Who will be this season's Ultimate Fighter? Jonathan Brookins or Michael Johnson? Will Kendall Grove upset Demian Maia? How will Stephan Bonnar fare against Igor Pokrajac? Find out by reading our live blog! SPOILERS AHEAD!
You guys ready for this? Or do you need to catch up on the undercard first? Lucky thing we liveblogged that bad boy for you, ain't it? Check it out right here and come back for more live updates from The Palms!
Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan
Leonard Garcia had a fight of the year candidate with Chang Sung Jung, the Korean Zombie. Nam Phan turned out to be Team Koscheck's ace in the hole. And we're fighting at featherweight in the UFC for the first time on TV. If you can't get up for this one, please just quit pretending you're a fight fan.
And that's Garcia walking to that one Kanye song. You know the one. That'll be a popular choice on future cards.
Phan swings away early and catches Garcia with a solid hook. Going to take a few more to hurt a chin like his, though. Phan blocks the high kick and answers with a loud body kick. Phan let loose with a combo that definitely hurt Garcia, who answers with wild swings. Not surprisingly, Phan's boxing is crisper. Garcia tries the spinning back fist but that didn't work. Phan gets another jab. Phan comes in with another great combo followed by a headkick. Phan with more big shots that Garcia shakes off like an annoyed relief pitcher. Phan wobbles Garcia again near the end of the round but they finish still on their feet.
Garcia starts with a switch kick and throws haymakers that Phan blocks. Nam Phan gets a few more in as Garcia is leaving himself open. Garcia changes strategy and gets a double leg to put this one on the floor. Phan is able to pop out from getting pressed on the cage. Phan ROCKS Garcia, closes in, misses a head kick but wobbles him with uppercuts, and rains down shots from the top. He takes Garcia's back and works for a choke. Phan gets some shots in from behind and goes back to the choke. Garcia looks like he might have tapped there but we're still going. Phan gets a few more in before the horn.
Unsurprisingly, Leonard Garcia comes out swinging and suddenly Phan has quite a gash on him. Garcia gets another double leg but Phan is up quickly. Phan throwing more shots that Garcia just eats. Garcia tries an overhand right, and Phan sprawls to avoid a takedown. Phan keeps on the body and staggers Garcia yet again. Garcia misses a sloppy headkick. More on the feet and Garcia just smiles when you hit him. Or at least when Phan hits him. Another left uppercut and another laugh from Leonard Garcia. More trading and we go the distance.
Winner by Split Decision: Leonard Garcia (29-28, [27-30], 29-28)
Crowd is *not* happy with that call. Garcia is very humble in victory, saying he'll gladly rematch Phan given the choice. Big hand for Nam Phan. "Asian brother can't get no love" indeed.
Johny Hendricks vs. Rick Story
Rick Story walking out to Killswitch Engage and giving old wrestling fans flashbacks by doing so. Johny Hendricks has the one and only Marc Laimon in tow. Steve Mazzagatti your 3rd man.
Story gets some body shots and tries a takedown. Story gets him on the fence and throws hands. Both men cautious but not tentative. Hendricks ties up the neck and gets a jab in on the break. Story starts throwing wild to no avail. Story gets a leg kick. Hendricks catches a body kick and completes the takedown, which may be enough to steal the round. Hendricks gets Story's back as the round ends.
Hendricks opens with a nice combo, Story goes to the body, gets on top and near guillotined for his troubles. Story gets Johny's back with over/under control. Hendricks slips out and grabs a front choke, and they're up and clinched on the cage. They trade body shots and Story gets a knee. Hendricks tries and tries the single but Story is up immediately. Lots of clinch work and Story working the thigh with his knee.
Hendricks gets the takedown and Story looks like he's got the guillotine, But he does not. Story spwaled out working the body. Story tries for a kimura, and the crowd turns on the inaction. Hendricks manages to get control with a headlock and keeps pushing for the cage. Hendricks keeping control but doing nothing else. Hendricks trying the takedown, Story hoping for the kimura. And that's how it ends.
Winner by Unanimous Decision: Rick Story (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Aaron Wilkinson vs Cody McKenzie
This one comes from the prelims, so you can see what happened here. Having said that, McKenzie's mustache deserves another curtain call. That thing is ri-damn-diculous.
Demian Maia vs. Kendall Grove
So there's the tattoos of the chain of islands, and the huge backpiece of King Kamehameha. Cool stuff, but I wish there was some way to tell where Kendall Grove was from. He's singing along to "Live Your Life" and looks very calm. Maia on the other hand looks intense yet professorial. He's like the accountant who's going to get you through your audit. Josh Rosenthal will keep it clean.
Grove works the jab and Maia tries to get inside. Who could have guessed? Grove gets a couple shots in and Maia gets the single. He works the guard for a while but ends up on Grove's back, then behind him on the feet. Grove defending well against the jiu jitsu master. Maia on top in half guard and works into the full mount. Grove gives up his back and Maia happy to obliige. Grove scrambles and Maia's back in half guard. Maia throws big shots from the top, but Grove rolls out. Maia relentless getting to the back again. Grove able to turn back into half guard, and the round ends with Maia on top.
Grove trying to keep it on the feet, Maia looks for the opening but doesn't complete the takedown. A shot drops Maia briefly but he recovers and ends up on top of Grove again. Da Spyda taking a lot of shots to the body on the ground. Grove tries a sweep and they're back up before Maia pushes Grove into the fence, where we reach the midway point of the fight. Maia gets the takedown and is trying for a pass. Grove tries an upkick and Maia gets his back again. He spends the remainder of the round trying to punch his way into an opening for a choke.
Grove using his reach to keep Maia at bay for the first minute. Spyda gets a couple good shots in. Midway through a cautious round and Grove needs to take some chances. Neither man really making a lot of progress on the feet. Maia gets a leg and Grove tries a jumping knee. Maia pushes Grove into the fence, still trying for that leg. Grove throws elbows as Maia moves to try a double. Grove scores with some body shots but we're going to take our chances with the judges.
Winner by Unanimous Decision: Demian Maia (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Stephan Bonnar vs. Igor Pokrajac
Pokrajac. "Back in Black". You can't knock a classic. As Bonnar walks, he's clearly reliving some of the more awkward moments he's caused while hosting "The Aftermath". It's written all over his face. "If only I'd answered more viewer comments", he's obviously thinking.
Pokrajac swings early and Bonnar pushes him into the cage, gets a single, tags him and gets side control. Nice work. He takes The Duke's back quickly but loses position and finds himself pressed up against the cage. Pokrajac gets a nice elbow on the break. Pokrajac gets Bonnar on the cage and Bonnar jumps guard with a guillotine choke. Looked really good but he loses it and ends up in side control. Your "Aftermath" host gets half guard, back into side control and he's looking for an arm. Bonnar drives elbows into Igor's ribs and ends up behind him. A knee to the body and some shots that Steve Mazzagatti warns Bonnar for the back of the head. Pokrajac manages to reach his feet and that's the horn.
Pokrajac throws an early combo and Bonnar's pressing him on the cage again. Igor has no answer for the knees from the clinch until he tunrs Bonnar into the fence. Bonnar gets a beautiful trip and takes side control. Punches and elbows from the top that Pokrajac is blocking best he can. Bonnar is cut, surprising nobody. They're back up and swinging away. Bonnar throwing knees and elbows from the clinch, trying to work a takedown. Both men swinging for the fences, which brings something to mind when Bonnar is involved (The episode of "The Aftermath" with the Jamie Yager knock knock joke).
Important point: Steve Mazzagatti has taken a point from Pokrajac for the illegal knee that cut Bonnar while he was on the ground.
Bonnar quickly back working in the guard. He gets some good GNP in before eating an upkick. That doesn't really worry Bonnar, who's happy to work the ground and pound some more. He gets behind Pokrajac and tries to secure his back. He loses position and Igor nearly gets the arm. Bonnar regains top position and starts throwing elbowss to the shoulder and punches to the head. Bonnar controlling and raining shots. Then a VERY strange moment as Mazzagatti deducts a point from Bonnar for striking the back of the head. He calls timeout but the fight ends at almost the same time.
Winner by Unanimous Decision: Stephan Bonnar (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)
Michael Johnson vs. Jonathan Brookins
These guys are both young fighters with great futures ahead of them. Both impressed throught The Ultimate Fighter. But only one will win fight, the contract, and the right to call himself the winner of this season.
"I Just Wanna Be Famous". Nicely done, Michael Johnson.
Herb Dean is your referee. We can't do Bruce Buffer justice here, but suffice it to say, it's time.
Both men swing away and Brookins takes one on the chin. Brookins goes for a single. It's not really working but he's not giving up. Johnson gets a nice combo and is getting the better of the standing. Brookins takes a big shot and gets dropped. He hangs on but eats a knees, punches, more knees. Johnson trying to get a guillotine but they're back standing. Brookins keeps eating punches. Hands down, chin out. Not a great gameplan. Johnson pushes him into the fence, then frees it up. Brookins slips in and tries to get Johnson's back. Johnson clinches up in the center of the cage. Johnson's round by anyone's estimation.
Brookins gets Johnson's back and throws some shots. He works from half guard getting some ground and pound in. Johnson trying to get out from under but Brookins is doing well staying on top. Short elbows are scoring points. Ground and pound but Johnson manages to get to his feet. Brookins pushing Johnson into the cage but Johnson throwing elbows. Johnson with a gorgeous takedown. He tries for a kimura as the round ends but ditches it just before the horn. As much Brookins' round as the first was Johnson's.
Last round of your life, guys. Johnson with some nice shots and Brookins goes back for the leg, wisely. Completes the takedown and pushes Johnson into the fence. Brookins in control but Johnson keeps trying to get it standing. Brookins gets the mount on the cage and turns to take Johnson's back. Johnson gets in, they clash heads it seems and Brookins secures his lateral drop takedown. You can have your McKenzietine, that may be the defining move of the season. More short elbows and some ground and pound. With a minute left, Brookins maintains control, well off the cage. More ground and pound and they have gone the distance.
Winner by Unanimous Decision: Jonathan Brookins (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Thanks again for joining us tonight. A great season capped off by a great fight. Congratulations to Jonathan Brookins, winner of "The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck".