Johnson vs Elliott | Benavidez vs Cejudo | Ellenberger vs Masvidal | Cutelaba vs Cannonier | McMann vs Davis | Moreno vs Benoit | Maynard vs Hall | Font vs Schnell | Kim vs O’Reilly | Curran vs Moyle | Mutapcic vs Smith | Stansbury vs Clark
The Ultimate Fighter 24: Tournament of Champions finale main card
The most dominant champion on the active UFC roster received quite the scare early in the fight against Ultimate Fighter winner Timothy Elliott. The challenger landed a big shot and then had a tight guillotine locked on, allowing him to take the first round in a shocking development. But Johnson is the best in the business for a reason and the champ stayed composed and weathered the storm. Johnson took a unanimous decision win, 49-46, 49-46, 49-45. Johnson landed five of six takedowns and Elliott landed two of three. Elliott out-struck Johnson in total strikes, 116-95, but the champion had the edge in significant strikes, 32-30. Johnson controlled Elliott on the mat for 16:52 of the 25 minutes in textbook Johnson fashion.
They said it:
Demetrious Johnson: “Tim Elliott is a great competitor. He has his own style and he made it a tough fight. It was like trying to fight a muskrat. When he got the choke, I didn’t worry too much. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I just gave Herb Dean the thumbs up so he wouldn’t stop the fight and then I kept my cool and worked. I have great coaching and I did what I had to do tonight. Shout out to Tim Elliott. He deserves to be here.”
Tim Elliott: “This was a highlight for me. I believe in myself. I know that Demetrious is the best in the world so it was an honor to share the Octagon with him. I also know that I am a great fighter and I have what it takes to beat anyone in the division. It wasn’t my night, but I am proud of my fight and I am proud to be here.”
Joseph Benavidez had his back against the wall early in the first round when Henry Cejudo dropped him and looked to be the faster and more powerful fighter. But the savvy veteran that he is, Benavidez collected himself and pulled off the comeback win to capture a split decision, 27-29, 30-26, 29-27. Benavidez seemed to be thrown off by the power and quickness of Cejudo early on, but he adjusted and started to move more elusively and with a bit more awkward timing, which surely pleased his coach Duane Ludwig. Cejudo tired a bit in the third round but was right there despite a point deduction for two groin shots in the first round.
They said it:
Joseph Benavidez: “The fight was awesome! Henry really brought it. I am the type of fighter that I always know what I could’ve done better but I’m really happy with my performance and with the win. The kicks to the groin hurt and the judges took a point away but it didn’t really change the outcome or the scores. I’m glad that the point deduction didn’t change the outcome of the fight because that’s not how I want to win. I feel I was the more dominant fighter tonight and obviously I proved that. No surprises in his game tonight. He’s a great wrestler so you’re always thinking about it but he doesn’t come with that much and, when he did, I was able to shut it down. The only fight I want now is Demetrious Johnson. DJ and I could fight one million times and it would be one million great, world class competitions. I wouldn’t accept anyone else. That’s the fight.”
Henry Cejudo: “I’m not a sore loser, but I’m disappointed. First, I want to say that I didn’t mean to kick him in the groin. I had been drilling those kicks with coaches and I think he was a little more square than we thought he would stand so my apologies. I thought it was a great fight. He’s a great competitor who I have watched for a long time. He’s a lot more wild than I thought. His punches come from nowhere. I need to talk to the UFC and see what’s next. ”
Jorge Masvidal unloaded an amazing barrage against Jake Ellenberger early in their fight, but it was ultimately an incident involving the fence that led to the TKO stoppage, giving Masvidal the win at 4:05 of the first round. Masvidal did a ton of damage, racking up 44 significant strikes in under a round, but the finish came when Ellenberger came charging in and slipped. He got his foot stuck in the fence and Masvidal started unloading and the referee had to stop the fight. Ellenberger was limping after the fight ended. Masvidal called out Cowboy Cerrone in his Octagon interview.
They said it:
Jorge Masvidal: “I already know that the situation with the Octagon is going to take away from my win tonight. We saw how it was going though. His timing was off. He was missing and I wasn’t. I was savvy enough to see him coming with the knee whenever I slipped and I was able to make him miss. I hurt him. I deserve credit for that. Do I want to win like this? No. If it was up to me, we would keep going until one of us quit. I never got dropped. I never even got wobbled. The people who know what’s going on know that if he would’ve made it to the second, he would’ve been tired and it would’ve been worse for him.
“I feel like I need to get back in the Octagon as fast as possible. There are a lot of guys who are ducking me or who have said I’m an easy fight. Well, come prove it. It’s not that Cowboy Cerrone is the best fight, it’s that he tells the public that he’ll fight anyone at any time. Well, I am right here right now. He took the Kelvin Gastelum fight from me so I really want to fight him now. If Matt Brown has anything come up, I’ll be ready to go.”
Jared Cannonier’s light heavyweight debut went swimmingly, as the former heavyweight was able to earn a unanimous decision win over Ion Cutelaba, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28. The two big men swung for the fences for the majority of the three rounds and it was amazing that one didn’t fall. In the third round Cannonier started stalking Cutelaba, as he started to tire, with his hands in a shrugging motion as ifto say, “bring it on.” Cutelaba landed six takedowns but Cannonier out-struck him 83-50 (total) and 59-45 (significant).
Sara McMann spoiled the party for the returning Alexis Davis by submitting her with a head and arm choke at of the second round. McMann was in a bit of trouble on top in the first round as BJJ black belt Davis applied the pressure from her back with a leg triangle. McMann spoke in the Octagon after the fight that she was determined to take Davis down because she couldn’t feel the left side of her face after eating a few strikes. McMann said it was a matter of millimeters that she was able to get the choke in and finish Davis.
Brandon Moreno continued his rapid rise in the UFC’s flyweight ranks with another win since his appearance on season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter. Moreno landed five of 11 takedowns and out-struck Benoit, 64-41 in significant strikes. The two lightning fast flyweights were slinging leather at a ferocious pace. Moreno picks up his second win and after the fight demanded a top 10 opponent in his next fight and directed his request to Dana White himself.
They said it:
Brandon Moreno: “I feel amazing. I feel so happy right now and so excited for my future. This fight was a confirmation for me. I took the last fight on short notice and this one was my first fight with a full camp and a proper opponent so words cannot express how happy I am. Ryan is a very strong guy. He is very durable. He is impressive but I perfected my game plan and fought a good fight. I train with really great guys. Duane Ludwig, Joseph Benavidez and the guys I met through ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ have helped me grow a lot. I was originally a jiu-jitsu fighter but my striking is improving and I am very happy to have them support me. I want a top 10 opponent in my next fight! Who’s next!?”
Ryan Benoit: “The fight was a great one. Brandon is very tough. He came tough, he took my shots, he stood through the power. He knew what I was going to do before I did it. He just seemed to be a step ahead of me. I should’ve changed up my strategy. I had a good game plan. I have great coaches. This camp felt great. My head just got in the way. I made a few errors and some careless mistakes so I just want to work through that and get back to fighting the way I know I can. I’m a much better athlete than what I showed. It’s just up to me to put it all together now. I hope I can get another Top 15 opponent and show what I can do.”
The Ultimate Fighter 24: Tournament of Champions finale FS1 prelims
File Ryan Hall in the most frustrating to fight in the UFC category for sure, but his style is effective. The Ultimate Fighter season 22 winner Hall used his distance kicking game and elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to take a unanimous decision win against Gray Maynard, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28. Hall wanted Maynard to come into his world the entire fight as he continually dropped to his back and flung himself awkwardly at the legs of Maynard throughout the fight. Hall out-stuck Maynard, 46-12 in significant strikes and 53-17 overall.
They said it:
Ryan Hall: “I felt great tonight. I was supposed to fight in July but, unfortunately, my opponent was injured. It actually gave me more time to work on my striking, which I wanted to improve. My goal has been to improve my striking and use it as a setup for my grappling and I think I was very effective tonight. I am one of the best grapplers in all of MMA, probably ever, so it would be hard to replicate that across other areas but I have a great team around me always helping me grow and improve. I try my best to be a complete mixed martial artist. I’m looking forward to continuing my training. I like to fight as much as I can but having this break was actually great for me. It allowed me to spend a lot of time focusing on improvement. I just look forward to facing increasingly difficult challenges and challenging myself to grow and adapt.”
Rob Font steamrolled his way through Matt Schnell, landing a titanic right knee that dropped the UFC debutant before finishing by TKO at 3:47 of the first round. Schnell accepted the fight with Font on a week’s notice to make his debut after competing as a flyweight on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter. Font’s final tally was 26 significant strikes in just under four minutes to help the Massachusetts native pick up his third UFC win.
They said it:
Rob Font: “I always envision ending a fight in the first round. Obviously, you never know what will happen but I’m very happy with my performance. My focus and dedication to this sport separate me from everyone else in the division, I truly believe that. I just want to stay active and get back out here as soon as I can. I’ve got to talk to Sean Shelby and see who I can face next.”
Matt Schnell: “It was an incredible feeling to get the call for this fight. I feel like I’ve deserved this opportunity. This wasn’t the performance that I wanted but I felt good in there. I’ve been preparing for this moment since I first began my journey in Mixed Martial Arts. I’m hurt right now. I know I am better than that performance. I feel I can beat anybody. I just let this one get away.”
Dong Hyun Kim landed four takedowns and out-struck Brendan O’Reilly, 98-74, to take home a unanimous decision win, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28. Kim picks up his first win in the UFC and hands O’Reilly second straight loss.
It was a dominant performance by Jamie Moyle in her official UFC debut after appearing on season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter. Moyle took it to Kailin Curran, out-striking the Hawaiian and using her wrestling to control most of the fight to capture a unanimous decision win, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27. In the second round, Moyle landed a Daniel Cormier-esqe slam takedown and then followed up with some good ground and pound. On the feet, where Curran was supposed to hold the advantage, Moyle held her own. The fight ended with another dominant exchange and Moyle put the exclamation point on the win with some big shots to end the fight.
They said it:
Jamie Moyle: “Getting my first win in the UFC is the most amazing feeling. It’s like a whirlwind. The fight was a little blurry with so much going on. Kailin is very tough but I felt like I just needed to back her up and control her against the cage. I did that very well. I always drill lifting people but I’ve never actually gotten to slam someone like that. It felt really good once I was holding her in the air. All I could think about was slamming her down as hard as I possibly could. I want to relax and heal, then get back to practice and get better. I’ll take whoever the UFC chooses for me.”
Kailin Curran: “I thought it was a great fight but I’m very disappointed by the outcome. I just want to go back to the gym and focus on getting better.”
The Ultimate Fighter 24: Tournament of Champions finale FIGHT PASS prelims
Anthony Smith landed on his back in the first round and the rest of the round played out with him fending off an aggressive Elvis Mutapcic. But in the second round, Smith turned up the volume and started to land big shots. A series of elbows were the end for Mutapcic. Smith bloodied Mutapcic up with a few elbows and then a huge leaping in right elbow sent Mutapcic to the mat and the rest was academic, as the referee pulled Smith off at 3:27 of the second round. Smith got on the mic after his big win and asked for a performance bonus with Christmas coming up and a baby on the way.
They said it:
Anthony Smith: “It feels great to get this win. I needed to get back in the win column and I’m very happy with my performance. He and I have been trying to fight for 8 years. We came up in the same circles and had this fight lined up a couple of times but it never worked out. It feels like it was meant to happen here in the UFC. The elbow is something that I drill all the time. It’s become a specialty. Now I’m looking to get back out in the Octagon by February. I know the Houston card is booked then and I want on. Doesn’t matter who, just put me on that card!”
Both these massive light heavyweights were throwing huge bombs with bad intentions throughout this one, but it was Devin Clark that landed more and at a slightly better clip to earn the unanimous decision win, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28. Clark was able to use his high level wrestling early in the fight to land a takedown in the first round, but Stansbury stuffed the other two attempts in the bout to keep it standing. Clark earns his first UFC win and improves to 7-1 overall with the victory.
They said it:
Devin Clark: “I feel great. I got the first win out of the way and now I just want to keep winning. When he went for the submission, it was a little tight but I knew I could work through it. I want another fight as soon as possible. Whoever and whenever. Give me someone.”
Joshua Stansbury: “Coming into this fight, I’ve never felt better. I had an amazing camp and I really felt ready. For some reason, I just wasn’t letting go in there and I’m very disappointed in that. I feel good though and I’m ready for the next fight as soon as I can get one. Congratulations to Devin.”