Ultimate Fighter Finale Report feat. Brad Tavares vs. Israel Adesanya

John Pollock runs through Friday's TUF 27 Finale card from Las Vegas, featuring a middleweight main event between Brad Tavares and Israel Adesanya, the finals of the TUF 27 lightweight and featherweight tournaments, as well as Roxanne Modafferi taking on Barb Honchak & more.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the TUF 27 Finale from the Pearl at Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

GERALD MEERSCHAERT (27-9, 185) VS OSKAR PIECHOTA (11-0-1, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

The first round was controlled by Piechota, who mounted Meerschaert several times. He worked for a D’arce and later secured his back, applied a rear-naked choke but lost his hook and gave up on the submission. It was a strong round for Piechota. 10-9 Piechota.

The second round was wild. Piechota was attacking the lead right leg of Meerschaert. The turning point occurred when Meerschaert went for a takedown and Piechota failed to lock on a guillotine and ended up in side control. Meerschaert unloaded everything he had on Piechota with a storm of elbows and knees on top and against the fence. Piechota wouldn’t go down and ate so many shots. In the final seconds of the round, Meerschaert locked on a rear-naked choke and Piechota went out. The second round was nuts and if the arena was full they would have been going crazy for it.

WINNER: GERALD MEERSCHAERT BY REAR-NAKED CHOKE AT 4:55 OF ROUND 2

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MATT BESSETTE (22-8, 145.5) VS STEVEN PETERSON (16-7, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT

The first round was really close. Peterson came out quick with a flying knee and then jumped guard with a guillotine applied. He put a lot into the guillotine, but Bessette broke free. The second half of the round saw Bessette land on the counters and connected with some big shots, including an uppercut near the end. I had Bessette just edging out the round because of his strikes that landed clean. 10-9 Bessette.

In the second round, Bessette landed a major head kick and worked with his counter rights. Peterson started to land and got a big takedown in the final minute. He took Bessette’s back and landed some big elbows to the side of the head. I have it 19-19.

In the third round, it was an easy round for Peterson. He took Bessette down with a trip and after several reversals, Peterson took the back and used a body triangle to control him from that position for the rest of the fight. He never threatened to finish the fight from this position but clearly won the round. 10-9 Peterson and I have him up 29-28.

WINNER: STEVEN PETERSON BY SPLIT DECISION (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)


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BRYCE MITCHELL (9-1, 145) VS TYLER DIAMOND (9-1, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT

The first round was very close and could have gone either way. Mitchell landed with a left hand immediately. Diamond got a takedown off a single-leg but was swept. Diamond went for a guillotine but was stopped with a double-leg from Mitchell. I gave it to Mitchell 10-9, but very close.

In the second, Mitchell applied a triangle but didn’t have it fully applied. What he lacked with the submission, he made up for with a barrage of elbows to the head from his back and the referee nearly ended it. Diamond escaped and immediately had side control. He controlled the rest of the round but not enough to win it back. 10-9 Mitchell.

Diamond took down Mitchell and he dominated the round with his wrestling. He never overwhelmed Mitchell with strikes or came close to ending the fight, but he was in control from the beginning until the end of the round. Under the new rules, you would go 10-8 for this round, I’m less sure with old rules. 10-9 Diamond and I have it 29-28 for Mitchell.

WINNER: BRYCE MITCHELL BY MAJORITY DECISION (29-28, 29-29, 28-28)

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JOHN GUNTHER (6-0, 155.5) VS ALLAN ZUNIGA (13-0, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT

Gunther was in control for the entirety of Round 1. He kept a hold of Zuniga and repeatedly took him down to the mat. He landed a spinning back elbow at the end of the round. 10-9 Gunther.

The fight continued to be the story of Gunther’s wrestling. After landing a right hand, Gunther took Zuniga down, who would continually work back to his feet and repeatedly taken down. 10-9 Gunther.

Gunther started the fight on his feet and throwing some wild strikes before settling back to his strategy of taking Zuniga down. When Zuniga did have the opportunity to strike, there was little behind his shots due to how tired he was at this point. Zuniga came alive in the final 30 seconds and landed a bunch of shots to steal the round. This was not a good fight. 29-28 for Gunther.

WINNER: JOHN GUNTHER BY MAJORITY DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)

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LUIS PENA (4-0, 154) VS RICHIE SMULLEN (3-0-1, 154.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT

Smullen was ready for Pena’s strikes, eating a knee but taking Pena down with it. Smullen used a body lock to take Pena back down, but Pena escaped from underneath. On the feet, Pena started teeing off with clean shots landing and dropped Smullen with a right hook. Pena locked on a mounted guillotine and adjusted his position to secure the submission.

At 6-foot-3, Pena is an enormous lightweight.

WINNER: LUIS PENA BY MOUNTED GUILLOTINE AT 3:32 OF ROUND 1

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MONTANA DE LA ROSA (8-4, 125.5) VS RACHAEL OSTOVICH (4-3, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT

The two remained on their feet throughout the first round. De La Rosa caught her with a clean right and continued with a pair of follow up jabs. Ostovich landed infrequently with her right hand and was having trouble navigating the distance to get to De La Rosa. 10-9 De La Rosa.

Ostovich had a better round in the second, primarily with her right hand. De La Rosa didn’t throw her jab as consistently as did in the first. Ostovich pressed forward and landed the cleaner strikes, including one right hand that landed flush and later a spinning back fist. 10-9 Ostovich.

In the third round, Ostovich scrambled and tried for an armbar, lost it and De La Rosa recovered and got into side control. From there, De La Rosa mounted the back of Ostovich and used elbows to set up the fight-ending rear-naked choke.

WINNER: MONTANA DE LA ROSA BY REAR-NAKED CHOKE AT 4:21 OF ROUND 3

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ALESSIO DI CHIRICO (11-2, 186) VS JULIAN MARQUEZ (7-1, 190*)
*Marquez missed weight and forfeited 30% of his fight purse

In the first, Di Chirico landed a brutal kick to the body that affected Marquez and left him open for a combination that stunned him. Marquez recovered and landed with a number of big power shots. 10-9 Di Chirico.

Marquez took his momentum into the second round, he was aggressive with power strikes, a spin kick, and elbow in his attempt to overwhelm. Marquez tried for a deep guillotine and armbar but could not get the submission. 10-9 Marquez.

Both were tired by Round 3, Marquez was the stronger of the two and continued with his power right. Di Chirico took Marquez down and was using elbow strikes while standing. The more significant strikes were landed by Marquez, which still had power behind them this late in the fight. 10-9 Marquez.

WINNER: ANTHONY DI CHIRICO BY SPLIT DECISION (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)

This was a tough one to score for Di Chirico as you could make an argument that Marquez won every round, and I felt he comfortably won the second and third. The audience booed the decision and Di Chirico joked that Marquez is just a middleweight “that eats too much.”



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ROXANNE MODAFFERI (21-14, 125) VS BARB HONCHAK (10-3, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT

Honchak began to land on Modafferi after sensing her timing, landing with 1-2 combinations and starting to pile up strikes. The tide changed when Modafferi shot for a successful takedown and took over the round. Modafferi began landing elbows and passed to side control near the end of the round to steal it.

Modafferi administered a counter and landed on top of Honchak in the mount position to start the second round. Modafferi was in complete control and landed repeated elbow strikes until Marc Goddard stopped the fight.

WINNER: ROXANNE MODAFFERI BY TKO AT 3:32 OF ROUND 2

This was Modafferi’s first UFC win after fighting for 15 years.
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ALEX CACERES (13-11, 146) VS MARTIN BRAVO (11-1, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT

In the first round, Caceres was very loose on his feet with jabs and avoiding anything Bravo came forward with. Bravo took him down three times as Caceres attempted submissions from his back. Caceres was up in the final minute and landed with jabs and a body shot. 10-9 Caceres.

The second round was dominated by Caceres, who rocked Bravo consistently with his left hand. Bravo was stunned on several occasions and Caceres was landing as clean as you could imagine. He punctuated the round with a spinning back fist. Bravo ate some brutal shots in this round. 10-8 Caceres.

Bravo took Caceres down at the start of the third round. Caceres got back to his feet and returned to his land hand, but this time Bravo was returning fire. Caceres circled and would connect with isolated shots. Bravo was landing the better strikes and pressed forward throughout the round. They ended strong and was a hard fought fight. 10-9 Bravo and 29-27 Caceres overall and a great fight.

WINNER: ALEX CACERES BY SPLIT DECISION (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
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BRAD KATONA (7-0, 145.5) VS JAY CUCCINIELLO (9-0. 145)  – TUF FEATHERWEIGHT FINAL

The key shot was landed by Katona in the final minute with a left hand that knocked down Cucciniello briefly. Katona followed up with some shots before the end of the round. 10-9 Katona.

Katona caught Cucciniello with another left hand and dropped him early into Round 2. Katona got Cucciniello down and went into his guard. Katona remained on top in his guard for the rest of the round and did not allow Cucciniello to do much of anything. 10-9 Katona.

Katona is way ahead in the striking department as Round 3 begins. Kotana took him down and started to elevate his aggression as the round wore on. Katona mounted his back and dropped strikes. This was a total domination by Katona. I have it 30-26 for Katona.

WINNER: BRAD KATONA BY UNANIMOUS DECISION



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MIKE TRIZANO (7-0, 154.5) VS JOE GIANNETTI (7-0, 155.5) – TUF LIGHTWEIGHT FINAL

In the first round, Giannetti got an early takedown and Trizano got up quickly. Giannetti attempted an inverted heel hook from his back that he couldn’t apply, Trizano attempted his own version and just led to Giannetti getting on top. Trizano attempted a triangle as the horn sounded. 10-9 Giannetti.

The second round was a bizarre grappling affair. Trizano took him down and moved from half-guard to be seated on top of Giannetti with his back to his face. Trizano used repeated elbows to the back of Giannetti’s leg and the odd strike to the face. He won the round but the audience didn’t enjoy it. 10-9 Trizano.

Trizano attacked with leg kicks and Giannetti responded with a kick to the body. Trizano was moving forward throughout the round and attacking with big leg kicks. Giannetti didn’t display any urgency and was smiling throughout the round. 10-9 Trizano and I have him up 29-28.

I didn’t enjoy this fight at all, was very dull this late in the show and neither showed enough to create any sort of interest or awareness coming out of this fight.

WINNER: MIKE TRIZANO BY SPLIT DECISION (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)



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BRAD TAVARES (17-5, 186) VS ISRAEL ADESANYA (13-0, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Tavares opened the first round by relying on his right hand and finding success early. It took Adesanya some time to find his rhythm and take control of the middle. Tavares uses his jabs to set up the right while Adesanya established his range. Adesanya rolled for the leg of Tavares at the end but was caught right before the round ended. 10-9 Tavares.

In the second round, Adesanya was able to shine with his creative striking and had his timing down. The big strike was a body kick that registered on Tavares. Adesanya was warned by Herb Dean about pointing his fingers towards the face of Tavares. 10-9 Adesanya.

Adesanya is starting to widen the gap with a solid third round performance. Adesanya landed a brutal knee to the face, he landed another big kick to the body and a spinning back elbow that Tavares partially blocked. Under the old rules, this was right on the border of being a 10-8 but I only gave it to Adesanya 10-9.

The fourth round began with Tavares getting a takedown, Adesanya attempted a triangle and lost his back. He recovered to his feet and took over standing. Adesanya attacked with a razor sharp elbow and followed with his wide range of striking technique. Tavares was cut badly over the right eye. 10-9 Adesanya.

Adesanya got control of the back of Tavares on the ground until standing up. Tavares returned to his back, Adesanya trapped the arm and then landed a knee as Tavares got back up. This was another round controlled by Adesanya and the exclamation point on a solid performance over five rounds. He ended the fight attempting a mounted guillotine.

I have it 49-46 for Adesanya.

WINNER: ISRAEL ADESANYA BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)

About John Pollock 1133 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.