Submission ace T.J. Waldburger was looking to get back on track after a disappointing showing against Brian Ebersole earlier this summer. Against Nick Catone at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday night, Waldburger got what he was looking for.
The win, however, didn't come automatically or easily.
Catone set the pace early, getting takedowns, decent ground and pound and the better of scrambling exchanges. The former collegiate wrestler was able to use his size and technical wrestling advantages to likely earn the judges' nod in the first frame.
But his dominance wouldn't last long. A right had early in the second frame rocked Catone and sent him crashing to the canvas. Catone tried to use his wrestling as a way, but the quick-thinking Waldburger jumped to a one-arm (from Catone) guillotine. Realizing he didn't have it, he transitioned to a triangle. Catone defended, but strangely moved his free arm across his own body, which is exactly what Waldburger needed from him to finish the choke.
Waldburger moves to 4-2 in the Octagon and 16-7 in professional mixed martial arts.
MMA Fighting's Shaun Al-Shatti called the action in real time like this:
Round 2: Waldburger blocks a high kick. Waldburger charges forward and drops Catone with a straight punch. Catone is in trouble. Waldburger swarms, seizing a guillotine before transitioning into a triangle. This one is deep. Waldburger tightens up and unloads a few short elbows for good measure. Wow, Catone is asleep. Incredible finish. Herb Dean calls the fight.
T.J. Waldburger def. Nick Catone via submission (triangle) at 1:04 of round 2.