December 1st is when it all goes down, the finale of the Ultimate Fighter 26, where the bout for the inaugural UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship is set to take place. Starting from 16 fighters, it’s been whittled down to three with a surprise underdog confirmed and one more fight left before the finale is announced. With that in mind, we’re going to walk you through the contenders and a few fights on the card that might be worth having a look at.
First things first, the Cinderella story of Nicco Montaño. Entering Ultimate Fighter as the 14th seed, Montaño was most definitely an underdog at the start of the contest. She got her start young, learning to box, but switched to BJJ later in life (in fact, it’d be interesting to think what her boxing odds would have been if she’d stuck with the “Sweet Science” instead of making the shift to MMA). Her record going in was nothing amazing, but she won her first few rounds and finally wound up facing Barb Honchak.
Honchak was seeded 2nd, second only to Roxanne Modafferi, and had just two losses out of 12 professional fights going in. It sounded like a forgone conclusion, but Montaño shocked just about everyone with an incredible fight and a unanimous decision by Round 3. With great takedowns, outstanding ground and pound, and some well-timed knees, Montaño secured the win and is set to face the winner of the next fight Friday December 1st.
That final deciding fight is between Roxanne Modafferi and Sijara Eubanks. Modafferi has an impressive record and competed earlier in Season 18. She’s keen to make up for her prior performance and has won both her fights thus far with a TKO. It’s also worth noting that she’s the 1st seed for this content and a strong favourite. Sijara Eubanks, her opponent, was seeded No. 12 and has struggled to keep her weight at Flyweight levels, but she also has the only KO victory of Series 26 thus far. Tempting as it is to think Modafferi has it in the bag, Sijara’s strong performance and with Montaño’s upset over Honchak in mind, the outcome of the fight still looks unclear.
Whoever wins, though, if Montaño can maintain her momentum, this finale is going to be an incredible show, and the Flyweight Champion who comes out of it is definitely going to be one to watch.
Leading up to the fight, we have four matches with two in particular standing out. Andrew “El Dirte” Sanchez VS Ryan Janes is looking like a great match up between a heavy striker and winner of the Ultimate Fighter 23 versus a skilled technical fighter with plenty of submissions under his belt. The other is Joe Soto VS Brett “The Pikey” Johns. Soto has plenty of experience and two bantam weight championships from different competitors under his belt, while Johns has an unbeaten record of 14 wins and a different two bantamweight championship belts, putting him and Soto on equal footing.
Whoever ends up facing Montaño, and whoever wins that belt, you can be sure the fight’s going to be outstanding!