The TUF 26 TUFtermath
It’s episode four of The Ultimate Fighter 26, and it’s time for UFC vet Lauren Murphy of Team Alvarez to take on Team Gaethje upstart Nicco Montano. This was a fight-focused show, with the only real non-fight drama coming from Murphy’s life story. So, since there doesn’t need to be a lot of background, let’s dive in to this week’s TUFtermath.
The Big Three
#1) De-FENCE! – Jumping ahead to the fight, I just want to say that I was quite impressed with Nicco Montano’s takedown defense. She made good use of the cage to stay upright against Lauren Murphy’s attempted takedown onslaught, and I felt it was worth pointing out. Head coach Justin Gaethje is definitely doing something right.
#2) Survivor – Lauren Murphy’s life story is brutal. She lost her father in a plane crash when she was 11, and was abusing drugs and alcohol starting at age 14. She has recovered, relapsed, and recovered again. Now living in Arizona with her husband and teenage son, Murphy is the epitome of a survivor.
#3) TUF Decision – It took four episodes, but there was finally a fight that went to a decision. It was a close, gritty fight, so it was certainly worth watching.
The Stock Report
Stock Hold – Lauren Muprhy. Even in defeat, Murphy looked solid. It wasn’t a blow-out loss or anything like that. That said, it was technically her fourth loss in five fights, so things may not be looking so rosy for the veteran’s future.
Stock up – Nicco Montano. Entering the tournament as a relative unknown, Jackson-Winklejohn product Montano put the rest of the cast on notice with her performance. Breaking from almost every clinch with an elbow or backfist, Montano went for broke as best she could. Another potentially worrisome weapon is her long range kicks, which caught both Murphy and her coach, Eddie Alvarez, off guard.
This two round affair was best described as an entertaining grind. Lauren Murphy wanted to get the fight to the ground, and Nicco Montano wanted to keep it on the feet. Murphy was certainly game on the feet, even having some success at punching range. Sadly, it wasn’t quite enough. Montano was superior at kicking range, was stronger in the clinch, and had impressive takedown defense. After two rounds, she was ultimately able to edge out Murphy and take home the unanimous decision win.
Next week, Maia Stevenson (#5) of Team Geathje steps in against BJJ black belt Sijara Eubanks (#12). It looks like there will be some drama next week, too. Eubanks is shown to be struggling with her weight in the preview. So, until next week, keep it locked to MMASucka.com for more news, opinion, and the next TUF 26 TUFtermath!