We’re so proud of our team! Find out how they’ve been doing, as well as what else has been going on at our gym lately.
Episode No. 12 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” – this season’s finale – opens with preparation for the final fight of the season, which will see No. 12 seed Sijara Eubanks of Team Alvarez attempt to upset No. 1 Roxanne Modafferi in the second and final semifinal matchup.
At a Team Alvarez training session, Eubanks is refining her strategy with head coach Eddie Alvarez and the assistant coaching staff, which includes Mark Henry, who is blown away by Eubanks’ ability to pick up striking codes quickly.
Focus shifts to Team Gaethje, where Modafferi is ramping up preparation. Not only is it provided by head coach Justin Gaethje, but former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate is also in the gym providing coaching aid to the fighters.
Coach Gaethje questions Eubanks’ physical condition after several difficult weight cuts down to the flyweight division. He believes as long as Modafferi can survive the early onslaught, her pace and conditioning will make the difference and allow her to get the victory.
Eubanks heads to the UFC Performance Institute to work with a nutritionist for her final weight cut in the competition. Eubanks admits she’s put her body through a lot of stress by cutting weight, but she hopes the staff at the facility will make her final cut healthy and simple.
The final weight cut for Eubanks begins. She has the support of the Team Alvarez coaching staff and the motivation that she’s just one weight cut and one win away from putting herself in position to compete for the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title.
Eubanks makes weight with her team the night before the fight and is feeling better than she has going into her previous fights.
At the official weigh-in, Modafferi and Eubanks come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows.
Fight day arrives. Both fighters finalize preparation and warm up with coaches in the backstage locker room. They walk to the octagon, and the second tournament semifinal is about to take place.
Round 1 – Both fighters trade big shots to begin the bout. Eubanks is winging wild hooks, and Modafferi is able to use good foot movement to get out of the way. Modafferi steps into the pocket and trades with Eubanks. Both sides are landing shots, but nothing super clean. Modafferi is sticking Eubanks with her jab but must get out of the way of the big counter-punches. Eubanks rips of a combination to the body and is loading up heavy. She shoots for a single leg, but Modafferi moves out of the way. Eubanks nearly lands a powerful head kick, but Modafferi blocks it. Modafferi keeps attacking with hooks and head kicks and is preventing her opponent from settling into her offense. A ton of strikes are exchanged before Modafferi finally decides to grab Eubanks and put her back against the fence. Eubanks quickly breaks free of the position, and the striking pace somewhat slows. Eubanks is coming forward with hard punches, and Modafferi is doing well with her counters. Eubanks shoots a takedown and manages to put Modafferi on her back. Eubanks is on top, and Modafferi immediately goes to her submission game. Eubanks postures up with elbows, and Modafferi attempts to lock in an armbar. She can’t get it, and Eubanks rides out to he position for the rest of the round.
Round 2 – Eubanks lands a straight right hand to the body then attacks the head with a combination. Modafferi answers with her jab. Eubanks smashes Modafferi with a hard leg kick in attempt to slow her movement. Modafferi is getting her timing down and landing on her opponent. Eubanks changes levels for a takedown, but Modafferi keeps her off. Eubanks lands a pair of powerful strikes then goes for another takedown. She gets deep on Modafferi’s legs and pulls the fight to the mat. Modafferi is looking for submissions from her back, but Eubanks is heavy on top and fighting to advance. She makes a mistake, though, and Modafferi sweeps her way into top position. Eubanks attempts a guillotine, but Modafferi escapes before any real danger. Modafferi takes her turn controlling on top but is looking to pass rather than inflict damage. Eubanks uses a kimura attempt to roll her way into top position and achieve mount. Modafferi gives her back, and Eubanks goes for a rear-naked choke. Eubanks get the forearm under the neck but does not have the right angle to finish the choke before time expires.
Round 3 – Modafferi immediately comes out with pressure, and she likely needs to do something significant this round. She exchanges blows with Eubanks, who has definitely lost some of her explosiveness output. Eubanks continues to wing heavy shots, but Modafferi is moving out of the way and firing back. Eubanks comes forward and lands some powerful leg kicks and right hands. She attempts a clinch and a takedown attempt, but Modafferi thwarts them both. Eubanks shoots for another takedown, and this time she gets ahold of Modafferi. She presses her opponent agains the fence and is hanging on to Modafferi with a body lock. Eubanks is attacking with knees to the thighs and the head of Modafferi, who is fighting hard to break free of the grip. Modafferi attempts a trip takedown, but Eubanks’ balance is perfect, and she ends up on top. Eubanks is working from half guard, and Modafferi is noticeably tiring from carrying the weight of her opponent. Modafferi is still working for submissions from bottom, but Eubanks keeps calm and gets free of an armbar attempt. Eubanks postures up in the final 30 seconds and lands a pair of brutal knees as Modafferi looks to stand up. They trade from the clinch until the end of the round, concluding an action-filled affair.
Sijara Eubanks def. Roxanne Modafferi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
With the victory, No. 12 Eubanks advances to the tournament final, where she will meet No. 14 Nicco Montano of Team Gaethje. The pair will clash for the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, which takes place Friday at Park Theatre in Las Vegas and airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
“I feel super fantastic right now, I just beat Roxanne, and I’m on the to finals,” Eubanks says after her win. “I feel like a million bucks. I don’t know how else to describe the feeling I’m having right now. It’s crazy. I’m going to go get that belt. I’m getting that strap. I’m (expletive) pumped.”
Eubanks and Montano, as well as coaches Alvarez and Gaethje, face off in the center of the octagon. With that, another “TUF” season is in the books.
“This season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ was a very impressive launch for the women’s flyweight division,” UFC President Dana White says. “Now we have our two finalists. This is what I love about ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ – two underdogs and relative unknowns.”
Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.
We want to make sure that Ludus MMA is the right fit for you before asking you to commit to a membership.
That’s why we’d like to offer you a FREE ONE-DAY PASS to our gym.
With your FREE PASS, you can: