There were no secrets about the power and dangerous striking skills of Clint Hester coming into his UFC debut following his time as a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 17.
Bristol Marunde felt those skills firsthand.
Hester landed a devastating standing elbow strike that dropped Marunde in his tracks earning him a highlight reel KO at 3:53 of the final round to kick off the televised preliminary card of the TUF 17 finale.
After a tentative start, Clint Hester began to establish his jab, doubling up on it as he looked to find his range early. A cautious Marunde was intent early on a one-and-done attack scoring with a winging right hand and later with an uppercut as the round wore on. Hester mixed up his attack with inside leg kicks that scored, but ended up on his back as Marunde timed a kick and took the fight to the mat. After a scramble saw the fight return to the feet, Hester landed a monstrous right hook that dropped Marunde. Marunde found his senses enough to scramble into a late takedown to end the round.
The battle intensified quickly in the second as Hester continued to pepper Marunde with his jab, and did damage in the clinch with knees. Marunde was able to secure a couple of takedowns but was unable to keep Hester grounded as the round continued. Hester used a triangle attempt to create enough space to stagger Marunde with an uppercut that changed the complexity of the round.
Hester opened up the final round letting his hands fly, peppering Marunde with his jab and follow up right hands. Marunde immediately looked to change levels and go for takedowns, but Hester was able to stuff the attempts and resume his attack on the feet. Hester took the center of the octagon as a tiring Marunde searched for answers, and then fired off a stinging flying knee. As the fighters took the center of the cage, Hester leaned in with the clipping elbow that dropped and finished Marunde to cap off an exciting UFC debut.
Clint Hester improves to 8-3 by winning his first UFC bout, improving his finishes by KO to 6.