Ricky Steele’s point-fighting style has him one step closer to becoming The Ultimate Fighter.
The karate expert out-struck Suman Mokhtarian in week 6 of TUF 27, putting coach Daniel Cormier back in the win column and improving their team’s record to 5-1 on the season. All three of Cormier’s featherweights to fight so far have advanced in the tournament.
Over the course of two rounds, Mokhtarian was unable to show off the grappling expertise that he displayed back in his native Australia. He’s had several submission finishes go viral including a win by twister last July. Instead, it was Steele who controlled the action by consistently landing kicks to Mokhtarian’s body and winning the clinch exchanges.
Mokhtarian looked content to absorb Steele’s strikes with a smile on his face, but as time ticked down it became evident that he needed a big finish to either steal the fight or force a third round. Steele asserted himself in the closing moments, refusing to give Mokhtarian a chance to comeback.
Undefeated in five professional bouts, all of Steele’s wins have come by way of unanimous decision. Mokhtarian, the younger brother of UFC fighter Ashkan Mokhtarian, also entered the show with a perfect 8-0 record.
Both fighters can still claim to have zero official losses as the theme of TUF 27 is that all contestants are undefeated and they will remain that way until the finale on July 6, due to TUF bouts being classified as exhibitions.
It wasn’t all good news for Steele, who went to the hospital immediately after the fight to get x-rays on a foot that he said has already had several surgeries performed on it.
In other storylines, Team Miocic’s Jay Cucciniello met with Dana White to talk about possibly moving up to lightweight to replace the injured Luis Pena, and Dulani Perry continued to try and get in the head of Team Cormier with his brash talk.
Here are the first-round results so far:
Joe Giannetti def. John Gunther via technical submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
Brad Katona def. Kyler Phillips via majority decision
Luis Pena def. Jose Martinez via unanimous decision
Bryce Mitchell def. Jay Cucciniello via unanimous decision
Mike Trizano def. Thai Clark via TKO (ground and pound) in Round 2
Ricky Steele def. Suman Mokhtarian via unanimous decision
On next week’s episode, Team Cormier’s Richie Smullen fights Team Miocic’s Allan Zuniga in a lightweight bout.
Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Cormier challenges Miocic for the heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 226 on July 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The finalists of the TUF 27 lightweight and featherweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract on July 6, also in Las Vegas.
Here is the TUF 27 roster divided by team:
Advancing to Round 2: Giannetti, Katona, Pena (forced to withdraw due to injury), Mitchell, Trizano, Steele
Eliminated: Gunther, Phillips, Martinez, Cucciniello, Clark, Mokhtarian