This is the TUF 18 Finale undercard live blog for the TUF 18 Finale event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
There will be five fights on the TUF 18 Finale undercard. Akira Corassani vs. Maximo Blanco, Rani Yahya vs. Tom Niinimaki, Jared Rosholt vs. Walt Harris, Sean Spencer vs. Drew Dober, and Ryan Benoit vs. Joshua Sampo will be featured on the prelims.
Check out the TUF 18 Finale undercard below.
Ryan Benoit vs. Joshua Sampo
Round 1: And we're off. Both men trading early. Sampo catches a kick and twists Benoit to the mat, landing in half guard. Sampo stays busy and advances into mount. Slick reversal from Benoit and he takes Sampo's back in a scramble. Sampo trying to escape out the back end. We hit a standstill and the referee stands 'em up. Sampo wades forward with punches. Benoit fires back. Benoit swinging heavy leather. Sampo goes high then low. Blood is dribbling down Benoit's nose. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Sampo.
Round 2: Sampo trades leather then ducks under a punch for a takedown. Sampo schooling Benoit on the mat, working on a kimura and an inverted triangle. Benoit stays patient, defends, then hits a gorgeous sweep. Benoit hunting for a rear-naked from Sampo's back. He can't get it, but he using the position to climb into mount. Sampo gives up his back. Benoit tries to lock in a body triangle and Sampo sweeps into top position, then rains down a few heavy blows. Sampo advances into half guard and isolates Benoit's left arm for a keylock. He can't get but he uses the threat of a submission to seize mount. Benoit rolls and Sampo responds with a beautiful back take. Sampo instantly sinks in a rear-naked choke, and this one is over. Wow, wild finish.
Joshua Sampo def. Ryan Benoit via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:31 of round 2.
Sean Spencer vs. Drew Dober
Round 1: Yves Lavigne is our referee. Spencer comes out swinging. Dober looking to counter. Both guys trading heavy leather early. Dober goes low with a kick, then changes levels for a double against the fence. Spencer defends and fires off the break. Hard counter left cracks Dober, who instantly closes the distance and holds Spencer against the cage. Spencer pries away some separation and cracks Dober with another hard straight shot. Spencer starting to open up now with his strikes. Big right from Spencer. Dober's nose is bloodied. Spencer continues to press forward, connecting with a superman punch to the body. Dober finds his mark with a standing elbow. Spencer fires back, then defends a double leg attempt. Dober working hard for it but he can't get it. Spencer connects with a loud crack. Dober barely blocks a high kick, then eats another shot at the horn. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Spencer.
Round 2: Spencer maintaining a high pace to start the second frame. Dober closes the distance and hunts for a single. He can't get it. Big right hook from Spencer. Dober doubles up on high kicks, but Spencer blocks both then ties up against the fence. Dober working the Diego Sanchez approach, content to eat a punch to fire off one of his own. Dober clinches and drives Spencer against the cage. Lavigne wants action. He doesn't get it so he splits 'em up. Spencer circles left, ducks under a punch, then gets driven against the fence. Dober releases and backs up Spencer with a one-two. Superman punch misses for Spencer, but he continues to stalk forward. Hard right hand cracks Dober. Spencer shakes off a leg kick and blasts Dober with a left. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Spencer. (20-18 Spencer.)
Round 3: Spencer comes out aggressive and backs up Dober with a salvo of strikes. Dober stays busy then dives for a takedown. Spencer shucks him off, but loses his mouthpiece in the process. After a quick break, we're back. Spencer goes right to work, going high then low. Dober answers with a kick to the midsection. Dober changes levels but winds up with his back against the fence. Spencer snaps Dober's head back with a jab. And another. Spencer mixing things up. Dober shoots for a tired single. Spencer slips in double underhooks and pushes Dober off with a flurry. Dober's face is a mess now. Spencer continues to stalk forward and pepper Dober with strikes. Big flying knee from Spencer erupts the crowd. Dober is just trying to survive. Spencer clinches briefly, then releases and continues his assault. Dober shoots for a desperation takedown but can't get it. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Spencer. (30-27 Spencer.)
Sean Spencer def. Drew Dober via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jared Rosholt vs. Walt Harris
Round 1: Chris Togoni is our referee. Debuting heavyweights here. Rosholt keeping his distance early. This Vegas crowd is already getting restless. Harris catches Rosholt coming in with a big right. Harris wades forward with a flurry. Harris topples Rosholt with a huge right! Rosholt clamors to his feet only to get dropped one again. Wow. Somehow he survives and he's still in this. Huge moment there for Harris. Harris charges forward but Rosholt ducks underneath and circles. Rosholt looks frozen; he hasn't shot yet. Well, there's a half-hearted shot but it goes nowhere. Harris whiffs on a huge left. Harris dodges a step-in elbow. Rosholt finally finds his mark with a left hook, but that round was all Harris. MMA Fighting scores it 10-8 Harris.
Round 2: Harris pawing out his right hand. Rosholt wings a left hook that misses, then goes low. Harris catches Rosholt flush with a high kick. Harris tries to follow up but can't, and actually eats a hard straight punch in the process. Rosholt turning up his aggression now. Big exchange, both men swinging heavy leather. Rosholt connects on a low kick. Harris keeping his hands low, throwing single shots. Rosholt just misses with a big knee. Harris digs into Rosholt's body with a right. Rosholt swinging for the fences and he has Harris on his heels. Nothing lands flush and we end the round in the center of the Octagon. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Rosholt. (19-18 Harris.)
Round 3: Harris walks out with a grimace. Rosholt opens with a flurry that catches air. Lots of inaction here and the Las Vegas crowd is letting them hear it. Rosholt changes levels, catches a single and slams Harris onto the canvas, landing in half guard. Rosholt briefly traps Harris' right arm but loses it before he can mount any offense. Rosholt rains down a few short punches. Harris is completely stifled. Rosholt continues to work from half guard. Rosholt hunts for a keylock on Harris' right arm but can't get it. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Rosholt. (28-28 draw.)
Jared Rosholt def. Walt Harris via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rani Yahya vs. Tom Niinimaki
Round 1: Kim Winslow is our referee. They touch 'em up and we're off. Niinimaki stalking. Yahya explodes forward with a flurry but only hits air. And again. Yahya catches a single and twists Niinimaki to the canvas. Niinimaki reverses into top position. Yahya with a butterfly hook, hunts for a leglock attempt. Niinimaki stands to defend then settles into half guard. Yahya scrambles for another leglock attempt. Niinimaki rolls to defend then rains down a few punches from up top. Yahya with a slick back take during a scramble. Niinimaki works his way out, stands, then muscles Yahya to the mat, landing in side control. Yahya reclaims his half guard, then rolls and almost gives up his back. Niinimaki looks to pass into mount, but settles with half guard. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Niinimaki.
Round 2: Yahya opens with a flurry that forces Niinimaki to tie up. Yahya reverses, but winds up with his back against the fence anyway. Niinimaki drops down for a single and gets it. Yahya working on a guillotine but Niinimaki defends it beautifully, ultimately freeing himself in side control. Niinimaki rains down a few elbows. Lots of inaction and Winslow finally stands them up. Niinimaki storms inside but Yahya seizes a standing guillotine. Yahya takes it to the mat and squeezes down. Niinimaki stays patient and slowly works himself free from danger, ending the round nearly taking Yahya's back. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Niinimaki. (20-18 Niinimaki.)
Round 3: Niinimaki immediately drags Yahya back to the mat, landing right into side control. Niinimaki content to just stifle Yahya. Winslow finally stands them up. Yahya charges forward and stumbles at the end of his combination. Niinimaki goes to the body. Yahya again hunts for a guillotine. Yahya working from Niinimaki's half guard, trying to free his right foot and climb into mount. Yahya abandons the guillotine and settles into top position. Yahya staying busy but this crowd isn't having the best time. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Yahya. (29-28 Niinimaki.)
Tom Niinimaki def. Rani Yahya via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Akira Corassani vs. Maximo Blanco
Round 1: Mario Yamasaki is our referee for tonight's final preliminary bout. Blanco comes out swinging and immediately tags Corassani. Blanco winging huge punches and connecting. He has Corassani on the ropes. Whoa, huge illegal knee blasts Corassani right in the chin. Yamasaki jumps in to stop it. Corassani has no idea what happened. Looks like this one is over, folks.
Akira Corassani def. Maximo Blanco via disqualification (intentional foul) at :25 of round one.