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Episode No. 7 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with UFC President Dana White making a surprise visit to the TUF house, much to the excitement of the athletes.
White shows his special edition BMW to Lauren Murphy and a few other cast members. He also tours the house and interacts with all the fighters from both teams. He provides some words of encouragement to the fighters as the competition nears its midway point.
Fabian has been dealing with injury issues to her leg in the lead-up to her fight. She’s attempting to tweak and minimize her training in the final days before she steps in the octagon. Coach Eddie Alvarez attempts to keep Fabian confident and says he views her as the best striker in the competition.
Ostovich is aware her striking is likely a level below that of Fabian, but coach Justin Gaethje believes Ostovich’s background in judo and wrestling will be a huge difference-maker.
At the weigh-in, Fabian and Ostovich come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A friendly staredown follows, and the seventh opening-round tournament bout is official.
Fight day arrives. Fabian and Ostovich head to the TUF gym. 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 show a lot of faints to start the bout. Ostovich lands an inside leg kick followed by a jab. Fabian lands a hard right hand, and Ostovich lands with a counter-hook. Ostovich lands a clean overhand right that backs up Fabian. Ostovich stays patient and connects with a leg kick. Ostovich scores with a another combination. Fabian nearly lands a head kick and begins to apply better pressure. She eats another hard punch, though, and Ostovich evades. Ostovich’s jab is on point and she’s picking Fabian apart. Fabian’s moving forward but is throwing almost nothing. Ostovich shoots for a double-leg takedown and easily puts Fabian on her back. Fabian attempts to scramble free but Ostovich jumps on the back. She gets back mount and has Fabian flattened out. She postures up and lands several hard punches before locking in a rear-naked choke that forces Fabian to tap out.
Rachael Ostovich def. Melinda Fabian via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1
Ostovich is thrilled with the extremely one-sided performance.
“I feel great,” A thrilled Ostovich says. “I’m very, very happy, but it’s nothing that I hadn’t already seen in my head. Everything went as I planned it. … Celebration for a little while, take some time to congratulate myself and the hard work I put in, then on to the next.”
Team Gaethje takes a 4-3 lead in the competition with Ostovich’s victory. Only one opening-round fight remains, and it will see No. 8 Emily Whitmire of Team Gaethje take on No. 9 Christina Marks of Team Alvarez.
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.
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