Tonight, the UFC crowns its first 115 lb women’s champion at The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 Finale from the Palms Resort in Las Vegas.
The event is packed with talent from the past TUF season, as well as a special featherweight attraction between fringe contenders Charles Oliveira and Jeremy Stephens. It’s the first time an entire UFC event has been completely staffed by fighters 155 lbs or less, so expect a fast pace to a historic night.
The action starts at 6 pm ET/3 pm PT, with preliminary bouts to be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass. It all culminates with the title fight later in the evening on FOX Sports 1. Join us for play-by-play of each fight! Hit refresh often for the latest update.
Preliminary Bouts (to be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass)
Women’s Strawweights: Emily Kagan vs. Angela Hill
Two young guns here, sort of. Kagan is 3-1 and of the Greg Jackson camp. Hill was a 14-0 amateur in Muay Thai with only one MMA bout (a win), but showed potential on TUF. Hill’s 29 and Kagan 33, so maybe not so young… but who knows, this division is wide open… Hill is a -175 favorite.
Round One: Kagan closes the distance right away and presses to the cage. Hill lands a knee as Kagan stumbles — possibly a knee downed? Disengage and southpaw jabs landing from Kagan. Straight ight and body kick from Hill. They press to the cage again. Hill pushes Kagan off and lands jabs and rights, starting to stalk now. Hill scores a knockdown with a right, but Kagan right back up. They press to the cage, where Hill lands damaging knees. Big punches close out a 10-9 Hill round.
Round Two: They press to the cage again with Hill landing the best shots with her knees to body, head, and legs. Elbows and punches raining down — and a flagrant punch to the back of the head. Kagan bleeding badly. The punches and knees keep coming as Hill shrugs off every takedown and backs her opponent down. Ugly beating has me hopeful for a corner stoppage. 10-9 Hill, that’s probably charitable for Kagan.
Round Three: More of the same although Hill slows her pace a little. Kagan gets deep on a single and finally completes it after a Herculean effort. Hill back up, and back down. But she scrambles to her feet, lands some punches off an over hook. Hill presses her to the cage for more knees and elbows as time winds down. 10-9, Hill.
Obvious decision is obvious… but I wish Kagan’s corner had thrown in the towel.
Angela Hill defeats Emily Kagan by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27).
Women’s Catchweight (118 lbs.): Aisling Daly vs. Alex Chambers
We take a step up in experience here, at least with the 26 year old Daly, who is 14-5 and a fixture in the Irish and British MMA scene. Chambers is 4-1 in MMA at 36. Two of the most likeable on the TUF 20 cast as well. Daly, strangely, weighed in at 118 for this fight making it a catch weight. Daly is a -250 favorite regardless.
Round One: Daly stalking with her odd, crab-like footwork. Chambers clinches her to the cage, but Daly escapes. Nice right from Chambers, then a double leg. Daly in the guard looking for armbar. She gets deep, rolls her to the mat…! Chambers barely slips away. Daly on top in half guard. Daly to mount, landing punches and elbows. Chambers escape but is tripped right back to the mat and into mount. Daly looking for an armbar again — and gets it!!!
Pretty groundwork and relentless pressure from Ireland’s first female UFC fighter. She says, “it’s really great to be here” and apologizes for missing weight.
REALLY liked how tight Daly's positioning was from mount before she sat to armbar. Excellent balance. Everything sealed off. Well done.
— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) December 12, 2014
Aisling Daly defeats Alex Chambers by submission (armbar) at 4:53 of round one.
Preliminary Bouts (to be broadcast on FOX Sports 1)
Women’s Strawweights: Tecia Torres vs. Angela Magana
Magana, who has moved to Thailand to train, is one of the TUF20 “heels.” She’s the night’s biggest underdog (four to one) here against Torres, who is good all-around but noted mostly for her striking.
Round One: Torres advancing with straight punches. Magana with a good leg kick on an exchange. Good right from Torres but neither committing too often to begin. Magana finally getting confident with her counter punching, lands a left-right inside — but Torres cracks her with a 1-2 to drop her to the mat. Magana springs back up. Magana clinches — and Torres presses her to the cage. They disengage and more tepid standup ensues… Torres lands a right and time’s up. 10-9 Torres.
Round Two: Magana tentative and Torres moving forward with punches. Magana finally lands a good punch + knee to the body combo. Tepid action at the lower weights is particularly difficult to enjoy because with the absence of power, there’s little drama about that one punch getting through. Still, Torres doing enough in the exchanges, stinging Magana with right hands to head and body. Torres hits a great side kick to the body. 10-9 Torres.
Round Three: Torres blitzing forward here and there for a 1-2-1 combo and a variety of side kicks. Magana mostly circling away. Side kick blasts Magana against the cage, where Torres switches to southpaw for a right hook in a nice sequence. Magana is thrown to the mat as time expires on a ugly mismatch. 10-9 Torres.
Tecia Torres defeats Angela Magana by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27).
Women’s Strawweights: Joanne Calderwood vs. Seo Hee Ham
Really like this match, Muay Thai specialist Calderwood one of the favorites to win the season. Ham, of Korea, is a big underdog — a natural atomweight whose striking-heavy game may play right into the Scot’s hands.
Round One: Ham moving carefully around looking for kicks at range. Calderwood with light jabs and body kicks from range. Ham ducks in with a straight left to the body but is being out-landed consistently. Spinning back kick from Calderwood lands to Ham’s body. Calderwood shrugs off a Ham clinch. A good left from Ham as time expires. 10-9, Calderwood.
Round Two: Superwoman punch from Ham. Heh. Great right from Calderwood. Ham gets inside and eats a short elbow, but she’s hitting her lead left straight with some consistently. Calderwood bleeding from the nose. Ham initiates a clinch — Calderwood defending the takedown. Ham with a nice 1-2. Kick to the body glances from Calderwood, and a nice 1-2. Calderwood working a takedown as time expires. Great round, I’ve got it even. 10-10.
Round Three: Ham finally appears to tire. Calderwood pressing forward with elbows and knees in the clinch. Against the fence, the difference in size is really glaring. Nice 1-2 as they disengage. Big front kick from Calderwood to the chin. She then spins Ham to the mat and looks for the arm triangle… no dice, but ends up in back mount with hooks where she rains down punches to Ham’s face. Time expires on a very good fight, let’s see Ham in her correct weight division next time? 10-9, Calderwood.
Joanne Calderwood defeats Seo Hee Ham by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
Calderwood with the sweetest post-fight interview ever; saying she wished there were more fighters like Ham on the TUF cast.
Joanne Calderwood continues to be the most likable fighter in the world who also sounds like she's constantly embarrassed by being looked at
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) December 13, 2014
Women’s Strawweights: Bec Rawlings vs. Heather Clark
These two hate each other; Rawlings was another of the mean girls on TUF. The two have similar records (Clark is 6-4, Rawlings 5-3). Rawlings a -185 favorite.
Round One: They clinch up to begin, with Rawlings appearing to land a short uppercut. Beautiful arm-tie takedown from Clark. Knees to the head as Rawlings tries to get up — she’s bleeding from the nose now. They’re against the fence, with Clark looking to switch to double leg as Rawlings tries to scramble. They’re separated — Rawlings lands the uppercut again but they clinch back up. Big elbow from Clark. Rawlings with a takedown off a head and arm throw, but Clark tucks in and looks to take the back — she gets it but time expires. 10-9, Clark.
Round Two: Clark loosening up a little to start, landing some straight punches. Rawlings with a left hook. They clinch again and Clark gets a strong takedown into side control. Clark works to back control again, looking for the choke. Rawlings is defending, going from belly-down to rolling away all over the cage, as time expires. 10-9, Clark.
Round Three: Rawlings moving around well, landing her short punches. Clark with a jab and a leg kick. She’s looking winded though. Clark initiates a clinch and works a takedown but Rawlings defends… and the ref separates them after a long struggle. Rawlings with a jab/uppercut combo. Good body shot from Rawlings. Series of 1-2’s from Clark land hard. She presses Rawlings against the fence. 10-9, Rawlings.
The two shake hands afterwards, which is nice to see.
Heather Clark defeats Bec Rawlings by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Women’s Strawweights: Felicia Herrig vs. Lisa Ellis
Grappler Ellis a big underdog to kickboxer Herrig, one of the division’s “glamor girls.”
Round One: Good head and arm throw from Ellis, who tries a guillotine in transition. Herrig in a battle against the cage early. Knee to the chin from Ellis. Herrig with a hard takedown! Ellis looks to sweep — and Herrig takes a triangle in the scramble. Now it’s Ellis in a struggle to escape. She does, and looks for a guillotine as they scramble again. Herrig slips out and starts working in Ellis’ guard. Herrig with some short punching as the round closes out. Nice exchanges here, which I didn’t expect. 10-9 Herrig.
Round Two: Ellis with a quick takedown but Herrig sweeps. Herrig passes and gets the back with hooks, looks for arm bar as Ellis tries to raise out of the position. Ellis escapes to circle away but no luck and Herrig finally finishes the lock for the submission win. Somewhere in there she grabbed Ellis’ hair looking for triangle. Nasty!
Felicia Herrig defeats Lisa Ellis by submission (arm bar) at 3:05 of the second round.
The coach for Aisling Daly (and Conor McGregor) adds his two cents:
New step added to triangle position – Step 3 grab a handful of hair and control posture by pulling in. Step 4…..
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) December 13, 2014
Main card next!
Main Card (to be broadcast on FOX Sports 1)
Women’s Strawweights: Jessica Penne vs. Randa Markos
Penne is 11-3 and a former Invicta champ at 105. Canada’s Markos was the surprise of the TUF season, coming in totally unheralded — she enters a -125 favorite here.
Round One: Nice jab from Markos to begin, who initiates a clinch. Nice throw from Penne! Punches to the head from Penne. Markos cut around left eye. Penne looking for mount, and Markos escapes to her feet. Another throw from Penne, landing in Markos’ half guard. Penne to mount, but Markos escapes to her feet. Penne starts working a triangle and almost gets it. Markos with a hard punch to the face. Penne with a sweep and lands in Markos’ guard. 10-9 Penne.
Round Two: Markos with straight punching and better movement to begin. Markos with a super(wo)man punch. Right hook is landing for Markos, and she’s looking increasingly confident — even a haymaker lands. Penne tries a takedown but Markos easily shrugs her off. Markos with superior movement. Markos takes Penne to the mat and gets mount, but Penne reverses. Penne looking to pass guard, gets to Markos’ half guard. Penne with light ground and pound to the final bell. 10-9, Markos.
Round Three: Markos looking for spinning back fist. Side kick to the leg lands for Markos. Good uppercut for Markos as she catches Penne coming in. Penne finally gets Markos down in a head and arm position. Penne looking for the rear naked choke but Markos escapes to half guard. Penne to side control N-S — and here’s Markos looking for inverted triangle. What a crazy fight on the mat. 10-9 Penne but it was close.
Penne and randa was a good fight. Best one so far I think
— Cody Bollinger (@CodyBollinger) December 13, 2014
Jessica Penne defeats Randa Markos by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).
Lightweights: Joe Proctor vs. Yancy Medeiros
Round One: Both guys looking for leg kicks. Proctor with a slight edge with hand combinations. Spinning back kick glances from Medeiros. Proctor tries to respond, then hits a hard body shot. Proctor going for a guillotine. They disengage and both guys throwing power shots with no set up, like a video game… to little effect. Medeiros with a great spinning back kick to the body — and Proctor crumbles! Medeiros with a series of punches, then a guillotine — and it’s over! Proctor taps!
Yancy Medeiros defeats Joe Proctor by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:37 of round one.
Lightweights: KJ Noons vs. Daron Cruickshank
Round One: Noons with leg kicks and flicking jabs to begin. Crickshank mixing up his counters well; sneaks in a high round kick. A Noons eye poke halts the action. On the restart, Cruickshank looking more fluid, catches a nice takedown but Noons bounces right back up. Noons stalking with leg kicks and a pawing jab, Cruickshank switching stances and going for spinning attacks. Both landing pretty equally but Cruickshank a little more solid. Big knee from Noons. Cruickshank with a takedown as time expires. 10-9, Cruickshank.
Round Two: Both guys pawing with jabs and another eye poke really hurts Cruickshank. He crumbles as Noons tries to advance. McCarthy finally stops the action. After medical consultation, fight is stopped.
K.J. Noons and Daron Cruickshank’s bout is ruled a No-Contest (due to ending on unintentional foul) at 0:25 of round two.
And you know what? Good for Cruickshank for having the sense to say, 'No, my eye is done. Call it.' Fighting with one eye earns him nothing.
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) December 13, 2014
Catchweight (146.5): Jeremy Stephens vs. Charles Oliveira
Round One: Oliveira on the attack with punches to begin. Stephens gets a takedown and Oliveira looking for the armbar. Stephens stacks him up and slams him to the mat, but Oliveira hangs on. Stephens looking to posture and pry his arm free and finally gets out. Oliveira in guard, Stephens lands some elbows. Finally Stephens makes space and backs away. A tepid standup exchange follows with neither guy landing much. 10-9, Oliveira.
Round Two: Oliveira in on a single leg. He takes a hard elbow to the head but completes the takedown. Oliveira sliding in to half guard, then mount, then taking the back. Oliveira with body triangle. Oliveira switches to armbar and is painfully close but Stephens slips away! Big right by Cruickshank in Oliveira’s guard. Oliveira back up, looks for a guillotine variant, but Stephens slips away even after being rolled into mount. Oliveira going for armbar now and again painfully close. A few punches by Stephens after the escape. 10-9 Oliveira.
Round Three: Oliveira the aggressor with long jabs and knees as they clinch. Stephens tries to roll into a Kimura off a scramble, Oliveira escapes and gets a guard pass. Another scramble and Stephens hits a nice counter left. Double leg takedown from Oliveira. Back up, right hand from Stephens. Oliveira falls to guard. 1-2 combo from Stephens. Left hook lands from Oliveira. They clinch, and Oliveira jumps to guard again. Big elbows in Oliveira’s guard. 10-9, Stephens.
A Shinya Aoki parody account offers his analysis:
Poorness arm execution of Charles Olive Area! Break arm or die!!
— Fake Shinya Aoki (@FakeShinyaAoki) December 13, 2014
Charles Oliveira defeats Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Women’s Strawweight: Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza (for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship)
Round One: Namajunas hits a flying kick. Esparza with a takedown. A few punches from Esparza. Namajunas escapes to her feet. Straight right to the body, left hook to the head by Esparza. Spinning backfist glances from Namajunas. They clinch — nice elbows from Esparza. Fast pace here! Leg kick from Namajunas. Glancing side kick to the head. Namajunas moving forward applying pressure, but Esparza landing elbows inside. Double leg takedown from Esparza who lands some punches in the guard. Rose scrambles up, lands a 1-2 in an exchange. Double leg from Esparza as time winds down. 10-9, Esparza.
Round Two: Quick double from Esparza after a brief striking exchange. Hammer fists and elbows from Esparza. Esparza stands out of the guard. Namajunas with a high front kick. Esparza with a jab. Esparza whips Namajunas to the mat again. Little hammer fists from Esparza, trying to get around the long legs of Namajunas — and she finally does with less than 30 sec left. Big punches from Esparza. Namajunas giving her back as time expires. 10-9, Esparza.
Round Three: Spinning back fist by Namajunas, and Esparza shoots in for another takedown. Esparza looking for back as Namajunas tries to scramble away. Esparza in full back mount, landing big punches, then looking for rear naked choke — and she got it!
Carla Esparza defeats Rose Namajunas by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:26 of round three. Esparza becomes the first UFC Strawweight Champion.
That’s it for tonight. Thank you for joining us!