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TUF 27 Finale: Tavares vs. Adesanya post-fight results and analysis

Mookie Alexander recaps and analyzes everything that happened at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Esther Lin

The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale finally ended, and not a moment too soon. Thankfully, the main event produced a sparkling performance from Israel Adesanya, as he picked apart Brad Tavares on his way to a lopsided decision. Adesanya’s control of distance, timing, takedown defense, pacing, calmness, and varied approach to his attacks were very impressive. Tavares also showed serious toughness, as he was getting busted up everywhere, almost literally from head to toe. I honestly felt his corner could’ve stopped the fight after round 4.

“The Last Stylebender” is ridiculously strong and athletic, which goes a long way towards flat out bullying and schooling Tavares the way he did. We’ve seen Tavares lose before, but other than Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero, no one has just utterly decimated and humiliated the Hawaiian like Adesanya did on Friday night. Adesanya showed more facets to his game beyond his already proven high-level striking, and he had no problem going the full five rounds on his way to a lopsided decision, which really boosts my hopes for him being an eventual title challenger at the very least. I was dead wrong on this, but I’m glad to be wrong, because middleweight needs a new crop of contenders, and Adesanya made his biggest statement yet.

Given his salary and the fact that the UFC had him headline in his third fight with the promotion, Adesanya isn’t likely to get a slow roll. He’ll be fighting guys better than Brad Tavares very soon, and I look forward to seeing him back in there.

More thoughts below:

Main Card

  • This was not a very good card. It wasn’t an unbelievably awful show, and there were some entertaining fights, but the combination of slow-ass FS1 pacing and some of the lesser bouts on the show just made this a slog and mostly not enjoyable. At least UFC 226 is right around the corner, but events like this one are exactly the type that have sapped interest in the UFC from many longtime fans.
  • In one of the worst TUF finals I’ve ever seen, Mike Trizano took the lightweight trophy over Joe Giannetti by split decision, and I have no problem with it, because Giannetti fought round 3 like he was up 20-13. Dana White handed a trophy to Katona, but not to Trizano. That sums up the night, that sums up TUF.
  • Score one for Canada, as Brad Katona became the first Canadian to win the US version of The Ultimate Fighter. Katona took the featherweight tournament with a dominant performance vs. Jay Cucciniello, including a couple of knockdowns off of short left hooks.
  • Alex Caceres and Martin Bravo went to war, with Caceres seemingly in control of things after dropping and badly hurting Bravo in the 2nd round. Of course, this is Alex Caceres, so he has to let his opponents back into the fight, and Bravo made a furious charge in the final round but could not get the finish. In the end, Caceres took a split decision. Fun stuff from both bantamweights, as you likely would’ve expected on paper.
  • Longtime fan favorite and women’s MMA pioneer Roxanne Modafferi’s late career resurgence continued with an impressive ground-and-pound TKO of Barb Honchak, whom Modafferi lost to in 2011. Honchak tried taking Modafferi down in round 2, but it backfired and she was mounted by the time it hit the ground. Modafferi sealed the deal with elbows, and the recent title challenger is able to keep her name in flyweight title contention by picking up her first UFC win.
  • Middleweights Alessio di Chirico and Julian Marquez beat the hell out of each other for most of their awesome fight, and it was the Italian who handed “The Cuban Missile Crisis” a split decision defeat, much to the displeasure of the crowd. I thought Marquez had edged it, but scores were all over the place, so I don’t see it as an outrageous robbery. Marquez’s willingness to go to war so often has its limits, but I’ll be damned if I’m not consistently entertained watching it.

Preliminary Card

  • Women’s flyweight Montana De La Rosa fended off a Rachel Ostovich armbar in the final round, turned things around on the ground, took Ostovich’s back, elbowed and punched her before getting the fight-ending rear-naked choke. Up to that point, the fight was mostly uninspired kickboxing, but round 3 was dramatic, fun, and De La Rosa came away with a nice win.
  • Luis Pena, aka “Violent Bob Ross,” had to withdraw from TUF 27 midseason due to injury, but in his UFC debut, he lived up to his nickname, knocking Richie Smullen down, then eventually winning via happy little mounted guillotine. He then painted the entire fight on a blank canvas... okay that part isn’t true, but Violent Bob Ross is a prospect worth watching.
  • Professional alpaca shaver (I’m not joking) John Gunther beat Costa Rican Allen Zuniga in a fight that was unbearably ugly and lacking in quality, bar Zuniga’s late charge in the final 30 seconds. If you watched this, I’m sorry. If not, don’t even try to watch this.
  • Gunther’s scrum, though...
  • Featherweight Bryce Mitchell hung on for a majority decision over friend and TUF 27 teammate Tyler Diamond. Mitchell fended off Diamond’s guillotines early, had Diamond in a triangle choke in the 2nd round, elbowing him several times from that position. Diamond’s takedowns and dominant 3rd round made things interesting in the end, but I thought Mitchell deserved the nod.
  • In a fun, back-and-forth scrap, featherweight Steven Peterson edged a split decision over Matt Bessette. Peterson getting the fight to the ground in the latter stages of round 2 and most of round 3 swung the bout in his favor, as Bessette definitely got the better of him in many of the striking exchanges.
  • Gerald Meerschaert got his ass kicked all around the cage in round 1 against middleweight prospect Oskar Piechota, but turned the tables dramatically in round 2, hurting an exhausted Piechota and then choking him out cold with a rear-naked choke. What a great comeback by Meerschaert, who is definitely a tough out for most 185ers, and Piechota found out the hard way.