Episode No. 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens by immediately jumping into weigh-ins for the third quarterfinal matchup, which pits #2 Barb Honchak of Team Alvarez against #10 Rachael Ostovich of Team Gaethje.
At the weigh-in, Honchak and Ostovich come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows, and the first quarterfinal tournament bout is official.
Fight day arrives. Honchak and Ostovich head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs, including head coached Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.
Round 1 – Honchak is tentative with her strikes early on as Ostovich moves around the octagon. Both fighters exchange, but nothing lands clean. Ostovich connects with a counter-left. Honchak is beginning to land with her punches but Ostovich is avoiding her big shots. Honchak initiates a clinch and presses Ostovich against the fence. She works on a trip takedown but Ostovich fends her off and lands a hard right hand on the break. Honchak shoots for a single leg takedown and manages to put Ostovich on the mat. Ostovich gives up her back, stands up and escapes to freedom. Ostovich lands an uppercut, right hand combination and is beginning to gain confidence. Honchak shoots for another single leg takedown, but Ostovich denies the initial entry and keeps her opponent away until the end of the round.
Round 2 – Ostovich lands a right hand to open the round, but Honchak doesn’t appear to be phased. They exchange and Honchak lands a clean punch. Ostovich connects in the midst of a combination but Honchak charges forward with a takedown attempt. She briefly puts the fight on the ground but Ostovich stands right back up. Honchak keeps the pressure on and takes Ostovich down again. Ostovich gives up her back and Honchak begins to work for a rear-naked choke. She gives up on it and throws strikes, but provides enough space that Ostovich can stand up. Honchak forces the fight back to the mat and takes the back once again. Honchak is riding the position and landing more strikes while working for the finish. Honchak continues to dominate the spot until the end of the round.
Barb Honchak def. Rachael Ostovich via unanimous decision
“That title feels attainable,” Honchak says after her victory. “It feels like I’m getting close to what I’m here for.”
At the weigh-in, Stewart and Montano come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows, and the first quarterfinal tournament bout is official.
Fight day arrives. Stewart and Montano head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.
Round 1 – Both fighters miss big with early shots but begin to settle into proper striking range. Stewart catches a kick from Montano and attempts to get a takedown, but Montano denies her entry. Stewart pushes her opponent against the fence and is working to put the fight on the canvas. Montano reverses the position before breaking free, and matchup returns to striking range. Montano lands a solid leg kick and Montano fires back a hard right hand. Montano is using good movement while mixing in kicks. Stewart is applying pressure and looking to land heavier shots. Both fighters land during a clinch exchange. Montano sticks Stewart with a hard right hand and is now the one controlling the pace. Montano nearly slips on a takedown and Stewart looks to capitalize. Montano springs back to her feet while Stewart attempts to move the fight to the mat again. Montano shows stellar defense, avoiding takedowns form the clinch and landing hard knees to the body and head of her opponent. A massive cut opens on Stewart’s forehead and that only encourages Montano to pour on more strikes from the clinch until the end of the round.
Round 2 – Montano continues to apply the pressure as the round begins, attacking Stewart with punches and kicks to the body. Montano counters with a solid right hand and starts to pressure with her open attacks. Montano shoots for a takedown but Stewart locks on a tight guillotine that has Montano in danger. Montano stays calm and maneuvers into side control. Montano attacks with short shots and Stewart is gushing blood. Montano postures up and is connecting clean from inside the guard against an exhausted Stewart. Stewart is desperately attempting to roll into a better position but Montano is riding her hard from on top and connecting with heavy shots. Stewart attempts to stand up but eats a crushing elbow in response. Stewart attempts to isolate an arm but Montano won’t give up an inch and is completely dominating the action. Stewart is doing everything she can to stand up and finally goes. She eats a pair of knees to the head for her troubles and her face is completely coated with blood. Montano finally breaks free of the clinch, but she has nothing left in the final seconds before time expires.
Nicco Montano def. Montana Stewart via unanimous decision
“I felt awesome,” Montano says after her victory. “I have one more week left here in the TUF house. If I can keep on keeping on until the end, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
With Montano’s victory, the tournament semifinal matchups are now set and will unfold as follows:
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