The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale opens-up with the veteran Gray Maynard and Teruto Ishihara in the lightweight scrap. Going in to the fight, Gray Maynard already has a set plan and that is to use his wrestling to keep Ishihara on the ground and bully him. Round 1 begins and Maynard throws a fake takedown to gauge the reaction of Ishihara. His attempts to strike go in vain and Maynard makes full use of his ground game to finish the first round on the top. In round 2, Maynard pushes forward for more take downs, puts pressure on Ishihara and ends the round with a takedown. In round 3, Maynard again dictates the fight with his takedowns and nullifies Ishihara’s striking. The Bully gets the unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26).
Tecia Torres get the first submission victory of her career. Round 1 begins with Lima taking Tecia to the ground from a failed low kick. Tecia scrambles and get back to the feet to unleash her short knees and punches to Lima. They both get cautious for a while waiting for the other to make a move, Lima pushes Tecia to the fence and stays there. The referee breaks them up and the fight continues. Round 1 ends with Tecia going for a take down and landing few knees to Lima’s mid-section. In round 2, Lima attempts for a takedown first but the Tornado is quick to sprawl back, transition to the back and lock a rear naked choke. In couple of seconds Lima is seen tapping out.
The Doberman gets back to the winning side with his win over Herman. All through the three rounds, both the middleweights display their striking and submission skills as they attempt one submission after another. In round 1, Dollaway gets the top position which Hermann responds back with a knee back but they both get back up. Round 1 goes in favour of Dollaway. In round 2, Hermann shows some urgency and mixes up punches and throws an elbow which unleashes a cut on Dollaway’s eye. Dollaway goes in for a kimura, heel hook and a leg lock without any success. Round 2 goes in favour of Herman. In round 3, Dollaway uses his striking to neutralize Hermann with punches and three quick elbows. Dollaway is on the top and continues to put pressure as the round ends in favour of Dollaway.
The fight between Brad Tavares and Elias Theodorou was a very close one for the judges to take a call. What it seemed to many was Elias got the better of Brad in three rounds, but the judges had a different call. Round 1 and 2 saw both the fighters not wanting to risk and make any mistake. It was a back and forth action between the two without much excitement and ended in a narrow result with Brad defeating Elias via unanimous decision.
Jared Cannonier took Nick Roehrick back to the school in round 1 and 2 showcasing his stand up and ground game. Nick responses were of minimal effect on Jared as he moved from one spot to the other. That’s a remarkable feat knowing that Jared fought Nick on a three-day notice without knowing much about Nick and having time to prepare. Jared threw some hard shots which Nick ate like a pro, but fell short in the second round. In round 3, Jared landed some neat elbows while standing up and on the ground, which lead the referee Big John to step in and stop the fight. It was indeed a violent finish and a well-deserved one for Jared Cannonier.
Marc Diakiese suffered the first loss of his career at the hands of Drakkar Klose. Both the lightweights put on a great fight and there was never a dull moment in the three rounds. Klose and Diakiese engaged in an entertaining fight, with Klose taking a split-decision win. But that didn’t seem to be enough. Many anticipated the Diakiese would put on another flashy performance but Klose had something else in his game plan. In round 1, Klose landed a heavy leg kick which Diakiese could not take and put him on the mat.
In the co-main event, welterweight Jesse Taylor finally becomes the TUF Finale winner by submitting Dhiego Lima via rear naked choke in round 2. It was Taylor’s relentless pursuit of takedowns and ground game that led to a quick finish despite being knocked down early in the second round Jesse recovered instantly and took Lima’s back. Jesse is a proud winner of the $250,000 prize money and the title of TUF 25 winner.
The sensational Justin Gaethje put on a remarkable performance in his UFC debut by stopping Michael Johnson in round 2. The former WSOF champ proved everyone why he could be the next in line for the title as he easily put away Johnson in two rounds. Round 1 begins with Johnson landing kicks and punches, which Justin brushes off. Justin comes back with his own leg kicks and it already shows the impact on Johnsons stand up. Justin dishes more leg kicks which Johnson is unable to check. Justin moves forward but eats a straight right and gets taken down. Round 1 ends with Justin back up on his feet. Round 2 begins with another barrage of leg kicks from Justin, but Johnson replies with his own trademark strikes putting Justin in trouble. Another leg kick makes the matter worse for Johnson who is now in vulnerable situation and down on the mat. The moment Johnson gets back up, Justin lands a brutal flying knee from where it’s all downhill for Johnson. It’s the knees that get the job done for Justin who wins via TKO.
Also in other preliminary fights, James Krause defeated Tom Galliccho by way of unanimous decision, Angela Hill also beat Ashley Yodder by unanimous decision. Jordan Johnson defeated. Marcel Fortuna via unanimous decision.