Read on for TUF 23 Finale main card results...
SANCHEZ vs ROUNTREE
Team Claudia’s Andrew Sanchez was in control from wire to wire in his Ultimate Fighter light heavyweight final against Team Joanna’s Khalil Rountree Friday night, winning a shutout unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Scores were 30-25 twice and 30-26 for the latest TUF winner.
Rountree stuffed Sanchez’ first takedown attempt and followed up with a bomb that missed wide. The next few takedowns were soon secured though, allowing the New Jersey product to go to work in his world. With under a minute left, Rountree finally got loose and to his feet, but he was grounded once more, this time until the end of the round.
There was more of the same in round two, with Sanchez’ wrestling attack smothering Rountree and giving him no room to operate.
Rountree saw some daylight early in round three, but he was unable to deter Sanchez from his grappling-centric game plan, and he found himself on the canvas again, and that’s where he stayed for the rest of the bout, unable to figure out the riddle of “El Dirte.”
With the win, Sanchez moves to 9-2; Rountree falls to 5-1.
More from The Ultimate Fighter 23 finale: Results | Jedrzejczyk retains title in five-round epic | Suarez, Sanchez newest Ultimate Fighters | Maynard, Nicolau go distance for victories | Li, Lee show off power at TUF 23 finals | Backstage interviews: Doo Ho Choi, Joaquim Silva | Octagon interviews: Tatiana Suarez. Kevin Lee
SUAREZ vs. COOPER
California’s Tatiana Suarez was aggressive and impressive in her Ultimate Fighter strawweight final against Team Claudia squad mate Amanda Cooper, showing off a complete ground game en route to a first-round submission win and the season crown at 115 pounds.
Suarez, a world-class amateur wrestler, wasted little time taking Cooper to the mat, but in her eagerness to end the bout with ground strikes, she nearly got caught in an armbar. After escaping, Suarez regained control, but Cooper found daylight briefly. Midway through the round, Suarez was back in the driver’s seat on the mat, and she began picking her shots better. But it was her submission game that ended matters, as she locked in a D’Arce choke that ended the bout via tap out at 3:43 of the first round.
With the win, Suarez, a cancer survivor, moves to 5-0; Cooper falls to 2-2.
BROOKS vs. PEARSON
The latest big free agent signed by the UFC, lightweight Will Brooks, got a tough battle out of Octagon veteran Ross Pearson in his Octagon debut, but still found a way to impress and take a close, but unanimous, decision win over “The Real Deal.”
All three judges saw it 29-28 for Brooks, now 18-1; Pearson falls to 21-11 with 1 NC.
The first round was a competitive one, Pearson and Brooks trading evenly on the feet, while Brooks’ expected advantage in the grappling department was nullified by good work from the Brit, who even scored a flash knockdown before the round ended.
Brooks got his first takedown in the second minute of round two, but Pearson ultimately found his way back to his feet without sustaining and significant damage. Brooks kept his foe locked up against the fence though, and the two battled there, trading control until the final 30 seconds, when Pearson surged with his striking just before the horn.
In the third, the two lightweights delivered heavyweight action at close range, trading hard blows throughout. And while Pearson held the edge on the inside, another takedown by Brooks was an important one for “Ill Will.”
CHOI vs. TAVARES
It was expected to be the toughest test yet for “The Korean Superboy,” but instead, Dooho Choi’s first-round knockout of veteran Thiago Tavares was just another clip for the rising featherweight star’s highlight reel.
Tavares nearly ate a knee in the opening seconds of round one, but instead used the opportunity to score a takedown. After a stint on the mat, Choi battled to his feet, but the swarming Tavares didn’t let him stay upright for long. Midway through the round, Choi got to his feet and broke loose. Then he ended the fight, with a crushing right hand sending Tavares down and out. One more strike on the mat, and referee Herb Dean had seen enough, stepping in at the 2:42 mark.
With the win, Choi moves to 14-1; Tavares falls to 24-7-1.
SILVA vs. HOLBROOK
Brazilian lightweight Joaquim “Netto BJJ” Silva removed Andrew Holbrook from the ranks of the unbeaten in rapid fire fashion, ending the main card opener in 34 seconds.
As the fight began, Silva got a hold of Holbrook’s leg and flipped him to the canvas. As Holbrook fell, “Netto BJJ” clipped him with a right hand and hurt him. A follow-up barrage of strikes ended matters, with referee Dan Miragliotta stepping in to officially halt the bout.
Silva moves to 9-1 with the win; Holbrook falls to 11-1.