The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale preliminary card is in the books, and seeing as this season was centered around women’s flyweights, all but one of the prelims featured TUF 26 competitors. Action began with a slick submission by Gillian Robertson, followed by an impressive TKO win for Shana Dobson, then an armbar by Rachael Ostovich, a crazy comeback win for Ryan Janes over Andrew Sanchez, and an armbar win for Montana De La Rosa. Here’s how the fights played out.
Punches were immediately exchanged and De La Rosa was hurt inside of 20 seconds. De La Rosa briefly had Marks’ back against the fence in the clinch before they returned to the center of the Octagon. Marks took De La Rosa down off a caught kick, but De La Rosa instantly attacked with an armbar. De La Rosa fell to her back, straightened the arm, and that spelled doom for Marks, who pretty much gave her exactly what she wanted. Five fights down and three of them ended by armbar.
Sanchez clipped Janes several times with the overhand right inside of 30 seconds. Janes had his chin straight in the air and was alarmingly upright. Outside of Sanchez willingly initiating the wrestling exchanges, Janes was just getting blasted with power punches. A big combination floored Janes, who ate a million left hands but somehow survived. He was clearly in bad shape but the referee refused to stop the fight, despite numerous power punches landing. Sanchez appeared to punch himself out, so he slowed his output down, but he continued to wing his shots. Janes occasionally connected on Sanchez, who faded considerably after such a lopsided start, and the Canadian was able to see a round 2.
Janes absorbed several clean punches to start the middle frame, then whacked Janes with a knee to the face. Sanchez’s takedown attempt was stuffed, and his gas tank was clearly running low. Janes upped his volume, went to the body to further sap Sanchez’s cardio, and a left hook to the liver had Sanchez hurt. The tables had turned and Janes was the one landing the cleaner, more damaging strikes. A left hook upstairs froze Sanchez and put him on wobbly legs. Janes was getting tagged with Sanchez’s punches, but the power was clearly gone.
To cap off an unlikely comeback, Janes drilled Sanchez with a left hook, a right hand, and then just an onslaught of punches to put Sanchez down. A few more shots on the ground gave the Canadian a remarkable win over the TUF 23 winner.
Ryan Janes, the biggest underdog on the card gets the huge comeback win over Andrew Sanchez! https://t.co/bahcmqyqGD— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 2, 2017
Rachael Ostovich def. Karine Gevorgyan by submission (armbar) at 1:40 of round 1 - Women’s Flyweights
This one didn’t last long. Ostovich locked up the fight-ending armbar in under two minutes, and she was overcome with emotion after pulling off the W. Gevorgyan’s takedown attempt was ill-advised, as the Hawaiian soon took her back and then got her armbar just moments later.
Shana Dobson def. Ariel Beck by TKO (punches) at 2:53 of round 2 - Women’s Flyweights
Beck came out aggressively throwing kicks to Dobson’s midsection, but Shana countered nicely with a leg kick that had Beck a little bit off balance. The two women traded kicks for almost two minutes before Beck cracked Dobson with a hard straight left hand. Plenty of powerful shots were thrown, which made for some intense exchanges. Dobson caught Beck with a couple of high kicks, which Beck took well. All in all, a highly competitive first round with quality moments for each fighter.
Round 2 started out as a continuation of round 1, with Beck upping her volume just a little bit. A hard head kick and brief flurry of punches came through for Dobson, as Beck continued to get hit upstairs with those big shots. The leg kicks were also a problem for Beck, whose left leg was noticeable reddened. Dobson rocked Beck with a hard right hand, then an uppercut, and another right hand to put Beck down on the canvas. No follow-up strikes were needed, and Dobson reigned supreme.
Gillian Robertson def. Emily Whitmire by submission (armbar) at 2:12 of round 1 - Women’s Flyweights
Robertson scored the first takedown of the evening, was nearly reversed, then took Whitmire’s back. Whitmire did some handfighting and wound up on top, and pounded Robertson’s face with a hard right hand. Robertson, who’d threatened once before with an armbar from her back, set up another armbar and had Whitmire tapping almost immediately.