It was a back-and-forth affair to start with both guys landing significant strikes and combinations early, but a quick left hook from Ferguson changed the complexion of the fight instantly.
After a lead right hand brushed the face of Nijem, Ferguson followed up with a short, flush left hook that dropped Nijem. Ferguson followed him to the mat and put him away with a big right hand before the referee could step in and intervene.
The stunning finish earned Tony Ferguson (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) the title of “The Ultimate Fighter” for season 13, along with the six-figure contract.
Guida grinds out a hard-earned decision over Pettis
Pettis tried to maintain a safe distance to land his flashy strikes and prevent giving up an early take down in the opening round, but that’s exactly what happened after Guida caught a leg kick and put Pettis on his back.
Pettis was very active from his back immediately, throwing up multiple submission attempts, looking to catch Guida for an early finish. Guida showed off tremendous submission defense, and after Pettis made his way back to his feet, Guida quickly planted him on his back again.
Pettis started to land in the second with lead left hooks and straight right hands down the pipe. Pettis then went upstairs and caught Guida with a head kick, but the tough and gritty Guida maintained his composure and pressure on “Showtime,” scoring yet another take down. Pettis managed to nearly secure another armbar from his back, but the bell sounded on the second frame.
The third and final round started with Pettis doubling up on his jab. Guida countered over the top with a nice overhand right that scored, before putting Pettis on his back yet again. Pettis continued with his submission attempts from his back, using strong wrist control to control the posture of Guida. Another armbar attempt gave Pettis enough space to sweep and he ended up in full mount after a brief scramble.
Pettis looked to seize on the opportunity, taking the back of Guida after he rolled, and started to flatten him out. Guida defended well as Pettis alternated from extending his arm, to looking for a rear-naked choke.
Guida stayed busy, and after Pettis got too high on his back, he used a small crease of space to slide out the back door, ending up back on top. It was the punctuation mark he needed to seal the deal on the judges’ cards.
Once the scores came in, it was all Guida (29-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC), winning by a score of 30-27 on all cards. The victory marks the fourth straight in the UFC for Guida.
Herman makes quick work of Credeur
After a short feeling out period by both fighters, Herman just missed with an inside uppercut, but his second one slipped through the defense of Credeur, dropping him where he stood.
Credeur seemed like he may recover on his back, but Herman didn’t give him a chance, landing four unanswered blows from the top, forcing the referee to jump in and save Credeur (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) from any more damage.
The impressive win evens up Herman’s Octagon record at 5-5 and improves him overall to 22-9.
Kingsbury outlasts Maldonado
Kingsbury started strong in the bout, keeping Maldonado outside with leg kicks early. When Maldonado did close the distance and look to get inside, Kingsbury went to work with his clinch game, landing big knees up the middle. Kingsbury mixed in take downs as well, but got in a bit of trouble after his first one, landing in a tight arm-in guillotine attempt as the fight hit the mat.
Maldonado used the guillotine to sweep, and ended up on top briefly, but Kingsbury was able to scramble out and get back to his feet.
Although Kingsbury was winning the round pretty easily, Maldonado started to implement big body shots, especially in the clinch, and a short, lead left hook hurt Kingsbury late in the round, backing the TUF 8 alumni into the cage. Maldonado was unable to sustain the assault on Kingsbury, who came back and went right back on the offensive.
Another take down earned more points for Kingsbury, and he finished off the round with more knees in the clinch.
The second round played out much like the first, with Kingsbury still scoring with knees, as Maldonado countered with body shots and lead left hands.
Maldonado entered the final frame appearing to need a finish to win the fight, and he responded, coming forward more aggressively, landing straight right hands and mixing in his body shots. The constant work started to payoff for Maldonado, as the left eye of Kingsbury nearly swelled shut.
Kingsbury started to fade late, but Maldonado failed to capitalize on a late take down, resting from top position forcing the referee to stand the fight back up. Maldonado (18-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) finished strong, but when the scores came in, it was too little too late, as Kyle Kingsbury (11-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) earns the unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Cope outclasses O’Neil, earns unanimous decision victory
Chris Cope proved that he is more than just a bunch of “Woo’s!” in the first bout of the televised main card of the Ultimate finale.
Cope came out and out-classed his friend and fellow cast member Chuck O’Neil, dominating the action with his stand-up prowess, executing picture-perfect combos, and keeping O’Neil from establishing any type of offense of his own.
O’Neil’s only significant offense came with his leg kicks, but Cope prevented any type of momentum change that O’Neil may have been looking for, countering with multiple-punch combinations, and crisp kicks.
The final two rounds were a carbon copy of the opening stanza, as Cope (5-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) cruised to a one-sided unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).