Ricky Turcios is the UFC’s Bantamweight Ultimate Fighter

UFC

Tonight at UFC Vegas 35, we saw a new Ultimate Fighter crowned in the bantamweight division. The finale tonight featured two members of Team Volkanovski as Ricky Turcios (10-2) took on Brady Hiestand (5-1).

This is a tremendous matchup at UFC Vegas 35 and the story of two very different fighters. On one hand you have Hiestand. Hiestand is what you think of when you think of guys from The Ultimate Fighter.

He’s a very talented prospect with a good wrestling skills and is somewhat well-rounded. However, there are parts of his game that still need developing, but that hasn’t stood in the way of the 22 year old getting this far.

On the other hand you have Ricky Turcios. The UFC has had their eyes on Turcios for some time now. He appeared on the very first episode of Dana White’s Contender Series where he lost to Boston Salmon.

It took going through The Ultimate Fighter, but Turcios has worked his way back onto the UFC scene. Turcios definitely has the experience edge heading into the finale tonight.

UFC Vegas 35 Recap

Round 1

The UFC TUF bantamweight finale kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Immediate pressure from Hiestand who immediately shoots in to try and get a takedown. However, Turcios defends well and they separate.

Hiestand is relentless here trying to get the takedown. Turcios lands a couple of shots as Hiestand shoots in but that doesn’t deter Hiestand. Hiestand lands a big down and he settles into the top position.

Turcios is able to work his way back up to his feet and the two separate. However, they aren’t standing more than five seconds before Hiestand lands another takedown. Turcios attacks a triangle and he uses it to get back to his feet.

However, Hiestand immediately shoots in for another takedown. Turcios hits a nice switch and he gets the back of Hiestand briefly. However, Hiestand spins and ends up on top. Turcios again attacks off his back and uses it to stand back up.

Turcios pushes off and they’re striking. Both men land some big shots. Turcios is getting loose on the feet as he lands. Both men swing furiously at the end of the round. 1-0 Brady Hiestand here at UFC Vegas 35.

Round 2

You can tell that both of these men want that UFC contract heading into the second round. Turcios has a lot to say as the second round gets going and the action starts right away with Hiestand shooting in for a takedown.

However, Turcios is able to stay on his feet. The pressure from Hiestand is just relentless here as he is doing nothing but pushing forward with takedown attempts. Turcios defends well at first, but Hiestand is able to get him down against the fence.

Elbows land from Turcios and he uses the fence to get back up. Turcios separates and both men land good shots as they start striking. Nice right hand lands for Hiestand on the feet and now it’s Turcios pushing forward with pressure.

Huge left hand lands for Hiestand and Turcios shakes it off. Pressure from Hiestand and it’s Turcios who lands a takedown and he briefly takes the back of Hiestand. However, he’s a bit high and Hiestand shakes him off. Hiestand immediately then takes down Turcios.

Turcios uses a nice sweep to get top position. However, Hiestand then reverses and gets back on top. Furious pace here at UFC Vegas 35. Turcios works his way back to his feet and both men land some good shots. Great fight here, but I think it’s 2-0 Hiestand after two.

Round 3

Heading into the final round of the UFC bantamweight TUF finale and I think Turcios needs a finish to win. Hiestand pushes forward with immediate pressure to start the final round.

Big shots being thrown by Hiestand here and Turcios not throwing much here. Nice left hand lands for Hiestand. Big right hand lands for Turcios and Hiestand seems a bit wobbled.

Huge 1-2 lands for Turcios and Hiestand is down. However, Hiestand grabs on to a leg for dear life and Turcios can’t get him off. Hiestand lands a takedown as he looks to recover.

Turcios uses the fence to get up to the feet. Big knee lands for Turcios but he’s not separating here. Both men are just clinching along the fence as they look exhausted. Turcios backs away after his corner begs him to.

However, after pressure from Hiestand, Turcios clinches him again. Turcios’ corner is begging him to separate but he looks exhausted. Hiestand shoots for a takedown, but he can’t get him down. Turcios throwing shots as the final bell sounds. Turcios should easily get this final round, but Hiestand is likely going to be the UFC’s bantamweight Ultimate Fighter.

Ricky Turcios def. Brady Hiestand by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

UFC Vegas 35 Preview: Bryan Battle – Gilbert Urbina

Tonight in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 35, we will see a winner crowned in the middleweight division for this season of The Ultimate Fighter. Two members of Team Volkanovski square off as Bryan Battle (5-1) takes on Gilbert Urbina (6-1).

Now, originally Urbina was not supposed to be fighting for UFC contract tonight. Tresean Gore (3-0) of Team Ortega was meant to be taking on Battle in the finale. However, a knee injury forced Gore to pull out of the fight.

To get into the finals, Gore knocked Urbina out in the second round of their semifinal matchup. Urbina is a very tough competitor and he has UFC roots with his brother having competed with the promotion. Tonight, he will get a second chance to try and become The Ultimate Fighter.

However, it’s not going to be easy. Standing in his way is Bryan Battle who’s been seen as a front runner to become the UFC‘s TUF winner at 185 pounds. Battle stormed through the competition on his way to the finals tonight. Overall, he’s also won four straight fights outside of the TUF house heading into UFC Vegas 35.

UFC Vegas 35 Prediction

When it comes to the UFC Vegas 35 co-main event, it’s going to come down to what Urbina is able to accomplish on the feet. I’ve seen stretches where Urbina does really well in striking range.

He does have some really nice kicks. However, he fails to tie things together a lot of the time and is usually outdone with volume. When he advances there are times he can be a bit sloppy. That will not play against Bryan Battle.

Battle looks like a UFC fighter already with his well-rounded skillset. There will not be an area of the fight tonight where he feels uncomfortable. There is a reason why he’s a pretty big favorite in the terms of the public.

I expect Urbina to land some shots particularly kicks from the outside, but I don’t see him winning this fight. I think Battle will get the better of the striking and if he needs to take things down, I believe he can do that. It’s Bryan Battle’s fight to lose tonight.

Prediction: Bryan Battle by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 35 Preview: Ricky Turcios – Brady Hiestand

Tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 35, we will see a new Ultimate Fighter crowned in the bantamweight division. The finale tomorrow night features two members of Team Volkanovski as Ricky Turcios (10-2) takes on Brady Hiestand (5-1).

This is a tremendous matchup at UFC Vegas 35 and the story of two very different fighters. On one hand you have Hiestand. Hiestand is what you think of when you think of guys from The Ultimate Fighter.

He’s a very talented prospect with a good wrestling skills and is somewhat well-rounded. However, there are parts of his game that still need developing, but that hasn’t stood in the way of the 22 year old getting this far.

On the other hand you have Ricky Turcios. The UFC has had their eyes on Turcios for some time now. He appeared on the very first episode of Dana White’s Contender Series where he lost to Boston Salmon.

It took going through The Ultimate Fighter, but Turcios has worked his way back onto the UFC scene. Turcios definitely has the experience edge heading into tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 35 Prediction

I think that we are going to know a lot about this contest at UFC Vegas 35 in the opening minute or two. For Hiestand, he’s going to have to get this fight to the ground. I don’t believe he has developed the striking to beat a guy like Turcios from the outside.

Turcios has good striking and he also does a really good job with distance control. To go along with that, Turcios also has good skills on the mat and is very slick off his back.

For Hiestand to become the UFC’s next Ultimate Fighter, he has to be able to get Turcios to the ground and control him. I think that Hiestand has the strength to do it if it gets there, but I’m not sure it will.

In the end, I just believe the experience and the sharper skills of Turcios will play out tomorrow night. The UFC’s next Ultimate Fighter winner is going to be the bantamweight from Houston: Ricky Turcios.

Prediction: Ricky Turcios by Unanimous Decision

UFC: TUF 29 Middleweight Finale Set

Tonight on the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter, we saw the final semifinal matchup of the season. The middleweights were featured as Gilbert Urbina (6-1) of Team Volkanovski was taking on Tresean Gore (3-0) of Team Ortega.

Last week saw the bantamweight finale booked. Team Volkanovski fighters Ricky Turcios and Brady Hiestand will be battling it out for the 135 pound TUF title. Bryan Battle (5-1) of Team Volkanovski already punched his ticket to the middleweight finale.

With that in mind, Gore was the final hope for Team Ortega. If Urbina was to take the semifinal matchup, Ortega would be shut out of the TUF 29 finale. However, Gore was not going to go down without a fight.

Throughout the entire season, Gore has really impressed. If I was Ortega, Gore is the one guy I’d want in this final spot. On tonight’s episode, both Gore and Urbina got to see their families through a FaceTime Call.

Both men used the calls as motivation as they turned their focus to competition for a spot in the UFC TUF 29 middleweight finals.

UFC TUF 29 Middleweight Finale Set

This fight was insane from the beginning and had a feel like a fight from Dana White’s Contender Series. As soon as the fight stared, Gore immediately started pressuring Urbina.

However, I was very impressed with Urbina’s striking from the outside. He was catching Gore early with jabs and he was landing powerful leg kicks. Halfway through the round, Gore really showed off his power.

A powerful left hand sat Urbina down briefly. However, Urbina was able to compose himself. When Gore looked like he was going in for the kill, Urbina rocked him with a powerful straight left. Both of these men really wanted that UFC contract.

In the second round, it was more of the same to start. Pressure from Gore and outside striking from Urbina. Urbina pushed forward with his own attack with his guard down and a massive left hook from Gore put him out cold. A stunning knockout from an incredible fight.

And just like that, the middleweight finale of TUF 29 is set. Unfortunately for the UFC featherweight champion, he will not have all four spots in the finale.

TUF 29 Middleweight Finale: Bryan Battle (Team Volkanovski) – Tresean Gore (Team Ortega)

UFC TUF 29 Episode 4 Recap

UFC, Dana White

Tonight we saw the fourth episode of the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter. The bantamweights were back in focus tonight with Team Volkanovski looking to snap their losing streak to start the season. So far, it’s been all Team Ortega.

Last week, prospective UFC light heavyweights Ryder Newman (Team Volkanovski) and Tresean Gore (Team Ortega) went head-to-head. The fight went the distance with Gore picking up the decision victory.

It was the third straight victory for Team Ortega to start the 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter. As mentioned, the bantamweights were back in the spotlight tonight as Dustin Lampros (Team Volkanovski) was set to take on Vincent Murdock (Team Ortega).

This is the second major crack at the UFC that Vincent Murdock has had. In November of 2020, Murdock got a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series. However, he failed to pick up the win as he was finished in the third round. One thing for sure is that Murdock was not afraid of this stage.

Dustin Lampros carried a perfect 5-0 record into the UFC‘s ultimate reality show. He looked like he could be the perfect fighter to get Team Volkanovski back on track, but it wasn’t going to be easy against a veteran like Murdock.

UFC TUF 29 Fight Recap

The two prospective UFC bantamweights got started right away in the first round. Lampros pressed forward immediately with a ton of pressure on Murdock. Murdock was looking to counter early, but both men were throwing heat.

Dustin Lampros seemed to land a couple of shots that rocked Murdock. However, Murdock was able to land a couple of big shots that gained the respect from Lampros. Lampros went right back to pressuring and both men landed big shots.

Murdock landed a huge right hand that dropped Lampros. Lampros tried to recover, but Murdock connected with a vicious knee that put Lampros down for good. Another win for Team Ortega who is now 4-0 in the UFC’s 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

UFC: TUF 29 Episode 2 Recap

Last night the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter Reality showed aired it’s second episode on ESPN+. Last week during on TUF, Team Ortega took a 1-0 lead in the competition when Andre Petroski was able to submit Aaron Phillips in the first round.

That was the first matchup between perspective UFC middleweights. Last night, it was the bantamweights that took center stage and it was a matchup between two of the top picks on the show. Team Volkanovski’s top pick Mitch Raposo (5-0) was set to make his debut.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Raposo and he was one of the favorites out of the bantamweights. However, he wasn’t going to have an easy road to the semifinals. Team Ortega throughout their second pick in Liudvik Sholinian (9-1-1) to take on Raposo.

Both of these guys look like they could be contenders in the UFC‘s bantamweight division with time. This was just the second fight of the season, but it was one a lot of fans were really looking forward to.

UFC TUF 29 Fight 2: Raposo – Sholinian

The second fight of the season started out quickly. The two prospective UFC bantamweights both met in the center of the cage and Sholinian immediately started pressuring in the first round.

Throughout the first round, Raposo was doing a fantastic job using hit blitzes. Sholinian was the taller fighter and he did a good job of holding the center, but throughout the first, it was Raposo that was landing the better shots.

The UFC featherweight champion was extremely encouraged by the performance of his top pick after the first round. In the second round, Sholinian completely switched up the game plan. After trying to use his range and pressure to strike in the first, he switched to his grappling in the second.

Sholinian was able to land takedowns and get the fight to the mat. Once the fight was there, Raposo really had a tough time getting back up. After two rounds, the judges had the fight tied 1-1 which forced a third and final round.

In the third round, Sholinian stuck to that same game plan. He was able to get Raposo down early in the round and really dominated the final frame. The UFC featherweight champion’s top pick lost a decision and Liudvik Sholinian made it 2-0 for Team Ortega.

UFC: TUF 29 Episode 1 Recap

UFC, Dana White

Last night, the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter reality show made it’s return on ESPN+. This season is being coached by featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and top contender Brian Ortega.

The two men were supposed to fight back at UFC 260, but Volkanovski got COVID and the fight was cancelled. With that, the UFC pivoted to having the two top featherweights coach against each other on The Ultimate Fighter.

After the show concludes, the two men will fight. Currently, the UFC is targeting September for their title fight. This season of TUF features prospective bantamweights and middleweights.

Last night, the UFC’s reality show kicked off with coaches evaluations, team selections, and of course the first fight. There wasn’t a ton of drama in the first episode, but we did see the first finish of the year inside the UFC‘s APEX.

UFC TUF 29 Fight 1: Petroski – Phillips

Kicking off the action in TUF 29 was a middleweight matchup between Andre Petroski (5-1) and Aaron Phillips (5-2). Team Ortega picked this matchup first after the UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski picked the first fighter.

Petroski was representing Team Ortega while Phillips was on Team Volkanovski. During the show, Phillips had talked about the fact that he lacked traditional training and learned a lot of his techniques from YouTube videos.

Not exactly the upbringing in martial arts you would expect from a potential UFC fighter. Nevertheless, he’s fought to a 5-2 record and made his way on to The Ultimate Fighter.

When the fight started out, both men took their time to just feel the other out. The first have of the round saw Phillips explode forward a few times, but really there wasn’t a ton of action in terms of the striking.

Just after the halfway point, Petroski shot in for a takedown and got Phillips down. Petroski immediately moved to side-control and started looking for an arm-triangle. He switched it to a guillotine after he moved to the mount.

The choke was in deep and Phillips was forced to tap. Andre Petroski won the UFC’s first fight of the season in it’s debut on ESPN+ by first round submission. A good way to start the season and a good way to start TUF.

UFC: Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega named coaches of The Ultimate Fighter

On a night where Bellator returned, it might be the UFC that steals the headlines. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was told by Dana White tonight that Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) will be the next coaches of The Ultimate Fighter.

The UFC had been searching for coaches and this one materialized due to a fight cancellation. Originally, Volkanovski was going to defend his featherweight title against T-City at UFC 260.

However, Volkanovski tested positive for COVID and the fight was called off. As a result, the UFC started working on a new date and the idea for them coaching The Ultimate Fighter began to materialize.

The show is set to begin filming later this month. Originally, the UFC was targeting Colby Covington – Jorge Masvidal as the coaches of TUF, however, things changed when the promotion shifted to Masvidal – Usman.

Combine that with the cancellation of the UFC 260 title fight and it was the perfect storm that led to Volkanovski and Ortega coaching. This will be the UFC‘s first season of TUF on the ESPN platform.

UFC featherweight title

As mentioned, the show begins filming later this month and will air in the early summer. The show usually runs for six weeks. The UFC is currently planning on Ortega and Volkanovski fighting after the show concludes.

Given the timeframes and what is currently booked, we will likely see the title fight in either August or September. For Volkanovski, he’s going to be searching for his second successful UFC title defense.

Many don’t believe that he won his first title defense against Max Holloway. This fight is pivotal in showing the world that he’s the best. For Brian Ortega, he’s going to get his second chance at capturing UFC gold.

His first attempt came against Max Holloway and he was completely dominated. However, Ortega returned last year after a lengthy layoff and looked like he could be the best featherweight in the UFC. This year’s TUF and this featherweight title fight should have fans excited.

UFC: Jorge Masvidal says rematch with Kamaru Usman is on

The rematch between the UFC welterweight champion and The BMF is on. Well, it’s on at least according to Jorge Masvidal (35-14). Last night, Masvidal broke the news to Boxing Social after his commentating gig at the Canelo Alvarez fight.

Masvidal told the outlet that the matchup between himself and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (18-1) will take place in September. This fits the UFC‘s ideal timeline factoring in The Ultimate Fighter. A couple of weeks ago, the promotion had serious momentum building towards Masvidal – Usman 2.

However, Usman came out and said he was losing interest and the fight appeared to be in trouble. The promotion was wanting the two of them to be the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter then have their rematch after the season.

The UFC is planning to start the filming of TUF in the early summer. Usually, the show takes about six or seven weeks to film. After that, if you factor in a full training camp, September would sound about right for Usman and Masvidal.

UFC rematch the world wants to see

The two men originally fought last year on Fight Island at UFC 251. In early 2020, the matchup between the two was being hyped before it was finalized. However, the UFC couldn’t come to terms with Masvidal to make the fight happen.

The promotion ultimately shifted to Gilbert Burns. However, when Burns tested positive for COVID, the UFC turned back to Masvidal. The fight took place on one week’s notice and Usman would go on to win a decision.

Given the circumstances of the first fight, the rematch should be an easy sell. Kamaru Usman is a dominant champion while Masvidal is still one of the biggest stars in the sport. The first fight leaves room for clarity considering the short-notice nature.

Now, it appears that the UFC is close to finalizing the rematch for later in the year. It’s going to take some patience from fans considering the fight is months away, but factoring in TUF, the world should be buzzing by the time the rematch actually happens.

UFC: Momentum building towards Usman – Masvidal rematch and coaching The Ultimate Fighter

There is a lot of momentum right now around what’s next for the top of the UFC‘s welterweight division. Last weekend, Kamaru Usman (18-1) defended his title against Gilbert Burns (19-4) in the main event of UFC 258.

Usman put on a brilliant performance and got the finish in the third round. After the fight was over, Usman said he’d fight anybody, but there was one name he wanted more than others. That name is Jorge Masvidal (35-14).

Masvidal and Usman fought back at UFC 251 on short notice. Usman grinded out a decision win, but it’s clear that he’s not happy with the way he won. Masvidal is a massive star and Usman wants to get a finish in the rematch.

The UFC had been trying to book Masvidal against Colby Covington (16-2). The promotion also wanted them to coach The Ultimate Fighter. However, Masvidal was not a fan of coaching the show against Covington. He wanted to fight him, but he didn’t want to coach with him.

Usman is a different story and Masvidal’s management has already told the UFC they’d coach against Usman. This week, per ESPN, Usman and his manager met with Dana White. They made it clear that they want the UFC‘s BMF next.

UFC booking Usman – Masvidal 2?

Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN, “Jorge Masvidal is a star, you can’t take that away from him, but we believe Kamaru will go out and put a nail in the coffin this time. Kamaru and Dana sat down and on our end, we’re all for it. Dana is the boss and he makes the decisions, but I think Dana is showing him the respect of giving him what he wants. It makes sense for everybody.”

UFC 251, which was headlined by Usman and Masvidal, did 1.3 million PPV buys. There’s no questioning the star power of Masvidal and I believe that Usman and his reps know it’s the biggest fight for them right now.

There’s also the storyline of how the first fight was on short notice and how a full camp might make things different. Add that to a season of The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN and you have massive potential for the rematch.

There is no deal in place right now, but there is a lot of momentum towards the UFC getting this done. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get official word from Dana White by UFC 259 that Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal will be rematching and coaching TUF.