Tonight is the culmination of The Ultimate Fighter season 18. Two new Ultimate Fighters will be crowned, and other cast mates will fight for a spot on the UFC roster. For the first time ever, a female Ultimate Fighter will be determined when Julianna Pena takes on Jessica Rakoczy in. In the Bantamweight men’s final, Chris Holdsworth will take on Davey Grant.
Before the Ultimate Fighters are crowned, five fights grace the Octagon as the preliminary card. TUF 14 stand-out, Akira Corassani, takes top billing against Maximo Blanco. Other notable fighters on the prelims include Rani Yahya, Sean Spencer, Ryan Benoit, and Josh Sampo.
The prelims start at 7:30 p.m. ET on Facebook with Ryan Benoit vs Josh Sampo. After that fight, the prelims will move to FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET.
Prelim Card Official results: (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)
Akira Corassani vs. Maximo Blanco
Blanco rocked Corassani with an illegal knee early on in the fight. Corassani was badly hurt and could not continue. Referee Mario Yamasaki called a stop to the fight due to the knee.
Official result: Akira Corassani defeats Maximo Blanco by disqualification
Rani Yahya vs. Tom Niinimaki
Yahya was able to get the early takedown in Round 1, but Tom hit a nice reversal. This was a sign for things to come. The remainder of the round, both men displayed beautiful jiu-jitsu technique in amazing scrambles. Yahya threw up multiple submissions, but Tom had an answer for every one of them. The second round was more high level jiu-jitsu from both men. Tom got the better of Yahya with some nice ground and pound for most of the round. In round 3, Tom was able to get the early takedown before Kim Winslow stood them up for the second time. Yahya got taken down right away, but had a deep guillotine. Tom was ultimately able to get out, and Yahya finished the fight on top. This was a fun fight for jiu-jitsu enthusiasts.
Official result: Tom Niinimaki defeats Rani Yahya by Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Jared Rosholt vs. Walter Harris
Jared Rosholt showed amazing resiliency in surviving a big right hook early in round 1. Harris controlled the stand up completely in both round 1 and 2, before getting taken down in the third by Rosholt. Rosholt dominated the entire third round with some strong ground and pound. This was a decent fight, but a great come back from Rosholt.
Official result: Jared Rosholt defeats Walter Harris by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Sean Spencer vs. Drew Dober
This fight was all Sean Spencer in the stand up department. Drew Dober showed incredible heart and an amazing chin with all the shots he took during the fight. Dober could not take Spencer down, and could not get much going offensively. Sean Spencer continued his onslaught mixing in elbows, knees, body shots, and head kicks. Great performance from Sean Spencer tonight.
Official result: Sean Spencer defeats Drew Dober by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Josh Sampo vs. Ryan Benoit
This was a fantastic scrap between both men. Sampo showed some amazing jiu-jitsu and scrambling skills in his UFC debut. Benoit was able to fight off multiple submission attempts, showing off his own grappling credentials. Benoit had two very nice reversals, but in the end, succumbed to the fight ending rear naked choke in the second.
Official result: Josh Sampo defeats Ryan Benoit by Rear Naked Choke Round 2