Nicco Montano got one step closer to the UFC by knocking off a UFC veteran.
The Arizona native pulled off the first major upset of The Ultimate Fighter 26 by winning a unanimous decision over Lauren Murphy on the fourth episode of the season. Murphy’s Octagon experience wasn’t enough to overcome the energy of Montano, who was more than a match for Murphy in both the grappling and the standup.
Montano and Murphy traded strikes in Round 1, with Montano scoring points with stiff kicks to the body and legs. Round 2 was a more grueling affair that saw Murphy go all out to try and take the action to the mat, but Montano’s defense held up and she made Murphy pay with short strikes.
In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Montano. A member of the Navajo tribe out of Arizona, Montano moves on to face Montana Stewart in the women’s flyweight tournament quarterfinals.
For Murphy, it was a bitter pill to swallow. The 34-year-old entered the tournament as a favorite, having logged four UFC fights under her belt already in the women’s bantamweight division, but the drop down to 125 pounds did not turn out as she had hoped.
Here are the first-round results so far, and the remaining remaining seeds and matchups:
No. 14 Nicco Montano def. No. 3 Lauren Murphy via unanimous decision
On next week’s episode, Stevenson faces Eubanks.
The season is being coached by former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. The winner of the TUF 26 tournament will be awarded the inaugural women’s flyweight title.
Here is the TUF 26 roster divided by team:
Team Alvarez: Dobson, Marks, Eubanks, Bennett, Honchak, Fabian, Beck, Murphy
Team Gaethje: Modafferi, Whitmire, Stevenson, Gevorgyan, Robertson, Ostovich, Stewart, Montano
Advancing to Round 2: Modafferi, Bennett, Stewart, Montano
Eliminated: Dobson, Gevorgyan, Beck, Murphy