The eighteenth edition of the Ultimate Fighter comes to a close tonight with the live finale on Fox Sports 1. The UFC's long-running reality show featured women for the first time and the event features three women's bantamweight fights on the main card, a record number for a UFC event.
The event starts with a single fight on Facebook at 7:30 p.m. ET, then four prelim fights on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET before the main card gets underway at 10 p.m. ET.
This post will cover the prelim fights which break down like this:
Prelims on Fox Sports 1
Featherweight - Rani Yahya vs. Tom Niinimaki
Prelims on Facebook
127.5 lb Catchweight - Ryan Benoit vs. Joshua Sampo
Make sure to come back as the action goes down and share your thoughts in the comments.
Ryan Benoit vs. Joshua Sampo - Round 1 -Sampo with a hard right hand that hurts Benoit and Sampo takes him down and he's on top in half guard. Benoit manages to reverse and avoid a triangle attempt in the scramble. Back to the feet and Sampo is trying to get in with simple combinations and get back out safely. Sampo has Benoit bloodied up around the nose as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Sampo.
Round 2 - Sampo had a takedown and was working the back, landing some good shots before Benoit was able to reverse briefly. Sampo got back on top then worked the top game, using a kimura attempt to pass into full mount. He then worked his way back to taking the back and locked in a rear naked choke and that finished the fight. Josh Sampo wins by rear naked choke, round 2.
Sean Spencer vs. Drew Dober - Round 1 - Spencer pushing forward and Dober throwing some shots as he steps forward. Neither guy really landing, but both throwing a lot early. Now Dober shoots for a double leg and switches to a single leg. Dober continuing to look for the takedown. Spencer with a pair of hard right hands and Dober is bleeding from the nose. Decent round for Spencer, nto a great round for the fans. 10-9 Spencer.
Round 2 - Spencer seems to have figured out his timing a big as he lands a good right hand and then an elbow moments later. Spencer isn't getting in any trouble from Dober who looks at a loss for the right way to attack here, but he's not putting out the volume to really bother Dober either. 10-9 Spencer.
Round 3 - Spencer just moving around and poking with punches here and there while Dober looks to land desperation punches though he now is looking for a single leg. Big shot from Spencer and Dober is bleeding badly from the forehead. The blood seems to have spurred Spencer on a bit as he's turning up his output and cracking Spencer with some hard shots. 10-9 Spencer again.
Official scorecards: 30-27 across the board. Sean Spencer wins by unanimous decision.
Jared Rosholt vs. Walt Harris - Round 1 - Round mostly spent on the feet with Rosholt mixing in some boxing and some kicks, especially some nice kicks to the body. Harris had a very big flurry early on that Rosholt survived. Harris landed a nice straight left later in the round. Not a ton done in the round but Harris probably got the better of it. 10-9 Harris.
Round 2 - Rosholt with a few decent strikes, but Harris comes back hard and he's landing far more cleanly. Both guys have started to flail with punches that really have no accuracy or technique. Harris lands a crushing shot late in the round again. Not a good showing from Rosholt. 10-9 Harris.
Round 3 - Rosholt actually lands a takedown about a minute and a half into the round. He spent the round on top doing some nice work. 10-9 Rosholt.
Official scorecards: 29-28 across the board. Jared Rosholt wins by unanimous decision.
Rani Yahya vs. Tom Niinimaki - Round 1 - Yahya ends up on bottom after an early scramble. Yahya takedown attempt almost ends in a guillotine for a second time and Niinimaki is on top. Yahya with a great transition and he's almost on the back now. Really compelling round of grappling. 10-9 Niinimaki.
Round 2 - More great grappling early, difficult to really keep up with describing everything but Niinimaki is actually staying a step ahead of Yahya on the ground. Kim Winslow stands them up in a grappling exchange and now Yahya locks up a guillotine attempt shortly after. He can't get the finish though. 10-9 Niinimaki for me.
Round 3 - Niinimaki on top quickly. He's in the half guard of Yahya. Winslow stands them up again because she has no awareness of what's going on. Yahya is on top not trying to lock in a guillotine from on top. The round ends and I have it 10-9 Yahya but 29-28 Niinimaki overall.
Official scorecards: 29-28 Niinimaki, 29-28 Yahya, 30-27 Niinimaki. Tom Niinimaki wins by split decision.
Akira Corassani vs. Maximo Blanco - Round 1 - Blanco lands a big knee just 25 seconds into the round. But Akira's hand and knee were on the mat, making the strike illegal. The referee decides that the blow was intentional and calls for a disqualification. Wow, that was...okay. Akira Corassani wins by DQ (intentional foul - knee), round 1.