TUF 26 Finale Recap: Montano the Underdog

History was made at the Park Theater in Las Vegas on Friday night, as Nicco Montano won the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter, and subsequently became the first-ever UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion.

Montano claimed the title by defeating Roxanne Modafferi in the main event of Friday night’s card. Modafferi was a one-day replacement for TUF finalist Sijara Eubanks, who was ruled medically ineligible after an overnight hospital stay (allegedly because of a bad weight cut).

Montano also made history by becoming one of the lowest-seeded fighters to go on to win the tournament. Entering the TUF house as a 14th seed, she defeated third-seeded Lauren Murphy, sixth-seeded Montana Stewart, second-seeded Barb Honchak and first-seeded Modafferi, in order, en route to the title.

The first round of the bout between Montano and Modafferi saw both women exchange combinations and a quick moment where Modafferi got Montano’s back to the cage. Modafferi got a takedown in late in the round but had trouble connecting with an armbar.

The second round saw a lot of back-and-forth action from the two, each getting in a share in exchanges. While Montano failed a takedown attempt, she ended up on her back and nearly got in a triangle, but Modafferi escaped. The third round also seemed to be close, with both fighters answering what the other offered.

Montano seemed to take over more of the bout in the fourth round, as the production from Modafferi began to slow. Modafferi, however, did get Montano against the cage and nailed Montano with several hard shots that seemed to stun. Modafferi, however, could not follow up on the rocking blows, and Montano managed to take Modafferi down.

Montano took Modafferi down once more in the fifth and seemed to have great positioning work. Modafferi, however, provided a highlight of her own in the final round, nearly locking in an armbar in the closing seconds of the round before Montano’s arm slipped away.

All three judges ruled the bout in favor of Montano, with one scoring 50-45 while the other two gave her 49-46.

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale Results:
For the inaugural UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship: Nicco Montano def. Roxanne Modafferi via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
Bantamweight: Sean O’Malley def. Terrion Ware via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Women’s Flyweight: Lauren Murphy def. Barb Honchak via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Middleweight: Gerald Meerschaert def. Eric Spicely via KO (Rd. 2, 2:18)
Women’s Flyweight: DeAnna Bennett vs. Melinda Fabian goes to a Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Bantamweight: Brett Johns def. Joe Soto via submission (calf slicer) (Rd. 1, 0:30)

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale Preliminary Card Results:
Women’s Flyweight: Montana De La Rosa def. Christina Marks via submission (armbar) (Rd. 1, 2:00)
Middleweight: Ryan Janes def. Andrew Sanchez via TKO (Rd. 3, 0:58)
Catchweight (130 lbs.): Rachael Ostovich def. Karine Gevorgyan via submission (armbar) (Rd. 1, 1:40)
Women’s Flyweight: Shana Dobson def. Ariel Beck via TKO (Rd. 2, 2:53)
Women’s Flyweight: Gillian Robertson def. Emily Whitmire via submission (armbar) (Rd. 1, 2:12)

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