Ricky Turcios and Brady Hiestand put on one of the best TUF Final scraps we’ve seen to date as they went to war on the feet and the mat, before Turcios finally emerged victorious as the new ‘Ultimate Fighter’ champ by the slimmest of split decision verdicts.
Turcios with a leg kick and Heistand returns fire with a punch. They clinch up and Turcios takes the upperhand there before they break free.
Heistand pressures forward and then it’s his turn to get the clinch and work for a takedown. Turcios prevents it initially, but Hiestand adjusts and does land a nice takedown.
Hiestand on top and having to work to keep the position. Turcios almost able to scramble out, but he retains top control quickly.
Turcios does manage to get back up, but though he gets free Hiestand is quickly back on him and brings him down again.
Turcios not willing to just settle for being on bottom though and he’s able to pick his moment to scramble quickly back up.
Heistand immediately clinched up and working for another takedown. Turcios switches though in order to try to get on top. Turcios trying to work a submission here, but Hiestand gets out and gets on top.
Turcios trying to work an armbar, but again Heistand gets out from that, but is unable to keep the fight grounded.
Back to striking they go and it’s a high pace they are pushing here as they both exchange punch, though with more volume than power being shown.
Final few seconds of the round and they start to sit down on their punches more. Crazy pace set here, but can they keep it going in the rounds to follow?
Hiestand quickly into the clinch against the cage. He’s looking to continue to apply lots of pressure here. Turcios escapes out and just misses a punch coming his way.
Hiestand marching him down though and is into the clinch again, then the takedown from Heistand. Turcios busy from his back and then works back up.
Striking range in the center of the Octagon. BOdy kick from Hiestand. Head kick attempt from Turcios. left and a right from Heistand.
Hiestand steps into a big left hand. He lands another left. He thinks about a leg kick, but Turcios nicely times a takedown and gets it, then moves to the back.
Hiestand trying to stand and shake him off his back. Turcios trying to set up a takedown from the position, but he’s sliding off the back and as soon as he gets a hold of him Hiestand slams him to the mat.
In the center of the Octagon Heistand is looking to make his mark, but Turcios with a very nice sweep and working back upright.
Hiestand looks for the takedown, but Turcios tries to roll into a big submission. Hiestand fights through that and is on top again.
Turcios back up and presses Hiestand into the cage. They exchange punches in close. Several land for Turcios now.
Striking range and Hiestand missing with punches. He does land an uppercut though before the round ends.
Heistand marches forward and Turcios greets him with a front kick to the body. Hiestand coming forwards with punches.
Hiestand coming up short with punches, but then does land a jab. He continues to work that jab then a front kick to the body.
Turcios with a right hand that seems to hurt Hiestand and sends his mouthpiece flying. Another punch drops Hiestand, but then he grabs a leg and works hard to land a crucial takedown.
Turcios gets his back to the cage and tries to work back to his feet. He gets to one knee and then lands some nasty elbows as Hiestand is busy trying to keep him down.
Turcios standing now, but Hiestand still on him. Ref gives Hiestand his mouthpiece back. Takedown attempt and Turcios is scrambling hard, but is kept down.
Turcios potentially working a submission attempt, but then does find the space to stand and presses Hiestand into the cage.
Quick exchange of punches and then Turcios clinches again. He lands a couple of knees. Elbow for Turcios. They break free.
Head kick from Hiestand. Right hand for Turcios. Left hand from Hiestand too. Another clinch. Turcios with light punches and drives Hiestand into the cage.
Both men very tired now but still trying to lands punches. Hiestand drives for a takedown and Turcios stuffs it.
Hiestand tries to land, but Turcios presses him into the cage. final 10 seconds and they choose to trade punches and it’s Turcios who repeatedly tags Hiestand and backs him up, but the final horn sounds before he can find a finish.
Great job from both fighters here, leaving absolutely everything in the Octagon as they battled relentlessly for the full 15 minutes on the feet and on the mat.
In the end there can only be one ‘Ultimate Fighter’, and by split decision it’s Ricky Turcios who gets the nod (29-28 x2, 28-29).
Both fighters will surely have sealed their spot in the UFC after that tremendous battle though.