alvarez are incredulous that she’s ranked No. 12, considering how much trouble she was during the tryouts. There is also concern about her weight, which could be in the 150-pound range.
Eubanks recently gave birth to her daughter “Logan.”
Murphy shows up for her evening practice and Alvarez is afraid her doldrums will bring down the morale of the team. She saves her critique of his coaching for the FOX confessional later in the show ... then buries him.
Its time to focus on Stevenson and not surprisingly, she is afraid people think she only got her spot on the show because “Joe Daddy” is her husband. Coach Gaethje knows Eubanks will have a hard weight cut and wants Stevenson to drag her into deep water.
As alluded to throughout the show, Eubanks comes in heavy, but Alvarez helps her make the 126-pound limit by cutting off her dreadlocks, which no doubt weigh more than a half pound. She makes it and the fight is on.
Here we go.
Team Gaethje’s Maia Stevenson (6-4) vs. Team Alvarez’s Sijara Eubanks (2-2):
Round 1: No touch of gloves and both fighters come out pumping the jab. Quick shot from Eubanks is denied. They stand in the center of the cage and trade combinations, nothing of note lands. Eubanks with another shot and this one gets Stevenson to the floor. Knees to the body from Eubanks. Stevenson on all fours and Eubanks jumps on her back. Stevenson muscles her way up to her feet and they collapse against the cage. Eubanks with a body lock landing punches. Stevenson tries to work her way off the cage and keeps getting kneed for her efforts. Referee Herb Dean warns them to “work.” Foot stomps from Eubanks, who then drags Stevenson to the floor. Eubanks working from half guard landing big punches. Stevenson in survival mode and gives up her back, then gets mugged until the horn. 10-9 Eubanks.
Round 2: No gloves are touched and Eubanks eats a stiff jab. She drops for a takedown and drives Stevenson into the cage. They tumble to the floor. Eubanks in side control and dropping elbows. She uses her formidable strength to lock up an arm but can’t secure the tap. Stevenson in all kinds of trouble. Gaethje finally chimes in and tells Stevenson to work. Eubanks back to the arm and this time Stevenson can’t escape. Dominant performance.
Final result: Eubanks def. Stevenson by submission (kimura)
Here’s where we stand after episode five:
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. 14 Nicco Montano (3-2) def. No. 3 Lauren Murphy (9-3)
No. 4 DeAnna Bennett (8-3) def. No. 13 Karine Gevorgyan (3-2)
No. 12 Sijara Eubanks (2-2) def. No. 5 Maia Stevenson (6-4)
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)
After the fight, Eubanks starts screaming about her No. 12 ranking and even UFC President Dana White agrees that someone blew it with that seed. Stevenson admits that she had no answer for her opponent’s offense.
Stay tuned next week as No. 2-seed Barb Honchak (10-2) collides with No. 15-seed Gillian Robertson (3-2). Honchak will try to avoid Murphy’s fate and blast her way to the semifinals later this season.
See you in seven!